Old Economic Developers Never Die, They Just Publish

Two months after retiring from the Washington State Department of Commerce and baking banana bread and watching Netflix, I received a call from a friend who asked me what I was doing that day. I told them nothing. The next day she called me again and asked the same question. Once again, I said nothing. She said, “You did that yesterday”. I responded, “I didn’t finish”.

When I retired many of my colleagues said that the department will not know how to survive without me. They lied. Over the years, despite a pandemic, the State has developed a robust number of programs targeting small business, downtowns, and rural areas. They have produced numerous publications, delivered excellent educational opportunities for existing and startup businesses, partnered with several organizations in providing access to capital and developed closer relationships with practitioners through regionalization. If there were programs that I began, individuals have made them better. I think the department has done very well without me.

Retirement is where every day is like the weekend. But after 30 years in the profession, it was time to continue to do what I knew best, combining humor with education for practitioners and entrepreneurs. So, while doing nothing, I authored three books, Noah’s Town, The Wit and Wisdom of an Economic Developer, and Your Town: An Amazing Destination (all available on Amazon) and created the first comic strip about the profession, The Adventures of an Economic Developer. All of this “nothing” resulted in my being honored with the International Economic Development Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. No gold watch. No apple phone. Not even a gift certificate to my favorite cookie store. Just a very big certificate. Thank you IEDC. I am truly honored by the award.

I am proud of the work I have accomplished. I could not have done it without amazing, creative, committed, and diligent colleagues and partners. I hope practitioners find the Maury Forum a place for humor and education while they strive for creating healthy sustainable communities and I continue my search for the perfect banana bread recipe.


Maury’s Message

Follow the real leader.

It has been over 10 years since the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Association of Washington Cities collaborated to produce the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership. This 32-page booklet, illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey, provided the framework that can create sustainable and vibrant communities for generations to come. More than 15,000 copies were distributed to leaders throughout the state.

As we’ve come to learn, it’s one thing to have a framework for community leadership. But it means nothing without leadership from the top to the bottom.

Moment of Zen…

In these hectic, seemingly chaotic times of instant everything and breaking news, The Maury Forum feels it  is its civic duty to slow the old time machine down a bit with its famed Moment of Zen. Witticisms that will give you pause, make you laugh, or simply cause you to move onto another website with a flourish and a click.

Check out Moment of Zen Hall of Fame…