CEDAS Member Spotlight: Thomas Madden, Director of Economic Development, City of Stamford

 

  1. What does the term economic development meant to you?  There is tried and true answer of " improving the different sectors of the economic, political, and social well-being of the community," but i think it much more than that. As economic developers or planners, we have to develop the economy of the region today while looking for what will happen tomorrow. The rapid change in technology is having such a huge impact on how we function and the design of the economy. I find the toughest part is convincing people that change should not be a scary thing but should be embraced and managed as we move forward.
  2. What is an average day like for you?  This depends on what hat I am wearing that day. If i am in city planner mode, then it is making sure I can help the business jump through the regulatory hoops that are found in City Hall. In financial mode, it is helping business secure loans and grants to make sure that they are successful in starting up or with their expansion plans. In future planning mode, it is making sure the city is ready for business development and growth five years from now.  What is really like is - coffee, emails, phone calls, meetings, coffee,  emails, phone calls, meetings, coffee, emails, phone calls, meetings. It is 7 pm and I get to leave to office - Awesome!
  3. What is your proudest accomplishment?  Professionally, the Mid-hudson Regional Sustainable Development study that covered 169 municipalities in 7 counties that looked at economic development through an environment lense that was then tied into the over economic development strategy for the Mid-hudson region in NY. Personally, coaching my son's hockey team - the best stress relief from long days at work.
  4. What is your next goal?  To bring autonomous vehicle and drone delivery testing to Stamford.
  5. What do you want to tell us about Stamford?  The six billion dollars of growth in the city is fun to talk to about, however, I have been guiding the city towards a more regional approach to economic development within the state. There are too many silos and I feel that we are too busy fighting among ourselves instead of taking a collaboration approach over a competition model. I think we can all agree that we feel that each of our communities are the best in the state. It is the paradigm shift to the thinking that these parts -together, are what makes each of of our communities successful.  Collectively, we should be looking to attract new businesses, strengthen existing businesses and help new residents feel  welcome to the area, with the realization that our true strength lies in celebrating the differences that each community offers rather than trying to compete with each other.
  6. Are you Dunks or Starbucks?  Neither, I prefer to grind my own coffee from a company called Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, located in the Yukon (http://midnightsuncoffeeroasters.com/shop/sam-mcgees). They have a coffee roast called Sam McGee's that is blend of some of the darkest roast coffee beans, which makes an absolutely amazing cup of coffee. I will admit, I am a coffee snob.
  7. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?  Hockey stick and a bag of pucks to shoot.
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