What is up with the EDC?

By:  Diane Benjamin

EDC is the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.  They get your tax money but are not subject to FOIA.  Bloomington cut their subsidy because of accountability.

The President/CEO, Patrick Hoban, spoke at the joint the meeting of Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County held September 30, 2019.

On this video at 5:40 Patrick says they have a staff of three people.  I don’t know if he meant three people working on economic development projects or three total.

On the EDC website only two staff people are listed – Patrick and an Administrative Assistant.  https://www.bnbiz.org/about/staff/

Patrick said at this meeting he had only been on the job for 2 months.

Any other employees the EDC used to have are gone.  They are advertising for two new people:

https://www.bnbiz.org/news/job-posting-business-retention-and-expansion-manager/

Two New EDC Job Postings: BRE Manager and Project Manager

Business Retention and Expansion Manager: Reporting to the CEO, the Business Retention and Expansion Manager advances the mission of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, its Board, Executive Committee, and CEO by building relationships with local businesses, presenting economic development resources for expansion and reporting data from business interviews.

Project Manager: Reporting to the CEO, the Project Manager advances the mission of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, its Board, Executive Committee, and CEO by managing Economic Development projects and initiatives.

Since the EDC gets tax money, we should know why this complete turnover of staff happened.  Were the previous employees not the “right fit”?  Maybe the EDC isn’t the “right fit”?

Is BN Advantage dead?  It looks like only a website.  Think local government will ever figure out attempting to control progress/economic development means there is less of it?

 

 

10 thoughts on “What is up with the EDC?

  1. Thanks to our fantastic economy brought to us by our awesome President Trump, it is going to be very hard to find people who “fit’ into the EDC. Yes, even spineless shills are in short supply in this economy.

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      1. Yes, Illinois and specifically Illinois below I-80 is in an economic decline in a booming national economy. We are the California of the Midwest.

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  2. I’d like to be optimistic, but let’s face it, no matter who takes this position and how motivated they are, at the end of the day the information and data don’t matter to the pinhead ideologue gatekeepers that run the Bloomington-Normal clique. The EDC spends an inordinate amount of time working with and aiming to satisfy State Farm, Country Financial, local government and quasi-government groups that are stuck in the past and have no vision for the future. So what we get are buzzwords, committees, and reverence to brick-and-mortar retail shops and restaurants. The EDC needs to interview companies that have left BN or are planning to leave BN. They might not be able to win these companies back, but they would certainly learn something. As well, they’d be wise to identify accredited investors and those engaged in funding startup ventures. They won’t do this, of course, because they don’t understand it and are frightened of change. I’ll go back to my question for the EDC and local business leadership: When was the last time someone started a scalable tech company in Bloomington-Normal? They don’t know, but I bet they can tell you the last restaurant or boutique shop that opened.

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    1. The first sentence of your comment pretty much puts it all in perspective. People would be shocked at some of the “name” companies that aggressively sought BN or McLean County for large regional operations. Just when the final papers were about to be drawn up, an convenient snafu would arise breaking the deal. The two I know of were compliments of local and state politicians and a large employer that didn’t want to lose employees to said new company.

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      1. Spot on MPeabody. Seems you know more than me. I heard something similar about a certain financial services company using its influence to keep out competitors or perceived competitors who would most likely take their best-and-brightest. This company enjoys its control over the local economy and has been known to complain that its influence is not as strong in other, larger city halls.

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    2. I bet the words “scale-able tech company” are not part of any conversations anywhere at the EDC or Bloomington Disadvantage or the Chamber of Little Commerce or the city governments. A 21st Century Economy is being created all around the country while the crony capitalists here and our shortsighted out-of-touch leadership continues to double down of what worked in 1994. Just look at former Rocket Scientist and full time establishment shill, Justin Boyd in the Pantagraph giving us his solution to help businesses start up in Bloomington. He thinks the city should create a full time position to help businesses with city zoning laws and regulatory paperwork. “Central Illinois Voices: Bloomington needs to rethink business policies” https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/central-illinois-voices-bloomington-needs-to-rethink-business-policies/article_fa5618aa-7657-5325-aa20-1852b3a34f3c.html?fbclid=IwAR0Pw6H3RuKmdvugK_UduqAh5OtqW5pdbP1ZIshEn8qSlYQM8MRVSWagGzs

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  3. The effectiveness of any organization can usually be traced to its leadership, in this case the board of directors. In the past and currently, the EDC Board is comprised of second tier and lower “community leaders” that have little to no idea about how to promote business retention, expansion or recruitment. Advocating for lower business taxes and less local regulation, offering education on how to expand markets and promoting the area regionally and nationally through various sources are just a few ways to get the ball rolling. That said, all would be mute due to everyone knowing Illinois and BN have people running it that are anti-free market. The EDC will never be effective until local presidents and CEOs make up its board structure. Its goals and policies have never been consistent and change constantly whomever the board chair is with those policies reflecting the chairs personal agendas.

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    1. It’s a chicken and egg situation. As a business owner, formerly based in BN, I thought about getting involved with the EDC. However, I felt it would be a waste of time, energy, and money given the gatekeepers and undue influence of certain government and business players. Might as well talk to the wall. If I had some assurances that several other like-minded folks would get involved and aim for a Board seat by my side, I might have taken a shot. I’ve heard there were several business owners past and present involved with the EDC that contemplated a “coup” of the organization. I’m out of the loop now. Wonder what this new administration will bring.

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