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Podcast Episode # 104 - Nurturing the Next Generation: Dr. Chad Miller's Vision for Economic Development's Future

Unpacking the three-legged stool of econ dev.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
3 min read
Podcast Episode # 104 - Nurturing the Next Generation: Dr. Chad Miller's Vision for Economic Development's Future

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Episode #104 of the Econ Dev Show Podcast is out.


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In this episode of the Econ Dev Show Podcast, we delve into the multifaceted world of economic development with Dane Carlson as he engages in an enlightening conversation with Dr. Chad Miller, the Graduate Coordinator for the Economic Development Master's program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Miller paints a vivid picture of the ever-evolving landscape of economic development, tracing its roots from basic infrastructural necessities in developing nations to the data-driven approaches prevalent in developed countries like the US, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. As they navigate the delicate interplay between the art and science of the profession, Miller underscores the significance of hands-on, technical skills that the program imbues its students with, preparing them for real-world challenges in the dynamic realm of economic development.

In an era where reshoring trends are gaining momentum and the focus is gradually shifting towards near-shoring to regions like Mexico and Central America, Miller provides a fresh perspective, highlighting the pressing need for diversity and the potential pivot from attracting big conglomerates to holistic community development. With an increasing emphasis on tech skills, building robust professional networks, and a rekindled focus on community development basics, the episode offers a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Furthermore, Miller's emphasis on collaboration between universities and industry practitioners paints a promising picture for the future, bridging the gap between academic prowess and practical expertise.

Whether you're a seasoned developer or just embarking on your journey in economic development, this episode promises a wealth of knowledge, insights, and actionable advice.


  1. The Economic Development Master's program at Southern Miss, the first of its kind, provides highly practical training grounded in the science and nuts and bolts of the field.
  2. The industry is rapidly becoming more technical and data-driven - developers need to stay on top of new technologies and tools.
  3. Encourage potential students and career-changers to consider economic development and direct them to university programs.
  4. Economic development has an "art" component of relationship-building and networking that complements the "science" - both remain important.
    56 Actively develop your professional network and connections, especially for younger practitioners.
  5. Diversity is increasing in the field and bringing fresh perspectives - the student focus on communities reflects this.
  6. As the "old guard" retires, succession planning and mentoring new technical talent is key.
  7. Community development is resurging as part of economic development's foundations and future focus.
  8. Master the latest CRM systems and data tools to organize clients and be conversant with corporate site selectors.
  9. Keep current by engaging with university programs, attending conferences, reading media like podcasts, and networking with fellow developers.

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps!


Dane Carlson Twitter

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Economic developer in Galveston County, Texas.

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