Dr. J Antonio (Tony) Villamil: Key Economic Trends for Today’s Leaders

China’s financial ups and downs, South America’s influence, Europe’s refugee crisis—in today’s economic culture what happens globally can impact your hometown. Knowing the trends to watch is critical to your city’s success.

RMA often partners with nationally and internationally recognized leaders to offer additional expertise on projects for their client cities. One of those experts is the founder of the Washington Economics Group, Dr. J. Antonio Villamil, who also served as US Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs appointed by President George H.W. Bush with full US Senate confirmation.

As a senior economist and a former high-level policy maker for both federal and state governments, Villamil discussed the key factors Florida city officials need to watch.
“Trends in the global economy are especially important for local leaders to track,” said Villamil. “With this state’s big water ports, international airports, expanding population growth and international trade and investment, it is more important than ever to understand the impact national and world events will have on your community.”

What’s Impacting Cities Now:

1. What the Fed Says:

When will the Federal Reserve start to raise interest rates? Villamil urges city leaders to lock in long term rates now for projects like improving roadways and building schools.

2. Understand Your Factor Endowment:

What makes your community thrive? Villamil stresses that city leaders must evaluate their strategies to fit their ‘factor endowment’—the amount of land, labor, and capital resources that can be utilized to create new jobs.

“Understand the highest and best use of scarce land,” he said. “And focus on what your competitive advantage is.”

For cities with nearby airports and seaports, the focus should be to attract even greater amounts of foreign capital and new foreign companies. If you have a large retirement community, develop a quality of life in the city that will continue to attract this demographic. And if the millennials are your target, look towards enhancing interconnectivity, flexible work spaces and supporting entrepreneurship.

3. Where Your Population Growth is Heading:

Florida is already a global brand. Many of our cities are internationally renowned. So the next challenge is how to absorb and set the infrastructure for the amount of foreigners coming to our communities.

“City leaders need to study the flow of migration,” he said. “Who is coming to your community? And are your schools, hospitals, public services, and road network ready?”

For Villamil, one of his favorite sayings to city leaders is both humorous yet brutally insightful!

“Don’t practice the ostrich syndrome by burying your policy head in the sand,” he said. “To succeed you must look ahead and study the state, national and global trends.”

For more information about The Washington Economics Group, Inc., visit: www.weg.com