Recovery = Restore + Resiliency + Renewal + Transformation
APRIL 29, 2020 – SERIES 2 OF 6

Today, we find ourselves in a difficult situation with over one million Americans now infected by coronavirus and at the same time, more than 26 million without jobs in just five weeks. This is number two of a six-part series, called Restore, on recovery lessons from past catastrophic events. Other tenants of recovery include Resiliency, Renewal and Transformation. 

Restore is focused on putting life back together. It is adjusting to a new normal, balancing the necessities of survival such as food, water, shelter and healthcare, with the needs of restoring an economy. Following natural disaster, I have heard faith-based leaders deployed to help say, “When there is no economy, you have to create one.” This principle is applicable to the Coronavirus pandemic and the responsibility is with the economic development professional to guide the way. 

This must be a collaborative strategy with all involved to identify barriers and create solutions for a pathway forward. There is no greater barrier to the deployment of private capital than risk; therefore, success is achieved by creating solutions that mitigate risk for the investor. Site certification programs were devised to eliminate unforeseen issues on an industrial site. Collaboration strategies of educational and workforce institutions have been developed to mitigate the risk the lack of talent to support a new business. It will take federal, state and local public support to create programs that mitigate risk moving forward. 

This starts with having a thorough understanding of the situation. Collection of data and existing business input is essential to creation of risk mitigating solutions. It is also vital to making sure your current employers’ needs are identified to retain as many jobs as possible. This feedback will drive programmatic solutions to address the issues.

For example, following Hurricane Katrina, one of the biggest obstacles for rebuilding was the cost of insurance. State funded wind pools where created to provide a safety net for coverage as the insurance markets recovered. The State of Florida has done the same with the creation of its Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in 2002 following several hurricanes. We have also seen Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds allocated to utilities to lessen the cost of utilities that might have increased to recover damage during a natural disaster.

The solution for economic recovery from Coronavirus will include these concepts and many others as we balance mitigating risk for capital and limiting the return of the virus. Like our company name, restoring the economy to a new normal starts with a vision first. People must share the vision that there is hope and a pathway for recovery moving forward. 

Gray Swoope
President & CEO
VisionFirst Advisors