Friday, December 10, 2010

Talgo To Leave Milwaukee In 2012: Congratulations, Scott-The-Jobs'-Killer

And shame on the Milwaukee business community for its partisan silence on this issue.

I'm looking at you, Tim Sheehy and the MMAC.


Jake formerly of the LP said...

Right on the money. MMAC and WMC are the ones pulling the strings on Scotty, but they only care about a couple of bucks on their balance statement.

Long-term growth and attracting people who have choices on where they want to live? Why would any successful business ever want to do that?

MMAC and WMC are the best examples of the "big fish, small pond" disease that has been killing the Milwaukee area for the last 25 years, with acceleration with the Sykes/Belling wrecking crew in the last 10.

Steve Branca said...

Part One

Class Assignment:
Regional Economic Growth 210
Prof. Ripley



A high-powered economic development consultant is hired by the powers-that-be of a struggling, declining city to attract business investment of national significance. They have retained a consultant who has a great track record, connections throughout government, and with high tech firms around the world. He is paid good money but only if he meets the goals of his clients, the area’s city fathers. But these people aren’t small thinkers, they want it all and they want it now: Big international company, manufacturing plant, synergies with local businesses, high tech products, high-wage value-added jobs, and all with strong community support. Ridiculous expectations to be sure. But then, as a bonus – a big bonus that the city fathers are sure they won’t have to pay but they offer it anyway – if the consultant is able to leverage a big chunk of government money to support this new industry they will be retained as the exclusive economic development consultant to the area for the next 25 years, a contract well into eight figures.


It all happened, just as they hoped. The big company near Portugal announced it would establish its US headquarters in the city, and it would build a very expensive high-tech product requiring the most precise manufacturing processes, hire a highly-skilled workforce, put the city on the map for other international businesses with similar location requirements, AND have a ready home market for their products. Maybe even export some. To the amazement of all, the consultant even snared almost a billion dollars in government investment to provide exclusive infrastructure thus creating a fully-integrated industry. Amazing. Just think of the boost to the region’s image, especially overseas! We know (as any decent economic development practitioner knows) that companies considering international moves follow other successful investment decisions, so this could be just the beginning. This has been a great stroke of luck and genius and sweat and blood and collaboration. They set the bar high and hit the target square in the face. It is a textbook case of economic development success.

Go to Part Two of Case Study....

Steve Branca said...

Part Two

Future Strategy:

What does this mean for the successful region? Well obviously they need to keep the pressure on, pedal to the metal, make that hay while the sun shines. Now’s the time to consolidate this victory and not settle back into their old complacency. The job isn’t done yet. They need more! So it is very fortunate that they have the right person for the job all tied up. Still, this genius of a consultant remains a mystery. Economic development at these levels is a highly secretive business. But for the purpose of an academic case study it is necessary to know the skills and secrets of the world’s top professional. So who is it? Does he wear a big red “S” on his shirt? Is she an Indian biotech magnate, a Hong Kong banker? Maybe he’s a Nobel Prize economist! In fact, the person is ( -- phone rings -- “No. No. You can’t be… No! there’s no way! Look, no one in their right mind would … No, look, check your sources… You DID check your sources. But surely someone will…. They said they won’t? Why the hell not? Oh for cryin’ out loud, they didn’t! Yeah. Right. Yeah. OK. Christ on a raft! Yeah, I can sure see them doing that now that you mention it. I just never in a million … Rightrightrightcan’tchangeitsspotsandallthat. OK, thanks. Let me know where… I’ll buy. What? Oh, yes, I love Russian roulette. Your place or mine? Hey to Betty. OK, bye.)

Sorry for that. Let me catch my breath here… Well, it’s like this. That whole economic growth thing it turns out wasn’t all that important. Good jobs, international investment, high tech manufacturing, government money, 21st Century image, new infrastructure, etc., etc. Rubbish. It has been decided at the highest levels that those things are irrelevant to this city’s economic future. In fact, the new state father never had any interest in those things to begin with. (Maybe they never asked him.) So he decided to give all the money to other state fathers so they could have what this city almost had. He says he’s sorry for those states but his state wins because it’s best if they don’t dirty their hands with someone else’s money no matter how much it helps. That’s the new state economic development plan and the city fathers agree it is a better approach. There is more good news, too. They now don’t have to pay big bucks for a consultant. The people they already have will be their economic development experts for the next 25 years!

Assignment: In 100 words or less, what are the lessons that other state fathers and mothers can take from this case study?

Extra Credit: Which state are you moving to, and do you have a spare room?