Access Over Assets in Boise
A Call From Out Of The Blue
In the first couple of weeks I was in Boise, my cell phone rang around 7pm. The gentleman calling said, “Hey Clark this is Brad, I was wondering if you might be willing to meet with….” I was polite but did not know who it was for the first couple minutes, then suddenly realized it was Lieutenant Governor Brad Little. A couple things struck me - he values connection, he does it personally, and he does not wait for 3rd parties to arrange it. Having worked in economic development in Utah and New Mexico, I can tell you that any economic development office for a healthy mid-sized state will emphasize the ability to access a governor, mayor or county commissioners to assist a client with timely permitting, zonings, challenges or policy change. The difference in the Boise Metro is that they are a direct phone call away and more importantly, they take action after the call.
Fortune 500 Connection
A couple years into my new job with the Boise Valley Economic Partnership I was honored to be on stage with Mark Durcan, CEO (and a legend in my eyes) of Micron - a global, high-performing Fortune 500 company founded, headquartered and grown in Boise. To hear a CEO of a company this size, history and reputation is an honor. But when Mark proactively came up to give me his business card at the end of the event, and told me to call him if we needed anything from Micron that would help the community or organization out, I was grateful that I got to market and represent the amazing people that live here. Over the past seven years, I have only called Mark Durcan when we really needed his help with a client, community effort or organizational challenge. But he has always called me back and showed up with his support.
It goes beyond boardrooms and networking. Accessibility and approachability is ingrained in the culture, vibe and generosity of the people who live, work, teach and play here as well.
"I've Got You"
In late November of 2011, my kids Zach and Madeline finally made it to Boise, and I was put in charge of enrolling them at Highlands Elementary. Principal Sally Skinner met me that first day at the door, with a calm and cool exterior that clearly stated: I've got this. My kids were whisked off to 3rd and 6th grade classrooms. As I nervously stood up to leave Highlands, looking like a deer in the headlights, Sally looked at me and said, “I will check in and see how they are both doing later.” I took this comforting assurance from her, as a way she probably had calmed down many frightened father deer in the past. To my amazement, she called me later that day to tell me that she had walked down to see Zach and Madeline in their classrooms, and they both were doing well. Amazingly, two days later she called me again just to check in. Her act of kindness towards a new-to-town, vulnerable father, was just the reassurance I needed before getting on the phone to talk to their nervous Mom that night in New Mexico.
Whether it is an elementary school teacher or university president, my experience has been if you need them they are a call away. The fact that we can have Boise State University’s President Kustra or College of Western Idaho’s President Glandon at a meeting face to face with a client, or that we can strategically access a dean, is invaluable.
Access Over Assets
These stories and a never-ending stream of similar anecdotes are why I often find myself touting access over assets. Yeah, we have those too, along with the data to back them up and compete head to head. But what sets this metro apart is a spirit of generosity and that two-degrees of access to the places and people to help you grow.
I cannot oversell Boise’s access to resort quality recreation out your backdoor. Unlike Aspen, Park City or Boulder, you can actually find a local job here that will support your skiing, fishing, boating, mountain biking or kayaking addictions, and you will not have to plan for major travel time or gasoline to get there. My favorite ski area, Bogus Basin is located only 16 miles away.
It is just easier in the Boise Metro to be at a downtown Saturday Farmer's market, hop on a mountain bike and within a few pedal strokes be in the preserved foothills surrounding the metro; or to dip in to the Boise River for a paddle, then wrap up your day with a world-class performance on the Boise State Campus. I can do all of this today within four miles of my affordable home.
The other thing we can tout is the ability to have more time because of our unique access. When you want to enjoy the outdoors, you don’t need to spend hours on a freeway to get there. Life is short and in Boise, we maximize the time we have available to enjoy our outdoor playground.
What could you do with your time? Find out: