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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Focusing Resources on Economic Development

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Launches Creation of Citywide Economic Development Strategy and Advisory Group In Partnership with Area Universities and Students; to Be Unveiled in September

(Washington, DC) Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Deputy Mayor Victor L. Hoskins today announced that they were delivering on one of the Mayor’s key promises: initiating the development of a broad Five-Year Economic Development Strategy for the District, to be completed by the fall.

The initiative will involve leaders of seven major industry sectors within the District and surrounding area, and area graduate students from American University, Georgetown University, Howard University and The George Washington University will collect data that will then be used in planning the strategy. The effort will provide a roadmap for the District’s economic-development efforts, particularly in the areas of business development and job creation.

“In my State of the District Address this year, I laid out my vision for a New Economy in the District of Columbia that is diversified and that prepares our residents to compete in the global marketplace, and this collaborative effort with the private sector and the academic community will create a roadmap for getting there,” said Mayor Gray. “The members of the Strategy Advisory Group are principal stakeholders in the District’s economy, and the business school students who will be involved in this work are some of the sharpest in the area. Together, they will help us survey our industry sector leaders and identify opportunities for the public sector and private sector — working in tandem — to catalyze economic development and generate jobs.”

The Five-Year Economic Development Strategy seeks to provide District leaders and residents with three deliverables: an economic-impact model, a public-sector strategy and private-sector commitments. The economic-impact model will provide a transparent, consistent framework for evaluating economic projects in the District, enabling officials to make better long-term economic decisions. The public-sector strategy will create a comprehensive, feasible list of initiatives – including regulatory reforms, incentives, and real estate investments – that the Gray Administration will undertake to foster job creation and business growth. Private-sector commitments will represent specific initiatives allowing sector leaders as a group to address needs and opportunities that are too broad for one business to manage alone.

“It is a thrilling day for me – a year and half into my work with the Gray Administration – to have our Five-Year Economic Development Strategy launch,” said Deputy Mayor Hoskins. “I stand with Mayor Gray and my team as we look forward to a more cohesive framework in which to work on economic development for this city. It is important that we as public-sector officials remain committed to the big picture of our work and its impact on the private sector and the residents we serve. This endeavor will help us as we always aim to tie the knot between the three.”

The Five-Year Economic Development Strategy will be formulated via a Strategy Advisory Group. Advisory group members include DC Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, other elected officials, District government agency directors, university presidents, and leading employers in each target sector. The group will be overseen by staff from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (including Deputy Mayor Hoskins and Director of Business Development David Zipper) along with business school deans Doug Guthrie of The George Washington University and Dave Thomas of Georgetown University, plus a lead consultant from McKinsey and Company. Another project consultant will also shepherd the work of the business school students along with their respective academic staff.

The seven industry sectors represented in the Strategy Advisory Group are:

  • Federal Government and Federal Government Contractors
  • Higher Education and Health Care
  • Hospitality
  • Professional Services
  • Real Estate and Construction
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Public Sector

At the event, Charles “Sandy” Wilkes, Chairman of The Wilkes Company, pointed out that Mayor Gray “is looking for bold, game-changing ideas that will not only result in sustained economic growth but will ensure that all of our citizens can participate in an economy that is robust, just and fair.”

The Strategy Advisory Group interviews will begin immediately and data review will begin in July. MBA students will sift through the data and recommendations to pinpoint feasibility and resource needs using the economic-impact model. The group will meet again twice before the report – complete with the model, strategy and commitments – is released in September.