Strategic Planning Projects

The City of San Antonio, Texas, Chamber of Commerce: An Assessment of the Potential for Expanding Aerospace Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Activities in the Region

This project provided a thorough assessment of San Antonio’s aerospace industry, including a detailed profile of the workforce, educational pipeline, relative ease and cost of doing business in San Antonio (including incentives) and a full peer review/benchmarking analysis of other regions with significant aerospace industry clusters. The project will culminate with a report on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Strategic Economic Development Plan for the City of Dexter, Michigan

Worked with City staff and mayor to understand occupations and commuting patterns of residents. Held a consensus-building session with city and local officials and business owners or managers. We used the information from these efforts to provide a profile of the community’s key industries and development opportunities. The HWA team prepared a SWOT analysis for the community from which specific strategies were recommended.

Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation – Sandusky County, Ohio

The HWA team was chosen to assist the Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation to help develop a strategic plan to provide a vision for a five-year plan of action to grow the county, both in population and in the number of businesses operating in the county. The HWA team conducted a multi-faceted analysis and outreach effort to help guide the creation of an economic development strategic planning document. The team deployed an online survey, conducted interviews, analyzed economic, demographic, and labor market analysis, and held a group consensus session.

From these efforts, a plan was created to guide the SCEDC as they pursue a broad strategy to grow the county and its assets, be the most business friendly county in the region, and focus on strengthening the core industries in the county. The plan provides data analysis and target sectors to help the SCEDC promote the region to companies within three industries where the county is already especially strong—agriculture processing and manufacturing, plastics, and advanced manufacturing/automotive, with a special long-term growth effort to deeply develop the agricultural industry. Further, the plan recommends the SCEDC will convene and take the lead to incubate community development efforts, then later spin them off into a separate entity, and will continue to expand “business friendly”

Detroit Region Aerotropolis – Wayne and Washtenaw Counties, Michigan

Worked collaboratively with the Executive Director, the Aerotropolis Board, Executive Committee, and local and regional stakeholders to develop and implement a long-term strategy for Aerotropolis’s economic development initiatives and programs. Particularly, HWA and worked to manage the marketing of property to global site consultants and corporate real estate professionals. The goal was to create a value proposition for undertaking development projects in the Aerotropolis Region. Completed projects include Amazon Distribution Center, Penske Cold Storage, and Mopar Aftermarket Distribution.

Tennessee Valley Authority: Assessing the Huntsville region’s business ecosystem: Making the case for attracting Auto-tech

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) contracted with the HWA team to develop a strategy to attract automotive and technology companies to the Huntsville, Alabama region. The “auto-tech” companies are those that are active in developing and manufacturing technologies to create self-driving, and connected motor vehicles. The HWA team assessed the strengths of the region and the needs of the industry sector in order to provide the Huntsville region with a roadmap for recruiting new businesses and helping current businesses grow their capabilities. To do this, the team conducted a benchmark analysis of six auto-tech cities for comparison to Huntsville, performed rigorous labor, market, and occupational needs analyses for the sector and the region.

From these analyses, we quantified Huntsville’s unique assets in labor force, knowledge base, educational institutions, and other labor-related factors. We then provided an evaluation of how these assets aligned with the developing auto-tech sector and detailed what types of skillsets are most readily sought after by the technology companies. Further, we demonstrated how Huntsville compares to auto-tech markets on a set of nine factors essential to the communities with a high concentration of technology companies.

The assets of the Huntsville region that stood out included a wealth of talented individuals currently working at NASA, in the defense industry, and at the University of Alabama-Huntsville; a collaborative culture led by industry and including the public sector and academia; strong local expertise; and a traditional manufacturing base that has made Alabama a key state in producing automotive parts and vehicles. The analysis has provided a foundation for the creation of a marketing plan aimed at recruiting new investments and enhancing business opportunities for incumbent companies.

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