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LVEDC Strategic Plan: “Knowing Thyself and Seeing the Horizon”

By Colin McEvoy on February 8, 2022

This is the fifth of a series of six stories highlighting the 2021-2024 LVEDC Strategic Plan. Each article will highlight a different aspect of the report in detail. This story will be updated with links to the other articles as they are released. See also our overview story and stories about the initiatives “Telling Our Story,” “Targeted Recruitment,” and “Talent Strategies Development.”

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is committed to being the leading source of economic data and market intelligence on the Lehigh Valley economy, its assets, and resources.

This research and data are essential for understanding of the Lehigh Valley economy and its competitive position while staying ahead of new developments and economic and social change driving economic opportunities and challenges.

That’s why “Knowing Thyself and Seeing the Horizon” is one of the five major initiatives of LVEDC’s new three-year strategic plan.

The cover of the 2021-2024 LVEDC Strategic Plan.

“Without self-examination and understanding there is no way to develop a smart plan for the future,” Cunningham said. “That’s why it’s critical to know thyself. We have always placed an emphasis on understanding what’s happening in the Lehigh Valley and the broader economy.”

The strategic plan states that LVEDC will provide research and data to increase understanding of the Lehigh Valley economy and its competitive position while staying ahead of new developments and economic and social change driving economic opportunities and challenges.

Gathering and understanding this information has always been important but is especially crucial for navigating the economic challenges and opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cunningham said.

“You can’t be strategic unless you fully understand where you are and where the economy and your competitors are,” Cunningham said. “So, we will continue to invest in understanding the Lehigh Valley economy and, most importantly, in sharing that information.”

Nicole Radzievich Mertz, LVEDC Director of Market Research & Communications, is responsible for much of LVEDC’s data analysis. She reviews public and private-sector data sources to provide a more complete picture of the Lehigh Valley’s economy, as well as a wide variety of sources to inform research reports and other channels for telling the Lehigh Valley’s story.

LVEDC identifies and tracks key demographic data points to tell the stories of the Lehigh Valley economy, such as population growth, components of growth, prosperity, employment patterns, and job recovery data, according to George Lewis, LVEDC Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Research.

This data is used for such purposes as informing economic marketing efforts, highlighting commercial real estate activity through Commercial Real Estate Reports, developing strategies to attract and develop regional talent, and supporting the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley marketing initiative.

“Our analysis of economic data produces information that expands our knowledge, and increased knowledge brings a deeper understanding of our region’s opportunities and challenges,” Lewis said. “LVEDC has always stressed the importance of knowing thyself, and developing that understanding helps lead to insight that informs our strategies.”

LVEDC also uses its research and data to tell the Lehigh Valley’s economic story. This occurs through multiple channels, including stories on LVEDC’s blog and weekly e-newsletter, the organization’s social media channels, and major publications like the LVEDC Annual Report.

LVEDC was recently reaccredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest membership association serving economic and community development professionals in the world. The organization specifically acknowledged and complemented LVEDC’s data and research efforts in its re-accreditation.

IEDC specifically noted that many stakeholders it interviewed representing real estate and development, existing industries, partners, and educational organizations had indicated they depend upon and frequently use the data and materials the LVEDC produces.

“Lehigh Valley has spent the resources to make sure they have relevant research so that they make the best decisions for their community,” the IEDC wrote. “Their research is presented in a clear and succinct way demonstrating their position in the larger economy, the make-up of their workforce, the community assets in the region, and the specific towns of Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton.”

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