While that is not enough time to see definitive results — some projects can be months in the making — it has been time to see some of his philosophy and the way he plans to approach the job.
Tucker, like all people in economic development, wants to bring additional businesses to the community, which results in new jobs. And while he said he would welcome a 500-employee plant coming to the community, he understands that successful 21st century economic development is bringing in 10 or 20 businesses that create 20 to 50 jobs each, rather than a single larger firm.
This is so because of two primary reasons. First, the days of the big manufacturing growth, and the large numbers of workers in a single company, are largely behind us. Second, more smaller firms diversify the local economy, so if one or two go under, it doesn’t have the same effect as if a 500-employee company leaves town.
The new Partnership president also said he plans, as much as possible, out emphasis on helping existing businesses, or people already in the community ready to go into business. This could be a tough task since there are rarely incentives or grant dollars available for businesses already up and running, but it’s good to see a Partnership head who understands keeping existing jobs and growing existing businesses can be as important as bringing new jobs to the community.
Tucker also pledged to do something quite novel among local economic development efforts — to keep the lines of communication with the public open.
Economic development work is difficult — for every industry looking to open a new location, there are dozens — if not more — localities willing to roll out the red carpet. Economic development officials often are bound by confidentiality commitments to not divulge what they are doing until an incoming industry is ready to make its own announcement. And if state officials get involved, then all bets are off as to when any sort of information will be released to the public on any given project.
But Tucker seems to be ready and willing to be as open as possible with the public; he understands the importance of working with local leaders and business to keep everyone on the same page; and he seems ready to present a welcoming and professional level of interest to businesses looking at the area.
These are all welcome and needed traits in the EDP leadership, and we believe that entity’s efforts — and the greater community — will benefit from such leadership.