The University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Minnesota Department of Administration, and University of Minnesota Extension to develop and implement a unique approach linking economic development and transportation planning. Using the Economic Development Administration’s US Cluster Mapping tool, competitive traded industry clusters were identified in MnDOT operations districts. University, MnDOT, and local economic development staff interviewed manufacturers and their carriers within the identified clusters to understand the transportation and logistics issues these companies face and how MnDOT could make improvements to its operations and systems to help alleviate or minimize these issues. The approach was modeled after the successful business retention and expansion work conducted for Minnesota communities by the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. A key element to the success was involving local economic development staff in interviews and pairing them with MnDOT staff.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Minnesota Department of Transportation [Multiple grants]. The authors would like to recognize the contributions of several people who made the efforts discussed in this paper possible. First, these projects would not have been possible without the leadership by Jon Huseby, MnDOT District 8 engineer, who initiated the idea for a manufacturing study and led the effort for a pilot project in his district. Special thanks are due Donna Koren, with MnDOT, for her project management and coordination efforts, which ensured the successful completion of the projects in each district. Also, without the enthusiasm and support of Michael Darger, with the University of Minnesota Extension?s Center for Community Vitality, the participation of and connections with local EDOs would not have happened. Finally, we are indebted to the efforts of student research assistants Lisa Hermanson (now Anderson), who later continued her role with the Minnesota Department of Administration Management Analysis Division on the District 4 and 2 projects; Jonathan Dworin; Thomas Krumel; and Joseph Mueller for handling the database and cluster mapping details that converted our efforts from theory to reality.
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- Business retention and expansion
- economic development
- industry clusters