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Michael Langley, CEO of
Civic Caucus, 8301
Creekside Circle #920, Bloomington, MN 55437
of the discussion
Verne Johnson (chair), David Broden, Janis Clay, Paul Gilje, Jim Hetland,
Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie, Dan Loritz, Tim McDonald, Ted Mondale, Wayne
Popham (phone), Clarence Shallbetter, Fred Zimmerman (phone)
Summary of discussion:
Michael Langley, CEO of Greater MSP, a new economic development
organization serving the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, describes that
organization's vision and strategy for promoting the region globally.
Langley discusses the region's assets and challenges, and describes five
"levers" that can be employed to advance the region, and five areas for
Welcome and introductions
Michael Langley is the founding CEO of Greater MSP, a Minneapolis Saint
Paul regional economic development partnership. Greater MSP's goal is to
lead global promotion, regional strategy, and project management to
stimulate economic growth and job creation in the region.
has led regional economic development organizations in
and Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming an economic development practitioner
he worked in leadership positions for Westinghouse/CBS subsidiaries. He is
a graduate of the Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School, and served
as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on
surveillance and intelligence missions. He retired in 2000 at the rank of
Captain. Langley has been awarded a doctorate in Humanities by American
Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.
from Greater MSP may be found online at the following address:http://tinyurl.com/6tyjmns
- During the course of the discussion the following points were raised:
opening remarks Langley, who is relatively new to the region, said he
appreciates the contributions that have been made to Minnesota by past
generations that have brought the state to where it is.
explained that Greater MSP grew out of an interest in how the state can
effectively grow capital investment and jobs in the metro area for the
that end, he noted, there are three things that civic leaders can do: (1)
promote the region; (2) do research and analysis to see what future
improvements are needed; and (3) advocate.
MSP seeks to work on the first two, promotion and research, and then turn
that information over to their "advocacy partners"-the state's Chambers of
Commerce, the Minnesota Business Partnership, and many others.
Three-pronged strategy to promote economic development
It is no
longer enough for all of
business to be homegrown,
said. In a global economy relying solely on homegrown business leaves gaps
in the local economy and there are additional opportunities beyond the
region that should not be overlooked. The region has not focused enough on
sharing its positive story on a national and international scale.
address these needs, Greater MSP seeks to serve three functions:
to create an economic development strategy for the Greater
Minneapolis-Saint Paul area to ensure there is an adequate, effective
narrative about the region, and to promote and market the 13-county
metropolitan region as a unified economic entity;
to develop an effective strategy of advocacy, that is, to determine to
whom they need to sell ideas for regional growth and how best to sell it;
to work to get people committed to living and doing business in Minnesota.
not a public policy arm of any organization - we are a sales and marketing
said. Their role in "product improvement" is to listen to what companies
are saying regarding their interest in coming to Minnesota to do business,
and find ways to meet those companies' needs.
marketing activity provides feedback about what people find appealing
about the region and what they don't. Greater MSP compiles that
information into a database and provides the findings to affiliated
organizations such as chambers of commerce that already have a lobbying
component to influence legislative and regulatory decisions.
region already is a global competitor," Langley said, but this aspect of
our economy has to be functioning as a "continuous-improvement" model.
is presently sliding on indicators such as job growth relative to
Five levers for excellence
strengthen and improve the metropolitan region's economy Langley described
five "levers" that should be used and assessed Minnesota's standing with
regard to each.
Brand and image
Minnesotans certainly view the state's reputation as excellent, but it's
not well known either nationally or internationally. This lack of
recognition is a weakness that is compounded by the state's lack of a
clear image, or "brand" that might be used to convey its strengths.
Because of this absence of a positive branding image companies can tend to
focus on perceived negatives. That makes it more difficult, for example,
to attract graduates from top business schools on either coast to take on
management roles here.
Education and workforce
is "better than average" on a relative scale; however it's not
consistently better in all areas. There are serious racial and economic
disparities. However, when companies look at expanding in the metropolitan
region and judge whether we have the quantity and quality of workforce
they require, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul competes well against other
areas. Many companies are looking not only for high-achieving,
well-educated workers but also for workers with strong ethics who are
job-ready with "soft" skills. Overall
considers education and workforce to be competitive strengths of the
Culture of innovation and entrepreneurship
is still well above the average in the country in entrepreneurship, and
are fortunate to have significant R&D in our region.
tier-one research university is almost a necessary component to this
position. The presence of corporate R&D is strong but the region needs to
increase its rate of commercialization and new starts in innovation.
this success access to capital and early stage development is a challenge
for the region
Quality of infrastructure, including physical and governmental
metro region has a well-developed physical infrastructure but the region
will need to be more creative in how it addresses major infrastructure
hub airport is a major boon. In conversations with corporate site
selectors having a capacity for executives and sales people to fly in and
out daily is essential. MSP is the third or fourth most traffic in the
Additional investment is going into the airport over the coming years
which will bode well for both the consistency of service by Delta, and
attracting competitive carriers.
Regarding its public transit systems the region as at a mid-point in the
country. On one end
relies solely on buses and it's a limited system and is dirty." Meanwhile
they are leading the way on light rail and building the economy around
are positive examples of leadership in governance structure such as the
Met Council which caused a boon in regional development. The region has
saved billions of dollars on water and sewer over the decades by doing it
in a coordinated way, Langley said.
Quality of life
Consistently rated highest in the country. Demographic changes occurring
provide opportunities and challenges.
Focus on improvement of human and physical infrastructure
question regarding which of the levers he would select as being the
impetus for others,
responded that the continuous improvement of infrastructure will cultivate
what it used to be we'll probably be uncompetitive," he said. The state
and the metro region need to be continually seeking improvements that are
economic development efforts to date have been extremely fragmented. There
are many staff members at organizations that have development as part of
their job description, but it has been under resourced.
question regarding the possible expansion of the Metropolitan Council,
Langley replied that regions are defined by their economic foot print not
their political boundaries. The reason Greater MSP focuses on the larger
13 county metro region - and including
Rochester - is because they see the activity encompassing all of them. The
Met Council as a planning agency may not have the same effect over that
Need to attract more workers to the region
the coming ten years even if every student who graduates from school
graduates job-ready, the region will fall short of being able to meet
goals for growth. "We have a skills mismatch of present skills to the jobs
of the future,"
Greater MSP's marketing efforts are targeted not only to companies, but
also to those that would come to the region to work.
example one thing we should do is give a green card to every qualified PhD
that wants to come here,"
country's EB5 Visa-which allows an international investor to remain in the
country if they invest a certain amount and create jobs-is not available
in the region.
Five key areas to focus for future growth
laid out five areas where the Minneapolis-St. Paul region should look for
Food and agribusiness, driven by innovation and technology growth.
Health and life sciences: Medical technology, biotech, insurance - this
too driven by innovation and technology growth.
Corporate headquarters and business services. The Twin Cities tend to be a
great head quarters location because of the professional services around
those head quarters such as printing and IT, law, marketing. This is one
of the components of our brand and image that people don't know-they don't
realize the number of Fortune 500 companies.
Financial services and insurance. The region has significant strength in
Innovation and technology.
Focus development efforts
- The degree of regional cooperation in
Minnesota is unlike how economic development normally works,
said. Those involved in the effort are not competing amongst themselves,
but against other regions. There is a lot of buy in.
for the visit.