“We’ve engaged the Avalanche Consulting team on a number of projects over the past 10 years, including our two most recent regional target industry strategies. Time and again, they’ve provided insightful, creative, and meaningful guidance for our region’s economic and workforce development efforts. The quality of their thinking, cutting-edge research, and commitment to truly engaging a large and diverse group of stakeholders has led to broad-based community support for their strategic plans. This is a smart, energetic, and innovative team – we highly recommend Avalanche and their work.”
– David T. Ginn, President & CEO, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Charleston Regional Development Alliance
As CRDA’s economic development strategist for the past ten years, our work has propelled the Charleston region’s economy to one of the best performing the nation.
In May 2004, Avalanche’s President, Amy Holloway, led and authored the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA)’s economic development strategy, Forward Charleston, which evaluated the region’s economy, identified its target industries such as aviation and automotive, and provided a five-year implementation plan to boost the region’s economy and build its brand identity as a destination for business. In July 2010, Avalanche created a new strategic plan for the region, Opportunity Next. The nine-month planning process engaged more than 2,500 residents and regional leaders. In May 2016, Avalanche developed a joint Global Competitiveness Strategy with the CRDA and Charleston Metro Chamber called One Region.
Avalanche has had the pleasure of working as the CRDA’s economic development strategist for the past ten years on more than a dozen projects, including three five-year strategic plans, a Regional Talent Demand Study, a Regional Competitiveness Center, a Career Headlight Portal, facilitating annual progress audits, serving as a strategist for creative sector and talent recruitment initiatives, and providing business development support. Today, the Charleston region’s economy is one of the best performing in the nation.
See the Results
- Between 2010 and 2018 Charleston has had 61 new expansion/relocation projects, created 7,880 new jobs, and created $392.6 million in new payroll.
- The Charleston metro is responsible for 21% of jobs created in South Carolina between 2013 and 2017.
- Mercedes Benz Vans and Volvo expanded operations in Charleston, investing $2.5 billion total into their facilities in 2018.
- The Medical University of South Carolina announced an innovative partnership with Siemens Healthineers to study care for stroke victims and pediatric medicine.
- Google expanded operations at their Berkeley County data center with an investment of $600 million, for a total investment of $2.4 billion into the data center.
- The Scientific Advancement International Corporation broke ground on a new facility in Charleston in 2018 and will create 200 jobs on top of their existing presence in the region.
- By the end of FY 2016-2017 Charleston had 10 new business announcements, 7 of those in high-impact clusters. This means 654 announced new jobs for the region and more than $223 million in capital investment.
- Charleston was one of only four cities achieving inclusive economic growth according to an article published by the Brookings Institution in April 2017.
- In 2016 Charleston won the “Best Project of the Year” award by the Site Selectors Guild for bringing Thorne Research to Charleston.
- Trident Technical College in Charleston was given a $50,000 grant by the Bosch Community Fund to support IT Career Clusters.
- In the past 10 years, the Charleston region generated 58% of net jobs created in South Carolina.
- Between 2009-2014, Charleston saw a 14.2% increase in jobs. Unemployment is now at its lowest level since 2008.
- In 2015, Charleston-North Charleston, SC moved up 22 spots to #17 in the Milken Institute Best Performing Cities list.
- Between 2009-2014, Charleston saw a 10.7% increase in population.
- Since announcing its selection of the Charleston region in 2009, “The Boeing Effect” has taken hold: Boeing directly created 8,200 jobs and sustains another 20,000 jobs in the Charleston region with the spin-off effect of additional aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturing services. The total estimated impact of Boeing’s presence is more than $11 billion in economic activity in the region.
- In May 2015, Volvo announced that it will build its first North American manufacturing plant in the Charleston region. This $500 million investment could create up to 2,000 jobs over the next ten years and up to 4,000 jobs by 2030.
- Daimler AG will invest $500 million and add 1,300 jobs at its North Charleston plant to make the new version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo van.
- Fast Company dubbed Charleston Silicon Harbor. Charleston’s tech economy is growing 26% faster than the national average and just as quickly as Silicon Valley.
- In 2013, Clemson University opened the world’s largest turbine testing facility in Charleston.
- In 2013, Google announced it will invest in a third data center facility in Berkeley County.
- Dredging the deepwater Port of Charleston to 50+ feet was one of five port projects expedited by the Obama administration.
- Condé Nast Traveler named Charleston the No. 1 tourist destination in the US for the third year in a row. Travel + Leisure ranked Charleston the Best City in North America.
- The Charleston International Airport landed both Southwest Airlines and JetBlue service.
- Parliament, Charleston’s creative cluster leadership body, hosted its 21st sold-out Pecha Kucha night. Parliament’s Economic Impact Study found that Charleston’s creative cluster adds more than $3.2 billion to the regional economy.
- For the seventh year in a row Charleston hosted DIG South, the Southeast’s own interactive festival celebrating innovation and the digital economy. The festival has doubled in size every year.
In May 2018, Columbus 2020 and its partners hired Avalanche to develop a Regional Economic Development Assessment and Analysis. The purpose of the assessment and analysis was to ensure that the Columbus region continues to build upon the many successes achieved during the past decade long into the future. The Columbus 2020 Assessment and Analysis serves as a guide for future policies, services, and investments that promote sustained economic dynamism throughout the region in the years ahead.
After working with Columbus 2020 to complete a CEDS in 2014 we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Columbus 2020 again to further enhance the vibrancy and prosperity of the region. The Columbus region has experienced enormous success since 2014 and their commitment to sustained, intentional growth will serve the region for years to come.
See the Results
- Columbus has the highest employment growth out of the 12 major metros in the Midwest at 6.9%, which is 1.2% higher than the US average.
- The Columbus region has created over 66,000 jobs since 2014.
- The Columbus region’s economy has grown faster than both the US economy and every other major Midwest metro. Columbus’ economy has grown 15.1% since 2015, which is 2.8% higher than the US average.
- In 2018 alone Columbus had 46 companies announce expansions or relocations in the region.
“Avalanche Consulting provides a very fresh and creative approach to traditional strategic planning initiatives. The consulting team is dynamic and professional and generated a lot of interest and excitement throughout the Jacksonville region for our Innovate Northeast Florida project. Avalanche invested a great deal of time and energy developing a thorough understanding of Northeast Florida’s economy. The study recommendations leverage our region’s unique assets and opportunities. JAXUSA Partnership is actively implementing Avalanche’s plan and we expect to see big results for our region over the next five years.”
– Cathy Chambers, Business Development & Marketing Vice President, JAXUSA Partnership
In February 2018, the JAXUSA Partnership, Northeast Florida Regional Council, CareerSource Northeast Florida, and other partners initiated a Regional Economic Development Strategy to improve regional competitiveness and collaboration throughout Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns counties. Over the course of eight months, Avalanche Consulting and its partner, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), led the Elevate Northeast Florida planning process. More than 1,500 regional stakeholders contributed 1,300+ hours of their time to shaping the strategy through workshops, surveys, and interviews.
Elevate Northeast Florida is the second five-year strategy that Avalanche has led for the Jacksonville region. In 2012, we authored the Innovate Northeast Florida Economic Development Strategy, which resulted in the region having the third highest job growth among mid-sized regions in the nation in 2016.
See the Results
- In 2017, Jacksonville announced more than 5,000 new jobs and $633 million in capital investment in the region.
- In 2017, Amazon built 3 additional facilities, Formativ Health, Genpact and Kamara Stone established business in the region, and Georgia-Pacific, Availity and Macquarie expanded operations.
- In June 2017, Genpact announced it will open a new delivery center in Jacksonville, creating over 200 jobs in its first year of operation.
- Jacksonville was named one of 2017’s Most Popular US Cities to live in right now by Business Insider.
- In the first quarter of 2016, the Jacksonville region announced nearly 800 jobs and $70 million in capital investment in the region.
- In 2015, the Jacksonville region landed 18 new projects that resulted in over 2,500 new jobs and $527 million in capital investment.
- Over the past five years, JAXUSA has directly assisted 100 companies with projects that led to the creation of over 11,700 jobs and more than $1 billion in capital investment.
- Over the past three years, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 5.8 percent.
- The total number of people employed in the region has grown from 600,000 in 2010 to 700,000 today.
- In 2016, Amazon announced it would be opening an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville that will create more than 1,500 full-time jobs.
- In 2016, Ernst & Young announced it would be opening a new delivery center in Jacksonville that will create 450 jobs.
- In 2016, JAXUSA launched www.FindYourJAX.com, an online tool to aid regional companies in talent recruitment.
- In 2015, a new network access point – JAX NAP – was installed, making Jacksonville a main fiber connection point along the network of subsea and terrestrial cables.
- In 2015, the food processor and distributor Calavo Growers established operations at the Northeast Florida Industrial Center, creating 262 jobs and $8 million in capital investment.
- In 2015, global financial services company Macquarie Group expanded to Jacksonville, creating 123 new jobs.
- In 2014, JAXUSA worked with 28 projects that will bring more than 2,500 jobs to the region and more than $118 million in capital investment including GE Oil & Gas, Ideal Aluminum, Adecco Group North America, Sea Ray Boats, and Greencore Group.
- In 2014, Apex Technology announced it will be expanding its presence in Jacksonville and will construct a 15,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters location. The company plans to create 60 new jobs over the next five years and invest $5.4 million in the local economy.
- In 2013 alone, more than 3,700 jobs and $467 million in capital investment were created. Company announcements included Vistakon Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, AVEO Engineering, R.J. Corman Signaling, Northrop Grumman, Embraer, and Deutsche Bank.
- In 2013 the JAXUSA Partnership invested in a new website, saw website traffic increase by 10,000 visitors, and earned 622,594 impressions through trade publications.
- In 2013, Forbes ranked Northeast Florida one of the fastest growing regions for high tech jobs.
- Jax Bridges, a supplier development program connecting small businesses to opportunities, was launched.
- Jacksonville was acknowledged by Forbes as one of the Cities ‘Winning the Battle for the Biggest Growth Sector in the US.’ During the past decade, professional, scientific, and technical services has risen by nearly 50%, the largest increase among the country’s 51 largest metropolitan areas.
- Jacksonville ranked 7th on Forbes list of US Cities Getting Smarter the Fastest. Over the past decade, the number of college graduates in the metropolitan area jumped nearly 50%.
- Jacksonville was named 3rd Happiest City in the US for College Graduates by Forbes Magazine, which cited employee job satisfaction, median pay, and the region’s low cost of living.
- In 2013, Jacksonville hosted the inaugural One Spark event, an international crowdfunding festival. In its second year, 610 creators participated, more than 260,000 people attended, and more than $3.25 million in capital investment was available.
- JAXUSA launched the grassroots #ilovejax social media campaign to build community pride, averaging 127 tweets per day and generating more than 30 million impressions in 2013.
- FDi Intelligence ranked Jacksonville in the top 10 for infrastructure and FDI Strategy.
- After one year of collaboration, Earn Up, an ambitious higher education collaborative organized by the JAXUSA Partnership, is making strides in achieving its goal of having 60% of adults with training certificates or college degrees by 2025. The region has awarded more than 10,000 new degrees and certificates over the past year.
Greater Houston Partnership
In June 2013, the Greater Houston Partnership hired Avalanche Consulting to develop a Brand & Marketing Strategy for the 10-county region. We immersed ourselves in an eight-month research and strategic planning process that culminated in a regional brand identity, creative campaign, and marketing strategy that has been wholeheartedly embraced by the region.
Discovering the roots of Greater Houston’s brand began with an unprecedented level of research that involved hundreds of individuals both inside and outside of the region. This included extensive quantitative analysis and benchmarking; dozens of individual interviews, including conversations with the Governor’s office and international consulates; 13 focus groups with 10-20 participants each; and surveys of 300 Houstonians, 104 site consultants, and 50 C-suite executives. This intensive research process leads to brands that go beyond the clichéd slogans and untargeted messages that often characterize economic development marketing initiatives.
We discovered that Greater Houston’s economy far outperforms most places. Between 2012 and 2013, Greater Houston created more jobs than every state in the US except California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
The region’s extraordinary economic performance was no surprise to people outside of the region. Many interviewees were aware of Greater Houston’s booming oil and gas economy, Fortune 500 headquarters, and world-class medical industry.
But that’s where similarities between reality and perception ended. When asked questions about the region’s quality of life and entrepreneurial spirit – two factors critical to attracting talent – external audiences’ perspectives were more negative than reality.
Without exception, we found one common theme in all of our conversations with Houstonians: There is no better place in the world to be for people with ambition. Greater Houston has an endless sense of possibility. Houston’s entrepreneurial culture is without peer. The region’s culture inspires people to act on their ideas and supports their success.
We realized that the region’s future depends on raising awareness of the region’s entrepreneurial spirit and quality of life that appeals to entrepreneurial-minded people. We were driven to create an economic development brand that defined Houston as a place to be. It needed to reflect the region’s adaptability, accessibility, and accepting nature. It also needed to reflect the myriad opportunities for residents to have a vibrant life and career.
See the Results
The campaign launched on June 3rd and will continue for many years to come. Our partners at MMI Agency flawlessly executed the creative brand development, website, video, and other campaign tools. The initial focus is on internal marketing and reinforcing Houston’s new brand within the community. The campaign will be taken to external markets in the coming year. Implementation to date includes a robust website and social media presence, collateral development, recruitment of brand ambassadors, and events such as Houston CityFest. One creative, interactive component includes profiles of real Houstonians who share their unique version of Houston. This showcases the diverse career and lifestyle offerings and will be used in the external talent attraction campaign. Metrics to monitor success include economic indicators, benchmarks, perception surveys, marketing metrics, and STEM-related talent indicators.
Less than three weeks after its launch, the campaign generated more than 7.1 million impressions through traditional and social media channels. The website had more than 77,000 page views and the featured video, “The Best Day of My Life,” was loaded more than 33,000 times. 134 people subscribed to the e-newsletter and 149 people signed up to become brand ambassadors for Houston: The City With No Limits. In 2015, the online job portal Careers With No Limits was developed.
The Greater Houston Brand & Marketing Strategy is an example of how a well researched, authentic, defensible, inspiring, and honest brand can elevate a region. Greater Houston’s image resonates with its target audiences, and GHP is now equipped with the tools to successfully communicate with business and talent alike.
“Our experience with Avalanche Consulting was great! The development of our strategic plan involved over 2,000 Jonesboro residents. This inclusive process resulted in great support from our community as we have transitioned to the implementation of our strategy.”
– Mark Young, President & CEO, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce
Jonesboro Regional Chamber
In 2015, Avalanche Consulting worked with the Jonesboro Regional Chamber to create an Economic Development Strategy. To begin the project, Avalanche conducted a thorough evaluation of Jonesboro’s competitive position. During three trips to Jonesboro, we conducted focus groups and interviews with dozens of regional stakeholders, including employers, public leaders, non-profits, and citizens to gain further insight into local competitive assets and challenges. In addition, more than 1,850 citizens shared their ideas with the team through an online survey, which was offered in both English and Spanish.
When developing the Strategy, Avalanche outlined a vision, goals, and tactical action plan for the next five years and beyond. We offered recommendations around topics critical to Jonesboro’s economic development such as education and workforce, infrastructure, quality of life, and branding and marketing. Avalanche shared best practice examples highlighting programs in aspirational communities that could be adapted and adopted by Jonesboro. We also provided target industry profiles and details on how to implement the strategy and measure progress.
In the months that followed, the Jonesboro Regional Chamber has successfully organized stakeholders into task forces that are taking action across a variety of priority issues, laying the groundwork for continued success.
See the Results
- Construction began in June 2018 on the new Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center at Arkansas State University.
Arkansas State University’s Biosciences Institute spent over $100 million on research since its opening, earning a new designation as an elite research institution.
- Jonesboro was ranked #1 in EMSI’s 2017 Talent Attraction Scorecard in Arkansas, and #3 among the 7 mid-south states with a 9.2% increase in skilled job growth from 2012 to 2016.
- Risever, a steel fabricator, chose to locate in Jonesboro out of 70 communities, bringing 130 new jobs and $20 million in new investment. Risever officially broke ground in June 2018 and plans to be in operation by mid 2019.
- Jonesboro Unlimited raised $3.7 million and partnered with over 70 companies to promote its economic development efforts, and hired a new Communications Director and Vice President in September 2017.
- Over 45 new businesses or expansions opened in Jonesboro in 2016.
- The Jonesboro Unlimited economic development brand has been adopted.
- In February 2016, Arkansas State University received a $1 million EDA grant to complete the development of its Innovation Center.
- In March 2016, FMH Conveyors announced a retention/expansion project resulting in 110 new jobs.
- In March 2016, I-555 was designated as an official interstate.
- The Talent Task Force is planning its second “Growing Talent Together” forum.
- A Pre-K Talent Task Force subgroup has been established and held a press conference supporting additional Pre-K activities in the Jonesboro School District.
- The Infrastructure Committee is evaluating possible industrial properties for future growth.
- The Quality of Life Committee has identified several priority projects to pursue, including more bike paths connecting the largest parks with downtown Jonesboro, and a corridor project linking Arkansas State University to downtown.
“Avalanche Consulting was an invaluable partner in setting our community on a course for economic development success. Their ability to listen to all voices, think creatively, respond positively and help guide us in data-driven decision-making has made our strategic planning process one of the best consulting engagements I have ever experienced. Avalanche was not afraid to help us confront the brutal truth of our shortcomings, but moreover, help us better understand and exploit our strengths. I would highly recommend this outstanding firm.”
– J. Shawn Lewis, Assistant City Manager, City of Longmont
In May 2014, Avalanche Consulting developed Advance Longmont, a target industry and economic development strategy for Longmont, Colorado, a thriving community on the Front Range between Denver and Fort Collins.
The project included a Market Assessment, which examined Longmont’s current competitive position, assets, and opportunities. This phase included stakeholder input sessions and an in-depth analysis of relevant economic and demographic data.
Building on the research conducted in the Market Assessment, the Target Industry Analysis evaluated the performance of Longmont’s current industry and occupational base as related to national industry trends and site selection needs. The consulting team partnered with Site Selection Group to conduct an objective Reverse Site Selection assessment of Longmont. This process evaluated Longmont’s competitiveness and made recommendations on target adjustments and local product improvements.
The Implementation Plan for Longmont articulated Longmont’s vision for the future and a clear, step-by-step roadmap for achieving this vision. It concluded with a timeline, estimated budget, resource requirements, task assignments, and performance measurements.
See the Results
- Longmont was named the #4 Best Boomtown in America in 2016 by Smart Asset.
- The J.M. Smucker Co. announced plans to build a $340 million factory that will employ 250 workers after Phase 1 is complete, and up to 500 workers after Phase 2. The factory is set to begin producing in 2019.
- Longmont experienced its highest point of employment growth in over 10 years in 2016.
- In 2016, Advance Longmont worked with the Longmont City Government to declare one week in May Small Business Week.
- 264 new jobs were created in Longmont in 2016.
- 50% more local businesses received funding through grants and lending programs in 2016 than in 2015, and the amount of money awarded through grants and lending programs increased by 60%.
- In addition to their three existing breweries (Left Hand, Oskar Blues, and Pumphouse), Longmont now has four new breweries established in the community: Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse, 300 Suns Brewing, and Grossen Bart Brewery.
- In June 2016, Longmont hosted its second annual Startup Week, a free event dedicated to entrepreneurs.
- In April 2015, Longmont began demolition of the vacant Butterball Turkey plant to make room for major downtown revitalization projects. It will be replaced by South Main Station, a mixed-use development. The community also plans to dedicate part of the site to a “hybrid co-working – maker space”.
- The Longmont Community Foundation and TinnkerMill founder, Scott Converse, created the Longmont Ignite! Fund in 2015 to assist entrepreneurs. In 2016, the Longmont Economic Development Partnership partnered with the City to create an Advance Longmont Ignite! Matching Grant.
- A new UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital will soon open in Longmont.
“The report and OurMiami.org website draw connections between Miami’s quality of life indicators, uncovering powerful conclusions about our city. The team at Avalanche was incredible at taking us through a very intensive, complicated process and helping us arrive at a clear and useful report.”
– Stuart Kennedy, Senior Programs Manager, The Miami Foundation
When the Miami Foundation sought a new way to inform decisions about community investment in Miami, it called Avalanche Consulting.
Through an in-depth research process, which included local analysis and benchmarking against other major metros, Avalanche uncovered stories that lie at the heart of Miami’s economic and social conditions. The goal of Our Miami is to compel the Foundation and Miami residents to direct public investment, charitable giving, and volunteerism into the issues that most impact the city’s well-being.
“The report and OurMiami.org website draw connections between Miami’s quality of life indicators, uncovering powerful conclusions about our city,” said Stuart Kennedy, Senior Programs Manager at the Miami Foundation. “The team at Avalanche was incredible at taking us through a very intensive, complicated process and helping us arrive at a clear and useful report.”
Avalanche worked with a 20-member Advisory Committee to define eight issue areas that impact Miami’s well-being: arts & culture, civic engagement, economy, education, environment & public spaces, health & safety, housing & affordability, and transportation. The Committee consisted of a diversity of perspectives, including representatives from healthcare, education, civic services, media, the arts, and other non-profits.
Once issue areas were defined, Avalanche developed metrics and conducted extensive research, producing nearly 60 indicators to monitor for Miami and benchmark with other major metros.
Once the index was complete, Avalanche worked with Miami-based Musa Creative to develop a website that helps the Foundation and Miamians interact with data on the issues most pressing to the city’s prosperity. After exploring the website, visitors can explore and connect with Miami nonprofits involved in each of the issue areas.
At the October 2014 launch of the index and the corresponding Our Miami website, the Miami Foundation announced a new accelerator program that will award eight $10,000 grants to area nonprofits, one for each issue area.
“Our Miami is a very special engagement for us,” said Amy Holloway, Avalanche’s president. “Community service is an important value of our firm. We feel fortunate that the Miami Foundation gave us an opportunity to help its community make better decisions about getting involved in improving Miami’s quality of life. Imagine what change would happen if every place invested in a similar process!”
To see Our Miami in action, click here: www.OurMiami.org.
In 2016, The Moody Foundation engaged Avalanche Consulting to evaluate Galveston Island’s economy and develop a strategy that will maximize the impact of the Foundation’s giving on the Island. Established and headquartered in Galveston, the Foundation is one of the largest in Texas. In its history, it has issued more than $1.2 billion in grants across the state.
We began with an in-depth evaluation of Galveston’s economic, education, demographic, trade, and lifestyle dynamics to understand what factors have the greatest effect on the prosperity of the Island’s residents. We also facilitated personal interviews with more than 40 Galveston leaders to hear their perspectives on the Island’s strengths and challenges.
Through our analysis and interviews, we identified opportunities to propel Galveston’s economy forward. Seven strategic themes emerged: education, workforce development, infrastructure, housing, quality of place, heritage, and health. We shared best practices from other communities and philanthropies engaged in those themes.
We then worked with The Moody Foundation’s Trustees to select the theme most compelling and impactful to them. The Moody Foundation’s ultimate goal became to create a generational shift in educational attainment among Galveston residents.
With this direction in hand, Avalanche developed the “Generation Moody” strategy, providing a continuum of program ideas from early childhood education to college and career readiness. As a result, over the next 2-3 decades The Moody Foundation’s giving will directly impact the future of every child and young adult on Galveston Island.
Upon completion of the strategy, The Moody Foundation’s Trustees agreed to create a senior level staff position to serve as Generation Moody’s programmatic lead. Several other Galveston-based family foundations have also agreed to align their giving with the Moody Foundation to create an even greater impact on the Island.
Since launching in 2018, Generation Moody has issued more than $27 million in grants that support educational opportunities for Galveston youth from cradle to career. Initial focus areas include literacy, social emotional learning, STEM, professional development for educators, and financial aid for higher education.
“Avalanche was fantastic to work with. The Organizational Evaluation report was very thorough and provided many best practices to advance our organization. Many of our focus group and workshop participants were impressed with their professionalism and ability to tease out meaningful information. I would highly recommend Avalanche to any EDO.”
-Charlie Jewell, Executive Director, Onward New River Valley
Onward New River Valley
In January 2016, the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance contracted Avalanche to develop an Organizational Evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation was to advance the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance into a more modern economic development organization reflecting the practices of the most dynamic regions in the country. Stakeholder input was integral to the strategic planning process. The consulting team led interviews and focus groups with a cross-section of 60 stakeholders from around the region including board members, economic developers, local employers, and regional partners. They also collected survey responses from over 40 investors and conducted phone interviews with each County Administrator and City Manager.
Our Organizational Evaluation identified three key areas that stakeholders felt the NRVEDA should be focusing on: marketing the New River Valley, fostering job creation and facilitating investment, and nurturing and improving quality of life in the region.
Since the completion of our Organizational Evaluation, the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance has rebranded as Onward New River Valley and transformed into a modern, focused EDO.
See the Results
- In July 2019 the Volvo Group announced it will invest $400 million into its Volvo Trucks North America New River Valley (NRV) assembly operation, creating 777 jobs.
- Thomas Industrial Fabrication is relocating to the New River Valley and will bring 28 new jobs to the region. Workers will earn about $50,000, which is around double the annual local salary for Floyd County, where the facility will be located.
Onward NRV exceeded their $1.5 million 2023 fundraising goal, and is currently at 106% of their goal. Onward NRV’s annual budget has grown by $200,000 since 2016, and private sector investment has grown from $138,000 to $315,000 per year.
The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance rebranded to Onward New River Valley and won several awards for its updated marketing. Onward NRV won three awards from SEDC in their 2018 Communications Awards Competition and a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award from IEDC in the category of Special Purpose Print Brochure.
Provo City, Utah
Avalanche Consulting developed an Economic Development Strategic Plan for Provo City in June 2012. We conducted a thorough evaluation of the city and surrounding area’s competitive strengths, identified target audiences, crafted marketing messages, and authored a five-year economic development game plan.
Provo continues to see economic success in the region as they implement the Strategic Plan.
See the Results
- Provo was named the 3rd Hottest Housing Market in the US in 2017 by Zillow.
- The Milken Institute named Provo the 2nd Best Performing City of 2016, improving its ranking of 3rd from 2015.
- Forbes named Provo the #1 Best Small & Medium Sized City for Jobs in 2017.
- Provo became the second city in the nation to receive Google Fiber’s high-speed gigabit internet service, racing to the market faster than Avalanche’s home base of Austin.
- The Provo-Orem area ranked second on the Milken Institute’s list of Best-Performing Large Cities for Business in 2014.
- Provo was named Time Magazine’s #2 Red-Hot Town in 2014, citing the city’s generous business climate, proximity to Sundance movie mecca Park City, and flourishing startup culture.
- Provo was named the happiest city in the U.S. in 2014 according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
- The Provo-Orem area ranked second on the list of “Best Mid-Size Cities for Jobs” by Forbes in 2013.
- Provo was also named one of America’s fastest growing cities by Forbes in 2013.
- Provo ranked in the top 20 U.S. locations for venture capital investments by The Atlantic Cities in 2013.
- Provo was named a top 5 leading high tech metro by The Atlantic Cities in 2013.
- Provo was named #1 for volunteerism by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2013.
Three Rivers Workforce Board
In 2017, the Three Rivers Regional Commission engaged in a partnership with Avalanche and the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce to initiate the first Sector Partnership for the 10-county region of West Georgia.
The project had three primary goals. First, we sought to understand the region’s manufacturing sector and its ability to supply a workforce both now and in the future. Next, we launched an interactive website to showcase the many ways to live, learn, and earn in the 10-county, Three Rivers region. Lastly, we created a Manufacturing Sector Partnership to ensure continued engagement and collaboration among the region’s manufacturing industry and educators.
Avalanche’s sister company, Headlight Data, led the development of the region’s new Talent Portal: ThreeRiversWorks.com. The Talent Portal is an online platform providing valuable information to students, parents, career counselors, educators, and workers currently residing in or considering relocating to the Three Rivers region.
“Thanks to the Avalanche team, [the Quality of Life Research] was guided entirely by community voices from day one. Focus groups touching every corner of our area identified the categories that became the framework for the larger research activities. Then nearly 1,000 community members responded to our survey! Thanks to our partnership with Avalanche, we now have a clear sense of what is important to the people that call Elmira, Corning, and the Finger Lakes home.”
-Randi L. Hewit, President, Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning & the Finger Lakes
The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc.
Avalanche developed a Quality of Life Measurement Tool for the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. to better understand the overall well-being of the region and provide insight into the areas of greatest need.
Avalanche began the project by developing a preliminary research framework focused on factors important to the region’s quality of life, including arts and culture, recreation, education, employment opportunities, and civic engagement. The consulting team conducted focus groups and workshops in the region to better understand top issue areas and further refine the framework. Avalanche also developed and administered a community survey that received nearly 1,000 responses.
Combining quantitative findings from the data analysis with qualitative findings from stakeholder input, the consulting team identified key narratives about Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes that provide rich insight into the areas of greatest need and illuminate where investment of time and resources could catalyze the greatest change.
The consulting team will travel to Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes in May 2019 to unveil the Quality of Life Measurement Tool and provide guidance on how to turn this impactful information into collaborative action.
“We’ve engaged the Avalanche Consulting team on a number of projects over the past 10 years, including our three most recent regional target industry strategies. Time and again, they’ve provided insightful, creative, and meaningful guidance for our region’s economic and workforce development efforts. The quality of their thinking, cutting-edge research, and commitment to truly engaging a large and diverse group of stakeholders has led to broad-based community support for their strategic plans. This is a smart, energetic, and innovative team – we highly recommend Avalanche and their work.”