In the mix with Economix

In the mix with Economix Main Photo

4 Dec 2023


Lessons from site selectors, economic developers, and even honey bees made up an enlightening conference recently attended by the Hancock Economic Development Council’s leader.

HEDC Executive Director Randy Sorrell traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for Economix, a conference powered by Consultant Connect, a firm based in Kalamazoo, Michigan that serves economic development professionals and site consultants. The conference explored best practices, shared insights, fostered collaboration, and celebrated achievements in economic development for several days in late November.

Topics included:

  • Rural communities
  • Life science
  • Electric vehicles
  • High-performance teams
  • Trends in site selection
  • Talent attraction
  • Industry clusters
  • Economic development organization websites
  • Business retention and expansion strategies
  • Federal funding
  • Electric energy grid
  • Impact of artificial intelligence on economic development

One of the presentations that stuck out for Sorrell came from Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, a fourth-generation beekeeper and founder/CEO of Bee Downtown, which installs and maintains beehives on corporate campuses while simultaneously providing year-round employee engagement and leader development programming. With her unique and captivating storytelling ability, Bonner relayed lessons from honey bees and other parts of nature on adaptability in ever-changing environments, and how imperative trust is for an effective team hivemind.

Other takeaways from the conference included the need for local economic development organizations to control their own market intelligence, and how they can’t be in the game if they have nothing to show. This is particularly significant as requests for information and projects become more complex with companies frequently changing parameters due to skyrocketing costs.

The conference also explored regional spotlights from across the country that reinforced how important quality of life and place is for talent attraction. A session on economic development websites provided invaluable insights as HEDC prepares to launch a new one of its own.