October 2022 Update from One Okaloosa EDC
By Nathan Sparks, CEcD
Executive Director of One Okaloosa EDC
Winston Churchill famously said “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” This sage wisdom can be applied to virtually any situation that life can offer – whether taking a trip, playing a football game or saving for retirement. I would also venture to guess that anyone reading this piece understands the value of planning and preparation as it pertains to your chosen career field or industry. Economic development is no different. Effective strategic planning helps ensure focus, purpose and alignment by defining clear-cut goals and objectives. Of course, when it comes to developing a strategic plan for a member-supported organization like One Okaloosa EDC, understanding the views of our members and many stakeholders is a vital piece of the overall puzzle.
As you may know, One Okaloosa EDC engages in a purposeful Strategic Planning process every three years. Given the aforementioned importance of stakeholder input, surveys are used to solicit substantive feedback. In preparation for the 2023-2025 planning process, surveys were distributed to three key stakeholder groups this past June – One Okaloosa EDC Investors, Public Sector Partners and members of the broader Okaloosa County business community that currently aren’t One Okaloosa investors.
Of particular note, the broader business community was surveyed for the first time this year and undertaken with the assistance of our valued Chamber partners including the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce, the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. In the end, we received completed surveys from nearly 250 individuals representing literally thousands of employees. Many thanks to those of you who took the time to share your thoughts with us! Your feedback was thoroughly reviewed by One Okaloosa’s Executive Committee and staff during a facilitated Strategic Planning retreat held in August, and helped inform the development of seven new strategic goals for the 2023-2025 timeframe that you can view here: https://florida-edc.org/OEDC/media/Images/content/Investors/FY-2023-2025-Strategic-Goals.pdf.
With these seven strategic goals for the next three years now approved, One Okaloosa EDC’s Executive Committee and staff are working to populate each goal with specific objectives for the upcoming 2023 fiscal year. Once these objectives are approved in October, One Okaloosa’s Executive Committee will receive quarterly progress briefings. While the road map is now effectively established, we know from experience that new opportunities and unforeseen challenges will present themselves that require the occasional pivot (think COVID-19). Bottom line though, through purposeful and informed planning, success remains squarely in our sights.