Why Are You Waiting?

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Header-image-TuomiBy Robert Tuomi

It sure looks like the public broadcaster is using taxpayer money to promote the hapless Rakesh Naidu as the next potential failure, in a long line of failures assigned to run the local economic development outfit. It was pretty clear the broadcaster is infatuated with the ability of Naidu to deliver pretence as good as any city politician, and even elevated the lacklustre amateur to the title of CEO.

No reason was given for the elevation, so speculation is that the news outfit is just using the power of the media as a way to show the world the title fits. Unfortunately, never one to let the facts get in the way of reality, Naidu is only the current interim leader.

It is a big difference.

Naidu, as it turns out, is hardly qualified even for his temporary position. He has no training, experience, or education in this chosen field. On March 7, 2012, the Windsor Star told the story of how he, “… arrived in Canada 11 years ago from India with a degree in chemical engineering and work experience with General Motors.”

Naidu was, apparently, quite proud to have found work outside of his core competencies and boasted to the paper he, “… had no experience in economic development, but now I love what I do and have a real passion for it.”

The CBC seemed to think Naidu was up to all good by attending an event in Toronto, orchestrated by the local university’s Cross Border Institute. The gabfest was held to stress the importance of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

It gave Naidu face time with some prominent people, of which Brad Duguid was held out as the most prominent. Duguid, as some know, is the politician who now holds Sandra Pupatello’s old job as Ontario’s minister of economic development.

Possibly Duguid used the opportunity to give Naidu tips on how to do his job. Certainly such advice might be helpful.

Some in the city remember Naidu whining to the local paper when Cross Country Trailers pulled out, relocated, and expanded to capture the delights of Blenheim and its obviously lower property taxes. Naidu, exposing his neophyte status, complained he knew nothing about it because they hadn’t called him.

Hopefully Duguid made him aware that the job of the economic developer is not to sit by the phone waiting for people to call, or for bridges to be built.

If nothing else, the CBC did show Naidu as an optimistic person which, on the surface, is not all that bad. However, it is scary to hear that the person in charge, even temporarily, of bringing jobs to the region is busy “hoping” trade will increase with the new bridge.

Sadly, hoping is not the way to do economic development. It never was and never will be.

It is a job that demands hard work and considerable skills not normally found in chemical books.

What is even more egregious, in an outlandish way, is Naidu seems to have learned one political lesson. It is to set up a scapegoat to protect against failure.

Apparently he, “… told CBC News there are plenty of opportunities to attract investment once the new bridge is completed.”

In other words, the opportunities will come later.

Most likely, when they don’t, Naidu is probably hoping no one will remember his prediction. The reality is, the opportunities are not linked to the bridge. There is a bridge currently between the two countries, and a tunnel as well.

Adding a second bridge will not change the region’s situation.

But, of course, it will give Naidu some breathing room, to simply claim things will get better once those laggards get busy building the bridge. Then abecedarian Naidu can have the opportunity, “… for us to really work with some big companies, medium and large companies.”

Of course he is handicapped and can’t do that now, not without the bridge.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.

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About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi

3 Comments on "Why Are You Waiting?"

  1. Robert you are 100% correct, you need someone in that position that can run the economic development outfit. We need a person that has been in the industry we are going after for manufacturing or retail sales these people need that type of experience.

  2. Going a little off topic I am referencing Alan Halberstadt’s article in BizX magazine stating councillor Borelli’s assessment that the charges being dumped on sidewalk cafe owners as insignificant & if they can’t handle it maybe they shouldn’t be in business. That comment should make every business person in town want to kick that pompous jerks ass across the room. THIS is someone leading our city? Why would anyone reading that want to come here or open a business.

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