Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are you a predictable, boring leader? For Google, those are good leadership traits.

Google surveys its workers about their supervisors to discover the personal qualities of their best performing managers.  Interestingly, they find that in their business “predictability” is one of the hottest traits of a good leader.  Employees at Google like the freedom to perform, within limits, and having some predictability to those limits is highly valued.

Read more about this here….

                                                                                                   Retrieved from IDone This Blog

Do you agree that a “predictable” boss is a good one?  Send us your thoughts…

-Bill Cork

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Race for Tesla: Nevada Wins. (We can blame the sun.)

In many of the economic development circles that I run around in, the discussion of who would win the new Tesla electric battery production facility was always a hot topic. At one point, the Dallas area was a contender and even the TexAmericas Center site in central Bowie County, Texas was looked at by several lobbyists and others trying to land a deal for Texas. But it’s not to be for Texas.

To learn more about the Tesla announcement read the article in the link below…but also follow some of the sub links in the article.

Many local people have asked me why we couldn't have competed for this plant.  The answer is as simple as the sun in the sky.  Or lack thereof.  The entire plant is planned to be powered by solar power and Texarkana USA is not in a competitive solar gradient.  What that simply means is that there are other places in the USA that have abundant sunshine and Texarkana USA isn't one of them.  If you look at the map below you will notice that Nevada offers a much higher concentration of solar power potential than Texas does.

This is precisely the point most often overlooked by average citizens trying to critique the efforts of economic developers. Companies ultimately are accountable to shareholders and want to maximize return on their investment in assets.  They also need the skilled labor to make it happen.  There is only so much a state can do to offer incentives and provide a world class business environment before locational advantages and things we can’t control take over.  Each business is different.  In this case, Elon Musk, may have preferred Texas, but if you are trying to build a plant that is totally powered by the sun, you have to be where the sun intensity is the highest in order to maximize one of your critical inputs to production.  That may have put the deal out of reach.  Maybe not. But part of deciding how to deploy capital is to minimize risks and the risk of the sun not shining on your roof is one big issue in this case.  Take a look at the building design…

Retrieved: Tesla Motors

So, the job of local economic developers is not to chase every possible deal.  It is our job to chase the deals where we have an obvious competitive advantage in helping a company create a sustainable low cost of production, which in turn allows them to maximize their return on investment.  That is our challenge and that is what we are working hard on.

-Bill Cork

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Millennials Want—And Why Cities Are Right to Pay Them So Much Attention

Anthony Flint writes a compelling article in The Atlantic - City Lab blog.  He argues that Millennials are…

Characterized, fairly or not, as competitive and driven, entitled and narcissistic, thoroughly technology-savvy, and more practical than ideological, they are finding their way in the world, and making the time-honored calibration of professional career and preferred place of residence.

Two public opinion polls came out in the last month suggesting the kinds of places Millennials like. Spoiler alert: it’s Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, as well as communities such as—I’m inclined to say once again, of course—Boulder and Austin. The key characteristics seem to be walkability, good schools and parks, and the availability of multiple transportation options.”

Read his whole post here….

There has been much discussion amongst the thought leaders here in Texarkana about how to attract and keep millennials in our community and remediate the demographic trough of 20 to 30 something’s.  Of course, we have bets on the fact that Texas A&M University – Texarkana will help with the attraction of more and more of this generation along with the other high quality educational institutions in our region.  But it’s pretty clear from the survey work presented in this article that this generation is looking for quality of life. 

It’s not surprising.  Unemployment rates with this demographic group are high.  They must be able to lower their personal overhead cost and many are avoiding auto purchases and looking at shared living arrangements.  This make public transit and public spaces important.  When you think about baby boomers retiring we find similar interests as they lengthen their retirement savings by slashing their personal overhead. 

If we are a community that wants to attract and retain these generations, we must reimagine certain aspects of our community and create the kind of quality of life amenities in demand by these important groups.

Something to think about…

Bill Cork

Friday, September 5, 2014

Study: Is American Entrepreneurship Growing "Less Dynamic Than Ever?"

Entrepreneurship is often touted as the fuel that fires our economy.  But this new study casts doubt on that assumption.

Here in Texarkana USA, we need to find new ways to fuel entrepreneurship to include:

·         Establishment of a small business development center that is active and thriving;
·         Development of venture and early phase start-up capital programs that connect high net worth individuals and funds with individual entrepreneurs; and
·         A university culture at Texas A&M University Texarkana and in our community colleges that encourages innovation and risk taking.

Thinking about how we create and sustain a viable culture of entrepreneurship is something we are working on at your Chamber.

America’s leadership in media and information content exported around the world is certainly one area were entrepreneurs are flourishing.  To make Texarkana USA a viable option for this kind of market, we need make sure we can access the latest in communications and broadband internet technology.

Just like the new interstate highways bring new opportunities in logistics and manufacturing, development of our information networking capability will help us grow that part of our economy.

Next week we will be hosting a meeting with leaders from the States of Arkansas and Texas to help our region begin the planning process to revolutionize our broadband network.  Subsequent meetings will involve business and institutional leaders who will help us inventory and plan for our future broadband needs.

This unseen and often taken for granted infrastructure will be key to the success of companies who need to move information globally.  Stay tuned for more updates on this vital effort.

It’s another great day at the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce….Bill Cork