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Economic Development Spotlight: Traci Blido

Economic Development Spotlight: Traci Blido

Economic Development Spotlight: Traci Blido

Name: Traci Blido

Title: Economic Development Director
Organization: Bedford County Office of Economic Development
How long in the field? 13 years

How did you get into the economic development profession?
After working for 10 years at Ericsson as North American Director of Internal Communications, and traveling back and forth to Dallas or Stockholm every other week for half of that time, a unique regional economic development position opened up at Virginia’s Region 2000 Partnership where I could serve my community and be home more with my family. That led me to my current role in Bedford County and I’ve never looked back.

What is one thing about your community that makes it unique?
With the lowest tax rates for doing business in the region, Bedford County also has the best tourism sites with Smith Mountain Lake, the Peaks of Otter and Blue Ridge Parkway, the National D-Day Memorial, and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, to name a few.

If money wasn’t a barrier and you could fill a current resource gap at your community what would you do?
I would work with our school system and local industries to create a state of the art advanced manufacturing training program for high school students that provides them with an open door for a great job, but first I’d pay for every resident and business to have high speed Internet.

As you look to the future, what do you feel will be the most important thing for communities and economic developers to focus on?
Doing everything in our power to encourage young people to pursue high demand careers such as engineering and welding, but also to be able to guide the community to set the stage for industry diversification, disaster preparedness, and resilience.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new leader in this field?
I would tell them to commit to being a life-long learner and focus on finding solutions in all they do. And to be kind.

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