BCIC Annual Meeting
The Bennington County Industrial Corporation’s (BCIC’s) Annual Meeting was held on November 16th at the Bennington Museum, where approximately 40 attendees gathered for a social and networking hour before sitting down for the business meeting. Featuring a keynote address from Wayne Granquist, Chair of the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone Committee, the Annual Meeting was sponsored by local businesses TD Bank, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Bennington College, and Global-Z International.
BCIC President Dixie Zens focused his report on the previous year’s organizational transitions, observing that the new relationship between BCIC and BCRC has improved BCIC’s efficiency while maintaining its independence as an organization. Bill Colvin and Jonathan Cooper of BCRC incorporated the transition theme into the Director’s Report, identifying a shift away from economic development efforts that focus on bringing external assets to a region, and toward an “economic gardening” approach that supports the development of local assets. Jeannie Jenkins provided an overview of numerous initiatives undertaken by the BCIC’s Workforce and Education Committee to develop the local workforce.
In his keynote remarks, Wayne Granquist observed that through the 1990s, state-level economic development programs were focused on delivering incentives to local companies, but that such inducements are only be one tool in the toolkit. The challenge lies in creating an environment for coordinated and meaningful regional economic development and described the CEDS process embedded in the concept of the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone as a key opportunity that needs to be acted on now.