It seems I have lived half a lifetime in the first part of my adventure to Oz. Started my journey with some short exploring in Sydney and a trip to Bondi Beach, which was beautiful. Next I headed to Darwin and began my encounters with the Economic Development Australia Organization.  An early lesson learned in my economic development career is that a good way to get a quick update about the local state of affairs is to ask the cab driver his views on the economy.  Lucky for me, the cab driver was quite articulate and did give me an earful.  Seems the boom economy has altered the landscape a bit in Darwin both for the good and for the not so good. More to learn here.

The EDA Experience So Far

We started our EDA experience with the chair of the EDA, Steve Chappel, going swimming with a very   big and ferocious saltwater crocodile. Although he was enclosed in a glass case, it was still a pretty awesome thing to watch. I figured he either pulled the short straw, or the long one depending on your sense of adventure.

EDA Chair Steve Chappel swimming with a saltwater crocodile

The EDA conference was very interesting and by all accounts a success. The days have been jam packed, with some of my highlights including:

  • Serving on an international panel discussion along with representatives from New Zealand and Australia.
  • Giving a presentation about University partnerships and workforce in the U.S.A. and also speaking about the IEDC, International Economic Development Council.
  • Helping to present the EDA awards for best practices.

The next morning after the awards ceremony I received more country indoctrination with my introduction to Australian Vegemite. Those at my breakfast table just delighted in my reaction to the stuff. It is definitely an acquired taste, and not to be eaten by the spoonful!

Developing new relationships between Universities and Economic Development Organizations

Friday was our trip to Darwin University, where we taught a Master Class on University and Economic Development Organization relationships. There were presentations from several other universities including James Cook University and Edith Cowan University. We had a strong turnout for the class, with approximately 35 participants. Great enthusiasm and participation came from the group, which seems to be the Australian way. It is clear new university and economic development relationships were made. Now feeling even more like a local in Oz.

Teaching an energized group during the Master Class

Just a great first half, now breathing easier for the remainder of the trip, leaving any crocs, real or imagined, behind.

“Ga’ Day Mate”