Economic Development Strategy

VisionFirst Advisors brings a team of professionals who have extensive experience in developing community, regional and state strategy along with a comprehensive suite of services as it relates to community engagement, strategic marketing and communications, research and community benchmarking. Having led economic development in two states and working with hundreds of counties, we have helped communities, regions and states move to a greater point of competitiveness. Today, as consultants we continue to help communities and states leverage opportunities, address challenges and develop plans that are both visionary and pragmatic with emphasis on execution. Each engagement starts from scratch, recognizing that each community and state has its own identity and a cookie cutter approach will not work. Our experts provide services in:

  • VisionFirst Vibrant Community Platform
  • Competitive assessments
  • Collaborative strategy
  • Asset development
  • SWOT with leverage points
  • Strategic planning
  • Building high-performing teams
  • Facilitated planning sessions
  • Building a creative economy
  • Global economic development & foreign direct investment assistance

“THRIVE2023: St. Tammany’s 5-year Economic Development Strategic Plan has been our North Star through the past four years. We believe that the process matters as much as the outcome. The team at VisionFirst Advisors have been excellent partners and continue to offer direct engagement and thoughtful feedback as we launch new initiatives and diligently work to advance our mission in the St. Tammany community. Through our steadfast implementation of the strategies and tactics, St. Tammany Corporation has increased our capacity, enhanced our sophistication, created dynamic regional partnerships, and launched innovative strategic initiatives.”

Chris Masingill

Chief Executive Officer, St. Tammany Corporation

Our Vibrant Community Platform

In our decades of economic and community development, we have learned that successful communities do not happen accidentally, but rather through intentional choices, commitments and actions of residents and leaders working together for a common vision for the future. While each community or region brings its own unique assets, resources, culture, identity and challenges, VisionFirst Advisors believes there is a platform on which vibrant communities are built that includes:


Vision comes first! It is an agreed-upon common destination, the North Star to which all those engaged in or impacting economic development may focus their efforts.


Citizens and leaders must be invested in the community’s future and engaged in its success. It is critical to make decisions and direct growth for the benefit of all citizens.


Communities should look beyond the data. Align education and training to inspire the workforce to pursue the path that best utilizes their talents and provides value to the community.


Communities are living systems. Growth should be purposefully directed to empower people to help the community flourish, sustain its citizens and attract others.


Opportunity provides the foundation for a vibrant community. Leaders must create and sustain an ecosystem that provides job opportunities for residents and build sustainability.

These factors are then impacted by three additional critical points:


Communities must approach economic development as a competitive endeavor, continually sharpening its ability to vie for investment and job growth. This includes sound leadership, clear policies, removing barriers, marketing and programs that minimize risk.


While buildings and sites are still basic building blocks of economic development competitiveness, successful communities broaden the definition of “product” to include talent and community assets for living. This holistic approach sets their total product apart from others.

Telling the Story

Vibrant communities have a great story to tell and actively pursue every means of communicating their assets and amenities both internally to inspire and recognize progress and externally to encourage others to see what makes their community exceptional for businesses and residents alike.

Economic Development Strategy Case Studies

Entergy Mississippi

St. Tammany Corporation

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