Over the past year, I have been asked often, "Are y'all bringing in any new jobs yet?" I always have to reply, "We are working hard to get them here though you may not be able to see the results yet!" When new jobs are not readily evident, the conclusion could be drawn that the Chamber and the Development Authority are not doing their jobs properly. May I take a minute to clarify?
I am beginning to think that there are many similarities between economic development and speed dating; though please let me assure you that I have not had experience in speed dating. From what I understand, in speed dating, all interested parties put on their best clothes, showcase their best features, and make themselves as attractive as possible for a quick preliminary meeting.
They do this throughout the evening with many potential suitors. At the end of the evening, they are then able to choose several suitors that they would like to get to know better based on the impression they gained from the first interview.
As they develop the relationship a bit more, either suitor may discover that there are characteristics about the other person that makes the match less compatible, and maybe the relationship goes no further. In some cases, however, they begin dating seriously and entertain the hope of a bright future together. Sometimes the dating will end with a diamond ring on the finger and a trip down the aisle; however, a commitment is not always guaranteed to follow even after a wonderful relationship.
Economic development happens the same way. Often companies will be looking at many different communities to "settle down with." The company and the prospective community both put their best feet forward, and sometimes they progress toward a promising relationship. No matter how promising the relationship seems, situations can arise that make the match incompatible, or other communities may just look better to the prospect.
Does the fact that a company does not settle in a community mean that the Chamber or the Development Authority did not do its job? No! We are still working diligently to make ourselves as attractive as possible to new businesses. We are continually putting Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County's assets out there. We just have to keep at it until a company considers us to be its "Perfect Match."
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