Ross Patten has two new titles at the City of Covington -- assistant economic development director and co-author.
Collaborative book a roadmap for economic revitalization
COVINGTON, Ky. - The title of the new book is “Economic Development is Not for Amateurs!” ... but as one of its authors says, “it’s not rocket science” either.
That juxtaposition is the impetus behind the book, billed as a roadmap for non-economic development professionals on how to “supercharge a community’s revitalization effort to attract jobs, investment, and residents.”
Why should Covington residents care?
The City is featured in the book, for obvious reasons: Its two authors have played prominent roles in nurturing Covington’s headline-grabbing economic vitality and formulating a border-to-border strategy to sustain and accelerate that momentum:
Ross Patten arrived at City Hall almost four years ago as a “specialist” and this week was promoted to “assistant economic development director.” Jay Garner, a site location and strategy adviser with four decades’ experience, is president of Atlanta-based Garner Economics, which Covington hired last year to help write a long-term economic development strategy.
Released last month, “Economic Development Is Not for Amateurs!” is short - 88 pages of text - and is designed to be the SparkNotes of economic development for leaders of communities the size of Covington, Patten said.
“It was easy to write because we get asked similar questions all the time,” Patten said. “We talk to a lot of policymakers - both elected and appointed - and they want to recruit jobs and investment but they don’t know where to start.”
Divided into eight chapters with headings like “Time Kills Deals” and “Grow Your Garden,” the book combines 30,000-foot philosophies with anecdotal details of challenges that Covington overcame when recruiting companies like Road iD.
“I took the macro approach in the chapters I wrote, while Ross took the micro approach,” Garner explained.
He said the project started with a phone call and an idea from Patten in October 2019. Six months later, the finished book was delivered to the printer.
The City had hired Garner Economics in December 2018, and Garner and his team had presented the plan and the data on which it was based to the Board of Commissioners in July 2019.
The co-authors of “Economic Development is Not for Amateurs!”
Garner said he was wildly impressed by Covington leaders’ energy and engagement and enjoyed working closely with Patten, the project’s manager. He described the book as the collaborative evolution of the developing respect between “a baby boomer and a millennial.”
“It started out as a very positive business relationship, and then it just got to where we liked each other and learned from each other,” he said. “Ross is ‘the real deal’ and a tremendous asset to the City.”
Patten said the admiration was mutual.
“Jay just has a deep pool of knowledge,” Patten said. “He’s been doing this for 40 years, and to be able to tap into that knowledge and bounce ideas off of him has just been an incredible experience.”
Ordering the book
- “Economic Development is Not for Amateurs!” is available for purchase HERE.
- Bulk orders can be arranged HERE. (Garner said many of the sales to date have been driven by chambers of commerce and other organizations that have bought 30 to 50 and even 75 copies of the book.)
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