Jan 23, 2012

Good advice from growth guru

Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal
Editorial Page

J. Mac Holladay, a consultant from Atlanta who’s helping to launch the Advance Now economic development initiative in Madison, is what we like to call a quote machine. A few choice offers from Holladay at last week’s community feedback session:

• On public-private partnerships: “Economic development is a team sport. There’s plenty for everybody to do.”

• On the need to engage: “Our only enemy is the status quo.”

• On why a regional strategy is crucial: “You’ve got more to sell together than you do separately.”

• On telling the Madison region’s story more effectively: “If you’ve done it, it ain’t bragging.”

Holladay engaged easily with his audience at the second of three such community events designed to formulate, adjust and eventually launch a clear strategic direction for economic development for this eight-county region.

But more important than Holladay’s one-liners is his track record of success around the country. He has helped guide similar plans in places such as Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; Richmond, Va.; and Charleston, S.C. All are thriving, appealing destinations in many regards.

If Madison and MadREP, the Chamber of Commerce offshoot that is behind the Advance Now initiative, can get some of the magic dust that Holladay and his company have been spreading around the country, we’ll all be pleased. Of course, it’s not magic at all, but a lot of hard work and focused efforts from many players, public and private.

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