January 2010

The Austin Connection
Innovative regions prosper by keeping an eye on other successful areas - both nationally and internationally. They do this not just by benchmarking themselves against similar communities with similar demographics, but also by having aspirational benchmarks. In other words, progressive communities seek the opportunity to learn from each other - regardless of size or history.
As part of a ten-year economic development strategy, the Community Development Foundation (CDF) of Lee County/Tupelo, Mississippi, visited Austin in November 2009. TIP organized a tour for eight community leaders, including Jack Reed, the mayor of Tupelo. The tour was structured around three themes: talent attraction, entrepreneurship, and healthcare. For each topic, we scheduled meetings with executives of innovative organizations in the Austin area, including the Austin Technology Incubator, the IC2 Institute, the Seton Family of Hospitals, the Central Texas Angel Network, Texas Exes, and Milkshake Media.
These meetings gave our clients the opportunity to learn first-hand about various programs and to ask questions directly of the executives charged with implementing new ideas.
Billy Crews, CEO of Journal Publishing Company, summed up the experience this way: "It is always valuable to learn from other communities and certainly Austin is a great model. Equally as valuable is being with others from our own community and region and thinking together about our future and improvement possibilities."
To learn more about how we can help your community or organization, send us a note at
MindMeister Asset Mapping
Finding Direction by Revealing Human and Organizational Geographies
Relationships matter. They matter to people and to the organizations they represent. The larger the community, the more difficult it is track how everyone interrelates. TIP has created a series of asset maps for our hometown of Austin, Texas. These maps lay out the ways in which human and organizational geographies interact. To accomplish this, we use MindMeister, a web-based brainstorming tool.  The maps - which are stored online - can be edited by multiple users, and are easy to share. They graphically represent areas such as "Education and Workforce Development," "Business Development Groups," and "Entrepreneurship."  
The maps are not only a useful tool to illustrate current capacity, they also reveal partnership opportunities. They further identify gaps in services and the depth of relations among different companies and organizations. The "ecosystems" illustrated through the mapping process point to individual who are catalysts for change through their involvement across multiple organizations.  This asset-mapping process is a valuable guide for charting strategies and reinforcing networks.
To see an example asset map, click here.
Project Round-Up
TIP Strategies works across the country to help communities, regions, and states build on their assets, challenge old ways of thinking, and encourage options for sustainable economic success. Here's what we're working on.
TIP was hired by the Seward Chamber of Commerce, Alaska to help the community better accomplish its economic development goals by conducting a local economic development audit.  Located on the southern coast of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of the state's primary shipping and cruise ship ports and is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad. Working with the University of Alaska's Center for Economic Development, TIP will evaluate Seward's economic development capabilities and capacity to compete for new private investment and jobs, including an analysis of assets, process, coordination, funding, and expertise.  TIP will provide recommendations for organizing and leading Seward's economic development efforts, as well as strategic recommendations for pursuing new investment opportunities. The economic development capacity audit is one of two projects TIP is conducting in Alaska.  TIP is also assisting the Matanuska-Susitna Borough with an economic development strategic plan.
TIP is currently partnered with Canup & Associates  to  craft  an  economic
development strategy for the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO), whose mission is to facilitate economic development opportunities associated with the Savannah River Site located in South Carolina. As part of this work, TIP will provide recommendations on target industries (with a focus on the energy sector), business sites, and other issues of strategic importance for SRSCRO. The plan will cover the five-county region served by the SRSCRO, including Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell Counties in South Carolina, and Richmond (Augusta) and Columbia Counties in Georgia.  The work is expected to be completed in March 2010.
TIP was recently rehired by the Schertz Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), to update their economic development strategic plan. Located to the northeast of San Antonio, Schertz is the region's largest suburban city and is rapidly emerging as one of its most desirable business locations. Moreover, Schertz was recently rated as One of the Best Places to Live in the United States by CNNMoney.com. Among its many assets include a highly educated workforce, proximity to Randolph Air Force Base, and location at the intersection of Interstates 35 and 10. The completion of State Highway 130 will also bring new investment opportunities over the coming years. TIP will assist SEDC in prioritizing specific opportunities for economic development, provide a detailed implementation plan, and update the organization's target sectors. The work is expected to be completed in March 2010.
Making a Difference
TIP is proud of the success our clients have achieved. We are committed to following the progress of our clients and serving as a resource during implementation. Here are examples of how our work has made a difference.
In 2001, TIP and the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) began a planning process that has helped shape economic development in the county for nearly a decade. The original Economic Development Plan (EDP), released in April 2002, laid out an ambitious agenda for RCEDC and its partners. Challenges described in the initial plan centered on an entrepreneurial climate and a knowledge-based economy. These were supplemented by a hard look at how to leverage Racine County's central position in the Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor, and how to improve the county's image.
The resulting plan reflected hundreds of hours of community input, gathered from the work of five task forces. These task forces engaged the business community, as well as public officials and economic development-related groups. The topics ranged from business climate and infrastructure to workforce and education.
From the outset, the plan provided support for emerging initiatives that have helped transform the county. Racine County has emerged as a key player in the Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor. The creation of a Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI) and the revitalization of downtown Racine are living proof of what bold action can accomplish.
Much of what made the county - and the plan - successful related back to existing strengths. SC Johnson: A Family Company, one of the nation's premier privately-held businesses, firmly supported the planning initiatives. The legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose beautiful buildings grace the region, was given greater prominence. The lakefront saw increased development that included residential and commercial buildings.
The planning process is also credited with facilitating the resolution of a tax-sharing agreement that had been debated for nearly 30 years. The agreement extended sewer service to Interstate 94, opening up key parcels for commercial development and creating many new jobs in the county.
While the current recession has not spared Racine County, RCEDC continues to see success both domestically and internationally. Recent Chinese investment will help ensure the growth of a new eco-business park. In response both to the economy and the county's progress on prior versions of the EDP, TIP is working with RCEDC to evaluate its core functions and lay out a tactical response to the recession and its aftermath.
Upcoming Events
Our team members regularly present on issues surrounding economic development. Contact us if you would like to have TIP Strategies as part of your next event.  


This week! TEDC's Winter Meeting will be held January 20-22 in South Padre Island, Texas. Look for Tom Stellman and Mitsu Yamazaki there. Mitsu will lead a panel on social media and economic development.  Other participants on the panel include: Dave Quinn, Director of Economic Development, Levelland Economic Development Corporation; Matt Gierhart, The New Celebrity; Hunter Hilburn, President, EDSuite, Longview, Texas.
Jon Roberts, TIP Managing Director, will be speaking on New Trends in Strategic Planning at IEDC's 2010 Leadership Summit on Monday February 1 at 10:45.  If you're planning to attend the event, held January 31- February 2 in The Woodlands, Texas, be sure to add this session to your agenda.

Who We Are: TIP Strategies works with communities throughout the country to develop innovative, publicly supported economic development strategies.
What We Do: TIP provides clients with the tools they need to better understand their economy and the alternatives available to them. We offer a host of economic development services:
Strategic Planning
Impact Analysis
Workforce Analysis  
Industry Cluster Analysis 
Entrepreneurship Strategies
Defense Communities
Our Approach:  At TIP Strategies, we believe that talent, innovation, and place provide essential building blocks for economic vitality. We realize that economic development cannot take place in a vacuum. While traditional tools and conventional approaches continue to have their place, we believe that successful strategies require a broader, more inclusive viewpoint.
Our clients attest that our commitment extends beyond any assignment we undertake.  TIP has steadily built a reputation for progressive thinking, client relations, and personal attention to the details of implementation.
We'd like to hear how TIP can be of assistance to you.

106 E. 6th St., Ste.550
Austin, TX 78701


TIP Strategies, Inc. - 106 E. 6th Steet, Ste. 550 - Austin, TX 78701 - 512.343.9113