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The Week We've Been Waiting For!

As we pause this week to honor the individuals behind the profession, the Hickey Global team wants to cast a brilliant light on the (often unheralded) economic development heroes who propel our industry and contribute significantly to the prosperity of numerous communities.

I remember my first Economic Development Week. I was working for a regional EDO at the time. There was a buzz of excitement about what we’d do to celebrate the companies in our community, the practitioners who knew those companies so well, and the more than 100 volunteers dedicated to helping drive a regional business retention and expansion effort.

We chose to utilize the week to conduct several business walks that were tailored to the unique needs and priorities of each of our partner communities. We organized networking events to ensure our volunteers felt the depth of our gratitude for their invaluable contributions. Reflecting on the week, it was more about celebrating our profession and the stakeholders that propelled our mission of economic prosperity than it was about self-congratulation. This was perhaps because our team of regional practitioners was so deeply passionate about their work that taking a moment to share it with others was a celebration and reward in itself, further fueling our contentment.

Economic developers are not just professionals; we are the architects of our communities. We are the masterminds, the negotiators, the relentless connectors, the mediators bridging the gap between stakeholders, and, often, the multitasking educators. We dive into complex data, weave compelling narratives, and unite seemingly conflicting interests. We are the ultimate stakeholders, set apart by a deep understanding of communities and an unwavering vision for their potential futures.

Allow us to congratulate you on your mastery of both art and science. You balance hard facts with the power of a compelling story. You work with a diverse array of stakeholders—politicians, industry leaders, neighborhood associations, and maybe even cranky Uncle Joe, who's lived on the corner his whole life. Respecting everyone's voice is critical, even when everyone in the community doesn’t see eye-to-eye.

To my esteemed economic development professionals: You shoulder a challenging role that is more crucial than most people comprehend. We deeply appreciate your unwavering dedication, your boundless creativity, and your relentless commitment to forging a brighter future for our communities. During this Economic Development Week, here's to you!

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