If the plan we created hadn’t gotten buy-in – and it did – I wouldn’t have become the City’s first ED Director
and the City would have no dedicated ED function. Our Plan was wrapped around several overall themes that kept us on track: changing the conversation, doing the basics well, partnering, and executing with purpose. It defined roles and responsibilities for City staff, the Fairborn CIC and City elected officials. Mike and Brad really got us to identify and leverage our local assets, especially our transportation network.
We have industrial and residential development, a reinvested downtown, and a great relationship with our business community now.
And Fairborn has a roadmap.
I was the new Development Director
for the City of Fairborn and we had a pressing need to focus the City’s economic development efforts.
We needed to do a lot of different things; it was somewhat overwhelming. Bill Murphy from the City of Piqua suggested Mike Herrlein as a resource.
Tactically much of what we needed to do was “textbook" although much was more advanced. But the greater issue was one of buy-in: I needed a strategy and a plan that would be not just accepted but embraced by the community, and its leadership.
If the plan didn’t get buy-in, we would be right back where we started.
Mike immediately brought in Brad Schwab as a key technical advisor. Brad’s knowledge of the local area and the region helped us identify both resources and potential landmines.
I’m not sure we had ever truly recognized the scope of assets we already had within the community.
The real challenge is often not that you don’t know the answer, but that you have to work with community partners.
Mike began building a base of knowledge and support. He met with and listened to every elected official, community leader and key stakeholder who would need to sustain the plan. Mike and Brad ran focus groups of local business executives, developers and brokers, and City staff. They created understanding and trust. And they kept everyone in the loop with progress reports. That actually accelerated the process because so much is a leap of faith with your partners.
Chris Wimsatt, CEcD
Previously Director of Economic Development, City of Fairborn, Ohio;
currently VP Business Development, team volusia edc, daytona beach, florida