How was CATLYST started?
CATLYST was built on the 2012 Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy. It provided updated goals and objectives to further advance the economy of the 10-county region and provide more opportunities for its residents.
The CATLYST planning process began in 2017 with regional data analysis, in addition to interviews, focus groups, public forums, and workshops. Overall, this engagement process included the input of 150 stakeholders, five 2-hour workshops with a 65-member regional Strategy Committee, an online survey of more than 2,000 area residents, and four 2-hour community open houses in Gwinnett, Douglas, and Clayton Counties and the City of Atlanta.
This extensive data collection and outreach process ultimately produced three guiding documents, completed in December 2017 with the assistance of Avalanche Consulting, which outline the CATLYST framework:
- CATLYST Executive Summary
- CATLYST Summary Background & SWOT Analysis
- CATLYST Strategic Action Plan & Evaluation Framework
The Strategy committee filled an invaluable role in helping to inform and guide the development of this strategic plan. This group of 65 public, private, and nonprofit leaders was critical in ensuring that CATLYST reflected a broad diversity of perspectives from across the entire 10-county Atlanta region.
CATLYST Strategy Committee Members
Mike Alexander – Director, Center for Livable Communities, Atlanta Regional Commission
Kim Anderson – Former CEO, Families First
Chris Appleton – Co-Founder and Executive Director, Wonderroot
Kerry Armstrong – Chair, ARC Board; Managing Director – Development Partner, Pope & Land Real Estate
Kali Boatright – President & CEO, Douglas County Chamber of Commerce
Bill Bolling – Chairman, Foodwell Alliance
Jennifer Bonnett – General Manager, Advanced Technology Development Center
Frank Brown – CEO, Communities in Schools of Atlanta
Chris Burke – Director Community Relations, Office of Government and Community Relations
Taifa Butler – Executive Director, Georgia Budget & Policy Institute
Mike Carnathan – Manager, Research and Analytics, Atlanta Regional Commission
Stephen Causby – Manager, Community Partnerships, Atlanta Regional Commission
Susan Chana – Director, Center for Strategic Relations, Atlanta Regional Commission
Nelson Chu – Managing Director, Kinetic Ventures
Ann Cramer – Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Assoc.
Christina Cummings – Owner and Managing Partner, CafÈ Good Spot
Jim Durrett – Executive Director, Buckhead CID
James Franklin – CEO, TechBridge
David Gill – President & CEO, Henry County Chamber of Commerce
Ray Gilley – President, Decide Dekalb Development Authority
Todd Greene – Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
David Hartnett – Chief Economic Development Officer, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Ben Hames – Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Georgia Department of Economic Development
Cinda Herndon-King – Director, Atlanta CareerRise
Doug Hooker – Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission
Tim Hynes – President, Clayton State University
Sally Jamara – Executive Practice Leader, Traversa Consulting
Marty Jones – Executive Director, Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council
Anne Kaiser – Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Georgia Power
Sarah Kirsch – Executive Director, ULI Atlanta
Eloisa Klementich – President and CEO, Invest Atlanta
Becky Kurtz – Manager, Aging and Health Services, ARC
Shelley Lamar – Executive Director, Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance
Rob Lebeau – Manager, Workforce Development, Atlanta Regional Commission
Craig Lesser – Managing Partner, Pendleton Consulting
Andy Macke – Regional Vice President, Comcast
Rohit Malhotra – Executive Director & Founder, Center for Civic Innovation
Misti Martin – President, Cherokee Office of Economic Development
Nick Masino – Senior Vice President, Economic Development, Partnership Gwinnett
Sharon Mason – COO, Cobb Chamber
Brooks Mathis – Executive Director, Cobb EDGE
Comm. Russell McMurry – Commissioner, Georgia Department of Transportation
Amol Naik – Head of External Affairs, SE, Google Fiber
Al Nash – Executive Director, Development Authority of Fulton County
John O’Callaghan – President & CEO, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership
John Orr – Manager, Transportation Access, Atlanta Regional Commission
Keith Parker – General Manager/CEO, MARTA
Alicia Philipp – President, Community Foundation Greater Atlanta
Courtney Pogue – Director of Economic Development, Clayton County
Chetan Prakash – Consultant
Chris Pumphrey – Executive Director, Douglas Development Authority
Rodney Sampson – Partner Inclusion + Equity, Tech Square Labs
Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic – Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners
Sam Shenbaga – Manager, Community Development, ARC
Jennifer Sherer – Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Neil Shorthouse – Founder, Communities in Schools
Gregg Simon – Vice President, Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Nathaniel Smith – CEO & Founder, Partnership for Southern Equity
Detrick Stanford – COO, Clayton County Commission
Reid Stewart – Director, InProp USA
Bentina Terry – Senior Vice President, Metro Atlanta Region, Georgia Power
Tene Traylor – Fund Advisor, The Kendeda Fund
Carlotta Ungaro – President & CEO, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce
Bethany Usry – Vice President, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce
Larry Williams – President, Technology Association of Georgia
Joan Young – President & CEO, Fayette County Development Authority
Ken Zeff – Executive Director, Learn4Life Metro Atlanta
Janelle Williams – Senior Associate – Family Economic Success, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Stephen Vault – Vice President – Business Development and Strategic Planning, Wellstar
CATLYST Activities to Date
June 6, 2018
April 30, 2018
January 25, 2018
- Launch of four CATLYST project work groups: Regional Marketing Alliance, Affordable Housing Strategy, Understanding the Impacts of Poverty, and Bridging the Gaps for Discouraged Workers
August 8-9, 2017
- Deliverable 1: SWOT and Summary Background Report
- CATLYST Open Houses in Clayton, Gwinnett and Douglas Counties
July 11-12, 2017
June 20-22, 2017
- Steering Committee Workshop #1 Presentation
- Nine Stakeholder Workshops on the following topics:
- Young Leaders
- Global Business Environment
- Economic Mobility (2 workshops)
- Infrastructure and Mobility
- Talent and Education
- Livability (2 workshops)
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
About the Atlanta Regional Commission
The Atlanta Regional Commission is the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the 10-county area including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta. ARC is dedicated to unifying the region’s collective resources to prepare the metropolitan area for a prosperous future. It does so through professional planning initiatives, the provision of objective information, and the involvement of the community in collaborative partnerships.
About Avalanche Consulting
Avalanche Consulting is the nation’s premier economic development strategist. Avalanche is deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Avalanche was established in 2005 and its team has a combined 80+ years of experience. Avalanche’s clients include the best performing economies in the country, from small towns to metros like Charleston, Charlotte, Columbus, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, and Oklahoma City.
Amy Holloway, President
Ashley Rivera, Principal Planner
Atlanta Regional Commission
Economic Development 101
What is Economic Development?
Economic development is the process of investing in a community to improve its economic prosperity. Economic development includes activities like helping local businesses expand, and attracting new businesses into the community. It can also include initiatives to make the community a better place to live and work: improvements to quality of life amenities, education and workforce development programs, infrastructure, social equity, and business climate. The overarching goal of economic development is to create a place where residents have ample opportunities to build careers and improve their standard of living.
Why is Economic Development Important?
Economic development professionals work to improve their local economy and maintain a greater standard of living in their community. Economic development is important to a community because it improves the health of the economy and the well-being of its residents, making the community resilient, even in times of hardship.
Who is in Charge of Economic Development?
Economic development can be led by several types of organizations in a community. Sometimes communities have a dedicated economic development organization, sometimes the city or county government has an economic development or community development department, or sometimes a chamber of commerce includes economic development among its activities. Other organizations that might be involved are workforce development and education institutions, local governments, state governments, utility companies, community foundations, and convention and visitors bureaus.
In the context of the Atlanta region, ARC provides a forum for different organizations in the 10-county area to coordinate economic development efforts. For example, the 2012 Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy was initiated by ARC but was guided by volunteers from the public, private and nonprofit sectors on behalf of the entire region. The CATLYST Strategy will provide a roadmap for local governments and stakeholders to navigate economic challenges while building on strengths to remain competitive for jobs and workers.
Ultimately, economic development success depends on everyone in a community working together to establish a vision and accomplish goals.
CATLYST in the News
- CATLYST Aims to Foster Regional Economic Competitiveness — ARC NewsCenter
- Atlanta ‘s future: A call for economic strategy — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- ARC Starting Work on Regional Competitiveness Strategy — Atlanta Business Chronicle