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Consultants Confidential: Get to know the person behind the RFP.

Economic developers spend lots of time getting to know site selection consultants. To help you in that regard, throughout the year, we’ll invite several members from the Hickey & Associates team to answer questions designed to shed light on who they are and how that uniqueness is reflected in their work. First on our list is Ann Miller, CEcD, Director of Credits & Incentives.

What is one thing you are deeply passionate about, and how do you express that passion?

I’m deeply passionate about giving back and having a positive impact on other people’s lives. I express that passion through both my professional and personal pursuits. I have and continue to see the impact I’ve had on other’s lives through the economic development projects I’ve worked on over the years. Personally, I’m heavily involved with mentoring young professionals, supporting scholarship opportunities at my Alma Mater, and supporting the unhoused population in my community.

What belief did you once hold that you no longer do, and what changed your perspective?

I used to believe that a college education was necessary on the path to be successful in your career. My work has helped change my perspective on this matter as there are countless high-paying careers that do not require a college education. The return on investment on a college degree versus a technical trade or certification needs to be weighed carefully based on an individual’s career aspirations and passions.

What are some of the most common misconceptions people have about your field/role, and what would you like them to know instead?

I think a common misconception people have about my field is that we are sitting on opposite sides of the table than our economic development organization counterparts. However, I view it as us all sitting together at the table working in collaboration with the EDOs and our clients to develop the best business case and opportunities for all parties involved. My role is to build the best partnerships for our clients’ short and long-term success in where they make strategic investments.

What are the most important skills or qualities someone needs to be successful in your role?

To be successful in a role similar to mine, it requires a combination of technical expertise, adaptability, problem solving, and communication skills. It’s important to have knowledge in business operations, finances, and site development practices to understand all the ins and outs of my role. Being flexible and adaptable to a constantly evolving environment and new methodologies is also key. The ability to communicate complex technical concepts in a clear and understandable manner is important, especially when explaining unique economic development concepts to a non-technical audience. It’s also important to be a detail-oriented person, as the small details can make or break a project.

What is one thing most people don't know about you that you'd like to share?

In 2018, I spent a lot of time staying at a hospital with a relative. While I was a regular 5k runner at the time, I started running longer distances while they slept. By the end of that year, I had run not only a marathon but also a 50k race, which I followed up with a half marathon the next day. I didn’t break any records but I learned that you can go an awful long way if you just commit to putting one foot in front of the other.


Bonus Question: What’s the best meal you ever ate or something regarding food.

One of my favorite foods is a gyro. I grew up eating them and they were a weekly staple meal while I was in college, thanks to a meal plan that included a Greek restaurant off campus. The best gyro I ever had was from a gas station outside Byng, Oklahoma. I’m not even sure they still serve them, but whenever anyone asks what I’d want my last meal to be, I tell them, “Well, it’s from a gas station…”

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