From U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Brian P. McGowan
McGowan led the White House National Incident Command Economic Solutions Team, charged to help communities and regions mitigate the impacts of the BP Oil Spill. This initiative is part of EDA's goal to support collaborative regional innovation to promote sustainable job growth and strengthen communities that have suffered disproportionate economic and job losses to become more competitive in the global economy.
Through our work in the Gulf Coast's recovery efforts, I had the opportunity to meet with community leaders along the Gulf who spent the last five years rebuilding their local economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, only to turn around and face another disaster with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
As part of the White House National Incident Command (NIC) Economic Solutions Team, which we were asked to form to help communities and regions mitigate the impacts of the oil spill, I visited with and listened to many of these leaders who were seeking solutions to help ensure the long-term resiliency of their community's economy.
After the initial emergency response and when the media spotlight goes away – the hard work of economic recovery begins. In retrospect, and as a former city and county government official, I think about how a tool designed to facilitate communication and collaboration would have been so valuable to those communities as they took on this daunting task. The difficult work completed and lessons learned in restoring local economies in this region of the country should serve as a powerful tool to other communities who are dealing with disasters or making the plans to ensure they are prepared when future disasters hit.
Now, I'm pleased to announce that there is such a tool. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) partnered with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to launch RestoreYourEconomy.org, a website that provides critical information for public and private stakeholders seeking to rebuild their local economies after a disaster, as well, as assistance to prepare their business community for a future disasters. The portal is a vital one-stop shop of resources, tools, events and an opportunity to connect with other cities, states and regions. In fact, is was recently used extensively in Australia as communities there were dealing with severe flooding.
RestoreYourEconomy.org enables the sharing of best practices in making preparations to reduce the economic consequences of a disaster. It also provides practical guidance and post-recovery tools to promote investment, to retain local employment, and restore lost jobs.
I encourage communities that have been affected by a disaster or those working to be prepared for future disasters to take advantage of this invaluable resource.