Governor Bryan, USVI Economic Development Authority to produce 20-year vision for territorial economy
Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) of the United States Virgin Islands announced the commissioning of a 20-year economic development plan (Vision 2040) for the territory, seeking input from a cross-section of residents in the territory as well as Virgin Islanders living on the US mainland and elsewhere in the world.
Speaking at Government House on St. Croix, the Governor was joined by Wayne Biggs, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (USVIEDA), the agency administering the federally funded plan.
The purpose of the plan—Vision 2040: Our Economy. Our Future—is to create a roadmap for a diversified, self-sufficient, and prosperous economy for Virgin Islanders. Governor Bryan said that Vision 2040 will focus on economic advancement in five (5) key areas: Services, Technology, Energy, Agriculture, and Manufacturing (STEAM).
A major factor in crafting the territory’s 20-year plan will be the involvement of residents. “For this 20-year plan to be realized, we’ll need the input and participation of all Virgin Islanders,” said Governor Bryan. He encouraged all residents in the territory and abroad to complete the survey found at usvi2040.com.
In addition to the surveys, the information gathering process will include interviews with stakeholders on each island, virtual open houses, town hall meetings, focus groups, task force meetings, and technical strategies. Additionally, the VIEDA will hold a variety of informational and participatory events.
The first virtual event begins with a Public Presentation on Thursday, October 22 at 6:00 pm ADT, where Virgin Islanders can learn more about Vision 2040 and members of the project’s team will be available to answer questions.
After a competitive bidding process, the USVIEDA selected Camoin 310, a national economic development firm with headquarters in Saratoga, NY, and Richmond, Virginia to manage the project. Camoin will help the USVIEDA develop a territorial vision for the next two decades, laying out the short- and long-term initiatives and strategies for accomplishing the desired results.
Upon the completion of a comprehensive examination of the current Virgin Islands’ economy – and consideration of the impact of the pandemic – The USVIEDA’s Vision 2040 plan will provide concrete economic initiatives to include eco-tourism, light manufacturing, technology, financial services, and agriculture. It will also outline needed improvements in areas ranging from energy and communications infrastructure to education, training, public safety, and government responsiveness, that have a direct effect on doing business in the Territory.
Camoin 310, in business since 1999, has delivered over 1,000 projects for economic development entities in 41 U.S. states. The firm’s team for the Virgin Islands project is being led by Dan Gundersen, Principal, and Senior Vice President. Prior to his work with Camoin, Gundersen headed economic development operations for the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and, most recently Virginia.
Among the team members for the project are two seasoned economic development professionals with ties to St. Croix, Rob DeRocker, and Mark Waterhouse. Playing a key communications role for the project will be Nykole Tyson, a native Virgin Islander and President of NT Media Productions which has served multiple private and public sector clients throughout the USVI and beyond.
Camoin 310’s day-to-day work will be monitored by Shanell Petersen, USVIEDA’s Managing Director for Marketing and 2040 Vision. The plan is being funded by the U.S. Economic Development Agency as part of the federal recovery grants following the devastating Irma and Maria Hurricanes of 2017.
The final Vision 2040 plan will be delivered at the end of February 2021, with an interim report in early January.