World Business Chicago
At the request of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Prager served as architect to design and construct Chicago's first ever public-private partnership for economic development. This organization, originally designed and launched by Prager, is today known as World Business Chicago. Prager's work entailed scripting every facet of this new organization, helping secure financing, recruiting executive staff and forging critical partnerships. Today, World Business Chicago is considered one of the finest in the U.S. and credited with attracting the world headquarters of Boeing, Groupon, MillerCoors, Navtech and others.
Fort Leonard Wood Region, Missouri
The U.S. Department of Defense funded Prager to uncover opportunities to leverage the Fort Leonard Wood Region’s defense-generated attributes while lessening dependence on the military installation itself. Prager methodically uncovered the workforce skills of military retirees, technology advances, business support services, transportation enhancements, and educational infrastructure originally put in place for or generated by the Fort. Prager then targeted industries that would benefit from these attributes and diversify the Region’s economy. Subsequently, Prager formed a development organization and aligned businesses, government and higher education in three counties to pursue investment beneficial to all.
Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation
Recognizing the need for collaboration in Chicago's resource-challenged south and southwest suburbs, elected officials and businesses sought to form one cohesive organization. Prager was retained to lead this effort from start to finish. Prager positioned urban industrial property for redevelopment, fashioned multi-jurisdiction land use policy, secured financing and assembled what would become the Region's first public-private economic development partnership. This organization today is the driving force behind the Region’s economic renaissance and its lead for multi-modal transportation development. It has generated millions of dollars in government and private financial support.
Mount Vernon and Jefferson County Development Corporation, Illinois
Prager was retained by Mount Vernon and Jefferson County to help right its economic ship. Prior to Prager's involvement, the area was an economic under-achiever with questionable self esteem. It repeatedly failed to attract investment and struggled mightily to keep the assets it had. Prager crafted a strategic plan to realize the potential of the community and built an organization to lead aggressive development. Adhering to Prager’s recommendations required the public, private and nonprofit sectors to come together like never before. Within a year, in the midst of a major economic recession, the plan started paying dividends. Sorely needed retail was attracted to vacant areas, distribution facilities expanded operations, a major manufacturer on the verge of closure stayed and has since committed 400 new jobs and $200 million in new investment, and community spirit is soaring. Prager’s roadmap and leadership is credited for this transformation.
Albuquerque City Council and Mayor's Office
Revenue Bond and Incentive Policy
Albuquerque’s debate surrounding Revenue Bonds and incentives is perhaps more public and longer lasting than that of any other major U.S. city. Emotionally charged and divergent opinions on the subject abound. At the request of the Albuquerque Mayor and City Council, Prager entered the debate by examining the appropriateness, competitiveness and opinions surrounding the City's revenue bond program and other financial tools. Albuquerque's IRBs and incentives were shown to have flaws lessening their value, discouraging their use and failing to address the needs of their intended business audience. Prager’s examination and policy development has spurred more effective, efficient and transparent use of government finances and tax dollars.
Chicago's 34th Ward
Industrial Property Redevelopment
The City of Chicago has one of the nation's most ambitious and acclaimed programs to redevelop Brownfields sites (properties severely contaminated and typically located in economically distressed neighborhoods). But even with this emphasis, Chicago struggles to return these troubled properties to tax-producing viability. Prager was hired to implement a pilot to improve one of Chicago's most important Brownfields, the West Pullman Industrial Park. Prager assessed the industrial park and associated incentives, devised corrective measures for every obstacle identified, wrote a step-by-step plan to market the property, and trained those responsible for implementation. The industrial property in West Pullman today scarcely resembles the distressed parcel that existed before the project commenced. A roadway and utility infrastructure has been developed, aggressive incentives are in place, contaminated properties have been cleaned, and the industrial park is now home to a number of large manufacturers.
Illinois Department of Commerce and
Statewide Service Delivery Mechanism
The State of Illinois, through its Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, embarked on an initiative to regionalize its services, resources and way of conducting business. Conversion of one monolithic, statewide approach into that customized for each region required help. The State turned to Prager to provide it. Prager served as internal adviser on all facets of this regional transformation, including the new role of State Government in economic development, inter-departmental collaboration, State-region partnership and performance measurement. This assignment was an outgrowth of Prager's role on the Economic Transition Teams of two Illinois Governors. It led to a sweeping initiative known as Opportunity Returns, subdividing Illinois into 10 distinct regions. With continued involvement by Prager, this rubric was applied to decision-making on massive, capital intensive appropriations in each region of the State.