Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.
A transportation hub connecting our unique city to the expanse of the state and the world, the Scottsdale Airport seemed to me a fitting location to host Economic Development Day. Watching planes take-off and land, surrounded by hundreds of local businesses, drove home the idea that progress in our thriving city is ever-present.
Councilman-elect David Smith opened the day with his views of progress in our city. To some members of the community, progress means moving forward while essentially staying the same, not losing the essence of the city they have grown with and loved. As the day progressed, we were exposed to differing perspectives from the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale’s Economic Development Department, and others in public and private enterprise. We heard from multiple panels that discussed what current demographics look like in our city compared to other areas of the state, what is being done to attract business to the area and whom they look to attract, and what development looks like from each of these unique perspectives.
Throughout the course of the day it was clear the amount of pride and passion that exists within the citizens of this city. There certainly are various ideas and visions that exist about how our city will, and should, look in the near and distant future.
A great example of a unique perspective came from Dr. Dennis Hoffman, Director of L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s Department of Economics. He shared with us facts and figures in a way that had us laughing and beginning to think differently about the numbers before us. While he had us laughing, our afternoon group exercise had us tackling issues associated with the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force. My group specifically looked at issues related to attracting young, well-educated and well-compensated professionals to our city and how to keep them here long term. We discussed transportation development as a key feature of this movement, as well as housing and ways to create a more urban downtown district while maintaining a unique identity that belongs solely to Scottsdale.
The information shared by our extremely knowledgeable lineup of presenters was bar none. I would also like to thank APS and CAP on behalf of the entire class for their sponsorship of this class day and for contributing to the wealth of information that was presented via their representatives who joined us!