ABCD’s 5 Pillars for Success

by | Aug 4, 2016 | News, Newsletter

As we here at ABCD Corp. begin to think about our strategic and operational plans for the future we have also been researching trends in economic development, community development and talent attraction to make sure that we are allocating our assets the best way possible. It is clear that in all of research and best practice that the most critical efforts are around the topic of Talent. “Talent is the fuel that is driving business decisions not just locally, but across the globe,” said Steve McKnight, Pres/CEO of ABCD Corp.

The next generation workforce and investors are viewing the world much differently than ever before. Enabled by technology and with a strong desire for work-life balance, future generations are seeking communities that can offer the ability to both advance careers and enjoy life. The future talent force is as likely to be a freelancer as they are to join an established business. Most will do both in places that they want to live in, not just because of an available employment opportunity.

These changes present new challenges and opportunities. A key to success is to ensure a unique blend of urban, rural, cultural, and active destination experiences, and we have it all right here in Blair County. We have the mountains, rivers, lakes and trails that have defined our economy and way of life. One of our focuses will be to make sure that we communicating all of the great things that we have here in Blair County to the rest of the world.

In order for us to fulfill our mission of assisting local companies to Retain, Expand and Grow their operations and employment as well as Attract new companies to Blair County we have identified 5 Pillars to focus our future efforts on; Core Services, Entrepreneurship, Housing, Reuse & Infill and Community Brand & Engagement. And the fuel that will power our efforts and visioning is Talent. “Talent is the common, cross-cutting issue that threads each of our five pillars together,” said McKnight. “People fuel business. People are business. Changes in our labor force means we will need to attract talented people in order to ensure both our existing and future businesses succeed.”

The key points to each of the 5 Pillars are:

Core Programs: Financing Programs – Land and Building Development (tree service marketing and landscaping included) – Marketing and Promotion – Target Market Opportunities – Business Retention Visits

Entrepreneurship: Build upon a home grown tradition – Leverage pipeline partnerships with Penn State Altoona – Create community landing pads – Ensure robust seed / angel / venture funding continuum – Identify a network of next generation investors and mentors – Celebrate successes

Housing: Communicate with developers – Diversify options and price points – Focus on market rate, high finish – Add rental options – Create higher density with mix of uses where possible – Identify/Create Program Funding

Reuse and Infill: Continue urban core revitalization – Identify new capacity/developable footprints – Encourage new partnerships/expertise – Further leverage core market drivers – Leverage new/existing funding programs

Community Brand & Engagement: Accurately communicate who we are – Promote destination tourism assets – Create ambassadors and feature testimonials through campaigns – Internships through Industry Engagement – Develop new alumni & boomerang networks – Heighten role of Young Professional organizations – Incorporate social media analytics and tactics

We are excited to share our developments within these pillars with everyone as we continue to finalize the specifics to meet our goals. If you have an interest in serving on an advisory committee as we move forward immediately with website redevelopment, social media, engaging young professionals or alumni networks, please contact Matt Fox at 814-944-6113 or

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