Econ Dev Show Podcast - Economic Development-logo

Econ Dev Show Podcast - Economic Development

Business & Economics Podcasts

We explore the strategies, ideas, and insights that are driving economic development forward into the future. You'll hear new insights from passionate ED's about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from attraction and retention experts about how to apply actionable strategies inside your EDO. We'll help take your organization, your community, and your career to the next level.


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We explore the strategies, ideas, and insights that are driving economic development forward into the future. You'll hear new insights from passionate ED's about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from attraction and retention experts about how to apply actionable strategies inside your EDO. We'll help take your organization, your community, and your career to the next level.






109: Recruiting the Best Economic Developers with Anthony Michelic

Anthony Michelic, President and CEO of The Pace Group executive recruiting firm, joins Dane on the the show in this, the first in-person episode the Econ Dev Show, joins the show to discuss how his firm works, trends in the economic development and chamber executive job market, advice for job seekers and career developers in the industry, changes he has seen since the pandemic, and the importance of properly aligning incentives between candidates, hiring organizations, and recruiters. Topics covered include: building relationships in the industry, personality and culture fit versus credentials, being open and specific with recruiters about ideal opportunities, developing broad knowledge as a generalist, adopting a global perspective, the evolving role of economic developers, increased workplace flexibility trends, and focusing on fit and seizing the right opportunities. Anthony provides an insightful recruiter's perspective on the economic development job market and practical tips for career success. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Anthony Michelic.


108: Seeding Entrepreneurial Ecosystems With Beth Zimmer

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Dane welcome Beth Zimmer, Program Manager with the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building Leadership Project. Beth takes us on a journey through her five-year endeavor to cultivate a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pennsylvania. From deep-diving into cultural assessments to executing awareness campaigns, her comprehensive approach sought to uplift the state's entrepreneurial spirit. Beth delves into the intricate components that make up an entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as mentorship programs, networking events, and targeted funding initiatives. She underscores the importance of these elements in supporting both nascent and established entrepreneurs. However, it's not all smooth sailing; Beth shares candid insights into how shifting political landscapes led to an abrupt halt to the program, offering lessons on the fragility of such initiatives in the face of political headwinds. The episode wraps up with a thoughtful discussion on the imperative for economic developers to champion inclusive entrepreneurship. According to Beth, this is as crucial as traditional business retention efforts and requires conscientious planning and action. Tune in for a comprehensive look at the highs and lows of ecosystem building, and walk away with actionable insights on how to foster entrepreneurial spirit in your community. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Beth Zimmer.


107: Meet Joe Collins: The First Subscriber to the Econ Dev Show

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Joe Collins, economic development director for Norwood, MA, shares how his dual role for the town and municipal electric utility gives him an advantage in supporting local businesses. He discusses relationship building with groups like the chamber, how he sources ideas from podcasts and newsletters, and tools he uses like to find contact information. Joe also learns he was the very first subscriber to Dane's newsletter. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Joe Collins.


106: The First Month in the ED Director's Chair with Jamie Beasley

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Jamie Beasley talks with Dane Carlson about leaving law and virtual assistance to pursue a masters in economic development, the challenges of finding an entry-level job with her advanced degree, and her first month leading a rural chamber of commerce in Oklahoma. She provides tips on organization and discusses the potential for virtual assistants in economic development. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Jamie Beasley.


105: Fusing Memes, AI, and Economic Development in Georgia With Ben McDaniel

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Ben McDaniel, the director for the Barrow Brazelton Joint Economic Development Authority in Georgia, shares how he uses memes and AI tools like ChatGPT to market his community in creative ways. McDaniel says he leans into his authentic self on platforms like LinkedIn, making funny or interesting memes that get noticed by site selectors and project managers. He also uses ChatGPT to help with common economic development tasks like crafting RFI responses and offer letters. McDaniel believes AI will transform the field and is already introducing it to his 10-year-old daughter. Overall, the episode explores how economic developers big and small can tap into new technologies and creative marketing to share their community's story. McDaniel provides an interesting case study in embracing innovation while staying true to your roots. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Ben Nelson.


104: Nurturing the Next Generation: Dr. Chad Miller's Vision for Economic Development's Future

Delve into the multifaceted world of economic development with Dane Carlson as he engages in an enlightening conversation with Dr. Chad Miller, the Graduate Coordinator for the Economic Development Master's program at the University of Southern Mississippi. In this episode, Miller paints a vivid picture of the ever-evolving landscape of economic development, tracing its roots from basic infrastructural necessities in developing nations to the data-driven approaches prevalent in developed countries like the US, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. As they navigate the delicate interplay between the art and science of the profession, Miller underscores the significance of hands-on, technical skills that the program imbues its students with, preparing them for real-world challenges in the dynamic realm of economic development. In an era where reshoring trends are gaining momentum and the focus is gradually shifting towards near-shoring to regions like Mexico and Central America, Miller provides a fresh perspective, highlighting the pressing need for diversity and the potential pivot from attracting big conglomerates to holistic community development. With an increasing emphasis on tech skills, building robust professional networks, and a rekindled focus on community development basics, the episode offers a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Furthermore, Miller's emphasis on collaboration between universities and industry practitioners paints a promising picture for the future, bridging the gap between academic prowess and practical expertise. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just embarking on your journey in economic development, this episode promises a wealth of knowledge, insights, and actionable advice. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Dr. Chad Miller.


103: Zen and the Art of Rural Economic Development with Sean Adkins

Sean Adkins has over a decade of economic development experience across multiple East Coast states. He currently serves as Town Manager of St. Albans, Vermont, where he uses his econ dev background to help the small town. Adkins shares insights into the differences between robust economic development support in Virginia versus the more isolated, self-reliant approach in Vermont. One of his most surprising projects was leading development of a childcare facility in rural Virginia, despite not having kids himself. The intensive childcare facility regulations and community resistance he encountered shows the breadth of challenges econ dev professionals take on. Adkins stresses public servants genuinely try to serve local needs, though projects often require compromise. He also discusses his favorite book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and the life philosophy behind its metaphors. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Sean Adkins.


102: The Intersection of Podcasting and Economic Development with Jennifer Olson

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, host Dane Carlson sits down with Jennifer Olson, Director of Business Development for the city of Marion, Illinois, discussing the impact of her podcast "Small Town, Big Business" and delving into the economic development and revitalization efforts in her town. They discuss the challenges and rewards of running a successful podcast, the importance of small businesses in rural communities, and the significance of tourism in Marion. The episode begins with an insightful discussion about the "Small Town, Big Business" podcast, co-hosted by Jennifer Olson. Exploring the triumphs and tribulations of small businesses in rural areas, the podcast serves as a platform to inspire others towards entrepreneurship. Jennifer talks about the importance of consistency in releasing episodes, the impact of the podcast's storytelling on weaving deeper connections between local businesses and the community, and the often underestimated potency of mentorship in entrepreneurial success. Diving deeper, Dane and Jennifer touch on Marion's strategic position as a hub for industries like manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and retail. Notwithstanding its relatively small population, Marion sees its size nearly doubled every day due to incoming commuters. With an upcoming jet service connecting the city to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, they articulate on the fresh wave of opportunities this development would bring. The dialogue then traverses to the extensive tourism potential of Marion, its resilient history symbolically termed "Little Eygpt," and the enduring relevance of attractions like the Shawnee National Forest and a developed wine trail. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Jennifer Olson.


101: Entrepreneurs are Transforming Economic Development with Courtney Zaugg

In this riveting episode of the Econ Dev Show Podcast, host Dane Carlson chats with Courtney Zaugg, an industry expert in entrepreneurship and economic development. The two kick off their conversation with an exploration into the unique mindset of entrepreneurship, particularly the necessity of adaptability and the acceptance of failure. As they delve further, the discussion uncovers the limitations and inaccessibility of traditional venture capital for the majority of startups. Courtney offers insightful solutions, emphasizing the role of local banks and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in helping startups become bankable. The conversation also takes a turn towards economic development, where Courtney expresses optimism about the industry's evolution and advocates for systemic change, particularly in distressed and rural communities. She further discusses potential partnerships between philanthropy, economic development, and entrepreneurship, introducing 'impact funds' as an innovative funding vehicle. Courtney insists on the importance of creating a well-structured entrepreneurial ecosystem and suggests practical steps communities can take to foster this development. The episode concludes with a discussion on the evolving landscape of higher education, and a reflection on Courtney's journey in pushing for systemic change. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Courtney Zaugg.


100: Topophilia in Sacramento with Cameron Law

In this episode, Dane Carlson interviews Cameron Law, the executive director of the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Sacramento. Cameron delves into the center's mission to support entrepreneurs and drive economic development in the region. He provides valuable insights into the various industries thriving in Sacramento, including food and agriculture, life sciences, and clean technology. As a regional resource, the Carlsen Center offers programs, workshops, and mentorship opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. Cameron discusses his day-to-day activities, which involve one-on-one consulting, partnership building, and running cohort programs. He shares his personal journey and the deep-rooted passion he has for making Sacramento a premier hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The concept of "Topophilia" or love of place is explored is also explored, emphasizing the intentional building of businesses and creating opportunities within the community. Listeners gain access to valuable resources such as recommended books, organizations, and certifications related to entrepreneurship and ecosystem building. Cameron encourages engagement and offers his support to those interested in connecting and driving entrepreneurship in their own communities. Takeaways: Love of place, or "Topophilia," is a powerful driver for entrepreneurs who choose to build businesses in their communities. Sacramento is experiencing growth in industries such as food and agriculture, life sciences, and clean technology. The Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship serves as a regional resource, supporting entrepreneurs through programs, workshops, and mentorship. Cameron Law emphasizes the importance of intentional community building and creating opportunities within the region. *Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! * Special Guest: Cameron Law.


99: Unraveling the Jones Act with Colin Grabow

Join Dane as he dives deep into the intricacies of the Jones Act with guest Colin Grabow, a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. In this episode, we discuss the requirements and implications of the Jones Act, and how it affects the cost and efficiency of shipping within the United States. Colin provides an in-depth analysis of the Act's effects on economic development, with a particular focus on its impacts on the coastal regions of Texas. We also explore potential paths forward and solutions to mitigate the negative effects of the Act on the domestic economy. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Colin Grabow.


98: Pawns, Kings, and Rooks: Economic Development with Karl Heck

In today's episode of the Econ Dev Show Podcast, Dane unpacks the dynamic puzzle of industrial growth and community development in the charming realm of Franklin, Virginia, known for its beautiful blend of agricultural roots and emerging industries. It's an intriguing tale that unfolds with our esteemed guest, Karl Heck, a man who knows a thing or two about economic development since he's the President and CEO of the Franklin Southampton Economic Development. And surprise - Karl is also quite fond of chess! So, legions of listeners, prepare yourselves for a journey where economic strategies might just be delivered with a side of knight-to-e5 checkmate. Here's a spoiler - it's more fun than getting cornered by your own bishop in a chess game! Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Karl Heck.


97: A Deep Dive into a Local Business Incubator with Lina Rugova

In this episode, Dane sparks an engaging conversation with Lina Rugova, the founder, and president of Emerge and Rise, a nonprofit business incubator in San Antonio, Texas. Lina provides an insider's look into the role and importance of business incubators for budding entrepreneurs and the support she provides to startups to not just survive, but thrive. Following a compelling discussion on the incubator's unique approach to promoting entrepreneurship, the episode also explores the challenges that new entrepreneurs face while stepping into the business world, the dire need for partnerships and collaboration within cities, and the heartwarming success stories of Lina's program. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Lina Rugova.


96: Chambers of Commerce: From Relevant to Essential

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Dane Carlson discusses the book "From Relevant to Essential: Five Key Insights for Chambers of Commerce" by Casey Steinbach. It addresses the tension between serving individual businesses (the "me" members) and focusing on supporting the community as a whole (the "we" members). Carlson appreciates how the author recognizes that there are different types of members in a chamber of commerce: those who join for direct benefits and those who support the community's overall development. He appreciates Steinbach's call for a more community-oriented focus among chambers, as well as her insight into the conflicts that arise from trying to provide services to both types of members. He highly recommends the book for individuals who work within chambers of commerce or who seek to understand their evolving roles and challenges. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps!


95: AI in Economic Development

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, host Dane Carlson shares his experiences using the AI tool ChatGPT for economic development tasks. Built for interacting with OpenAI's models, the chatbot's capacity to understand and generate human-like text has made it a radically transformative tool. Dane talks about various applications for AI technology in economic development and compares it to other automation tools often used in economic development offices. Dane discusses how ChatGPT can be harnessed for a range of tasks, including blog post generation, social media marketing, writing emails, summarizing texts in different styles, and analysis tasks, all without requiring any programming skills. Additionally, Dane has created numerous videos on AI-based workflows designed to support professionals in economic development. To access them, join Econ Dev Pro ( Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps!


94: Main Street Makeover: How CO.STARTERS Trains for Economic Revival with Jose Alfaro

In this episode, Dane has an in-depth conversation with Jose Alfaro, CEO of CO.STARTERS, a dynamic entrepreneurial accelerator program designed to equip creative entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and support to turn their passion into a profitable business. Jose shared the inspiring journey of CO.STARTERS, from its beginnings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, inspired by a desire to revitalize the city and attract major corporations like Volkswagen, to its current global reach spanning over 210 cities across 24 states and multiple countries. The program, which started under a non-profit initiative, went private in 2016, broadening its horizons and allowing it to have a significant impact on a global scale. Throughout the episode, Jose emphasized the unique approach of the CO.STARTERS program. Instead of adopting a traditional teaching methodology, CO.STARTERS is built around facilitation, with the program directors guiding participants towards their customers to validate their business ideas. This innovative approach has resulted in not only robust business formation but also organic collaborations and mergers among the participants. Key to the CO.STARTERS model is their focus on building community. Participants are grouped into cohorts of 10 to 16 people, fostering an environment of peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and cooperation. Jose shared fascinating anecdotes of how this peer interaction has led to the formation of successful businesses and collaborations. The conversation also delved into the curriculum of the program, which has been designed to simplify complex business concepts and make them accessible to creative entrepreneurs who might not have a traditional business background. Beyond the curriculum, the program also serves as a front door to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting graduates to a variety of resources, from the SBA to different accelerators and pitch competitions. Jose Alfaro's passion for supporting creative entrepreneurs was evident throughout the conversation. If you're interested in the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, or if you're a part of a community that could benefit from a program like CO.STARTERS, this episode is not to be missed. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Jose Alfaro.


93: Alia Abbas Spills the Tea on the Importance of Small Businesses in Community Development

In this Econ Dev Show podcast episode, Dane Carlson interviews Alia Abbas, former Economic Development Officer for the City of Toronto, who shares her insights on business continuity, the importance of small businesses in community development, and the concept of "employment lands" in Canada. Alia emphasizes the crucial role of small and family-owned businesses as advocates and champions for their communities, and the growing trend towards sustainability and greener economies in economic development. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guest: Alia Abbas.


92: The Human Centered Approach to Economic Development with Larry Holt

In this podcast episode, Dane Carlson talks with Larry Holt, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation's Vice President of Economic & Workforce Development. Holt shares his insights on the human-centered approach to economic development. According to Holt, economic development is all about serving the communities and providing them with opportunities that will improve their lives. He also discusses the challenges and opportunities of economic development in California, a state with a massive population boom after World War II that has led to significant housing supply issues. He acknowledges that the birthplace of the environmental movement and taxation policies have also contributed to restrictions on new housing growth, making it difficult to keep working-class families in their homes. However, he remains optimistic about the state's concerted effort to drive new housing supply and incentivize more housing around public transportation, which will help meet California's climate goals. Despite the challenges, Holt believes that economic development is more relevant than ever, and economic developers have a crucial role to play in driving the future of their communities. He notes that they must be larger voices for pro-housing policies, advocate for resources for workforce systems, and have a broader view of economic development beyond just attracting businesses. In closing, Holt expresses his excitement about the future of Los Angeles and California's economic development and the role he and his colleagues play in shaping their communities' future. Special Guest: Larry Holt.


91: Ask Dane #1: Starship Edition

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Ask Dane. Every week, you ask, and I answer. Sometimes the questions only need short answers, and other-times they require tons of research or contemplation. This issue is a little of both. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps!


90: Gen Z Marketing in Plain English with Kathleen McQuaid Holdridge and Jessica Packard

Kathleen McQuaid Holdridge, Jessica Packard, and Dane Carlson delve deep into the world of Generation Z, exploring their unique characteristics, values, and preferences that are shaping today's marketing landscape. Our expert guests discuss strategies for successfully marketing to this powerful demographic, including embracing authenticity, leveraging multiple platforms, and focusing on visual storytelling. They also share real-life examples of effective marketing campaigns within economic development, shedding light on how these initiatives can attract and retain businesses, entrepreneurs, and talent. Tune in and discover the keys to unlocking the immense potential of Generation Z, the next wave of consumers, workforce, and innovators. Like this show? Please leave us a review here ( — even one sentence helps! Special Guests: Jessica Packard and Kathleen McQuaid Holdridge.