Econ. Development Org. Greater MSP Hires DEED Veteran

An organization aimed at attracting businesses to the Twin Cities has hired Gene Goddard to coordinate new business investment projects.

A regional economic development organization with plans to attract jobs and develop a brand for the Twin Cities has found a brand of its own: Greater MSP.

And it has added Gene Goddard-who spent two decades with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)-to its staff. He began his new job at Greater MSP on Monday.

The organization, which launched this spring, said that Goddard will “lead the coordination of new business investment projects” for the Twin Cities by working with business leaders, consultants, and corporate real estate managers seeking locations for businesses to set up shop in the area.

Goddard previously worked in DEED's Business Development Office, spending the last five years as statewide manager of high-value business arrangements.

The Itasca Project-a conglomeration of about 60 CEOs from across the state, public-sector officials, and leaders from area foundations-unveiled plans in September to fundraise for the new initiative, which was formerly called the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership.

The Itasca Project conducted research that indicated that the Twin Cities lack a centralized regional structure for developing a brand for the area. It found that the area's largest companies provide a great foundation for the region, but the relatively high cost of doing business in the area and “a culture that does not value entrepreneurs as strongly as other regions” has prevented the Twin Cities from attracting jobs.

Greater MSP aims to bolster local economic development by marketing the region in an attempt to attract new businesses, retain and expand existing businesses, and connect companies with local resources and incentives, among other efforts.

In March, the group announced the appointment of its first CEO, selecting Michael Langley to take the helm of the new organization.