Principal and Co-Owner Clint Nessmith provides our blog for this edition of RDG Interactive.
I was recently at Pat Danahy’s retirement party in Greensboro, NC. It was a terrific celebration of Pat’s positive work in Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad during his 10+ years as CEO of the Greensboro Partnership. As those in attendance shared stories, I was reminded of just how far the regional cooperation needle had moved during Pat’s tenure.
When Pat became head of the Greensboro Partnership, he took on a role that called for him to not only bring unity to economic development efforts in Guilford County, but also to facilitate cooperation region-wide. This must have seemed an insurmountable goal at times as Greensboro’s economic development landscape had been described as an “alphabet soup” of organizations, and it was widely acknowledged that the three major cities in the region had a history of duplication of economic development efforts and inter-region competition for jobs.
Pat immediately started working with volunteer leadership from the private and public sector to develop alignment around a strategic plan for the newly formed Greensboro Partnership, comprised of three recently merged organizations, the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance, Greensboro Chamber and Action Greensboro. With strong backing and engagement from the business community, the new organization thrived in its first five years of existence, despite being created just before the Recession, and Pat quickly turned his attention to regionalism.
Working with leaders like Mayor Allen Joines of Winston-Salem, BB&T CEO Kelly King, VF Corp CEO Eric Wiseman and Piedmont Triad Partnership executives, Pat was a tireless advocate for developing a unified regional approach to marketing, site preparation and workforce development. Additionally, cities in the region agreed to stop actively seeking to attract companies already in the Triad and would share leads if they did not have what a potential new company was seeking. Duplication of efforts was virtually eliminated and a dovetailed program of work was developed between the Piedmont Triad Partnership, Winston-Salem Alliance and Greensboro Partnership.
RDG was fortunate to work with Pat and his dedicated team of professionals over the course of his entire tenure at the Greensboro Partnership, which included two funding campaigns. We are proud to have played a small role in helping build this unprecedented level of cooperation. Pat’s legacy will be lasting and goes well beyond his imprint on regionalism, but he, like others will serve as a shining example of what can be accomplished with determination and vision. All of us at RDG wish Pat the best in the next chapter of his life.
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