On November 9, 2015, the Council for Quality Growth hosted our 6th annual Community Improvement District Recognition Luncheon at Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. With over 200 in attendance, the event highlighted the current and future projects of the twenty-one Metro Area CIDs. Specifically, it highlighted the work they do to improve quality of life and access to opportunity throughout the Metro region.
Following lunch and a video presentation of top area projects, was a Technology and Innovation panel featuring Kinetic Ventures Managing Director Nelson Chu, Southern Company Vice President of Innovation Centers Michael Britt, and General Manager of AT&T Smarter Cities Michael Zeto. The panel was moderated by Craig Lesser, Managing Partner of Pendleton Consulting Group. The panelists were asked questions pertaining to the role which CIDs can play in cultivating technology and innovation hubs throughout the Metro Region.
In response, the panelists shone light on the fragile nature of emerging businesses, highlighting the powerful role CIDs could play in breaking down communication silos and in helping emerging businesses to develop relationships with long established firms. The panelists encouraged CIDs to play a more active role in identifying and reaching out to start ups, as at times, start-up entrepreneurs may not even recognize they are within CID boundaries. They also emphasized the importance of strengthening regional core competencies and collaborating across jurisdictions to develop interconnected communities which allow entrepreneurs access to their customer base, preserving their awareness of ‘hair on fire’ problems which can be transformed into 21st century competitive business opportunities.
Following the panel, the luncheon’s Keynote Speaker, Congressman Rob Woodall (R- Lawrenceville), presented an overview of the 2015 Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act that recently passed in the House of Representatives. A member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman Woodall stated that policy makers tackling the nation’s infrastructure challenges are slowly coming around to the idea that providing state and local governments more flexibility in infrastructure investments can be an effective way to maximize returns on investments. He commended CID leaders on the work they’ve done to restore trust in the efficiency of local organizations, stating that restoring trust in government and local organizations is the first step towards expanding the type of strategies which can be adopted to address infrastructure needs.
Community Improvement Districts’ ability to invest in local infrastructure and their ability to coordinate and help reshape policy frameworks makes them powerful agents of change. Monday’s luncheon highlighted how CIDs can leverage these abilities to form coalitions where disruptive technology entrepreneurs, business interests, and policy makers can come together to guide Georgia’s economy into the future.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, Congressman Woodall, our panelists and attendees for making this event yet again a successful recognition of our region’s CIDs. To view the Council’s video of CID visions and accomplishments, see below:
To download Congressman Woodall’s presentation, click HERE.