On Thursday, April 10, the Roosevelt Institute hosted three panelists for a discussion on the future of the United States’ defense industry and its impacts on the American economy and foreign policy. 617 more words
What came first, $1 billion in state-based backing or the brains behind a competitive strategy? That's the question that comes to mind with a recent blog post by Tom Kucharski, president and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, "The Buffalo Billion Momentum." Kucharski asserts the billion-dollar investment from Albany is both a validation of its existing strategy and a single component of the region's multifaceted inventory of assets. In my hometown of Rochester, politicians and economic development officials alike bemoan what they perceive as unfair share of monies from Albany to New York's municipalities; Buffalo is a regular target of such comparisons. Over the past several years, Rochester has placed significant bets on the rehabilitation and renovation of Eastman Business Park to serve as an engine of growth and attraction for businesses, jobs and investors. This massive single property, coupled with intensive workforce alignment programs and industry-specific targeting, comprised Rochester's future-facing strategy. It could be argued that Rochester overemphasized efforts on a single asset whereas Buffalo developed a comprehensive and integrated regional strategy. As I reviewed Kucharski's Buffalo-based proof points, however, I couldn't help but ask, "What does Buffalo have that Rochester doesn't?" Workforce development programs? Check. Entrepreneurial opportunities? Check. Public-private partnerships? Check. Central proximity to major markets? Check. Outstanding entertainment, arts and culture, colleges and universities? Check. $1 billion? Nope. These conditions make it difficult not to take seriously Rochester's concerns over unfair allocations of state-based dollars. Regardless, fiscal, social and economic pressures make it very difficult to define what makes for a successful regional strategy; past benchmarks rarely pass muster when looking ahead to new realities. Lastly, while Kucharski champions strategy, his post ultimately ends up selling prospective businesses on the millions of the dollars made possible by Albany.