CHARLOTTE (Nov. 18, 2014) - I wouldn't be surprised if Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed places a congratulatory call to Bill Cronin today, though the mayor wouldn't be wishing him good luck in much success in Cronin's new venture.
That's because former Invest Atlanta VP Cronin - who played a key role in the city of Atlanta's economic development efforts under Reed - yesterday was named head of economic development in Charlotte. Cronin will leave his position as executive director of the American Red Cross' outpost in Columbia, South Carolina, and head a little bit north next month. In photo above, Cronin (right) celebrates the expansion and opening of a new headquarters of gaming company Thrust Interactive with Mayor Reed and Thrust CEO Jesse Lindsley.)
During his tenure in Atlanta, The Wilbert Group served as Invest Atlanta's public relations agency of record. I saw firsthand and got a behind-the-scenes look as Cronin helped woo major companies to the city of Atlanta - both from outside the metro area (PulteGroup) and inside (athenahealth). He used knowledge gained during economic development stints in South Carolina and Florida to best position Atlanta when the city competed with those states for new jobs.
We suspect the savvy Cronin will do the same and leverage what he knows about Atlanta and how the city and state incentive plans work to help Charlotte. Cronin discusses this overall strategy at this in an article in the Charlotte Observer.
“Having been a competitor to Charlotte in my previous roles, I understand the city’s strengths and challenges.
“I love Charlotte,” said Cronin, in a statement. “I am very excited about working with the business community.”
As for the Atlanta mayor, he's made it perfectly and publicy clear on several occasions that Charlotte is a second-tier city striving to be an Atlanta when it grows up. It will be interesting to watch things play out when Charlotte and Atlanta compete for the same headquarters relocation or new job-creating tech endeavor.