Leaders have the tools to guide their communities to greater heights

When Amazon opened its new world headquarters in Seattle in 2010, few people could foresee the economic impact it would have on the Emerald City.

The company estimates that its investments in Seattle between 2010 and 2016 have resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy. The headquarters encompasses 33 buildings, more than 40,000 employees and more than 53,000 additional jobs created as a result of Amazon’s direct investments.

The numbers are staggering and make it easy to understand why Amazon has received 238 proposals from cities and regions across North America in hopes of being selected for the company’s second headquarters.

The project is estimated to include more than $5 billion in new construction and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

The opportunity to have an iconic global business set up shop in your own backyard is every city’s dream. Of course, only one town will be selected to become the home of Amazon HQ2. However, the vision to form a profitable, lasting partnership between a city and a business that creates jobs, spurs innovation and builds new services and infrastructure is within everyone’s grasp.

Some communities may already have that difference-making company in town. It’s simply a matter of taking the relationship to the next level by building a stronger partnership between the city and the company.

This is exactly what has happened in Silicon Valley.

According to the Mercury News, “plans are on the table to remake downtown San Jose into a massive, transit-centered Google village with up to 20,000 new jobs.”

Mike Kim, chief investment officer at San Francisco-based Simeon Properties, was cited in the article, saying: “Employers such as Google make market opportunity because the instant they arrive and hire, that creates demand, and suddenly you’ve got to have real estate to live, work and play in.”

In Kentucky, Forbes named Louisville the No. 1 city in the U.S. where manufacturing is thriving. In the wake of that news, Ford Motor Co. announced a $900 million investment in its Kentucky Truck Plant to build the all-new Expedition and Navigator.

“To be globally competitive in manufacturing, you have to have strong partners willing to collaborate with you and shape a common vision. We are proud to have Louisville as our partner, and congratulate them on being named No.1,” said Curt Magleby, vice president, U.S. government relations at Ford, in an article posted on the city of Louisville’s website.

As the Trump administration closes in on a tax reform plan that could drive significant economic growth in the business sector, it’s imperative that the public and private sector find ways to work together to capitalize on the opportunity.

Every community has strong businesses and experienced leadership that has the ability to see what others can’t see. It’s time to put that talent to use and start driving innovation that will create jobs for years to come.

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network Inc.