LA Class of 2024 Economic Development Day Recap

Class Updates, Leading Now,

Leadership Augusta's Economic Development Day, held on January 11th, served as a pivotal platform for the class to gain firsthand insights into the economic engines that drive our community. Through differing activities of panel discussions, site visits, and a mock role simulation, the class was exposed to the challenges and opportunities present in our local economy. This immersive experience not only broadened our understanding of the intricate dynamics of economic development but also emphasizedthe critical role of visionary leadership in fostering growth and innovation. 

We started the day at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce where we heard from an Economic Development Ecosystem Panel comprised of Matt Forshee, Cal Wray, Margaret Woodard, and Sue Parr. Before we separated into our different groups, Matt gave an oversight regarding what economic development truly is and challenged us to ponder on how we are involved in the economic development of our community.

Once we split into groups, the first half ventured by van to the Augusta Corporate Park to view the growth and businesses that are currently in construction there. Whereas the second group began their Project Simulation Activity. We paused for lunch and heard from Jennifer Bowen regarding the Economic Impact on the city of Augusta. After lunch the groups switched and completed their respective site visits and simulation activity. For the project simulation activity, we were given roles prior to the class day and detailed stats of our simulation city to study and bring along as we participated in the simulation. This activity allowed us to focus in on what companies are looking for as they are potentially trying to locate their next location for their business, and the difficult task our economic development representatives are presented with to make the best possible decision for our community.

Later during the day, we completed the DDA Showcase and toured the Augustan and other newly renovated apartment styled buildings in the downtown area. A brief reception followed at Tacocat after.

By engaging with key stakeholders and learning from successful economic initiatives, we were inspired to think creatively and act decisively. The day's activities underscored the importance of collaboration, strategic planning, and community involvement in achieving sustainable economic progress. As leaders, we emergedfrom the experience equipped with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary to contribute more effectively to our community's economic vitality, driving positive change and prosperity for all.

We would like to sincerely thank our Economic Development Day Chairs: Cal Wray, Margaret Woodard, and Matt Forshee. And we are looking forward to our next day together, Government Day!