Third part of city economic development study released

Latest phase of economic development survey focuses on six areas

bfortune@herald-leader.comDecember 15, 2010 

  • A copy of the third portion of the study is to be posted at Angeloueconomics.com/lexington.

The latest phase of an in-depth economic development study of the greater Lexington area was released Tuesday.

This third portion of the $150,000 study being jointly funded by Commerce Lexington and the city examined the industries that employ workers around the area and how they interact.

AngelouEconomics, the firm conducting the study, reviewed Lexington's mix of industries, the emerging industries in the region and the area's top assets, which included a highly educated work force, strategic geographic location, competitive costs for doing business and desirable quality of life.

Chris Carucci, the study's project manager, said the report noted areas of overlap among industries, which is key for attracting people with certain skill sets.

"Say you're looking at software engineers," he said. "There's a strong demand for software engineers in information technology, but also in automotive manufacturing.

"Tiffany's just announced a plant in Lexington. I would think they would definitely need software engineers."

A community needs a diverse industry base, he added.

"So if someone were to move to Lexington or graduate from the university with their skills, they could apply to more than industry," he said.

Identifying industry clusters also improves the ability of one industry to help another whenever possible. Carucci noted that in the convention and tourism business, city officials will want to know if trade shows or conferences that come to town are related to industries in the area.

If they are, "the next thing you want to do is make sure the city's economic development officers know that trade show is coming and that they set up appointments with those trade show people to talk about all the assets the city has," Carucci said. "That's where overlap comes into play."

The study focused on six industries that the city should target: tourism, animal science, life sciences, software and internet technology, clean energy, and business and professional services.

Bob Quick, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington, said the study will help Lexington better understand its economy, where it is and where it needs to be going.

"This will help us determine things like where we need to start to improve," he said.

Carucci said the entire report, which was commissioned in May, will be released in February. The report will lay out an economic development strategy with recommendations for achieving it.

Reach Beverly Fortune at (859) 231-3251 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3251.

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