Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday July 25,  2018
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Dean Barber, ED Expert, Visits Erie

This week Dean Barber, one of the nation's top economic development experts, paid a visit to Erie thanks to Emerge 2040. 

Dean Barber is the founder and principal of Barber Business Advisors in Dallas, TX.   He a nationally recognized economic development consultant who specializes in strategic planning, site readiness and site selection.  Dean is also a prominent economic development writer/blogger who is widely followed by relevant private and public sector stakeholders and decision makers.   He has an extensive background as a local and regional economic development practitioner that includes business retention & expansion as well as business recruitment and FDI.  Before economic development, Dean worked as a journalist. 

Mr. Barber spent several days in Erie, becoming familiar with the business climate and community at large. Tuesday evening the ERCGP along with Emerge 2040 and Erie Insurance hosted a presentation and open discussion for a group of business, community, and political leaders. As he began his presentation, he stated, 'I'm just proud to be here'.

Some takeaways from Dean's presentation:

  • ERI needs a facelift. This is the first impression of visiting site selectors
  • Know your story; the narrative is what we remember
  • Be bold
  • Business is a competition
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses
  • Target marketing is based on strengths
  • Best strategy for Economic Development is retention and expansion; take care of what you already have
  • Listening to employers is so important
  • We are in the early stages of Digital Age Industry
  • Entrepreneurial support is needed
  • Small business doesn't always stay "small"
  • Business expansion is risky and expensive, but you have to go after it
  • Plans need action
  • Tell your story on social media
  • There is grit here
  • Erie is turning the corner but still has a long way to go
  • Economic Development is always a team sport. 'You can't win together if you don't work together' Nick Saban
  • Community College to teach vocational skills is needed
  • Don't be the frog

Mr. Barber's visit will result in a series of blog articles that will profile Erie to his large universe of followers in the site selection, real estate, and economic developement fields.

  • economic development
  • erie pa
  • growth

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