Adios Tax Credits in Ohio?

Richard Florida recently released a study saying that tax incentives are becoming less of a location factor.  Similarly, the New York Times published a series on the use of tax incentives and the lack of a corresponding return on investment to states and localities.  It looks as if Gov. Kasich is developing a corresponding view for Ohio.

As a life long Ohioan, there are many great assets in Ohio: world class universities, available land, buildings, reasonable utility costs, a large supply of labor with a re-known midwestern work ethic.  There are entertainment complexes, fantastic suburbs, exciting large cities, and picturesque rural areas.  Every type of housing one could think of are found here; cities and towns with exemplary local services.  Ohio is a mix of traditional manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and to use Florida’s three T’s: technology, talent and tolerance (well, we’re working on that last one).



(c) 2012 Economic Development Data Services

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Baby Boomers as Economic Development

As we boomers are getting older, we have influenced politics, popular culture, business and now retirement locations.  I am sure the younger generation will be happy when they can have the influence we have had…and hopefully fewer reality TV shows….

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Increasing Productivity in Economic Development

Most communities have small staffs – usually one person; at best two. And budget size: fogettabodit… If you are the ED person, how does the pressure feel?  Yeah, I thought so. Intense. What have you done today to bring in a new company and/or help that expansion? As it was once said to me, “You only have 100% of your time.” And then of course, there is family time and other interests or needs in your life. YIKES!

So what is an ED professional to do? You could always take a time management class. Personally, I recommend the Franklin -Covey courses. In my opinion, they are the best. Okay, so now you’ve organized your time, the desk is organized and the question comes again: What have you done to day to bring in a new company and/or help that expansion?

What is the next step? Use the web. Automate. Your website is set up. Your community has spent a few thousand dollars on the website. It looks pretty cool. It is functional. Provides terrific information. Or does it? Did you know that 90% of site selection work is conducted via website searches? Did you know that:

  • 45% of users prefer to obtain permitting and fee information online
  • 55% preferred to obtain property tax information online
  • 57% preferred to obtain utility information online as opposed to contacting the community
  • 65% of respondents indicated that they were somewhat to very likely to go to a website showing cost comparisons during a business location project.
When was the last time you provided utility and tax information to a prospective client?  How much time did it take?  Did you have to go to another person for the information?  How long did it take for that person to get back with you?  Did the timeframe add to your stress level?  Yeah,  I am sure it did.  
Now, let’s go back to that 90% figure.   Your website is the gateway for economic development information.   The vast majority of site selectors want to gather this information quickly and confidentially!  BARC provides what your market is  looking for  That is efficiency.  This returns productivity to your operation and customer service to your economic development customer.
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We’ve Moved!!

We have moved our Blog to

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The Economic Development Calculator

The CDJ Consulting website is steadily improving in 2011. We have added information about and a demonstration model of our (patent pending) economic development calculator: the Business Assistance Recruitment Calculator(c). Our Ohio Basic Model is up; soon to be added will be our Plus and Enhanced Models; followed by our Minnesota models. Some serious thinking, research and a very intelligent IT Guru (my friend and CDJ partner Paul DeLuca) put it all together. We will soon be listing our present BARC customers. Please go to and click on BARC. At the bottom of the page is the demo button. Take a look and play with the model. We can have BARC attached to your municipality’s economic development page in a few weeks, hosted on our secure server, and at a very affordable price.   And for communities outside of Ohio, we can create one for your community’s website.  Help put your  community’s best foot forward with the latest and most practical economic development tool.
If you have any questions or would like to place an order, please e-mail me at
Thanks a lot.
Charley Bowman and the CDJ Team

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Brimeyer Fursman – CDJ Partnership Update

Last month I commented on the formation of a strategic partnership with Brimeyer Fursman Executive Search/Strategies. We have been e-mailing and teleconferencing since August. I finally had the opportunity to meet our new strategic partners at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities in Denver at the beginning of this month. We looked at the NLC meetings as the place to “kick off” our new relationship.

Over the past few months, we at CDJ were pretty comfortable with personalities, philosophies and thought processes. My CDJ partners Dave Anderson and Jack Haney had the opportunity to meet Richard and Irina Fursman at ICMA this past fall. I had yet to do so. As we all know, there is nothing like meeting face to face. E-mails and phone calls and reviewing written work are good ways to get to know someone, but nothing beats meeting face to face. And I must say, the principles at Brimeyer Fursman are first class individuals and professionals.

We worked a booth together for two days and really got to know each other, familiarized ourselves with each others strengths and talked with potential clients. Richard has extensive background in city manager and department head searches. Irina has equal experience in group facilitation processes and development of personality profiles. They are both very strong in conducting strategic planning programs. They have used these skills to help city managers/administrators and city councils throughout the Upper Midwest.

How can I say this after one meeting? I met many of their clients at the NLC conference — mayors, city council members and city managers/administrators. They have created very positive relationships.

Their core competencies blend well with our core of strategic planning and administrative analysis and we look forward to many years of cooperative work together. If your community is considering a strategic retreat this year, please contact us. This new team will provide a program to guide your organization into the future.

Check us out at and

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Cycling, part 2


Yep, time for another rambling bicycling topic (don’t look for the 5 paragraph form you learned in junior high school).  I was only able to ride once since that last post.  I know.  There are times the bike, Mahdwan, looks at me like a forlorn puppy.  Yeah, that sounds a little weird, but cyclists understand.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back on a bike.  It has an almost addictive quality to it.  When I get back on my bike and start that ride there is a feeling of relaxing and exhilaration at the same time.  Riding is both good for my body and my head.  Do you remember what it was like when you were ten and riding that bike through your neighborhood?  I still get that feeling.  Instant regression.  Even though I am wearing spandex and a helmet.


One of the great parts of living in northeast Ohio (yes, there are many) is that bike paths are readily accessible.  In the outer suburbs rural roads are just a few minutes away.  I have a particular route I call the Portage Pounder which takes me through about six different Portage County communities.  There are hills, flats, smooth roads, cheap n’ seal roads (not nearly that fun), small towns, colleges, sprawl developments (unfortunately), and a few working farms.  There are a couple of hilltops that allow a rider to see for miles.  However, I prefer road riding to bike paths — too many people on the hike/bike trails – which is as it should be.  I tend to ride a little faster than most “pedestrians” on the bike paths; and that can make it dangerous for all concerned.  Riding on the road is just a freer feeling.


I found recently I can get to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in about twenty minutes.  The area around Peninsula takes me into Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, Copley, Bath, Richfield, Boston Mills and nary a horizontal surface and gorgeous scenery.  The more I ride, the more I love riding hills.  Downhill, of course is a rush!  I call it “tuck n’go” — making myself as aerodynamic as possible (elbows and knees in, deep into the drops, back parallel to the road and eyes on the road in front of me and just in case, fingers resting on the brakes).  There is nothing like getting upward of 35 – 40 miles per hour on a downhill — feeling the wind blow by.  It can be scary at first, but once I got used to it, I take full advantage of gravity!  But it is a good idea to watch out for potholes — you’ll do more than fly… And just as fun is gliding on the flats or depending on the upcoming hill, gliding to the top of it.


But what about going uphill?  Ah, there is the challenge.  I am thankful for real good Team In Training coaches and friends who are hill-climbers.  It is also helpful to have some kind of electronic doo-dad on the bike to tell me what the percent of grade the hill happens to be.  There are the long, low percent grade hills and the short, high percent grade hills.  It is the combination hills that are even more fun.  When I rode in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (around Lake Tahoe) in 2007 with the Northeast Ohio Team In Training Team, we were faced with an eight mile climb.  It was about a six percent grade.  Now it was a tough ride, but when I got to the top of the hill at Spooner Junction, I knew I had accomplished something (I really felt the accomplishment after finishing the rest of the ride for a total of 100 miles).  I think that is what hills are about: the challenge.  The workout.  The burn. The accomplishment.  The tricky part is training for the hills.  I found that standing up in the saddle and pedaling takes more energy than sitting and pedaling.  The secret is gearing down, spinning, and sitting up to get air into the lungs.   Like anything else, the more you do, the better you get.  And of course, around cycling buddies, there are bragging rights and a camaraderie hard to find anywhere else.


Which brings me to the folks I ride with…I’ll not mention names, to protect the innocent.  Some are crowned with nicknames: d-net, speed, angel, sexy bob, dainty pink, naked chick, bald guy and bicyles end up with names: mahdwan, cadence, grant, dragonfly, to name just a few.  Getting together for group rides or sponsored rides is great fun.  Often times a 40-50 mile ride will be highlighted by riding to an ice cream store — I mean, you can burn up lots of calories, replace them and then burn them off again!   I prefer the ice cream rides.  In fact, one of the ice cream riders is coming up with a “team” jersey for us.  The ages of riders range from kids in their 30’s and 40’s and some us in their 50’s on up to 70!

So go buy a bike this Christmas and get out there this year…


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Bicycle Riding — maybe part 1

When I first started this blog, I was asked what all I would write about. I mentioned the usual professional topics and maybe some personal things like cycling, music and maybe some other random topics. With the change in weather, almost I can think about is riding my bicycle. Riding in late fall and winter has its challenges; sometimes it mean less riding. Do you remember riding you bicycle as a kid? I mean, after I figured out that balance can, in some respects beat gravity…

Schwinns. Murrays. Heavy bikes with bike fat tires. As kids we used to ride our bikes everywhere: to and from friends’ houses, to the store to buy a loaf of bread or something. Playing cards or baseball cards held in the spokes with clothes pins to sound like a motorcycle; spinning out in piles of gravel and dirt on the street corners. We rode our bikes to school. I used my bike to deliver newspapers – even in the winter. In elementary school, we used to ride from Mentor into Kirtland down to the Chagrin River. In junior high, three of us even rode to Punderson State Park from Mentor — on a Sears 3-speed! And the same bike took me to work during college. I bought that bike with my newspaper money and it served me over ten years. I paid $49 for that bike — that was a lot for a kid in elementary school delivering newspapers. I learned to take it apart, put it back together, replace the gear and brake cables, re-pack bearings. That was a great bike. I think my parents sold it or tossed it when they moved to the Retirement State, Florida.

I did not ride a bike again until I was 40. Darn near 20 year later. I was living in Xenia and the City and Greene County were building hike/bike trails as fast as they could get funding. I recall thinking, “ These things are only good from maybe April to late October. Why are we spending all this money?” This was, after all, Ohio! But I could not resist the call of the hike/bike paths and bought a new bike: a Giant hybrid. It was heavy with 15 speeds and straight handlebars. 15 speeds!!! It was great to ride; the joy of a 10 year old on a bicycle was back – pure exhilaration!!!

The bike paths took me to some new places — though not really far away. I was not sure about riding more than 15-20 miles — that was pretty far! My wife and I took the kids for bike rides on the trails. I was truly surprised how many people were on the trails – it reminded me of Sim City! The trails were teeming with walkers, hikers, skateboarders, in-line skaters and cyclists of all kinds on all kinds of bicycles. I even bought a bike helmet. That was as far as my understanding of cycling went. But it was enough for the time. The sheer joy of riding had taken a bite of me.

I moved back to Northeast Ohio and again found bike trails. One day I was talking to an old high school friend Rick, and was telling him about my bike and that I had ridden 8 miles that day. He told me he ride 12. The next dayI rode 12 and called Rick again. He had ridden 18. I was flummoxed. He then told me about road bikes. I started to choke — I recalled seeing those prices. The Giant hybrid was really expensive – or so I thought ($300). So of course, I went to the local bicycle store — Eddy’s Bikes! What a store!! It was almost like being akid in a candy store. There were rows and rows of bikes. And water bottles. And over to the left, clothes. Clothes? Oh c’mon — you’ve got to be kidding! Bicycling clothes??? After a few weeks of indecision I bought a Trek 1.0. And then the salesman suggested bike shorts. Spandex? Seriously? On a guy?

Okay. I bought the shorts. I now have 3 pairs of spandex shorts. And a shirt — oops — a jersey. It had pockets on the back big enough to hold grapefruits. And gloves. A few months later, I went back and bought shoes and “clipless” pedals — pedals to which I have to clip on my shoes. At this point I was more than bitten.

Since then I have ridden four century rides — three with the Team In Training program in different states. I have made some incredible friends in the process. Thinking back to the comment I made 12 years ago in Xenia, I am now riding almost year round. Yep, in Ohio. I celebrate New Year’s Day with a 20-30 mile bike ride. Did I mention, riding hills??? That will be another topic for another day….gotta go. Gotta ride my bike before the rain and snow hits this week.

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National League of Cities Congress of Cities December 1-3, 2010

CDJ Consulting,LLC and Brimeyer-Fursman Executive Searches/Strategies will be launching our new strategic partnership at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities in Denver, Colorado with a booth at the conference.  We will be at Booth #770.

The NLC Conference is December 1 – December 3, 2010.  BRIMEYER-FURSMAN and CDJ provide recruiting and organization development services to municipalities, professional associations, joint power organizations and non-profit boards. We facilitate organizational and community transitions from hiring new executives to developing strategic plans. We assist organizations in developing leadership skills, creating a sense of teamwork and actively engaging their stakeholders as well as providing administrative analysis and solutions.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Denver in December!

Please see our websites: and

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CDJ enters into Strategic Partnership with Brimeyer Fursman

We are happy to announce a new strategic partnership with Brimeyer Fursman Executive Search/Strategies. CDJ Consulting welcomes Richard and Irina Fursman! CDJ will be representing Brimeyer Fursman Executive Search in the states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Brimeyer Fursman presently provides executive search and strategic planning services to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The team of Richard Fursman, Irina Fursman, Jim Brimeyer, Pam Carlson and Paul Fursman lead this strategic partnership team with over 100 years of combined public service and executive search experience

CDJ is bringing over 120 years combined public sector
experience with great focus in economic development, team building, employee involvement and improving service levels for public service consumers.

The firms’ respective websites can be found at: and

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