Client Spotlight - Colleen Eddy
19 Apr 2021
News, Blog, Client Spotlight
Meet Colleen Eddy!
Colleen Eddy has been the Economic Development Specialist at the City of Elk River for seven years. The Economic Development Authority is a public corporation empowered to undertake certain types of economic development projects. Colleen works to maintain good relationships and communications with the business community. She offers advice and technical assistance to help companies problem-solve to optimize their chances for success and expansion. She is also an advocate for businesses when needed to ensure the business development and expansion process is streamlined as much as possible.
Before joining the city, she was President of the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. That was the first position that really got her hooked on Economic Development. “The Chamber had a great partnership with the City of Forest Lake, which led me to Elk River,” recalled Colleen. “I enjoy my job and getting to know our business community. There are a lot of unique things being manufactured here all of which started with a great story.”
Getting Into Economic Development
Working with the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was the first time Colleen had been involved with economic development. As President, she partnered with the city on their business recruitment and expansion (BR&E) program. This was the perfect opportunity to get a feel for what economic development was really all about. And from that experience on, Colleen claims she was “hooked” and happy to be playing such a crucial role in the success of communities. In addition to working with the City of Elk River, Colleen is also on the Board of Directors of the Mid-America Economic Development Association (MAEDC).
Working with the City of Elk River
“One of the greatest things about working with the City of Elk River is working with our business community and hearing their stories!” said Colleen. Elk River is home to over 50 manufacturing companies, several of which started in family garages. There is also an innovative spirit among various manufacturing businesses, who saw a need and invented parts of whatever they needed. One of the businesses in the City is even being led by a third-generation!
Over the seven years that Colleen has been with the City of Elk River, she prides herself on the relationships she has built and maintained over the years, as well as the knowledge she’s gained, all of which contribute to the success of the economic development program of Elk River.
Of course, as you all know, while economic development sure turns up some great stories, it also comes with its challenges. In particular, the last several months have been especially trying as community leaders navigate through the uncharted waters of COVID-19. Colleen recognizes the difficulties of keeping up with all the SBA loans and resources and being kept “in the know” so she could in turn communicate all the opportunities to the local businesses.
Colleen has also had to get creative in the way that the City of Elk River does BR&E visits now that we are living in a more virtual world. However, she notes that while navigating this has definitely been interesting, it has all been very well received and I think we all look forward to seeing how this continues to change the way that business is done.
Advice for Economic Developers
For any other economic developers, especially those who are just starting out, Colleen recommends asking questions and constantly learning as much as you can. “Keep an open mind and you will go far,” she suggests. “Also find a mentor. There are a lot of very experienced economic development professionals who are more than willing to help and are just waiting for you to reach out.”
Partnering With Golden Shovel Agency
In an effort to recognize some of the greatest economic developers we work with, we share these client spotlights to inspire you and give you insights into the successes and challenges they face.
At Golden Shovel Agency, we know that you want to be a respected leader of a growing community. Our goal is to help you get there. We understand how frustrating it can be to not get noticed or to fall behind the competition. That’s why we focus on organizations like yours.
Economic development is what we live and breathe. We currently support over 230 organizations across the U.S. and Canada.
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