Economic Analytics Driving Better Economic Decisions for Indian Country

Published March 25, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Economic data provides a foundation for making informed decisions for Native nations. In the digital age, the need for information is ongoing and the expectations of accessing this information is the same. Furthermore, the information is usually raw and only reported without truly understanding the impact of certain indicators.

This is what drove Dr. Eric Trevan to find another solution. Currently a professor in the Masters of Public Administration program at The Evergreen State College, he is able to teach in three concentrations of Public and Non-Profit Administration, Public Policy and Tribal Governance. He works with Tribal nations, regional economic development corporations and other investment funds advising on a variety of economic issues. He has had a 20-plus year career working in leadership positions with planning, economic development, national economic public policy and tribal economic development.

Dr. Eric Trevan

Dr. Trevan is a past president of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. He is a tribal citizen of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, Gun Lake Tribe.

He began to ask the question, why are governments paying thousands of dollars to wait 2-3 months having information compiled, but not analyzed? Currently economic decisions are made by finding smart people and brainstorming ideas in a room without anchoring these initial projects in analytics. Using the term “analyze, not summarize” Dr. Trevan knows that if governments have access to high end economic analysis and truly understand the markets, spending behavior, possible economic leakages and human capital levels, then decision makers would have baseline economic analysis. Using thousands of economic data points, these can be combined and grouped based on how their principal components impact economic outcomes. He began to work within his network and put together a team of IT developers to help create an economic algorithm that provides market demand data immediately. This 15-year idea has come to fruition and over the past nine months, he has worked with a development team to create

Launching the beta test March 25, 2019, this free software provides immediate market demand data for every zip code in the US, GIS maps and a dashboard analyzing the current demand of every for-profit industry category. It has the ability to provide a PDF report of the analytics, maps and dashboard in just a couple minutes. Additionally, using Scenario Builder, you are able to input multiple economic scenarios and see how it impacts industry demand levels, housing demand and ultimately understanding the impact of economic and policy decisions. The user can save each scenario and use later in policy conversations, economic cost benefit analysis or other comparable studies that focus in on the priority “what businesses do we need to create economic growth?”

Trevan states “…this will change how all economic decisions are made…” since information is now available in seconds, not months. Trevan stresses that this does not replace experts and current practices seeking to understand the highest and best use of land, only to provide initial analytics that helps decision makers “…make better decisions.” Information asymmetry provides the opportunity for everyone to have better information analyzed.

The beta test will last for approximately a couple months and a launch date will be made after working on the priorities of the software. Like any analytics “…there are errors, but its important to note the potential errors and work with leaders in the community to make good decisions.” Other companies have already formed relationships with aLocal and are working together to develop API’s to connect with existing software and new potential software to work with the aLocal algorithm.

Future expansion of the software includes revenue and employment estimates, multiple zip code analytics, economic impact of different scenarios and industry demand heat maps showing areas of interest for different industries. aLocalDevelopment is owned by aLocalSolutions, LLC and is available for any zip code throughout the United Country.

aLocalDevelopment is owned by aLocalSolutions, LLC and is available for any zip code throughout the US.

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