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Things economic developers do

Economic developers deserve more recognition for all they do for their communities, so we offer you a thought-provoking list to consider.

Alissa Sklar
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on November 29, 2016
Alissa Sklar
Vice President of Marketing

The week after Thanksgiving is a funny time. We spend some time focusing on - and hopefully feeling - gratitude for the things we have. We eat (possibly too much) delicious food, spend time (hopefully just enough) with family, maybe take advantage of some Black Friday deals to get our holiday shopping in desk office smartphonegear (again, hopefully not too many!).


Then, on Monday, we go back to work.


It can be easy to lose sight of the thankfulness. At GIS Planning, we think it's high time for a little more recognition of the things economic developers do for their communities. After all, we understand and we appreciate your efforts precisely because our team members have decades of experience in this field. So I've put together a little stream of consciousness list of some of the things you do for work, and I invite you to add to it:


Things economic developers do 

Explain (for the nth time) what economic development is, exactly.

Look up from their computers to realize just how late it is.

Get to work early, to get a jumpstart on that RFP

Smile. A lot. Sometimes until your cheeks hurt.

Sell an intangible.





Eat at your desk.

Skip lunch.

Order in.

Miss parties.

Miss your daughter's game because of a meeting.

Answer an important call in the middle of your son's recital.

Pretend you felt well enough to go into the office because that report wasn't going to write itself.


Start exercising.

Stop exercising.

Get 10,000 steps a day running from meeting to meeting.

Drink too much coffee. 


Call that company owner back. 

Answer the same question again.

Resend that demographic report. 

Call every broker you know for a space that fits a potential project.

Pack for the next conference/ trade show.


Explain a project to planning/ transportation/ city/ county/ regional/ state leaders.

Explain (again) what economic development is, exactly.

Negotiate incentives.

Worry about whether your incentives can compete with the next community.

Call the site selector.... again.


Drum up enthusiasm for the waste disposal industry.

Learn more than you ever thought you would about call centers.

Research talent pool. Consumer spending. Housing trends. 

Calculate drive times from everywhere to everywhere. 

Google "what time is it in Caracas right now?"


Despair over a lost opportunity.

Lose days of research time for a project that went nowhere.

Weeks maybe.



Take a deep breath and start over on the next project.


Feel inspired by a business owner passionate about what they do.

Meet amazing people from all over your community.

Admire construction cranes on the skyline.

Attend ribbon cutting ceremonies

Clap enthusiastically at first dig shovel receptions.

Drive past a newly built facility, and think "I helped build that."

Create new jobs.

Shape the future.


We get it. Communities need you.  People who need jobs need you. So many factors go in to one project, but there can be only one "winner." It's your belief in your community that keeps you going back in.


On behalf of everyone who benefits from your tireless efforts, we'd like to say thank you all year long




productivity Economic Development