Economic Developers Face Big Opportunity

Tuomi-HeaderIt wasn’t too long ago Windsor was quickly eliminated from winning a General Electric engine factory. Most likely, the local economic development office has picked itself up from what should have been an easy victory and is now concentrating on an even greater prize.

This one would truly transform the city and diversify its economy.

Right now, the federal government is looking for a city to host its Canada Infrastructure Bank. A number of cities are in the running including Calgary. On January 23, the Globe and Mail reported it is pressing hard to win it for Alberta, but is offering the usual motherhood about the greatness of the prairie city.

In reality, as many in the once rosy city know, Calgary is no Windsor, which ironically, can be taken either way. That Calgary is in the race at all should not scare the local developers led by newly installed leader Stephen MacKenzie.

Surely in a showdown, MacKenzie would win over the fearless Naheed Nenshi, the popular Cowtown mayor. Apparently, he bragged to the Globe about some of the items making Calgary highly attractive for this kind of financial institution.

On his list is the city’s location, at the confluence of the rivers Elbow and Bow. Such an out-of-the-way occurrence of nature could help the government achieve innovative thinking outside of the bubble of Toronto’s Bay Street, the nation’s financial capital.

Obviously Windsor should be on the fast track to win this one against Calgary and redeem the developers for their embarrassing loss of the GE plant. This might explain the recent shocking news about MacKenzie busying himself with putting together a dossier on new US President Donald Trump.

Obviously, the report about his file assembly, broadcast by the local CBC, was assuredly nothing if not a ruse. MacKenzie, and this is speculation, was using his Trump file to confuse Nenshi. What other explanation could there be for an economic developer who has so far won no new factories for the city?

The new bank gives MacKenzie the chance to bring something truly remarkable to Windsor, by filling the city’s declining downtown with investment bankers. The famed polished-shoe set is a key group economic development officers chase because they have more disposable income than the sneaker set attending the local university and college’s downtown classrooms.

That MacKenzie would go after such a unique opportunity, if he is, shows the value of bringing an innovative leader to the city. He probably knows the bank could find a stately home in the federally-owned Paul Martin Senior building.

An announcement is expected soon, although with MacKenzie’s lack of accomplishment so far, a tradition at the economic development office, the city might not want to hold its breath.

On January 26, Calgary Herald reporter Deborah Yedlin disclosed that the race is between Montreal and Calgary. So, where does that leave Windsor?

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