Request for Information: Fourth Economy Seeking Information for Current Client’s RFP Directory

Posted ago by Fourth Economy

Burgh-BridgeFourth Economy Consulting announces posting of a Request for Information for a current client project. Submitting firms will be included in a one-stop-shop resource directory of best-in-class urban-regional + economic development planning firms. This directory provides client with stocked resource for direct RFP solicitation to leading firms.

Fourth Economy Consulting (FEC) is soliciting company information from urban-regional and economic development planning firms to be used in directory resource for a current client. FEC is presently working with a Midwestern client on the research and developmental stages of a large, multiphase statewide initiative. The client’s ambitious project has requested FEC to perform a preliminary expert study of successful regional economic and quality of life transformations in metro areas throughout the US.

The study will be part of a program toolkit to inform and equip state and local officials for long-term, coordinated urban-regional planning aimed at wholesale redevelopment and revitalization. Part of the toolkit, the directory will offer stakeholders an extensive listing of “best-in-class” urban-regional and economic development planning firms compiled through an interactive RFI targeting information relevant to the client’s goals and intended campaign. The directory will provide our client and their partners with convenient access to a stocked resource for direct RFP solicitation to leading firms for their eventual projects. This stands in contrast to the more common, general RFP circulation by reducing demands on the client’s time and improving the visibility of their requests.

This interactive RFI is entirely web-based, and will seek general and targeted company background and project experience information. A unique feature to this request is the targeted information requests, which focus on precise details that offer the client a concise profile of prospective firms with information that is directed squarely at their interests. Your firm will also benefit from extensive opportunities to share specific project examples and corresponding documentation that illustrates your firm’s qualifications and expertise.


The process of submitting your information and questionnaire responses is entirely online. We have built a web-based form for you to enter the information at the URL below. Please do not mail any materials to our location, but make use of file attachment features below each Section in the “Supporting Documents” file upload area.

  1. Review and download the PDF of the RFI. The PDF version of the RFI can be found here.
  2. Download the .DOC of the RFI and use the space provided within to develop the language that will be submitted in the web-form. The .DOC version of the RFI can be found here.
  3. Begin the application on our SurveyGizmo web-form by clicking the following link, or copying the URL below to the address bar in your web browser: RFI for Best-in-Class Planning Firm Profile & Practice Information You will be able to save your progress and return to it later. URL:


The following timeline includes all dates for the lifecycle of this RFI.

September 2, 2014 RFI published and released
September 9, 2014 Questions for FEC submitted
September 11, 2014 Answers to questions posted on FEC website
September 25, 2014 RFI responses due no later than 11:59pm EST
September 29, 2014 Notice of inclusion sent to submitting firms


Deadline: All information should be submitted by no later than 11:59 PM EST on 9/25/2014.

Q&A: Questions about this RFI should be provided by emailed to Luke Taylor, Supply the following information in the subject line: “RE: Planning Firm Resource Questions – [FIRM NAME and P.O.C]”


On the Move

Posted ago by Jerry Paytas


Fourth Economy is on the move in more ways than one.  One of the big moves is our new space at 1501 Preble Avenue on Pittsburgh’s North Side.  While this move is only 2.5 miles in distance, it represents a major milestone in our company’s growth as we move from our startup space into an expansion space.  We are also on the move around the country, working in Providence, RI; Fargo, ND; Detroit, MI; and Buffalo, NY, in addition to working intensely in our home base of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Higher Eds use Economic Impact Studies for what?!

Posted ago by Susan Fisher

University-Economic-Impact-StudyThe answer is Higher Eds use economic and social impact studies for a lot of different reasons. Underlying is the desire to showcase their good work and demonstrate the value their work creates. And they want to communicate that value in terms that will resonate with internal and external audiences.  Audiences may include: public officials, policy makers, community residents, investors, and Higher Ed faculty, staff, students and alumni. Economic and social impact studies help Higher Eds compete for state funding, maintain their tax-exempt status, help defend against criticism and help increase fund-raising.

FEC Projects Impact for One-of-a-Kind Trail Plan: Pike2Bike

Posted ago by Steve McKnight

Pike2BikeThere is a potential big deal brewing in the world of trails. The FEC team always challenges our clients to identify their unique value proposition.  What sets your community or region apart from all others?  A major destination trail envisioned for an abandoned portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike would do just that for Bedford and Fulton Counties. 

Blurring Boundaries: Creating Regional Competitiveness Through Collaboration

Posted ago by ChrystalAlexander


An Article About the 4th Annual Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group Community Development Summit

Collaboration is more popular than ever.  It is also more necessary than ever as our most pressing problems continue to increase in complexity. Our problems are challenging and they spill over geographical boundaries and jurisdictional political lines that are sometimes arbitrarily or historically created. The people that form the economies of our region often don’t understand those boundaries in the same way that economic developers and community organizers do and that increases the need for collaboration across boundaries.

Pittsburgh is a community that talks a lot about collaboration. There are several organizations focused on increasing collaborative efforts and using those collaborations to increase the competitiveness of this region. Even at the highest levels of the cities leadership—the Mayor’s office—collaboration has become a central focus. This year, at the 4th Annual PCRG Summit, Fourth Economy moderated a panel of four leaders that offered practical advice to participants on how to make partnerships more productive.

Fourth Economy Helps Launch North Dakota-Minnesota Regional Action Plan

Posted ago by Steve McKnight

Valley-Prosperity-Partnership6 Key Priorities Shape the Economic Development Agenda

Regional industry, especially homegrown industry, must be an integral stakeholder in the development of strong and effective regional economic development partnerships. It cannot be said enough. This was emphasized once again in Fourth Economy’s recent engagement with our friends from the Red River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota.

By far the Valley Prosperity Partnership (VPP) is one of the strongest industry-led efforts we have seen, both in terms of time and money.  In addition to industry, it included two of the region’s regional economic development organizations and, oh yeah, two states.  For those who have worked in regional efforts like this, you know it is no small task.

Spurred by the encouragement and investment from Forum Communications, Inc. business owner Bill Marcil, the VPP is comprised of private sector business leaders, economic developers, and college and university presidents who are collaborating and leveraging resources to develop a unified, vision for high value and sustained economic growth for all Red River Valley residents. The Red River Valley region encompasses 13 counties Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota including the cities of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Fargo and Moorhead.

This month, Fourth Economy joined the VPP Steering Committee in releasing an action-oriented economic development strategy identifying six focus areas for high value and sustained economic growth in the Red River Valley.

“Our region needs talented people, great places, sensible public policies, good ideas, and a diverse economic base. The Valley is in a position of prosperity. This action plan isn’t a response to an economic downturn; rather, it is one that seeks to build on our strengths.” said Tammy Miller, committee co-chair and CEO of Border States Electric.

“The VPP is unique for a couple of reasons. First, we believe this is the first time a Valley-wide group of this nature has formed to affect economic development. Second, the VPP is, by design, comprised of businesses, our research universities, and technical colleges. Third, our input and impact will be felt on both sides of the river,” Miller added.

Fourth Economy, in partnership with the VPP, undertook an extensive outreach effort to gather input and collect background information.  Hundreds of interviews and focus groups with regional stakeholders along with hours of research culminated in the plan that aims to improve the economy up and down the Red River Valley region.

The strategic plan identifies six key areas for action:

  • Workforce attraction, development and retention
  • Water security and management for the Valley
  • University research capacity and relevancy
  • Entrepreneurial activity and output
  • Infrastructure development and capital improvements
  • Perceptions of the Valley

Each priority area includes detailed strategies and actions that build on the Valley’s unique assets. For instance, the Valley has industry and research strengths that are built upon in the Research and Entrepreneurship priorities, including unmanned systems (aerial and ground-based), big data (home to one of the largest Microsoft operations outside of California) and precision agriculture (crop management through unmanned and IT-based systems). In the Workforce priority, strategies and actions build upon the Valley’s unique cultural, environmental, and physical assets to target potential boomerangs and veterans.

“With each of these priorities we hope to inspire business leaders and residents throughout the Valley to engage with the VPP to turn this vision into action,” said Steve Burian VPP co-chair and CEO of AE2S.  “We have worked to balance ambitious goals and vision with a realistic action plan to sustain prosperity in the Valley,” Burian added.

Fourth Economy has been fortunate to work on several economic development collaboratives in recent years.  While some focus on a particular regional strength or market opportunity, the two key factors common to their success are: 1) Industry leadership (both time and money); and 2) Initiating the planning effort during times of economic strength.  It is always most effective to work to sustain and manage existing growth with a thriving industry base than trying to rebuild when times are tough. With its commitment to regionalism, action-oriented thinking and deep industry engagement, the VPP offers a model for diverse cross-border engagement.

Congratulations to our friends in the Valley Prosperity Partnership on these key steps forward.  We will be in touch with them going forward and hope to share their experience on a national scale.

For more information visit:

Made in [insert state name]

Posted ago by Ali Mabel

Made-in-insert-state-hereDuring our projects across the United States this past year, Fourth Economy has come across a number of initiatives for supporting local manufacturers and boosting the local economy. One approach gaining popularity is the state-based “Made In” branding and associated database of the state’s manufacturing businesses.

Pennsylvania Life Science Industry – A Quick Check on the Numbers

Posted ago by Rich Overmoyer

LifeSciencesTwo year’s ago this month the Fourth Economy team completed an assignment for the Pennsylvania Life Science Leadership Advisory Council. At a news event in May 2012 we participated in the release of “Life Sciences Leadership for the Next Decade: Nurturing a Life Science Ecosystem for Job Creation and Economic Development in Pennsylvania”. This report highlighted five steps and related actions that the life science community could undertake to maintain the economic impact of the life science industry in the state.

ChemCeption incubator to launch April 2014

Posted ago by Fourth Economy

140303-Chemception-LaunchThe Fourth Economy team has been assisting the Chemical Alliance Zone with re-establishing a chemistry-focused business incubator in the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston, WV. The incubator will be a key part of the West Virginia, regional, and national innovation economy. It will assist local and national chemistry-related entrepreneurs by facilitating access to strategic lab facilities, specialized commercialization expertise, and other regional resources.

Makers, Starters, and Youngsters – The Evolution of Pittsburgh’s Workforce Development

Posted ago by ChrystalAlexander

Burgh-BridgeAs chairperson of the Workforce Development, Jobs, and Human Capital Subcommittee of the Economic Development Transition Team assembled by our new Mayor, Bill Peduto, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the high-level leaders driving workforce development in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. While our short time frame prevented me from interviewing all the persons of interest, executives at UPMC, the Allegheny Conference, TechShop, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, the Workforce Investment Board, the Youth Policy Council, the Small Business Development Center at Pitt, the New App for Making it in America, and others were able to make time to meet with members of our sub-committee on extremely short notice. Beyond the executive level input we received from the community, our subcommittee was highly qualified to make recommendations to the administration on the merit of our own qualifications. We were made up of small business owners, consultants, labor union executives, student researchers, and native Pittsburghers. From my experiences interacting with this collection of experts, three segments of workforce development opportunities emerged that are dominating the market today and into Pittsburgh’s future.