Engaging the Community through a New Structure
Last month, the Office of Economic Vitality (OEV) officially kicked off four new leadership committees: the Competitive Projects Cabinet (CPC), the Economic Vitality Leadership Council (EVLC), the Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee (EVCC), and the Minority, Women, & Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) Citizen’s Advisory Committee. This committee advisory structure is a new approach to stimulating economic vitality in Tallahassee – Leon County. The new committees – which represent a broad spectrum of community and private industry leaders, members of the state’s targeted industries, and other key sectors identified in the Economic Development Strategic Plan – along with the Blueprint Citizens Advisory Committee, are instrumental in the championing and guiding the steps needed to accomplish economic development goals in Tallahassee – Leon County.
Committee and partner collaboration is paramount to achieving economic vitality in Tallahassee – Leon County. Committee members help advance the community as a hub for economic competitiveness by contributing their time, expertise, and guidance. Effectively, these committee members are champions who help tell the story of Tallahassee-Leon County’s economic vitality in their respective business worlds. The four new committees also amplify the voice of local businesses, stakeholder groups, and citizens, while broadening OEV’s reach across multiple sectors of the community.
Engaging local business and community leaders through committee membership maximizes OEV’s effectiveness by leveraging the members’ collective expertise. Citizen oversight and direction also ensures transparency, accountability, and the cross-cutting of organizational boundaries to produce the most comprehensive, holistic insight, while eliminating potential conflicts in the implementation of the strategic plan.
OEV Committees: Roles, Membership, and Structure
Economic Vitality Leadership Council
The seven-member Economic Vitality Leadership Council serves a vital, ongoing function of assessing Tallahassee-Leon County’s ability to compete for new business investment, existing industry growth and economic expansion, as well as entrepreneurial and small business growth, through non-traditional activities and the delivery of a competitive workforce. The members, appointed by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board of Directors (BPIA), include leaders from Tallahassee-Leon County’s businesses, public entities and non-profit organizations that represent each of the strategic plan’s six initiative areas: business formation; technology and commercialization; business retention and expansion; business recruitment; talent development; tourism and the creative economy, as well as marketing.
Members of the Economic Vitality Leadership Council serve as the executive committee of the Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee. They work closely with OEV leadership to continually evaluate, provide technical expertise, and track Tallahassee-Leon County’s progress toward implementation of the strategic plan. They also review and recommend OEV actions and resolutions to bring before the BPIA. For instance, as the Council identifies needs or areas of opportunity for increased competitiveness, it can recommend that a task force, under the leadership of staff, be formed from EVLC membership to address such needs. Members of the Economic Vitality Leadership Council do not consider or approve funding for projects or programs.
At the first EVLC meeting on July 20, the Council selected Steve Evans, a retired IBM executive, as the EVLC chair, and Kim Moore, Vice President of Workforce Development at Tallahassee Community College, as vice chair.
Competitive Projects Cabinet
At the helm of the new advisory structure is the Competitive Projects Cabinet (CPC), a three-member committee responsible for considering competitive economic development projects generated by OEV or brought to the organization via other economic development channels. Some of the key factors in the CPC’s identification of competitive projects include return on investment for the community, fit, and a review of due diligence performed prior to considering recommended financial or non-financial incentives.
Members of this committee include the Tallahassee City Manager, Leon County Administrator, and one business leader – the EVLC chair – who will serve for one year with an option to serve a second term. The limited size and membership of the CPC is designed to facilitate flexibility and speed to decision-making throughout the competitive project process. The CPC reviews competitive economic development projects on an as-needed basis and is required, by law, to sign non-disclosure agreements. Cabinet members cannot submit or vote on projects that would impact them, their business or their organization.
Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee
The Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee (EVCC), a cross section of 36 business and economic ecosystem leaders, serves as the committee structure through which community competitiveness issues may be addressed. Guided by the strategic plan, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board of Directors (BPIA)-appointed membership includes representatives from higher education, local business and entrepreneur groups, the state’s targeted industries, and other economic stakeholders. The EVCC meets quarterly, encourages knowledge and collaboration across all sectors, and serves on task forces (as needed) to identify and address opportunities to improve Tallahassee-Leon County’s ability to compete and build the economy. Members of this committee do not consider or approve funding for projects or programs.
The Committee, which will meet for the first time on August 3, will be chaired by and work closely with the Economic Vitality Leadership Council to advise programs, plans and initiatives recommended by OEV and the EVLC that will increase community competitiveness. Each business/organization leader brings a unique perspective which, when combined, will help to inform and frame competitiveness initiatives and activities.
The Minority, Women, and Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) explores strategies for engaging and empowering MWSBEs to meet goals identified in the Economic Development Strategic Plan. This citizen-led committee provides critical input, oversight, and transparency toward OEV’s MWSBE goal attainment, and will form subcommittees and a task force to determine milestones and deliverables associated with the Tallahassee-Leon County Disparity Study.
Blueprint Citizens Advisory Committee
The Blueprint Citizens Advisory Committee reviews work plans, financial audits, and performance audits and to make recommendations to the Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency. This committee serves an important role in citizen accountability of all Blueprint operations and projects, including OEV. The members represent a broad array of stakeholder groups, and provide general oversight and accountability. The Blueprint CAC reports directly to the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board as an agenda reviewing body.