Introducing EDCUtah 3.0, the Next Generation of Economic Development
It's been said that a business model that can evolve is the business model that will last. As EDCUtah prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, its leaders are rolling out what they fondly call "EDCUtah 3.0," the next generation of economic development.
It's the synthesis of three decades of evolution.
"Our previous CEOs and staff members, with the support of tremendous board and executive committee members, created an amazing foundation for us to build upon as we establish a new economic development approach," says EDCUtah President and CEO Theresa Foxley. "This is a pivotal time for us."
Thanks to that foundation, COO Michael Flynn explains that EDCUtah is known and respected nationally by site selectors, corporate real estate executives and economic development organizations. That, coupled with a uniquely qualified staff and new data and analytics tools, provides an opportunity for EDCUtah to make three significant changes.
"Our core mission of corporate recruitment hasn't changed," he cautions, "but how we do corporate recruitment and the value proposition we offer our investors is changing. We're jumping from evolution to revolution."
In the first area of change, EDCUtah has refined its approach to its public development initiatives. Foxley says this piece of EDCUtah 3.0 is a return to the past, when the organization stood up a public development department and part of its core mission was to provide services and value to its public members. Thus, as announced last week, Max Backlund has been promoted as the new director of public development.
"Max will work to put EDCUtah's institutional knowledge into the hands of the organization's public sector investors to help them be more successful with their economic development," says Flynn. "Our public-sector members are really excited about this and we feel fortunate that EDCUtah has the footing and knowledge quotient to add this level of customer service for them."
Foxley explains that EDCUtah is doubling down on its economic development efforts, with more focus on the broader theme of product development and ensuring the member communities are ready for investment – that they are creating environments where capital investment will want to flow to.
"Our public development department enhances the value proposition and ensures our public-sector members experience a solid return on their membership investment," she continues.
In the second area of EDCUtah 3.0, Flynn says the organization has become an advanced analytics and data-science company, converging its research and marketing teams so that all marketing and business development efforts are founded in data.
"By using analytics from our research team and the tools they have developed, we can adjust our marketing approach dynamically to create even better outcomes for our Global Strategy & Outreach team and our business development efforts," he says. "Through analytics, we have become completely outcome-based. Everything we do ties back to landing projects for our business developers, winning projects or engaging our investors."
On the investor side, Foxley says EDCUtah will use its data and analytics to help investors with their product development. "We have the tools and the staff to support our public and private sector investors with some amazing data and analytics."
In the third area of EDCUtah 3.0, the organization is making a thorough re-evaluation of its membership model. In doing so, EDCUtah hopes to simplify the structure and ensure that the value proposition to investors meets their investment level. Flynn says the organization has matured to the point that the re-evaluation is especially important from a customer service perspective.
"We want to provide value that makes sense for investors and is the right fit for them," he adds.
Foxley is grateful to EDCUtah's board of trustees and board of advisors, which have played huge roles in the organization's evolution. "They have helped position us so that we can make these three pivotal changes to our economic development approach," she says. "Our boards would be the envy of any organization in the state and coming up with a clearer value proposition for them will mean even better engagement."
Through decades of work, EDCUtah has become highly successful in executing its mission to bring more companies to the state and help existing companies expand. "We will build on that success in EDCUtah 3.0," says Flynn. "We have new economic analysis and analytic tools for data collection and analysis that didn't exist in the past. Our governance model is in place, we have a highly engaged governor and state legislature and wonderful partnerships with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and our investors. It's the perfect time to execute EDCUtah 3.0."
The organization is on track for another record year. Foxley says year-to-date, EDCUtah has 24 project wins that will create 5,000 new jobs, include $600 million in capital expenditures and add 4.5 million-square-feet of space.
"We are tracking strongly and believe the EDCUtah 3.0 is the model that will make us even more effective in achieving our core mission, supporting our investors and enhancing the unparalleled partnerships we enjoy in Utah," she concludes.