For nearly half the population of industrialized nations, the pandemic broke the ironclad rule that people live near where they make a living. McKinsey estimates that as many as 36 percent of the workforce can work from home and most will choose to do so.

As companies bow to reality and start reorganizing work processes, that percentage is likely to rise. The emerging trend raises a big question for economic developers, city managers, Council members and Mayors. If the link between where people live and where they work keeps stretching, local governments can’t approach the traditional goal of attracting employers the same way. The question decision-makers need to ask themselves now is, “if people can live anywhere, why would it be here?”

In this webinar, ICF asks that question of economic developers from its network of Intelligent Communities, which employ a Whole Growth Strategy to make themselves the best places to live, work, build a business, raise a family and provide a path to the next generation.

Speakers Include:

Philly Markowitz
Economic Development Officer, Grey County, Ontario, Canada

Philly Markowitz is the Economic Development Officer for food and agriculture in Grey County. She works with businesses across the value chain to support a vibrant agri-food community and economy.

She joined the county in 2011 and has facilitated projects that assist with networking, mapping, skills development, marketing/communications, business retention and more.

Philly moved to Grey to escape the Toronto commutershed in 1991, and has been “telecommuting” at least in part for 30 years. She is also an avid all-season Georgian Bay swimmer and Bruce Trail hiker.  


Jim Stifler
Chief Economic Officer, City of Hudson, Ohio, USA

As a 25-year resident of Hudson, Jim Stifler has chosen to perform his encore career as the City of Hudson’s Chief Economic Officer. After a successful 33-year career as a Wall Street executive, Jim is able to showcase his extensive private sector experiences and use his strong ties in the community to move the City forward.

In addition to attraction and retention, Jim provides strategic oversight to Hudson’s rapidly growing, city - owned, fiber-optic broadband business.

Jim’s most gratifying work as Chief Economic Officer has been in conjunction with Hudson’s Chief Innovation Officer by leading the charge to become an Intelligent Community, and to expand and capitalize on the innovation bias Hudson is blessed to have. It was a tremendous boost to be named to the ICF’s Smart21 Intelligent Communities for 2018.

To compliment all of these efforts Jim works with innovative start-ups and scale-ups that have qualified for mentoring support at JumpStart Inc. JumpStart is a public /private business acceleration program in Northeast Ohio, that is now 2 decades strong.


Bell_Headshot_2019_Smalll.jpgRobert Bell (Moderator)
Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum

Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research, analysis and content development activities. He directs the multi-stage analysis of communities for the annual Intelligent Community Awards program and authors the in-depth profiles of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities that are core to ICF's mission. Robert developed and leads the Intelligent Community Master Class and Community Accelerator programs, as well as ICF's advisory services for communities, and is a frequent speaker at municipal and telecom events. More

December 06, 2022 at 10:00am - 11am | Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Online Webinar