The working draft of an upcoming short speech addressing Middlebury College alumni:
So, if you are not already aware, the College has recently joined with the town’s government and with the local business community of Middlebury to support the activities of an economic development professional – that person is ME. I say recently, but the opportunity that I have to speak to you today, is actually the result of work that has spanned several years and garnered input from many people – specifically with regard to how this initiative would be structured, what the initial focus would be and how it would be supported from a financial perspective – inclusive of a town meeting where residents voted to establish a fund that covers some of our costs and in turn is matched by the College. A real public/ private partnership. Consequently, there is a great foundation already in place.
You may ask yourself WHY? To illustrate why, I am going to turn to a Chinese philosopher – Lao Tzu. He is quoted as saying “If you don’t change direction – you may end up where you’re headed.” Pretty straight forward and like many quotes from ancient Chinese philosophers this one seems obvious but I think is represents the Middlebury community’s frame of mind while planning for a Business Development Director. Again, you may not be aware of the fact that Middlebury has recently lost some employment opportunities – a big chunk of them manufacturing jobs; that it has also lost some population – most notably people in their 20’s and 30’s and there is a degree of underemployment in the community – people that are not employed to their fullest potential. Middlebury chose, however, to be proactive; they demonstrated a bias for action; and they decided to participate in their own future. This dynamic is very attractive to me and we hope that it resonates with you too. As a community we are going to change course. In summary Middlebury is still a great place but we could be doing better. And that’s where guys you come in.
So one of my responsibilities is to identify Middlebury alumni that first of all, have an interest in helping us navigate this new path and secondly may also have access to what I call an economic opportunity. If you are an entrepreneur or an executive in your organization and are considering a new business launch, a relocation of your company or an expansion project we want to speak with you. If you want to become more deeply connected to the College and in turn the Middlebury community, we want to speak with you. As you might expect, we value an appreciation for the natural environment and an appreciation for community. We are also very interested in businesses that need a place to realize their projected growth – if you have a proven business model and your company needs to take the next step forward, we want to speak with you. Please also note that I am very collaborative and consequently in lieu of a specific relocation/ expansion project or new business launch, it will also be valuable if you can help us promote the community to your professional colleagues. As an aside, we will be measuring our success in both a quantitative and qualitative way – at the end of the day this is about creating wealth in Middlebury and Addison County.
We have what I believe to be an unparalleled combination of intellectual infrastructure – what I refer to as human capital – and quality of life/ sense of place. This combination is what encouraged me to bring my family to Middlebury and we absolutely love it. I think of it as Business at the speed of Life. We also have access to some of the region’s best research institutions and I’ve been told there is some pretty good cheese in Vermont too – I don’t think that should be discounted as an asset.
In closing, please note that we are building a better Middlebury. We recognize it is a process and that it won’t happen overnight but we also realize we can’t do it all by ourselves. We want you to be a part of it. I believe there is an opportunity waiting to be had. Middlebury is a great place that is going to get even better. On behalf of the community, we want you to participate in our future.