Soft Skills: What makes an employee and an economic developer great?

Skills ConceptWhat makes an employee great? To find out, we studied what top career experts have to say.

Today, the (unofficial) results are in: the skills employers want the most have nothing to do with performing a specific task or function. Instead, employers across all industries covet workers with “soft skills” – namely, relationship management, creativity and leadership.

This is also true for economic development.

Here’s how these three skills can apply to economic developers:

Relationship Management

Economic developers build and manage relationships with many audiences, including prospects, existing business owners, local elected officials, regional and state economic development organizations, developers and site selection consultants.

How can economic developers successfully navigate such diverse relationships?

  • Develop trust: do what you say you will (and when you say you’ll do it)
  • Remember: you are serving the customer/client
  • Know your product: this includes your community’s and region’s strengths
  • Keep the end goals and strategic vision in mind
  • Ask questions to identify your client’s needs
  • Listen, listen, and listen!
  • Determine the best method and how often to communicate


Announcing a New Professional Learning Lab Webinar Series: Prosperity from the Ground Up

TVA_ED_TVW_TypeTVA has an affiliation with the Professional Learning Laboratory, a network of professional economic development trainers and their guests,
who offer webinars on topics specifically designed for the economic development practitioner, their staff, and supporters. The webinars are offered at a discount for individuals or groups through the TVA registration link below.

Webinar:  Prosperity from the Ground Up

Presented by:  David Kalinchuk, Economic Development Manager, Rocky View County &

                      Author of Rich for the Right Reasons – Economic Development of the Individual

Hosted by: Jami Gibson, Whittaker Associates, Inc.

Date:  Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time:  1:00 P.M. Central; 2:00 P.M. Eastern

Run Time: 90 minutes (60 minutes for presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A)

Register Now

What the Webinar Will Cover:

If you are seeking a fresh perspective on economic development, grassroots prosperity, and financial wellness for your citizens, then this webinar is for you! Our presenter, Dave Kalinchuk will “push the envelope” and explore topics that are not traditionally a part of the conventional economic development repertoire. (more…)

1,500 New Jobs for Middle Tennessee

Under Armour Inc., a global leader of performance footwear, apparel and equipment, plans to open a major new distribution and warehousing center in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, that will create 1,500 new jobs over the next five years.

The $100 million facility, the company’s third U.S. distribution center, is scheduled to open in early 2016. Under Armour COO and President of Product Kip Fulks said. “We take immense pride in partnering with Governor [Bill] Haslam, [Tennessee Department  Economic & Community Development] Commissioner [Bill] Hagerty, and the many other state and local officials who have joined our commitment to this mission and who have worked tirelessly to establish the ideal business climate in which everyone can flourish.” (more…)

Work Smarter: Online Tools to Help Economic Developers & Communities

work smarter advice in wood typeThere are many great online tools that help make your day-to-day work easier and promote your economic development organization and community.  And, what’s best—most of them are free.

Today we are sharing a few of Economic Development’s Marketing and Communications staff favorite links:

Tools to Help Tell Your Community’s Story

“Instant Press Release”

This online tool helps you create free news releases when you have an announcement to make.


Adobe’s storytelling application

Hollywood comes home when you narrate your own online, shareable video and match it with images and music.


USPS Direct-mail Postcards

Design your own advertising postcards and send them without ever licking a stamp. This link takes you to several vendors to create direct mail cards. (more…)

Getting Back to Basics: In the busy world of economic development, don’t forget your foundation

Vector credibility theme illustrationWhat’s your secret to success as an economic developer? Strip away sites and buildings, utilities and infrastructure, incentives and interstate access, and what lies at the core of your work?

The answer: Successful business relationships require trust and credibility. In rural communities and in metropolitan areas alike, classic ethical values can determine a project’s success – or failure.

This week, The Valley Works turned to two economic development professionals, TVA’s Jerome Terrell and Stephen Surles, to get insights on trust and credibility.

We give a nod to these core economic development values by offering tips on these timeless concepts.

Everything Begins with Trust

Trust – more specifically, project confidentiality – is a vital business relationship ingredient. Moreover, confidentiality goes beyond keeping a company’s name secret. It is daily demonstrating integrity via responsible, accountable, respectful and honest interactions.  (more…)

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