Title: Director of Emerging Industry/Innovation
Company: Savannah Economic Development Authority
Savannah neighborhood: Midtown
• Participation in industrial business attraction and expansion projects leading to the attraction of more than 1,000 jobs and nearly $1 billion in private investment.
• Digital product roll-out for the Savannah market while in the telecommunications industry.
• Task force participation creating Step-Up-Savannah’s Poverty Reduction Initiative and the Greater Savannah International Alliance.
• Leadership Georgia (Graduate)
• Leadership Savannah (Graduate)
• Leadership Southeast Georgia (Graduate)
• Leadership Savannah, board of directors
• Step Up Savannah, policy committee
Questions for BiS
Q: As a proven local leader, please share your vision of Savannah’s future. What growth or challenge do you foresee?
A: A 2014 challenge and opportunity will be continuing to move toward collaboration in all sectors of our economy. We have a robust and thriving established industry component, and we have to continue, as a community, the good work of putting small business, entrepreneurism and the growth of capital on parallel paths.
Q: By 2020?
A: We have to be further along in the processes of addressing workforce development challenges, targeted corridor revitalization/redevelopment, implementation of an industrial land developand/redevelopment strategy and growing our small business infrastructure.
Q: By 2030?
A: The key will be having the ability to be nimble with similar economic and social items to address but with new twists.
Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A: I understand the importance of continuing to leverage new technology for brand management and reaching new clients. A differentiating tool for me will be maintaining the ability to communicate and connect with others without technology when it makes sense. Relationships matter.
Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A: The logistics community does a phenomenal job related to moving and managing product, and the industry will continue to get busier and better. As a colleague of mine has said, the next tier could be inviting and establishing technologies that assist and lead in global supply chain management and security.
Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A: Candor in addressing challenges, nostalgia in preserving our heritage and embracing sustainability, strength in moving forward and curiosity about the future.
Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A: The Port of Savannah is poised for excellent growth with the harbor expansion.
Gulfstream started its Savannah operation in 1966 with fewer than 100 employees and now has nearly 10,000 employees. We have excellent manufacturing operations like JCB and Mitsubishi, and we hope their organizations continue to grow.
We have an opportunity to build the film industry here with infrastructure such as sound stages, funding mechanisms and studios.
We also have an opportunity related to game development, simulation and interactive entertainment because of SCAD’s success as a leader in educating students in this arena.
Lastly, we have an opportunity to be a living lab of sorts for tourism related industries to introduce new technologies.
Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A: Engineering and management degrees will be in demand as technology continues to be introduced.
Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A: Know that we are thankful for your willingness to serve in whatever capacity. Continue to listen to the people whose challenges you wish to address. Always be open to change.
Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A: I hope the community can look back at these generations that are working together and be proud of efforts and advances in poverty reduction, sustainability, cultural diversity, our global brand, capital attraction, industrial attraction, education and community redevelopment and revitalization.