The Community Development Foundation (CDF) has retained TIP Strategies, an Austin-based economic development consulting firm, to create a ten-year comprehensive economic development strategy for the Tupelo/Lee County Region. One of the primary goals of the strategy is to speed Tupelo’s move to an advanced manufacturing and more knowledge-based economy. The plan will take current trends into account and weigh them against long-term infrastructure, workforce, business, and entrepreneurial needs. The resulting economic development plan will provide the CDF leadership with strategies to leverage Tupelo/Lee County’s strengths and opportunities to aid in this transition. “TIP Strategies is a leading economic development consulting firm that can help communities create innovative approaches to knowledge-driven economic development,” stated David Rumbarger, President and CEO of the Community Development Foundation. “We anticipate that this unique collaboration between CDF and TIP Strategies will yield positive long-term results for Tupelo/Lee County.” The CDF has a long history of operating under a researched and deliberate plan. The original “Tupelo Plan,” that began in the 1940’s, promoted economic development through industry attraction. Since this original plan, the CDF has developed five more plans. These strategic planning efforts have successfully diversified the economy, improved economic opportunities for the area’s workers, and positioned Tupelo as a strong regional center. Under the direction of the immediately previous plan for Tupelo/Lee County, created in 1999, the CDF has facilitated 220 corporate locations/expansions, totaling 11,138 jobs and $1,071,121,832.00 in capital investment, through 2008. This includes Toyota Motor Corporation’s selection of the community for its eighth North American assembly plant and six automotive suppliers have located plants in the region. Furthermore, the CDF has been selected five times as one of the top ten industrial development agencies in the nation by Site Selection magazine, a leading trade magazine for industrial consultants. The project entails an analysis and assessment of the latest economic reality, along with the identification and exploration of new opportunities. The assessment will address demographics, economic base, workforce, education, business climate and infrastructure, and entrepreneurial activity. Additionally, the plan will highlight prospects for relocation or expansion to the region, including both existing and emerging industries. The final strategy will outline specific actions the CDF can take to foster a healthy and sustainable economy in Tupelo/Lee County. “It is a privilege to work with the CDF. As much as any economic development organization in the country, the CDF has consistently – and successfully – anticipated trends and has mobilized to meet them,” says Jon Roberts, managing director of TIP Strategies. The final plan should be ready by the first part of 2010. CDF is a nonprofit membership organization composed of civic, business, and professional leaders representing the Tupelo/Lee County region. The Foundation’s basic objective is to strengthen the region through economic and community development projects with emphasis on creating new and better jobs. The CDF’s job recruitment endeavors have resulted in Lee County becoming an economic hub for the State of Mississippi. To learn more about CDF, please visit www.cdfms.org. TIP Strategies has helped ensure economic vitality for their nation-wide client base since 1995. The firm uses a unique planning model that transforms “Theory Into Practice” to deliver services including economic development, corporate, and entrepreneurial strategic planning. To learn more about TIP Strategies, go to www.tipstrategies.com.