Tis the season for looking back, predictions and resolutions. Your inbox and newsfeeds are likely ripe with economists, pundits and prognosticators offering their wisdom on what to expect in 2024 while your podcast notifications are pinging you with ideas on how to set and keep New Year’s resolutions.

I’m willing to bet, though, that nearly none of them are offering insights with a local lens. So, here’s a look back, a prediction and a resolution…all springing from boots on the ground experience right here in Washington County.

Looking Back 

What's in Store for 2024?Good riddance 2023 is my executive summary for the year gone by. Seriously, with some exceptions, this was one VERY tough year to successfully drive projects across the finish line. Read…the toughest in my multi-decade career. EDWC had a good start in Q1 with a solid pipeline and a few great development projects coming to early fruition; however, starting Q2, projects fell off a cliff.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many tire kickers (highest in three years) and several projects that ran right up to the finish line…but very few ultimately stepped across. Talk to most area commercial bankers – a good indicator of local economic activity – and they tell a similar story.

What's in Store for 2024?
Christian Tscheschlok, CEcDExecutive Director
With 23+ years as an economic development professional, Christian has a reputation for getting deals done. His practical expertise includes capital structuring, incentive packaging, expansion/attraction project management, brownfield redevelopment, & workforce development.

By the numbers: 23 qualified projects either fell out of the EDWC pipeline, were postponed or legitimately lost. Approximately a quarter of the $130 million in CapEx represented in them eventually made their way to fruition in one form or another…just not in the ways originally proposed (typically downsized). To put this in perspective, EDWC’s historical win ratio hovers around .3, which is better than the industry average of .2 or so. 2023 saw, by contrast, a win ratio of just over .06. Technical term: “Yuck.”

Most projects expressed high interest rates, a belief that inflation would soon abate and some lingering supply chain concerns as reasons why they wanted to wait or go in a different direction. Basically, they were betting on what many economists are predicting for 2024…a soft landing.


What's in Store for 2024?Keep in mind that most economists’ forecasts for 2023 proved dead wrong; but their predictions for 2024 of calmer waters, a soft landing and bullish manufacturing conditions seem to be supported by what we are experiencing right here, right now in Washington County.

High Impact Projects

For starters, we are looking at a powerfully strong pipeline of high impact, high potential projects to kick off 2024, amounting to nearly $90 million in new CapEx. Even if only a quarter of them converted to a win in Q1, that would represent well over 2X greater economic impact than that of Q1 last year.

This mix of projects – ranging from manufacturing to wholesale to retail to logistics – is more diverse this year so far too.


Workforce conditions are looking favorable for 2024, allowing me to predict that our area communities could see some of the strongest growth of available workforce in over 5 years. Population growth across the county is on a steady 2% trend that looks to reach 140,000 people by 2027. The unemployment rate has stabilized at roughly 3%. While this alone isn’t reason to be bullish, labor force participation here is some of the highest in the region and has not seen major ups and downs experienced by other regions with Washington County swinging between 67.4 and 70 percent the last couple of years (hovering around 69 percent in 2023). This means population growth and unemployment changes have outsized impacts here.

Home Ownership

Further, Washington County, EDWC and several of our area communities are partnering to increase housing stock and home ownership in some powerful and differentiating ways. Next Generation pilot housing developments both underway and in planning phases across the county and an earned down payment incentive EDWC is administering are all game changers for 2024 that as one leading corporate executive noted, are “real solutions to a real workforce growth problem…the housing shortage.” Add to all this anticipated interest rate cuts and we are on track to improve the prospects for creating “sticky” families by enhancing local home ownership at levels unseen in years.


What's in Store for 2024?2023 saw us connect with communities, businesses and prospects in ways previously unseen. Our EDWC resolution is to work to make those connections even more valuable and impactful. Well over 80% of the businesses with whom we work with are in Washington County. Rather than looking for the next shiny, sparkly star by placing lots of small bets out there, the EDWC Way is to double down on the winners: you…those businesses and executives who have already made a choice to be here. Let us know how we can better connect with you.

I can’t wait to discover even more ways to fuel your growth efforts where it matters most.

Happy New Year!