Regional Economic Development Goes Global

International-ArrivalsThe summer of 2015 has been an exciting one for Fourth Economy. In recent weeks, the team has been spreading the word of regional economic development beyond our typical footprint, meeting with international dignitaries from across the pond.

On June 23rd, Fourth Economy teamed with GlobalPittsburgh to host mayors from two Italian cities, as part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The project, designed to explore the relationships between local, state and national governments in the United States, was a natural fit for the Fourth Economy team due to its focus on local and regional economic development and job creation efforts. FEC’s Ali Mabel and Jason Bernard met with Marco Consoli Magnano San Lio, Deputy Mayor of Catania (Sicily), and Federico Pizzarotti, Mayor of Parma, along with their interpreter and a volunteer from Global Pittsburgh. Ali and Jason shared Fourth Economy’s vision and approach, using a number of recent and ongoing client engagements to highlight ingredients for successful regional economic development, including a bold vision, support from a broad civic infrastructure, a non-partisan regional approach, a dual focus on industry growth and quality of place, and action-oriented accountability. The FEC team engaged the mayors in a discussion about the challenges their cities and regions face, exploring the ways in which they compare and contrast to challenges faced in the U.S. The guests were particularly interested in methods for overcoming legacy provincialism and competition through focused collaboration.

On July 27th, Fourth Economy was given the opportunity to meet with a diverse delegation of Eurasians, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration to make a presentation for the Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program. SABIT’s Regional Economic Development: SME program brought delegates from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine to Pittsburgh, to learn about diversified economic development strategies, industry trends and best practices, as well as to build relationships with American companies. A Fourth Economy team consisting of Rich Overmoyer, Ali Mabel, Sierra Laventure-Volz and Jason Bernard spoke to the group of twenty economic development professionals, giving them an overview of the history of the United State’s economic drivers through the years, trends in regional economic development, and the Fourth Economy Index. The team also walked the delegation through descriptions of recent projects, highlighting what FEC observes to be the major trends in regional economic development, including entrepreneurship, investment in talent, university involvement and strong long-term partnerships. Rich fielded a number of questions with the help of an interpreter, focusing mainly on government’s role in economic development. As the presentation concluded, FEC accepted business cards and small gifts from a number of the delegates.

Regional approaches to economic development are always influenced by many location-specific factors, but overarching tactics used and the benefits achieved can be nearly universal. If you’d like to learn more about Fourth Economy’s recent projects or approach to regional economic development, feel free to reach out to Jason Bernard at jason.bernard@fourtheconomy.com.