What is economic development? Who is involved in making it happen? The answer to the first question involves increasing jobs and attracting new business. The second answer is not so clear-cut. Economic development is a community effort. Jobs and companies don’t move to a city, people do. The strengths of our community are Alexandria’s most powerful economic development tool.
In my short time as Alexandria’s new Economic Development Director, I have discovered some things you might be interested to learn. One role that I never expected to play is that of a match-maker but that may in fact be the most accurate description of an Economic Development Director. Matching potential employers’ needs with existing resources is a key to economic growth.
During a conversation with the mayor of Pryor Oklahoma, a small town much like Alexandria, I asked what they did to attract a new business that brought 1,000 jobs to the area. The answer was amazingly simple. The mayor said they advertised their strengths. In Alexandria, the members of our community, are one of our major strengths. We have great schools, well-maintained parks, safe streets and neighborhoods, affordable housing, and some of the best people anywhere. We invite you to take an active role in economic development by advertising our strengths wherever you go.