An Anectode by Raudel Garza, Harlingen EDC CEO
(HARLINGEN, TEXAS – Jan. 6, 2020) – In the economic development field, people don’t just go to the local economic development office, announce they are economic developers and begin recruiting businesses and marketing the community. It takes practice. It takes patience. It takes determination. It takes talent. It takes all the knowledge one may have gained through previous work experiences, college education, continuing education courses put on by the Texas Economic Development Council, or the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) or other organizations dedicated to teaching professionals how to be better at their jobs. It also takes time. One must put the effort into developing one’s own skill set to be successful.
Take for instance my kids, they received rollerblades for Christmas and have been wheeling around practicing. It is really cool to see them take on a new challenge. Well, Christian said he preferred to master his bike riding skills, so he has yet to get on his rollerblades. Joseph and Faith, however, were ready to get on a sidewalk and see what they could do. If you ask Joseph (11 years old), he will tell you that he already knows how to skate. Sure, OK, I’ll let you go with that for now, son. Faith will be the first to admit that this is new to her and that she needs help. So, off we went this past weekend, equipped with knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards!
Sure enough, Joseph managed to skate along the sidewalk just fine. Given a bit of practice, he will master that skill soon. Faith was a bit more reluctant but began to gain confidence as she spent more time on the skates. I think eventually she too will master the skill and will be skating on streets and sidewalks all over the neighborhood.
They are learning that it takes practice, balance, and much more to master skating or bike riding. We don’t just get on a bike or put on skates and become experts.
The same is true for our work in the economic development field. Every person in this office has been through at least one basic economic development course. Many of us have been to many different training seminars and have also read volumes of material on marketing, business management, trade and commerce, workforce development, strategic planning, and so much more. One of us even earned the coveted designation of Certified Economic Developer or CEcD from IEDC. Every meeting with a prospect or an investor gives us an opportunity to refine our skills. Every trade show we attend allows us to gain market intelligence and provides us with insight as to the trends in certain targeted industries. Whether we’ve been doing this for a year or for several decades, we are constantly learning and evolving.
This week some of us will be heading up to Fort Worth to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Red River States Conference & Deal Making. We will be marketing Harlingen and specific properties for retail development or for the infill of existing space. If you have a property that you’d like for us to promote retail development, please talk to your favorite local commercial broker or give our office a call now!
Some of us are still wobbling around in our rollerblades like Faith, and some of us are Joseph who thinks we may know it all. In reality, we can’t know it all in an industry that is ever-changing. That is why we take every opportunity to learn and fine-tune our skills. Like Joseph on rollerblades, this isn’t my first ICSC event. I’ve been to more than 20 events like this, but each is different and each one allows us the opportunity to talk about the great place we know as Harlingen!