“That Which We Share In Common Is Stronger Than Our Differences”

I wish I had said that, but I didn’t.  It’s a quote from Chris Bradley, a long-time Columbus, Ohio weatherman who is dying of leukemia.  A dog loving husband and father of two, he is now on hospice care and yet continues to inspire with his deep faith and positive outlook for the future.  Let that be a lesson for all of us.  I know it is for me.

Chris is worth knowing (Learn more here) as he has touched the lives of so many in C-bus for over two decades. He’s a testament to using whatever “bully pulpit” you may have for the greater good.

I’ve written a lot this year about the value of collaboration, sober and rational thought in our political discourse and the need for the economic development community to step out of its traditional “lanes” and work to advance broader public policy agendas that will improve our respective communities. Chris, in his own spirited and sometimes whimsical manner, embodies that sentiment even during his final days with us. We can all learn from his example.

Amazon HQ2 pitted 238 communities against each other in an energetic, creative competition to land a generational, game changing gem. First narrowed to 20 and now with the announcement of our three winners, I believe this is a proud moment for the economic development industry. We behaved! Rather than spending the majority (vast) of our time, attention and precious resources on disparaging the competition like (insert any number of elected officials here), our industry shined by espousing the strengths and unique characteristics of our respective communities. In short, we embodied the very essence of Chris’s comment! I’m proud of the industry we serve, and you should be too!

Everyone who participated in the HQ2 extravaganza won something – for the 218 that didn’t make the cut, you learned how to come together as a region to pursue a dream bigger than any of your individual communities. Your challenges were exposed, allowing you to crystallize responses that will help you get stronger and better. For the 20 semi-finalists, you reached a level of recognition heretofore unachieved for many; you learned you can compete on the big stage by putting aside parochial (to the region) differences and come together to pursue a common goal. For the three winners, you learned that actual in region location is less important than the broader impact of a huge infusion of new jobs and capital investment into the region. In one way or another, we all won.

As we transition to 2019, let’s keep his words in mind because our business is not about building walls and denigrating other communities but rather tearing down walls and collaborating to advance agendas and goals greater than ourselves.

“That Which We Share In Common Is Stronger Than Our Differences”
– Chris Bradley

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