Coming together to market Cobb to world
by Shan Cooper, Kim Menefee, and Dan Styf
January 24, 2013 12:00 AM | 3602 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shan Cooper
Shan Cooper
Kim Menefee
Kim Menefee
Dan Styf
Dan Styf
In North Carolina, there’s the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a collaboration of more than 100 public and private organizations, including economic development agencies across the region, dedicated to keeping the 13-county Research Triangle Region economically competitive.

And, in northern Virginia, there’s the Northern Virginia Economic Coalition, formed in 1991 to coordinate economic development activities and policies and communicate consistently with business and industrial prospects interested in the region. Its 19 members include area economic development agencies, private companies, public agencies and universities.

An Internet search for “economic development partnerships” reveals numerous communities around the country that have created alliances among local chambers, development authorities, cities and counties, and local businesses and institutions.

Global competition is tougher than ever to attract manufacturers, corporate headquarters, data centers and customer care centers looking for available buildings and sites, ample utilities, business-friendly environments, a trained and reliable workforce, top-notch educational systems and outstanding quality of life.

That’s why cities, counties, development authorities, chambers of commerce and local businesses around the country — and the world — are partnering to improve and market their communities.

And that’s what the partnership called Cobb’s Competitive EDGE is about: Making Cobb’s communities better, working together to market Cobb — and recruiting, retaining and growing jobs.

Cobb EDGE is focused on helping local businesses expand, recruiting new businesses, protecting Dobbins Air Reserve Base, creating a more educated workforce and revitalizing our communities through “Seven Seeds” for success — all focused on stimulating the local and regional economies.

The Seven Seeds are: retaining and expanding existing business; encouraging entrepreneurship and aiding small business; marketing Cobb County and projecting a positive image; retaining and recruiting talent; investing in transportation infrastructure and traffic relief; supporting and coordinating redevelopment efforts; and cultivating communities and a “sense of place.”

Independent analysis shows that, over the next five years, if fully implemented, EDGE will create 7,500 new jobs above and beyond normal growth trends. These jobs will pump more than $640 million in annual economic impact into the region, increase personal disposable income by more than $512 million, and increase consumer spending by $445 million.

More than 2,000 Cobb citizens, community and business leaders provided input into the development of Cobb EDGE. The strategy also identifies the most important existing and most promising emerging economic development targets for Cobb’s leaders to pursue. Growth opportunities include health care services, travel and tourism, and bioscience. Core clusters include aerospace and advanced equipment manufacturing, information technology and software, professional and business services, and wholesale trade.

Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, notes that EDGE will support his department’s efforts to market Georgia around the world. “It’s encouraging to see local communities take actions to be as competitive as possible,” he says. “With Cobb’s EDGE strategy and its resources supporting the state’s efforts, we are confident Cobb will significantly strengthen its ability to compete with top-ranked communities for a range of industries.”

Cobb County has been successful for many years. We continue to offer excellent schools, quality of life, and efficient and effective government. Yet, the “great recession” swept 36,000 jobs from our county. We are facing competitors who have joined forces locally to make community improvements and market themselves aggressively.

Through Cobb’s Competitive EDGE, our cities, county, development authorities, and chamber are coming together to answer the challenge: To make Cobb County better — and market our communities to the world.

Shan Cooper, Kim Menefee and Dan Styf serve as EDGE co-chairs for the Cobb Chamber. Cooper is a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. vice president and general manager of the company’s Marietta facility; Menefee is WellStar Health System’s senior vice president of Public & Government Affairs, and Styf is vice president, regional and marketing strategy for Kaiser Permanente.
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