National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top Ten Large-Sized Counties

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Fourth Economy Consulting announces the latest release of its national community index, listing top counties from across the nation. The Fourth Economy Index highlights those communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth within the fourth economy.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The latest edition of the Fourth Economy Community Index was announced today, recognizing the top ten large-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities—with populations between 150,000 and 499,999—were selected because they represent regions that are poised to achieve sustainable economic growth while attracting people and investment.


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Energy and Beyond: Fargo-Moorhead Powers On

Fargo-EnergyThe Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota Metro Statistical Area (MSA) has received numerous accolades in recent years. Among them #2 overall among mid-sized metros by Area Development Leading Locations, #2 in Forbes Best Small Places for Business and Careers, #5 Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index and #3 Fastest Growing Cities by NerdWallet.com. Continue reading “Energy and Beyond: Fargo-Moorhead Powers On”

Pittsburgh’s Next Opportunity

Pittsburghs-Next-OpportunityComeback City. Best Place to Live. Best to Visit…It’s a good feeling when your hometown receives so much attention. Living in Pittsburgh inspires a sense of pride and as I travel around the country, I am always happy to tell people about the highlights of our region’s transformation. That travel though has also opened my eyes to the fact that we are not doing enough to retain those titles. There are issues in our community, our economy and our civic and social infrastructure that must be addressed if we want to wear the badge of pride into the next decade. Continue reading “Pittsburgh’s Next Opportunity”

It’s all About that Base: Baseline Data, Energy Planning, & Economic Development

P32-Energy-BaselineIt’s no secret that the best strategic plans are based on qualitative and quantitative analysis, using this information to determine the best allocation of resources to pursue growth and change.  Too often, strategic planning processes “jump right in” and do not take the time to fully understand and quantify current and expected conditions. Change cannot be measured without first analyzing existing conditions to establish a baseline dataset from which change can be measured. This approach also applies to regional energy planning. As regions consider energy in relation to economic development planning, there are direct correlations to the impact energy has on people, place, and ideas. Establishing a regional energy baseline must be the first step before tactical planning can occur.

Additionally, energy planning is an often-ignored element in developing regional economic development strategies. Energy is a universal business itself, however it also impacts every single industry and business within a region. Energy directly impacts the health of people across a region, and is a critical element to regional success. How can economic development planning occur without energy planning? Continue reading “It’s all About that Base: Baseline Data, Energy Planning, & Economic Development”

New Team Member Spotlight: Jason Bernard

Bernard-WelcomeFourth Economy Consulting is pleased to introduce the newest member of our team: Jason Bernard, our Director, Emerging Partnerships.

Jason brings to the table over a decade of experience as a strategic planner, facilitator and business developer. He spent that time leading strategic planning retreats, focus groups and workshops for clients in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. At Fourth Economy, he will focus his energy on advancing the Water Economy Network and assisting our team with the facilitation and management of client projects.

Jason lives in the Brighton Heights section of Pittsburgh’s North Side with his wife and their three month old baby girl. In what little free time he has left, he enjoys taking his dog to the dog park, shooting pool and irrationally obsessing over his favorite sports teams. An occasional actor, Jason has been seen on a number of local stages, commercials, and the silver screen.

The Best of the Top of the Greatest

Photo-Rustiq-TemplateFor economic and community developers, a new “best of” and “top places” ranking season is underway.  While it may not be as popular as basketball’s March Madness, there is no doubt that economic and community performance rankings attract a lot of attention. They are of great interest to the media, elected officials, the business community and residents at-large.

But rankings are only one part of a very complex economic performance story. Compounding their use and reliability is the fact that not all adopt the most rigorous, relevant or transparent methods.  And positive or negative scores do not impact all business investment decision-making in the same way.
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