Facilitation & Strategic Planning

We provide facilitation, strategic planning and organizational development services to help create resilient communities and municipalities, and highly-effective organizations.

Our expert facilitators have deep experience in helping both public and private entities successfully engage in strategic planning in order to initiate organizational change and/or create new entities, structured through facilitation of their own input and priorities. Contact Jim Smiertka for more information.

Our Comprehensive Approach to Facilitation and Strategic Planning:

Our facilitation process includes an initial discussion, location of data, and identification of notable opinion-makers, thought-leaders, and connectors. Next, we strategize project process and content for initial contacts. We make those contacts, conduct personal interviews, gain support for the project and identify further contacts. We then analyze and report results, and hone the approach along with our project partner.

Next, we create a survey instrument and introductory letter calling for support, distribute that and follow up. We analyze and compare survey results with interview results, data, and other relevant resources, and research new issues. Typically,we then set up, prepare for, and conduct focus groups with thought-leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss results and a going-forward strategy.

We then present a concept plan for input, and with that input we draft a strategic plan. Finally, we present the strategic plan to our partner, and hold roundtables with thought-leaders, policy-makers, and stakeholders. With this feedback, we decide timelines and responsibilities, and any revisions to the plan.

Examples of Our Work:

Genesee County Community Action Resource Department

Prima Civitas is providing a full range of consulting and technical assistance to improve organizational structure, service delivery, efficiency, productivity and perception of this important human services agency.

City of Grand Rapids Water and Waste Water Management Department

We will complete an assessment and develop a strategic plan for the creation and implementation of a Food Innovation District for the City of Grand Rapids, comprised of a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses, services and community activities.

Mott Children’s Health Center

Prima Civitas consultants are working with the CEO and Board to review and update the organization’s vision and mission. Initial steps included conducting an environmental scan, accomplished through 150 interviews with board and staff members, plus external stakeholders including funding organizations, education, medical professionals and institutions of faith. With this input about the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the Center will update its strategic plan, including its goals and specific, measurable objectives.

I-69 International Trade Corridor

Prima Civitas coordinated and continues to provide advice and assistance for the award-winning I-69 International Trade Corridor, comprised of 31 municipalities and four counties. In order to expand the Corridor to the Michigan border with Indiana, Prima Civitas also facilitated the cities of Marshall, Charlotte, Coldwater, and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) to form a partnership with the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation. The I-69 Corridor has earned the International Economic Development Council’s Bronze Award. Qualifying businesses benefit from state/local incentives, including real/personal property tax abatements, and tax-free Renaissance Zones. Prima Civitas Vice President Jim Smiertka was recognized in a March 21, 2013 Forbes.com article about the promise of NMDC for the region and state. Subsequent developments include the addition of more municipalities and counties within the agreement, the formation of a Tax Increment Authority covering more than 100 linear miles, and a potential plan to create a similar initiative along I-75.

“Prima Civitas was instrumental in the development and continued growth of the I-69 International Trade Corridor Initiative, which has been the most transformational thing we have done as a county to develop economic opportunities.”

-Justin Horvath, President and CEO, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership

Saginaw County Board of Commissioners

Prima Civitas facilitated an in-depth strategic planning session to establish budget priorities, resulting in a thoughtful discussion and evaluation of the most effective and efficient use of Saginaw county resources. The successful strategic plan, budget, and adopted mission and vision statements were recognized in Board Chairman Michael Hanley’s February 4, 2016 “State of the County” Address.

“The facilitation of our strategic planning process by Prima Civitas was very well done. Their team led us through an in-depth discussion and examination of the issues, helping to pave the way for very well-informed decision-making by our Commission. I believe every participant’s expectations were exceeded.”

– Mike Hanley, Chair, Saginaw County Board of Commissioners

Flint Cultural Center Corporation

Prima Civitas was engaged by Flint Cultural Center Corporation to lead a review and develop plans for a decentralized governance structure and shared services. We conducted in-depth information gathering and consensus-building interviews and meetings with board, staff and stakeholders and reviewed consultant reports, and delivered a report detailing multiple options for moving forward. The FCCC’s board approved and is successfully implementing selected options.

“Prima Civitas provided us expert assistance in organizational restructuring, consensus building, establishing a business and operational plan, and expanding our collaborative partnerships. Their timely and substantive support resulted in Board and staff buy-in of our new governance structure. We are most appreciative of their excellent technical and operational assistance.”

-Jody Blackburn, Chief Operating Officer, Flint Cultural Center Corporation

Great Lakes International Trade & Transport Hub

Prima Civitas, Michigan State University, and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia hosted the Great Lakes International Trade and Transport Hub (GLITTH) Summit at MSU in 2011. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder joined with government leaders, economic developers and trade specialists from the two counties to help businesses move trade across borders. Participants formed the GLITTH Initiative, charged with examining and developing a truly bi-national export/import strategy. The initiative leverages assets of the shared region, including the Great Lakes, supply chain infrastructure, world-class universities, land and agricultural resources, and advanced manufacturing; Resulting multifaceted US Midwest-Canada network is motivated to see this regional partnership become an economic force in the global economy; Members of the GLITTH network share information and connect resources to advance regional business investment, job creation,environmental sustainability, and economic vitality.

Genesee County Brownfield Redevelopment

In partnership with confidential partners,Prima Civitas provided SWOT analysis and facilitation for an economic development project in Genesee County. We developed strategies to turn the site’s weaknesses into strengths, and match strengths with opportunities. We catalyzed ongoing work in the county through the resulting Genesee Global Action Team and the Genesee Global Intermodal Corridor Initiative.