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By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance

Gene Goddard joined the MetroHartford Alliance team as Chief Business Investment Officer in April 2019, moving from Greater Minneapolis Saint-Paul. He’s grown to enjoy many aspects of the region that remind him of St. Paul.

Why Hartford?

GENE GODDARD: I’d never been north of New York City before taking this job. So, I had no idea what the Hartford Region was all about. But after coming to the community and touring it, I found the natural environment here is absolutely amazing. One of the things I like most is the woods, the hills, and the curving roads to work coming from Avon into Hartford. My family teases me about being a history/architecture nerd, so I also enjoy a lot of the old houses and buildings in and around the region.

What impact do you hope to make in the Hartford Region through the MHA?

GENE: Our goal is to help increase the number of new jobs created within the region and work to develop a sustainable economy that’s more diverse than just aerospace and insurance. We also want to help strengthen the region to ensure it can handle any bumps or bounces in the economy.

Another goal is to tell help the Hartford Region story. We are more than the 16 square miles that make the city of Hartford, we are the of 1.3 million people who live in the patchwork of 58 towns and cities in the center of Connecticut that have so much to offer.

How do you tell the story of the Hartford Region?

GENE: By going out; knocking on doors; talking with business leaders, corporate real estate executives, and site selectors, and telling them what is happening in Hartford Region. And, when we tell them that Hartford is “The Insurance Capital of The World,” they say: Okay we know that what else? We’re trying to help them learn the “what else.”

We’re telling the story about the strengths of the aerospace, defense, advanced manufacturing we have here in the region. We are the epicenter of advanced manufacturing 4.0 and our location is great for logistics and distribution. We’re telling the story about our broadcast media industry, which creates $5.4 billion of economic activity in our region because of ESPN. We talk about the strengths of the state and how we’re interconnected.

Because the size of our state is like many other metropolitan regions, we have a great opportunity to tell the whole story of Connecticut and be able take advantage of what is happening in New Haven, Stanford, and Bridgeport, which are less than an hour away. By building off that, we are stronger together and create a larger market presence. By looking at things differently and adding us all together, we are the 13th largest regional economy in the country. Now you’re talking impact. 

What makes Hartford unique?

GENE: When I’m downtown, I love being able to walk to all kinds of different foods from Indian to Mexican to Italian. Oh, and I love the Polish National Home. I also enjoy having access to so much natural environment in the region. The farm that I grew up on is pretty flat, so when I’m walking along the rivers or hiking in the mountains, I take a lot of photographs. The Hartford Region has become a unique part of my art and of me.