Building relationships is key to success, International Economic Development Council CEO says

Profiles in Power highlights public officials nationwide who are improving their communities through their dedication, enthusiasm, creativity and experience.

This week’s profile is Nathan Ohle, president and CEO of the International Economic Development Council.

Public career highlights and education: I’m President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s largest association for economic development. The IEDC works with economic development leaders across the public, private and non-profit sectors around the globe. Since taking the helm, I’ve more than doubled the organization’s revenue and grown the IEDC team by over 50%. Prior to the IEDC, I served as CEO of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), a national non-profit network providing opportunity, assistance and practical guidance around economic development, access to safe drinking water and capacity building to small communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories and tribal lands.

What I like best about public service: Public service gives you the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of people who are bound together by a shared dedication to service and belief in their mission. This collective effort allows you to drive impact at scale, convene stakeholders and make a difference in the lives of people across the country. The shared mission and service orientation aspects of working in public service have always been my motivation.

The best advice I’ve received: Building meaningful relationships has been the most important and impactful thing I have been able to do over the course of my career. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten is to take time to meet with anyone and to not be afraid to ask others to take time to meet with you. A lot of those relationships started over the course of a 15-minute conversation that was spur of the moment or a result of a connection others made. People will take the time for you, but you have to be willing to ask and to take time for others in return. 

People might be interested to know that: I went to Michigan State University and am a Spartan through and through. I grew up playing basketball and played against many of the Michigan State team members from the early 2000s. Michigan State basketball is known for its hard work, unrelenting effort and unselfish style of play. It’s an approach that resonates with me and has inspired my career in public service and my approach to building teams.

One thing I wish more people knew about economic developers: Economic developers are the unsung heroes of their communities. Our members act as the platform for doing business in their communities, whether they are a catalyst from the outset or guiding a project through the nuances of their region. Economic developers are the connectors in a community or region, often unseen, but vital to building quality of life for families. They are often connected across a community and region, and the job changes each and every day. If there’s an economic development project underway, an IEDC member is working on it. 

Government Market News Staff

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