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Fast Five: Josh Wise shares his economic development wisdom

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | May 27, 2020 1:29 PM

Meet Josh Wise, the economic development specialist at the Coeur d’Alene Area Economic Development Corporation-Jobs Plus. Josh has achieved his Master of Business Administration degree and feels blessed to use that to help individuals and businesses in a state he loves. He enjoys beer brewing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, running, biking and cooking.

Generation:

I am a millennial, but I constantly strive to combat the negative stereotypes associated with my generation and help individuals understand the value we bring to the workplace whether it is through new ideas, increasing efficiencies through technology or other facets that are too numerous to list here.

Career and community involvement:

Economic development is a field that requires continuous learning and fostering of relationships. Therefore, I am continually seeking new ways to make connections, as I enjoy those aspects. I was fortunate to go through the Coeur d’Alene Leadership program in 2019 to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this community. I give back locally with involvement in the Envision Cd’A subcommittee Jobs and Economy, St. Pius the X Catholic Church and Kootenai County Young Professionals. I am also a member of several economic development organizations both locally and internationally that include the Idaho Economic Development Association, Inland Northwest Partners and the International Economic Development Council.

Parental status:

My wife Lauren and I are navigating the adventure of raising two wonderful daughters, Quincie and Izabell, who were born 16 months apart. I am so appreciative of all the love and support that Lauren provides and I am sure that I would not be able to do my work without her by my side.

1. So what’s happening in the world of economic development for North Idaho at this time of pandemic crisis?

I would first like to say how proud I am of this community and the way we have rallied together to not only protect the most vulnerable population through the sacrifices in our daily lives, but the innovation and collaboration from our business community. Our organization has been focused on connecting resources, guidance and support. We have done this by connecting the region’s business-services-providers (BSP) who have been hosting regular Zoom calls with community leaders to provide local answers. We have been gathering the large amounts of information and tracking updates to disseminate where applicable by compiling such into a weekly information sheet. The BSP is then posted on our website so companies do not have to spend time searching for the various resources. We are also working with our networks to leverage best practices and develop a strategy to move into recovery. I would encourage companies that are struggling, have ideas that would help them with recovery or want to get more connected in this community to please reach out to me, josh@cdaedc.org and I will provide the needed information. We are all in this together!

2. How does a community benefit from a diverse economic base, and why might that be important for our community?

Just like in business, diversity helps bring stability. Regional businesses have localized supply chains, entered new markets for PPE, and expanded to curbside or remote services to diversify in efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19. This community has done a great job in diversifying from the industries (agriculture, timber and mining) that helped establish the community and that should help us rebound quicker as we move into recovery. All industries are important, and diversity provides opportunities that match all individuals’ skills and aspirations.

3. What are a few things you truly enjoy about your work?

I enjoy this work because every day is something different. One day I could be compiling information on the technical programs at PTEC or KTEC and the next I could be learning about wastewater capacity. Through this research I get to learn about the amazing businesses that are here and the impact they are having such as revolutionizing the knife industry with the 110 folding hunter from Buck Knives. Other examples include the most comfortable gun holsters produced by Tedder Industries, Orgill supplying independent hardware stores, world-renowned roller coasters made by Rocky Mountain Construction, Kootenai Health being Mayo Clinic affiliated, Continuous Composites redefining 3D printing in free space and many other business examples. While I love the information side of my work, the thing that provides the most meaning is the fact that I am helping the community and providing opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

4. What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

In college, I put more miles on my running shoes than my car tires even with a nine-hour trip home that I would make multiple times a year. I was on the cross country and track teams and often ran 70-plus miles a week.

5. What is a piece of advice a family member, teacher or mentor shared with you that you have used often in your life?

The piece of advice that I most try to live my life by is simply the golden rule of… treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.