Archive for David J. Robinson

Raleigh, NC Tech Market is a Global Powerhouse

Raleigh is a top 50 metro market with an economic growth rate of 113% and a global dominance in the information technology industry marketplace. The personal income of the Raleigh region is strong and growing but it is behind Charlotte and other high-growth markets. The key to Raleigh’s economic success is the dominance of the information technology industry. The industry cluster analysis below illustrates the Raleigh IT industry has a 2.0 location quotient—a 1.0 measure illustrates economic success. The Raleigh IT location quotient is off the charts high.

Of the 600,000 workers in the Raleigh region, nearly half of them hold a bachelor’s degree which illustrates the economic strength of the region as only Seattle among peer cities has a higher percentage of college graduates. However, even with over 34,000 workers in the computer and information technology sector, Raleigh, like most regions, is facing a skills gap when it comes to information technology workers with over 3000 open IT jobs. Raleigh is managing this explosive growth well otherwise with a competitive wage rate among technology jobs, available commercial and office space at reasonable rates, and an affordable cost of living that many Southern US markets enjoy. Raleigh’s infrastructure appears to be holding as traffic congestion compared to peer cities and its airport lands in the middle with nearly fifty direct flights to primarily domestic markets. North Carolina is a generally business friendly tax state. North Carolina saw a 2.5% increase in their taxing of business from 2015 to 2016 according to the Council on State Taxation. North Carolina taxes businesses less than Ohio. While Ohio has a slightly larger economy and population, the local and state governments in Ohio tax businesses $6 B more than North Carolina according to the Council on State Taxation. Reflecting the attractiveness of the market, Raleigh and the state of North Carolina’s tax incentive system is primarily geared toward large project attraction focused on manufacturing with more incentives available to less attractive markets outside of Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. Raleigh is a global tech powerhouse that competes with Austin, Seattle, Boston and other hot-tech centers for large and small tech jobs projects.

Dallas Offers an Impressive Smart Community Model

Dallas does more than pro football. The Dallas-Fort Worth marketplace is the fourth largest in the United States from a population standpoint with over 7.2 million people. The Dallas region has had to evolve and innovate to keep up. It houses 19 Fortune 500 company headquarters, and has the ninth largest concentration of technology jobs in the U.S., with 360 people moving to the Dallas region every day.

The City of Dallas is also a leader in the implementation of Smart City technology. Lead by the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA), the City of Dallas is using state of the art information technology network and technology to make the city safer and smarter.

How is Dallas becoming a smart community? The DIA is a coordinating a public-private partnership dedicated to the design and execution of a smart cities plan for the City of Dallas.

The DIA has 30 public-private partners in their smart city project, and the lead partner is Dallas-based AT&T. Other partners includes Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, AECOM, ParkHub, GE, CIVIQ Smartscapes, Schneider Electric, Philips and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

The Downtown Dallas neighborhood of the West-End Historical District is a living lab pilot zone. That particular area of Dallas has seen a dip in revenue over the years, but presents an area of potential for the city.

Dallas is creating a Phase I living lab by incorporating five to seven projects in the downtown, West-End area. These projects include smart lighting, waste management, digital citizen-centric kiosks, smart irrigation, smart parking and public Wi-Fi. They are testing KPIs around economic development, energy and water cost and usage, public safety, transportation and others. The Downtown Dallas West-End project will provide a critical case study for how to improve city services but also transform a neighborhood into a tech jobs center.

The Downtown Dallas West-End project is:

  • Converting street lights to intelligent LED lights with intelligent controls for remote adjustments and outage tracking
  • Installation of sensors on utility poles to measure environmental impacts, including air quality and crowd/noise detection;
  • Implementation of a solar powered waste management system increases capacity and productivity, sensors reduce CO2 and tells trucks when waste is high;
  • Placement of interactive digital kiosks allow for public Wi-Fi, energy services and wayfinding/transit options;
  • Provision of free Wi-Fi fiber/cellular LTE to provide coverage;
  • Utilization of smart parking technology to improve access to the Downtown Dallas; and
  • Installation of smart irrigation systems to demonstrate water and maintenance savings.

The Downtown Dallas West-End Project illustrates what any community can do to transform a neighborhood and a city into a technology leader.

Major Shifts in Ohio Governor’s Race Impact Primary Battles

Both the Ohio Democratic and Republican Party made major news in November impacting the May, 2018 Primary for Governor. Governor John Kasich cannot seek a third term due to the state of Ohio’s Constitution limit on Governors serving two consecutive terms in office. The open Governor’s seat has set off a battle among Republicans and Democrats seeking to serve as the state’s top elected officials.

Democrats have been watching a group of candidates’ campaign for Governor who have never been elected to statewide office. That all changed in November. Former Ohio Attorney General and State Treasurer Richard Cordray announced he was stepping down from the high-profile federal government job as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Everyone in Ohio understands Cordray would not leave this office early and permit the Trump Administration to appoint a conservative new leader to this organization if he was not going to run for Governor. Cordray’s experience at the state and federal level makes him the instant frontrunner in the Democratic Primary. His late entry into the race may not prevent a Democratic Primary battle though. The response of the current field of Democratic candidates for Governor to Cordray’s resignation from his federal post was not welcoming. Most of his potential opponents questioned why he would relinquish this critical federal post to the Trump Administration. Cordray, who is a very accomplished lawyer who clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court, will have to move quickly to raise money to prepare for a Democratic Primary battle and will likely need the help of national Democratic leaders such as former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others to prevent a costly Primary Election he cannot afford to endure.

Corday’s potential entry into the Governor’s race also impacted the Republicans seeking to replace John Kasich. In a startling announcement, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has raised millions of dollars and been running an aggressive and impressive campaign for Governor, announced he would join Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine’s campaign as his Lt. Governor. Husted’s move is a huge win for the Dewine campaign and illustrates the dominance of Dewine’s name identification with voters but also the deep connection he has built battling the opioid addiction crisis facing the Buckeye State. The Dewine-Husted ticket is a Republican game plan that worked in 1990 when Dewine was seeking the Governor’s seat but decided to join George Voinovich on his ticket and Bob Taft agreed not to challenge Voinovich but to seek instead to run for Ohio Secretary of State. The 1990 Republican moves resulted in statewide election victories not just that year but in every year except in 2006. The Dewine-Husted move also cripples of the campaigns of the two other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Governor. Mike Dewine was going to be very difficult to beat in a Primary Election battle that included Jon Husted. With Jon Husted actually on Mike Dewine’s team, substantial business community support and a limited field will make the Dewine-Husted team nearly impossible to defeat.

A little November excitement may lead to a less than exciting May than was expected. However, there will be plenty of fireworks in 2018 as both political parties seek to have their candidate reside in the Governor’s Mansion.

Community Project Applications Due January 3, 2018 – State of Ohio Capital Budget

Public or private sector organizations wishing to apply for a state of Ohio Capital Budget Community Project award need to file their application by January 3, 2018. Last budget, over $1.25 B in Community Project requests were made but only $156 M in awards were granted by the Ohio General Assembly. Competition for this funding is expected to be fierce as slowing state revenues will likely result in a lower dollar amount being available for Community Projects. Public or private sector organizations seeking funding for social service, parks, bike trails, economic development, workforce, arts, sports, cultural or criminal justice projects should contact Dave Robinson at immediately, as time is running out to submit these important funding requests.

Ohio Mid-Market 100 – Top Ohio Companies in 2018

Middle market companies drive the Ohio economy. According to the Ohio State University National Center for the Middle Market, middle market companies constitute only 3% of the US companies but account for 1/3 of all US jobs. The Montrose Group, LLC, a Columbus, Ohio based economic development and public policy consulting firm, annually develops and publicizes the Ohio Mid-Market 100 list to recognize growing and successful Ohio middle market companies producing high-wage jobs. The Montrose Group, LLC is partnering with the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio (CCEO) to develop the 2018 Ohio Mid-Market 100 list. For 100 years, CCEO has been the central organization for local chambers of commerce executives to network and participate in critical professional development activities. Local chambers of commerce remain where business leaders gather to work together on common business, economic development and public policy issues for the improvement of the community. 2018 Ohio Mid-Market 100 companies must meet the minimum qualifications list below and come from a diverse geographic background across the state.

2018 Ohio Mid-Market 100 Minimum Qualifications:

  • For-profit Ohio-based business
  • Headquartered in the Buckeye State
  • Business pays above average wages, exceeding the national average of $17/hour
  • Business has revenues ranging from $10M to $500M
  • Growth of 20% accumulated over the past 3 years

State of Ohio Capital Budget – The Million Dollar Opportunity

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM EST

Every two years, the Governor and Ohio General Assembly reach agreement on a state of Ohio Capital Budget that includes community projects. Last Ohio General Assembly there were $1.25 B in community project requests and 358 projects were included in the capital budget bill totalling $156M. Join the Montrose Group, who is coordinating a webinar on behalf of the Ohio Economic Development Association, the state of Ohio’s leading voice for economic development professionals, to learn how to gain access to project funding for arts, cultural, sports, social service, health care, infrastructure, workforce and other economic development projects.

Local Chambers of Commerce & Business Groups Moving Forward with State Capital Budget Community Project Ranking Process

A critical requirement for success in many urban Ohio markets for those seeking state capital budget community project funding is to make the list of recommended projects set by the local business community. The support of the local chamber of commerce or business partnership organization illustrates support from the business, academic and local government leaders that often make up these organizations. This process was created decades ago by legislative leaders who were tired of managing the requests of competing constituents. Governor John Kasich has encouraged local business groups to make recommendation to his office as part of the process to recommend community project awards in the state of Ohio capital budget bill. These organizations cover the urban markets which gain a larger dollar amount than individual rural counties.

With the OBM Guidance Memo on the upcoming state capital budget released in late September, many of these local business trade associations have set deadlines for when applications must be filed including: Columbus Partnership (November 6, 2017), Toledo Chamber of Commerce (November 20, 2017), and Dayton Development Coalition (November 10, 2017).

However, making or not making the urban business group list of recommended projects does not guarantee success in the Statehouse. Members of the Ohio General Assembly will have their own application process and there opinion matters most. Also, urban business groups do not represent rural communities- that would be roughly 78 of the Ohio’s 88 counties. More capital budget funding has been flowing to rural communities. As an example, rural Ohio was the major winner in SB 310—the last state of Ohio capital budget bill. Ohio’s 73 rural counties gained 28% of the Community Project funding in SB 310 which is a jump of nearly 10% compared to the lasted capital bill for FY 2015-16. Business support for a state capital budget community project is important but is not the only game in town.