And another one packs her bags

For all of the efforts of the “Creative Class” movement in Dayton, I was sitting with a friend on Friday who is packing her bags for Austin Texas. Marianne is a talented licensed massage therapist who has been practicing for at least 10 years in the area. She has about 500 clients. None of them are moving with her to Austin. If you ask the person who cuts your hair what kind of following is needed to survive- the number is around 250- for an LMT, 500 is a great number.

Her faith in Dayton is broken. She’s leaving. She’s walking away from a pretty good business to start from scratch. That’s a big leap, and a statement on her lack of confidence in the area.

Somehow, we’re failing massively. It’s not just NCR leaving, it’s our future.

It’s not about convening any more group-think sessions, blue ribbon panels, or hiring more consultants. It’s time to put some people in charge, set real goals and objectives and then start a clock ticking. Either progress toward the goal, or be gone.

No more namby-pamby either. If you have to pay your customer to do business with you, you should be fired as a salesman. All this “economic development” nonsense has to go. It’s not about selling the sizzle- it’s about having the steak in the first place.

It’s sad when I have to go back to a post from, oh, 2006 to remind people what to sell. It’s also funny that it brings up Austin Texas too. I think it’s worth a re-read: When our “leaders” and “economists” don’t understand what drives jobs

Yes, I know I listed as one of our strengths the DHL hub- alas.

It was the post that Dan Foley referred to when he was sworn in: Grattitude

Talking about our strengths isn’t going to bring Marianne back. Only recently did the Dayton Development Coalition start talking about our abundant water instead of “Get Midwest”– but, at least it’s a start.

I’d probably also add this amazing fact to the list: The dollar value of the research being done at WPAFB exceeds that of the entire amount done at every Ohio state university. We’re sitting on a ton of very bright people here- although it’s easy to forget since the people in media don’t spend time covering anything with an IQ over their own.

How do we move from down-and-out former tooling and manufacturing powerhouse to a dynamic community of learners and doers? For one- stop electing people who are cogs in the old broken down machine that has run our community into the ground.

The second step is to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them before. UniGov is only an idea that’s been proven to work elsewhere- why aren’t we looking beyond that to things that haven’t been tried before?

I believe that we’re going to have to do some serious social re-engineering to undo the damage that court ordered busing caused. We’re also going to have to look at grading our entire region on how well we move the needle together toward goals of full employment, low crime, healthy people, healthy communities.

Looking back at how badly we’ve slipped is one thing. Looking forward to how we want to be is another. I’m working on ideas to transform the region- like the Bcycle bike share plan (minor) to universal day care/head start programs run at the neighborhood level (major- and not published yet) to work toward making Dayton a leading lifestyle community- sort of like Austin, without having to be in Texas.

Because, they may have SX/SW in Austin- but we have water, and with water- all things are possible. Take that Texas. You may have Marianne for now, but we’re going to get her back- with some of her new friends in a few years.