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Q&A
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Official definition of economic development? answer
Where do economic development practitioners get their credentials? answer
First business location consultant? answer
Who brought economic development and site selection together? answer
When did site location assistance get started on the Web? answer
Who created the first online location data brokerage? answer
Site location consultant for Disney's first theme parks? answer

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Official definition of economic development:

Definitions sanctioned by locations seeking economic development as guides for marketing and pursuing opportunities might be considered official within their limits. However, there is no single overall definition that is deemed to be official.

A collection of definitions is maintained in About Economic Development. That resource is unique in that operative words and phrases are extracted for reference.

The collection contains top-level search results which altogether reveal the most-used descriptive words and phrases found in the plethora of economic development definitions that are available. A few definitions in the collection have catchy explanations of what economic development is about. The extractions are intended to be useful in helping you formulate a practical definition of economic development for a purpose of your own.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that influential economist and political scientist of the 20th century, Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) brought economic development into the picture with publication of The Theory of Economic Development in 1912 (source of quote). The phrase, into the picture, suggests that Schumpeter is credited with, perhaps, coining the term economic development as it relates to enterprise and economic development, especially, as a process involving the entrepreneur. Schumpeter may have set things in motion for defining enterprise and economic development but he's not credited here with contributing to an official definition of either term.

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Economic development practitioners get their credentials

through programs of associations and academia. For example, an International Economic Development Council CEcD program offers education and testing. Wikipedia has a professional certification article which mentions the IEDC/CEcD program.

Other examples are institutes. For example, the Industrial Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma/Norman (OU/EDI) was started up in 1962 and has since become an economic development institute. For more information copy the italicized phrases separately [ economic development institute / industrial development institute ] and page down to search the Web with them. Before attending institutes economic developers can obtain practitioner credentials from so called basic economic development courses. Advanced educational programs are also available.

Professional recognition based on proven experience is sometimes provided. At one time the now defunct International Development Research Council recognized resource and service providers to enterprise developers and site selectors based on achievements in the field. IDRC's highest level of recognition was that of Master Professional (example). Fieldwork recognition is pointed out here because The Network you are using is dedicated to enterprise and economic development as two combined processes.

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Felix Fantus first in facilities location work (site selection):

Felix Fantus started up a site selection / facilities location consultancy around 1920 after relocating his own furniture business. Fantus, as his consulting business came to be referred to, refined the process of as gathering information about places of interest, conducting feasibility studies, making comparative analyses, as well as dealing with area and local development representatives. In the latter case Fantus helped morph location data suppliers into industrial developers, which became economic developers in the final quarter of the 20th centruy. Fantus consultants were most likely among the first advocates for standardizing the presentation of location data.

Bidding for Economic Development: The Role of Site Location Consultants by Mafruza Khan was published in Corporate Research E-Letter No. 22, March 2002. The article makes several points about site selection. It starts out by acknowledging Fantus' role.

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Site selection starter:

The Industrial Development Research Council, an association of corporate real estate executives was organized in the early 1960s. IDRC organized an associate membership group in order to have an available network of resource and service providers.

IDRC associates initially came from development agencies, for example those representing US states, and location data suppliers for city regions. As IDRC grew towards becoming the premier organization for putting site selectors together with resource and service providers it expanded the reach of the types of associates qualified to join.

The IDRC name was later changed to International Development Research Council, a move consistent with a shift in the field of industrial development to an expanded focus on the all-encompassing economic development process. Over 20-25 years the membership grew to the point that meetings became unwieldy and opportunities for networking were reduced to the point that by the 1990s IDRC was an organization in decline.

McKinley (Mac) Conway, who introduced a magazine dedicated to the site location work and economic development in 1954, is acknowledged the founder of IDRC. He organized the initial meeting and became an early advocate for standardizing site selection data.

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PSL (Plant Site Locators) beget SSN:

Craig Throckmorton introduced Plant Site Locators online in the 1990s. He operated as an information broker by charging a fee to those who wanted to view selection criteria. PSL ceased to exist when in 1997 the National Association of Manufacturers introduced its Site Selection Network (NAM/SSN) as a membership service. Locations seeking economic development along with commercial and industrial real estate sales organizations joined SSN by paying to offer their products to NAM members. Apparently NAM/SSN also sold location data and real estate information to NAM non-members.

The above information and the transition of PSL to NAM/SSN was explained to The Network by the publisher of Plant, Sites, & Parks magazine in 1998. SSN moved from its association with NAM to become an operation of The RSH Group of Mission Viejo, CA. A principal of RSH confirmed part of this explanation of the SSN background in an interview published by California Business Minute.com, Sacramento, CA.

Economic Development Services introduced the websites of The Network online in 1997. Its approach was to put enterprise developers and site selectors directly in touch with location data suppliers rather than be in the middle as a type of broker.

The approach remains the same today. In other words, the concept for operating The Network is based on site selectors first knowing their target areas and needing to gather information from contacts within them. Site selection in that regard is distinctly different from relying on marketing from the product supplier side to drive enterprise development decision making. Reviewing the answer to the question of who uses The Network and the definition of its mission contacts adds to this information. CLICK HERE for more information about SSN.

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Location data brokering:

Marc Bailey is the self-acknowledged organizer of the first site selection data brokerage online. He he put together the American Community Network. Bailey had a brief association with Field Media of Alpharetta, GA in the late 1990s. At about the same time the owner of Field Media stated that Mac Conway was his competitor as a data broker.

Mac Conway founded an association in the 1960s which allowed him to furnished economic development data to a membership, thus making it problematic as to whether he should be credited as a true data broker. It was easier to argue in favor of Conway when his enterprise became involved with the development alliance that organized Site Selection Data Standards for the International Economic Development Council and partnered with the association as its location information data broker.

Disclaimer: Zoom Information, Inc of Waltham, MA at one time listed Marc Bailey or Roswell, GA as associated with Economic Development Services, Inc. Not true!

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Harrison (Buzz) Price (Harrison Price Company)

was recognized in 1995 by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) for his handling of hundreds of feasibility and site selection projects around the world including Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) and Disney World (Orlando, FL).

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North American Economic Development Model:

AKA, the western economic development model described by Lester Brown as a fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy. One North American model is extractable, although not specifically offered as such, from the website of Industry Canada, which is a department of the National Government.

The Mexican model is binational and tied to improving the status of low-skilled workers. The model includes efforts to break down all barriers to US trade and investment in Mexico, including the integration of the latter's workforce into that of US on the same as if all were Mexican Americans.

The US economic development model is reflected by the lobbying efforts of the International Economic Development Council and its certification program for member practitioners.

Woven through all of the above comments is the suggestion of a relationship between economic development and politics. Ted Levine, a guru of economic development marketing once observed that the great practitioners understand that the process includes politics.

Want more information about economic development models? Copy and paste the suggested italicized search terms below to the search engine.

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"economic development modeling"
"North American economic development model"
"western economic development model"
"economic development" models
political "economic development" models
"economic models"
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South Carolina State Development Board (1974 -1984):

Bob Leak succeeded Milton Folds as director of the South Carolina State Development Board in the mid-1970s. Folds had hired Robert E. (Bob) Glover from Tennessee and put him in charge of prospect development and in-state site location assistance. Glover remained in the position for 10 years throughout most of Leak's tenure.

During his last couple of years of working for Leak, Glover organized and directed South Carolina's first computerized economic development management system. From that he gained the experience and vision that allowed his to create The Network in 1996.
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W. Milton Folds become the head of the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade in 1977dashnow the Department of Economic Development (2004). Folds was an outstanding professional in the field of industrial development for many years. He developed successful working relationships with corporate leaders at the highest levels. He retired from economic development to become an senior executive with Kimberly-Clark, where he was in charge of site selection.

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Reference Materials
Resources
Dictionary / Enterprise & Economic Development Glossary Terms
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Economic Development Services, Inc. / copyrights and all rights reserved / 12/17/2012