Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 2, Issue 9

22 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 opportunities.” Klementich’s vision is one of increasing policy influence and thought leadership through the economic development profession. She explains, “IEDC’s certification program, for example, plays a pivotal role in shaping how professionals influence policy at a national and even international level. Every day, these professionals are working in the field and have the knowledge and experience to be the thought leaders driving economic vitality.” Greene’s perspective revolves around managing the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while addressing other crucial socio-economic factors. “One area that’s already under discussion is racial equity, which will continue,” he says, “but another area will be how we think about communities in terms of wealth and shared prosperity. As we move beyond the pandemic into the future, our economies will be shaped differently. Now more than ever, people don’t want to take jobs that are dead-end jobs. Instead, we should ask how even low-wage jobs can be reimagined for individuals to have dignity, worker power, and worker voice and can provide pathways to economic mobility and security. So, I think the focus will be how to use economic development as a lever to create this level of sheer prosperity and dignity for everyone.” Finkle concludes with sage words drawn from his long tenure at the IEDC. He says, “I don’t have a crystal ball but what I know for a fact is that there will be change. Over the 40 years that I have worked at the IEDC, I have seen tremendous change, and this will continue. What we’ll need to look at are new technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence and how they will impact various economies while always thinking about what’s around the corner and asking how we as economic developers can retool the communities that we serve to deal with these emerging issues.” with nowhere to work.” Looking forward, Kucharski, Klementich, Greene, and Finkle each have a unique perspective of how they see the role of the IEDC and the broader economic development profession changing and evolving over the next three to five years. Kucharski sees the future as one that compels communities to become nimbler while embracing new technologies and forging better collaboration and relationships. He shares, “If the pandemic has done anything, it’s stripped away what wasn’t valuable to work on. The future of the economic development profession won’t be about chasing companies to move to your community but about building communities, competing for talent worldwide, and growing local industries by connecting them to more