Episode 131

Economic Analytics Made Easy: Eric Trevan's Innovative Approach


June 3rd, 2024

31 mins 47 secs

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About this Episode

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, Dane Carlson interviewed Eric Trevan, PhD, an investor, economist, and business and the President and CEO of aLocal Solutions an AI marketing and economic analytics platform.

Their conversation dives into Eric’s extensive experience and innovative approach to economic development.

Eric shares how his career evolved from being a planning director in Southeast North Carolina to his current role, emphasizing the importance of transparency and parity in economic data. He discusses the inception of his AI platform aimed at creating equitable economic opportunities by automating and providing affordable solutions for cities of all sizes.

Throughout the discussion, Eric highlights the significance of objective and comprehensive data in decision-making, especially for local governments and economic developers who often operate with limited resources compared to large developers. He illustrates how his platform, aLocal, aggregates and analyzes vast datasets to offer predictive analytics, enabling communities to make informed decisions about economic initiatives.

The conversation also covers the evolution of aLocal from its conceptualization in 2002 to its formal establishment in 2019. Eric recounts the journey, including his academic pursuits and various leadership roles that contributed to his understanding of economic dynamics. He stresses the role of AI in leveling the playing field for smaller communities and fostering data equity, sovereignty, and diplomacy.

Eric elaborates on the platform’s capabilities, such as forecasting market demand, economic impact, and financial health at granular levels, down to zip codes. He also touches on the importance of community involvement and stake


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Actionable Insights for Economic Developers

  1. Leverage AI for Data Equity: Use AI-driven platforms to automate and provide affordable economic data solutions, ensuring all cities, regardless of size, have access to high-quality data for informed decision-making.

  2. Focus on Transparency and Objectivity: Ensure that all economic development decisions are based on transparent and objective data, reducing bias and building trust within the community and with stakeholders.

  3. Utilize Predictive Analytics: Employ predictive analytics to forecast market demand, economic impact, and financial health, helping to guide investment and development decisions with greater accuracy.

  4. Conduct Comprehensive Market Analyses: Regularly perform market analyses to identify industry demands, economic leakages, and financial health at a granular level, down to specific zip codes.

  5. Engage in Stakeholder Meetings: Actively participate in and facilitate stakeholder meetings to gather community input and ensure that development projects align with local needs and priorities.

  6. Support Data Sovereignty: Encourage communities to take ownership of their data, allowing for more accurate and relevant local economic models and better-informed decision-making processes.

  7. Implement Customizable Solutions: Offer customizable economic development solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs and priorities of different communities, whether they require detailed market studies or broad economic impact assessments.

  8. Foster Collaboration Across Jurisdictions: Promote intergovernmental and inter-jurisdictional collaboration to leverage shared resources and data, maximizing the impact of economic development initiatives.

  9. Invest in Workforce Development: Prioritize workforce development initiatives to ensure that local populations have the skills needed to support new and existing industries, fostering sustainable economic growth.

  10. Innovate and Adapt: Stay agile and open to new technologies and methodologies in economic development, continuously seeking out innovative solutions that can address long-standing challenges and drive positive community outcomes.

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