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Dane Carlson: Who Am I?

My name is Dane Carlson, I'm the host and publisher of Econ Dev Show, and the Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
2 min read
Dane Carlson: Who Am I?

Hello everyone.  My name is Dane Carlson, I'm the host and publisher of Econ Dev Show, and the Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.

Galveston County is the coastal region of Greater Houston, with the Gulf Mexico on the south, Galveston Bay on the east, and Houston (and NASA) on the north.

I'm originally from central California, and for about a decade before being recruited to Texas, I lived just outside of Yosemite National Park.

I was a professional blogger in the small business, startups, and entrepreneurial space from 2001-2015.  There I helped entrepreneurs from all over the world start a business.  I connected ideas, capital, and execution.

I was blogging about economic development probably before you knew what a blog was, and even before they were called "blogs."  "Blog" is a shortened version of the original name "weblog."

After I sold my blog network in 2015, I retired a little at the age of 39, and wanted to do something local.  We'd moved to my wife's small hometown, and it was a nice place to live but not a very nice place to do business.  

Because it was situated directly on the route to a major tourist mecca but very underdeveloped, I thought that I could help. I jumped into the Chamber and Economic Development world there. I also started attending OU EDI to learn more about professional econ dev.

In my time in that small community, I helped hundreds of local entrepreneurs and small businesses pivot from serving the local community, to serving the 500,000+ cars full of cash and customers that stopped at the two stop signs in the middle of town every year.  

My efforts started to make a difference and won numerous awards, but a massive perspective shift is a very hard sell on small-town politics - that and everything kept burning up!  The problem with living in the mountains of California is that everything burns – and boy, did we have forest fires regularly.

So in 2018, I decided to save my family the stress of being so polarizing in a small town and move someplace where economic development wasn't a bad word. And, where everything didn't burn!  In fact, one was burning and our house was under an evacuation order while we were trying to move!

Hence, I ended up running economic development for Galveston County.  I'm probably the only department-level director of pure economic development at the county level in Texas.  ED is done almost entirely at the state and city level in the state, so we're pretty unique.  

In this role, I do mostly attraction marketing and recruitment work for our cities.  I've recruited a number of large industrial projects, including two of the top-five economic development projects in Texas in both 2019 and 2020, with investment topping more than a billion dollars.

Dane Carlson

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas. Previously: World's first business blogger.