TVA joins effort to boost economy

TVA joins effort to boost economy

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011 9:46 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Obion County is gaining a new partner to work on local economic development — the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Since last month’s announcement by Goodyear that the company will be shutting down its Union City plant, there has been a major mobilization of efforts focused on redefining the local economy.
Goodyear’s departure will mean the immediate loss of 1,900 jobs and an economic impact that will reach well into the millions of dollars for the county.
The Goodyear issue has drawn considerable attention on the local, state and national levels.
A two-hour meeting was held Friday at the Obion County Public Library, hosted by TVA economic development specialist Kristi Brown. More than a dozen local officials attended what was termed, “Economic Development 101.”
The results of Friday’s meeting, along with TVA resources, will be used to develop “a plan of action from TVA Economic Development to assist Obion County and the state of Tennessee Economic and Community Development in response to Goodyear’s plan to close its Union City plant.”
Heidi Smith, general manager of TVA Economic Development, is scheduled to present TVA’s plan at a meeting set for 10 a.m. March 29 at the local library.
Friday’s meeting was described as the first initiative of TVA’s plan.
Ms. Brown used  Power-Point to supplement her presentation, which focused on the basic fundamentals of economic development.
She identified four basic approaches to economic development — business recruitment, business retention and expansion, business creation and entrepreneurial development and tourism and cultural development.
Those at the session were given a detailed overview of all the elements that go into economic development.
“Economic development has changed dramatically in the last five years,” Ms. Brown told the group. “It’s totally different.”
She explained that the emergence of non-traditional economies, new technology, market turbulence and environmental issues, energy costs and political instability have all changed the way economic development is managed.
Ms. Brown estimated there are more than 10,000 economic development agencies across the country competing for a few hundred economic development projects each year.
“Your website is critical … it’s key,” she said in reference to economic development.
Friday’s session concluded with those in attendance stating what lessons from the program they would take from the meeting and try to implement in their work environment.
Published in The Messenger 3.21.11

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