The Chamber and its economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp, have hired national economic development strategists RKG Associates, Inc. to assist in the creation of a new economic development plan for the region. RKG Associates is an economic planning and real estate consultancy with offices in Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Durham, NH. The RKG consulting team for the project will also include FXM Associates, a consulting firm based in Massachusetts that specializes in real estate and transportation, and Hodge Economic Consulting, an economic development consulting firm also based in Massachusetts.
The RKG led team was chosen after a thorough selection process that included a formal request for proposals from economic development firms, evaluation of the responses received, interviews with finalists, and evaluation of past projects and experience. The process was led by a selection committee, comprised of twelve business and community leaders.
The purpose of this effort is to develop a multi-faceted and implementable plan to guide the Chamber’s regional economic development efforts over the next 10 to 15 years, providing for sustainable growth. In the 1990s, the Chamber led a similar community and business-based planning effort that proved effective in driving economic development efforts over a twenty-year period and led to the creation of many of the region’s economic assets. Recognizing that much has changed since that first plan was developed and the major impact it had in advancing the local economy, the Chamber felt that the time was right to undergo this process again and develop a new plan for the future.
“In order to gain a competitive edge, we believe that it is time to reflect on the assets we have in North Central Massachusetts and how we can build on them,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We believe it’s important to go through this process to develop a shared vision for the future of the region and a roadmap to ultimately achieve success.”
Echoing Nascimento’s sentiments, RKG Vice President and Principal, Eric Halvorsen stated, “North Central Massachusetts is at an important point in its history. It needs to set a new economic path forward that capitalizes on its regional competitive advantages but does so in a way that leverages new economic development opportunities and outcomes.”
The scope of the project includes a data driven assessment of the region’s competitiveness as a place to live, work, visit and do business; identification and analysis of comparable regions locally or nationally for benchmarking purposes; review and analysis of economic development resources and capacity within North Central Massachusetts; outreach and engagement with community, businesses and other stakeholders to gather input to help shape the plan; and the preparation of an economic development strategy and implementation plan. The project is expected to take 6 to 12 months.
This development of this comprehensive regional economic development plan is part of the Chamber’s continuing efforts to advance the economy of North Central Massachusetts. For more information on the project, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600.