Communities encouraged to go global

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - What is the first advice a nationally known site location consultant gives a city, no matter its size?  "Communities, rather big or small, really need to be aware of what the global environment is dealing the economy," Don Schjeldahl, Vice President and Director with Austin Consulting, a Cleveland, Ohio-based site.

At Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation's annual meeting, business leaders learned competing in a global economy requires an understanding of the industries that make sense for the area.

A sealed deal for a biomass plant puts economic developers right on track. "The project is going to be approaching $400-million and it's going to bring in 300 construction workers and some where in the neighborhood of 50 permanent workers," Ed Pool, NEDCO chairman said.  "Construction period is going to last around 3 years. So I think everyone is going to be affected in a positive way."

Communities can change the economic horizon in other ways they must offer what industry is needing. "Having sites and buildings ready to go. Good workforce training, both at the university level and the community college, and even high school level," Schjeldahl advised.

In line with that idea is a proposed technological training center to provide bankable job skills to non-college bound students. "This kind of school would allow us to use people inside our county for those jobs," Judge Joe English, Nacogdoches County judge said.

Schjeldahl also provided constructive criticism. "You don't quite have the right branding message yet." When it does Nacogdoches will compete here at home and globally.

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