MORRIS – A little luck helps, but winning at economic development requires significant behind the scenes strategy, work and planning.
The Grundy Economic Development Council is hosting its second Economic Development Bootcamp on April 25. The bootcamp provides insight on how Grundy County and its communities can win at the very competitive world of business attraction and retention. Multiple speakers will be on hand to discuss retail and industrial development while representatives from local utilities will address site readiness.
The new “retail reality” will be presented by David Cunningham, managing partner at Net3 Real Estate. Cunningham has nearly 20 years of real estate development experience. Working in retail development in large and small markets, he and his firm developed the Buffalo Wild Wings and O’Reilly Auto Parts in Morris.
The retail market is rapidly changing with the expansion of online shopping. Cunningham will address what that means for communities, identify new opportunities and discuss the future retail market.
Tracey Hyatt Bosman, from nationally recognized site-selection firm Biggins Lacy Shapiro and Company, will share the insights she has learned in the past 20 years of finding sites for manufacturing, logistics and data centers, among other projects.
A frequent speaker at national conferences, Bosman brings a her perspective on economic development from her experience working for both the public and private sectors. She also has first-hand experience evaluating communities from all over the nation, and can share what works.
Often forgotten until crunch time, site utilities can be a game changer in having a site chosen for new investment. Representatives from AT&T, ComEd and Nicor will present valuable information about site readiness.
Utilities have programs available for cost sharing, new products, and technical expertise to help communities succeed in economic development. Robust fiber, power and natural gas can provide a competitive advantage with prospects. The economic development departments at the local utilities are important partners for Grundy County and its communities.
Grundy County competes against neighboring counties, states and nations to attract new investment. The Economic Development Bootcamp provides elected officials, staff and business leaders an opportunity to learn firsthand from the decision makers that influence new capital and projects.
The Bootcamp is from 5 to 8 p.m. April 25, at the Morris Country Club. Reservations are required. For information or to reserve a seat, contact the GEDC at 815-942-0163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Nancy E. Norton is the president and CEO of the Grundy Economic Development Council.