Kent County Economic Development Office Director James Waddington lays out his New Year's resolution.
The two primary Economic Development projects that Kent County Levy Court focused on in 2012 were the Kent County Sports Complex (near Frederica) and the Air Cargo Ramp at the end of Horse Pond Road. Any resolutions that I would make for 2013 would have to include attending the groundbreaking for both of these projects.
Beyond that I have set a goal for myself to develop a broad economic development strategy for Kent County that would build on our existing resources and assets (our "strengths").
For example we have 87 manufacturing establishments in Kent County that contribute over $209 million in annual payroll into the Kent County economy. That payroll supports 4,780 jobs averaging $44,000 per year. Thirteen of those establishments are in the food manufacturing category and fifteen are manufacturing fabricated metal products.
A solid economic development strategy should categorically inventory those establishments, conduct a current SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis on the food manufacturing and fabricated metal products categories, and develop a marketing plan to persuade similar manufacturing establishments in the site selection/relocation market to choose Kent County for their future home.
However, a marketing plan alone isn't enough to attract new business. In today's climate of rapid innovation it is important to develop a culture that supports technological advancement, emerging processes, and workforce readiness training.
My New Years resolution for 2013 is to define a county wide vision of economic development that will recognize the importance of emerging innovation and technology in food processing and metal fabrication. That in turn will assist us in attracting new businesses to this region.