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Todd Jackson – Why I’m an Economic Developer?!

May 05, 2021



After spending 8 years in the engineering field, I realized at some point that there were really two things that energized me daily:


  1. Interacting with great people, and;
  2. Making a positive difference

And although there are some incredible people working in the engineering world, and I was able to make a positive difference on my slice of the earth, that slice simply wasn’t very big.  I began to think about how I could make a larger impact on my community, while also leveraging the experiences and skills I had learned over the course of the great career opportunities I was afforded up to that point.  Through a leadership development program of the ADP called “Leadership Pinebelt” I learned about the field of economic development and a met a TON of really great people.  Fast forward a couple years and the President of the ADP, Chad Newell, was just crazy enough to take a chance on a young engineer that was passionate about making a difference!  As they say, the rest is history.

I’m going on my 7th year in this field and I tell people regularly that this is truly what God made me to do because it’s the perfect intersection of my personal and professional goals.  It fuels my personal goals because I get to see first-hand the difference our work makes in the lives of my friends and neighbors, and rarely do they even know I was ever involved!  It fuels my professional goals because you are so engrained in the business community and what’s going on in your local economy.  I’ve learned so many new things about topics that I was rarely exposed to in my prior life, such as real-estate, accounting, marketing, taxes, deal negotiation, retail development, governmental affairs, infrastructure, zoning, etc, etc, the list could go on and on, which I absolutely love!  I believe that the day we quit learning is the day we need to retire, and at this rate, I may never retire!  Over the last seven years I’m learned so much from so many incredible people, and I’ve gotten an opportunity to play a small part in making a positive difference in the place I get to call home.

I am blessed to work in an incredible community and with incredible people at an incredible organization that truly believes in our mission and works extremely hard every day to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  One of my favorite quotes is from Bob Dylan who said “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do”.  By this standard, I’m enjoying incredible success and lead an incredibly blessed life, regardless of other worldly measures.  And for that I’m eternally grateful.  So, this is why I’m in economic developer.  This is what fuels me every day, especially on the hard days, because they happen.  Myself and my entire organization truly understand our “why”, and we’re just getting started!

Todd Jackson
Executive Vice President, ADP
Twitter: @tjackson_adp
LinkedIn: Connect with Todd