National Grid grant to help find Montgomery County ‘brand’

Sunday, September 22, 2013
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— National Grid will foot half the cost of Montgomery County’s effort to identify what makes the county special when it comes to economic development efforts.

The county hired North Star Destination Strategies this summer to boil down the county’s best attributes into a single “brand” that can be used in marketing to bring in the appropriate businesses.

The $80,000 research project will be less of a drain on resources, thanks to a $40,000 grant announced last week by National Grid.

The company opened up its Strategic Economic Development Outreach Program checkbook to support the effort aimed at luring business — and the increased use of energy it would yield for the utility company.

“Our grant constitutes a strategic investment in Montgomery County’s economic future and a vote of confidence in our economic development partner, the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency,” National Grid Regional Executive Director William Flaherty said in a release.

County IDA CEO Ken Rose said “a lot of people” have been participating in the discussion so far, including educators, businesses and nonprofits.

Finding a single, unique brand is a difficult task in the geographically long county that seems to have more than one personality.

“Depending on where you live in the county, from the eastern to the western end of the county, the assets that people feel are important in the county, how they envision and identify the county, are very dissimilar,” Rose said.

“It’s going to be a task to come up with one single message that really identifies the county,” he said.

Following a “vision survey” distributed in August, the Tennessee-based North Star is taking input from throughout the county with an online survey.

It aims to draw out people’s thoughts on the county’s opportunities and challenges, strengths and weaknesses.

The survey can be found at

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