Author Archive

WV on my mind

Happy August! Hard to believe that we’re halfway through summer. Here in Maine, we hold onto each day, as summer is so fleeting. But I did leave for a few days to present at the Development District Association of Appalachia’s professional development seminar in Charleston, WV. This meeting of economic developers in Appalachia was organized […]

What Entrepreneurs Need and How to Deliver It

I’m working on a series of case studies for a client about organizations that are a catalyst or gateway or intermediary for entrepreneurs, resources and programs. What’s striking is how unique each is, dependent upon the circumstances in each place. It seems to matter what partners are already there and involved in entrepreneurship, what funding […]

Free 3-part Video Series on Innovation-Based Economic Development

In the almost thirty years that I’ve been involved with innovation-based economic development, the field has continually gotten broader and more sophisticated. In the beginning, we focused on growing research and development in our states. Other organizations had the lead in supporting entrepreneurs. Few organizations thought about industry clusters, culture or workforce. Capital was always […]

All Others Bring Data

I’m a self-professed data geek and I love the saying, “In God We Trust. All Others Bring Data!” For most of our projects, we rely on US Government statistics like those from the Census Bureau, Dept of Labor and Bureau of Economic Analysis. We augment those data with structured interviews, a method borrowed from case […]

Innovation Isn’t Only for High-tech Businesses

In Maine, the legislature is currently debating slowing or eliminating an increase in the minimum wage enacted last year after a citizen initiative passed. Small businesses came to Augusta to argue that they couldn’t raise their prices, and so the increase in their labor costs was too high. For small businesses who sell products based […]

Don’t Throw Tech Babies Out with Amazon

It’s not surprising that Amazon’s recent announcement that they are abandoning their plans to add 25,000 jobs in New York after a year-long and much anticipated competition for HQ2 has reopened the debate about economic development incentives. The move came soon after Virginia’s General Assembly had approved the incentives offered to Amazon for their new […]

Are Rural Economies Terminal?

In December, the New York Times published an article about rural America that painted a bleak picture of declining populations, declining employment, increasing opioid addiction and death. The article suggested that the decline is inevitable and perhaps irreversible. “This is the inescapable reality of agglomeration, one of the most powerful forces shaping the American economy […]

Nostalgia for the “Old Days” is Misplaced

A recent op-ed written by a local economic developer about the rural economy in Maine generated a lot of comments showing clearly the live wire he touched. Leaving aside the usual name-calling and insults that unfortunately inhabit most comment sections, several points of view emerged. One was the idea that if people don’t find opportunity […]

Erick James Innovation Award

Yesterday, at the 6th annual Innovation Engineering Conference, I was touched to be included in a group of IE pioneers to be awarded the Erick James Innovation Award. Erick was a truly amazing innovator who passed away a number of years ago after a horrific car accident. Erick was one of those guys who was […]

Celebrating Success

Amazing! The Portland Press Herald, our local newspaper, actually had an editorial this week that said that innovation and entrepreneurship was the key to economic growth in Maine! Now this isn’t a radical statement at all. What’s amazing is to hear this nuanced statement from the media! The PPH was writing about a local company, […]