Christopher Chung, Missouri Partnership

Christopher Chung

Marketing Missouri

Editors’ Note

Christopher Chung joined the newly formed Missouri Partnership in 2007 as the public/private corporation’s first Chief Executive Officer. He is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. He attended The Ohio State University (OSU), graduating with a dual degree in Japanese and economics. He is near completion of a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management, to be awarded from the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Organization Brief

In close collaboration with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and private industry around the state, the Missouri Partnership (www.missouripartnership.com) spearheads Missouri’s investment promotion efforts with the goal of attracting new industry, jobs, and prosperity to the state’s communities.

What did you see that made you feel there was a need for the Missouri Partnership and what role do you plan for it to fulfill?

Like a lot of states, there is a void of perception about what Missouri offers as a place in which to invest and do business. There isn’t a lot known about the state, let alone about why it is a good business location.

In Missouri, the spectrum of activities that the state agencies are undertaking with respect to economic development ranges from retention and expansion of existing businesses, to helping small businesses get up and running, to helping foster ways to commercialize technology from our universities and research institutions into private sector enterprise, to tourism, film promotion, and community development – all of these things are part of the standard state portfolio of economic development activities.

By creating a public/private partnership to handle the marketing side of things, the goal is to try to harness some of these private sector resources to help fill in and round off those peaks and valleys when it comes to what a state is able to do in terms of investing in marketing activities. So it makes sense to get this kind of function away from the constraints of a purely public sector organization.

In addition, we are a sales organization, so we depend heavily on the relationships we form with people who make and influence decisions on where new investment projects are located. Relationships require continuity of people who are in place to form and tap into those relationships. If you move this responsibility to a public/private partnership where you’re freed of some of those regular political changes and compensation constraints, you will be able to attract and retain people who will form those long-term relationships with the people that are necessary to our line of work.

In promoting the state as a brand, is there a broad focus or are you targeting specific industries?

One of Missouri’s points of pride is that it’s generally considered to be one of the five or six most diverse economies in the country. Missouri isn’t overexposed in one specific industry because of how our economy is spread out across numerous sectors. So there are likely to be assets and advantages that accrue for companies we’re trying to attract in those same industries.