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Consultant: LVEDC and Lehigh Valley at a Turning Point

By LVEDC Staff on July 8, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: We wrap up our series on the Blueprint for Success consultant’s report with a look at how LVEDC and Lehigh Valley could better its product – and the way it attracts business to come here, start here and grow here.

The Lehigh Valley location, innovative redevelopment programs, education foundation, and committed stakeholders are solid foundations the region can build upon to better position itself as a leading metropolitan area. But as the lead economic development marketing organization of an asset-rich region, the LVEDC is at a turning point.

Jay Garner, founder and principal of Garner Economics, shared 'Blueprint for Success' insights at the 2014 LVEDC Annual Meeting.

Jay Garner, founder and principal of Garner Economics, shared ‘Blueprint for Success’ insights at the 2014 LVEDC Annual Meeting.

While much has been accomplished in recent years to better focus and direct the organization to fulfill its mission of leading economic prosperity, it has several opportunities to refine its operations and create a more effective economic development service delivery system to better support the region as the Lehigh Valley looks to rise to the next level.

Nevertheless, perceptions of the region as comprising old industrial towns, the lack of skilled-workers, and the existence and autonomy of multiple municipalities and areas of jurisdiction may inhibit the Valley in its ability to attract high-quality companies and world-class talent.

Going forward, the Valley must take steps to be more proactive in marketing the region if it is to be successful in its business development efforts. Additionally, it should be actively engaged in efforts to mitigate challenges that affect its competitiveness as a place for business.

Through the Blueprint Strategy for the Lehigh Valley, the LVEDC can facilitate and, in some instances, lead the region in beginning this transformation. It can simultaneously catalyze and strongly encourage initiatives to strengthen the region’s business climate, while taking on strategic organizational changes to improve its economic development service delivery and set the Lehigh Valley apart from competing areas.

By taking a leadership position in reshaping the region’s business “product” and being more proactive and targeted in its marketing and business development efforts, the Valley can take bold, strategic, steps that will further evolve the region into a place that attracts quality talent and companies.

In order to create such an advantage, however, the Valley and LVEDC will need to do things differently.

Together, the region will need to take the lead in proposing state legislation to consolidate the several jurisdictions within the region’s borders, as well as restructuring the way the various entities collaborate. Mitigating challenges and working together to grow the region’s talent pipeline will be the first—and crucial—steps.

For the LVEDC, efforts to focus its marketing and attraction efforts will complement the region’s work to transform its business climate and the spaces and places where activity will occur.

With added focus and investment by all parties, the Valley can make huge strides in recapturing its prominence as a leading region for commerce and helping companies, talent, and the site location advisory community appreciate and leverage the vast transformations that have occurred—and the future opportunity the region holds.

For a complete copy of A Blueprint for Success: An Economic Development Strategy for Sustainable Growth in the Lehigh Valley, go to lehighvalley.org or contact John McGran, LVEDC’s VP of marketing, at [email protected] or (610) 266-7682.

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