One Community One Goal restart could be on horizon
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Miami-Dade movers and shakers are quietly looking back to the massive One Community One Goal model as they seek a new long, hard look at how to spur economic growth here in the coming decade.
Who would lead and finance such an effort when government and business are tightening belts is still up in the air.
At last week's Miami Today International Roundtable examining the role of quality as Miami's pathway to prosperity, Beacon Council President and CEO Frank Nero said he's been talking with both community leaders and the Beacon Council's board on possibly restarting the more than decade-old One Community One Goal initiative.
The program began in the mid-'90s as a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce effort and identified seven sectors — biomedical, film and entertainment, financial services, information technology, telecommunications, international commerce and the visitor industry — as industries that could create enough jobs to keep up with the county's population growth.
The initiative was co-chaired by then chamber Chairman Jay Malina and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.
The program, which quickly grew from a two- to a four-year project, brought together 42 public and private partners and thousands of individuals to identify a handful of industries the community could invest in as future engines of prosperity.
But more than a decade and a worldwide financial crisis later, some say its time to reexamine those industries to see if they're still a good fit for Miami-Dade County and what can be done to help speed their growth.
"I think it's a great time for us to come together and sit down as a community and take a look at One Community One Goal again," Mr. Nero said during the panel discussion. "I think it's a way to chart where we're going in the next decade or so."
But, he added, "it ain't going to be easy and it ain't going to be cheap."
The Beacon Council, the county's economic development arm, has developed a targeted industry study proposal that calls for six programs, including an analysis of each of the seven industries targeted by One Community One Goal, global evaluation of those industries' trends, and the creation of local, national and global partnerships.
There are "new world realities, the emergence of China and the situation we find ourselves in" today, Mr. Nero said. "It's time to pull the community together to evaluate if these are still the industry clusters we should be looking at and growing here."
A new One Community One Goal, he added, "also serves as a basis to unite the community and have us thinking in a common vision with some common goals, and I think that's always healthy."
And while Mr. Nero said the Beacon Council is willing to take a leadership role if the effort is revived, he acknowledged the agency lacks the resources to singlehandedly conduct the study and will need partners.
"I envision engaging a lot of the chambers, bi-national chambers, consulates, elected officials, community leaders and civic organizations," he suggested as potential leaders. "There's going to have to be some [financial] contribution from public and private sources. Perhaps foundations are also another source. I don't see it coming out of tax dollars per se."
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce CEO Barry Johnson, who served as the community-wide effort's chair after Mr. Malina stepped down, said he has yet to speak with Mr. Nero about the initiative but agreed that a One Community One Goal effort for the coming decade may look different than the last one.
"If you look at what the state chamber is doing, they're refocusing the industries of Florida on what makes sense for the future as opposed to what made sense for the Florida we've all known," Mr. Johnson said. It's "trying to look at opportunities that provide for the growth of clean industries, high-paying positions and jobs that are sustainable in the new environment, which may or may not be in concert with those [initial] seven industries."
Instead, this newest effort could offer up a list of tasks needed to bolster such industries as life sciences and financial services that the last One Community One Goal effort suggested.
Even though Mr. Johnson said the chamber will be a leader in a revived effort, it may not be the pivot point it was for the mid-'90s initiative.
Sitting chamber Chairman Bruce Jay Colan, a partner at law firm Holland & Knight, said the chamber will step up to the plate when the time comes but will need to rely even more on collaboration and financial and in-kind contributions from members.
The "chamber's taken lots of leadership roles and it's not a question of financing," he said. "We don't get government money. It all comes from members' dues or programs and that finances our operations.
"We're running a tight operation to maintain our staffing and we need to continue our programming."