Strategic Plan Request for Proposal

Background and Purpose

Created by state legislation in 1994, the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation is the lead economic development authority for Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe counties in southeastern West Virginia. The Greenbrier Valley EDC is a local unit of government with four full time staff. The Greenbrier Valley EDC’s mission is to strategically facilitate economic growth and higher wages through collaborative partnerships, while preserving the natural beauty and quality of life in the Greenbrier Valley region. Governed by a twelve-member Board of Directors, four from each representative county, the organization is an active partner in helping people and businesses succeed. However, the Greenbrier Valley EDC is now at a unique crossroads, having brought in three new staff, including a new Executive Director in June 2021 and is tasked with supporting business and industry in a new reality brought about by COVID-19.

The population of Greenbrier Valley EDC’s territory is, according to the 2020 census 53,222, a decline over the last decade. The downturn of the coal industry and supporting businesses, and the ongoing pandemic has had an impact on the economy of the region. While COVID has brought immense challenges and the loss of some business interests – the natural beauty of the region and its growth in outdoor recreation provided some silver linings during the pandemic.

Moving forward, Greenbrier Valley EDC, its partners and its assets, should place the region in a point to compete with its peer communities across the nation while providing the region with economic development leadership. However, Greenbrier Valley EDC needs direction to better utilize these assets to advance the future of the region’s residents, businesses, and non-profits as well as grow economic wealth.

The Greenbrier Valley EDC seeks to complete a vigorous 3-year strategic plan, which serves as a living and guiding document for the organization. While analysis of economic factors, indicators and trends is necessary, we are not merely seeking a background study. Its purpose is to position the organization on a path to continue leading the region in intentional, innovative, and collaborative economic development, to respond to the citizenry, and to align partnerships for the largest regional impact. These action items will be focused on stakeholder conversations and on measurable objectives and goals.

While the strategies will entail many elements, Greenbrier Valley EDC aims to increase the population of the region, the region’s tax base and the wealth of its residents and businesses in an equitable manner. Over the Greenbrier Valley EDC’s history, sections of the region have suffered from long-term disinvestment and neglect. To remedy that failure, the goal is to create a plan that elevate the entire region.

This strategic planning effort should focus not just on the existing capacity of the organization, but where Greenbrier Valley EDC has opportunities to grow in future years as a network.The process should answer three questions:
1. Where are we?
2. Which direction should we go?
3. How do we get there?

Stakeholder and Public Engagement

It is expected that the chosen consultant will garner input from stakeholders from around the Greenbrier Valley, as well as from outside influencers including site selection consultants, developers, and local government units. Direct engagement with the public is a necessity – in each county. The exact level of public engagement, however, will be largely influenced by the consultant according to the level they believe should be utilized during the strategic planning process.

Request for RFQs/RFPs

Greenbrier Valley EDC is seeking the professional consulting services of a firm (or team of firms) that is multidisciplined, professionally capable, and has similar experience as requested herein, for the preparation of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Authority’s 3-year Strategic Plan. The selection will be a single stage process. Qualified firms should submit a full proposal including an approach addressing the Scope of Work as outlined in the RFQ/RFP Submittal Requirements. The Selection Committee will score the proposals using the selection criteria contained herein. Only the selected firm will be contracted.

Scope of Work

Phase I: Assessment, Benchmarking & Evaluation (Where are we?)

The Consultant will conduct an economic and demographic analysis of the Greenbrier Valley EDC and its economic relationships to the surrounding regions. The purpose of this analysis will be to better understand the Greenbrier Valley economy in the context of the larger Appalachian economy to identify both unique opportunities and regional synergies for economic growth and diversification.

During this phase of the study, the Consultant will review relevant previous economic studies, reports and other related information provided by Greenbrier Valley EDC to ensure that this strategy meshes with existing plans while yet remaining distinct. To the degree possible, Greenbrier Valley EDC staff will make available local data requested by the Consultant, understanding that the Consultant may have better and more convenient sources of data than Greenbrier Valley EDC. Gaps in available data deemed necessary to inform strategies and relevant solutions in addressing these data gaps will be discussed with Greenbrier Valley EDC. Greenbrier Valley EDC will provide information on its current economic development programs, staffing and budget, as well as a listing and the general function of its local economic development partners.

Economic & Demographic Profile: This phase should include the creation of an economic and
demographic profile of the region. This profile should include, but should not be limited to, current
characteristics and trends of the area in population, age, housing, education, family characteristics,
diversity, and workforce and mobility. The profile will also outline projected demographic trends
through 2025.

The Economic Profile should provide an overview of the region’s economy and the drivers responsible for most of the economic activity in the region. The Economic Analysis shall include a review of the industries and the businesses that are currently contributing to the economic climate and the tax base of the region. In addition, the consultant should provide an overview of the emerging micro-enterprise, small business, and gig economy components of the regional economy and their projected impact on the Greenbrier Valley’s future economic composition.

Organization Review – The consultant will review the Greenbrier Valley EDC’s economic development staffing, funding, programs, past activities/results, collaborative partnerships for benchmarking. The consultant will use this review in Phase III, in recommendations as to the best ways to utilize limited resources through collaborative partnerships to maximize the return on investments made by Greenbrier Valley EDC.

Review of Economic Development Product: The consultant will gather the data necessary to conduct a review of the Greenbrier Valley EDC’s economic development product that is promoted by Greenbrier Valley EDC for economic development purposes, including public and privately held assets. Areas of analysis will include available sites, available buildings, available industrial parks, infrastructure capacity, access, and zoning. After review, the consultant will provide an analysis of Greenbrier Valley EDC’s available product with the identified targeted industry sectors. Recommendations should be made for product improvement to ensure that Greenbrier Valley EDC has an attractive and adequate product inventory for its targeted market.

Phase II: Visioning and Confirmation (Where do we want to go?)

It is expected that this phase will include stakeholder engagement across all three counties. It should be noted that the Greenbrier Valley EDC is looking for regional AND local strategies to identify and seize current opportunities.

SWOT Analysis – The consultant will conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to gather input to ensure that the future economic development efforts and goals of the Greenbrier Valley EDC region are clearly defined. This analysis will be a tool to build consensus among all stakeholders, creating a unified vision for future efforts. Internal and external factors should be examined as to their potential impact on the region’s future growth, be they positive or negative.

Input will be gathered from local stakeholders, regional, and state-level allies. It is during this process that unbiased input is fundamentally important. The consultant will work with the Greenbrier Valley EDC to identify stakeholders for the purposes of focus groups, interviews, and further conversations.

Target Analysis – The consultant will analyze Greenbrier Valley EDC region’s current target industry sectors and verify that the sectors are a viable economic development focus for the region. Location factors for each identified sector will be researched and reviewed, and cross matched with the region’s assets. Additionally, the consultant will perform a location quotient analysis to determine if there are industries that are exporting goods from the region (showing a strength that may be grown) or industries where the region is importing goods (showing a gap that might be filled).

Competitive Assessment – The Greenbrier Valley EDC region will be analyzed from a competitive and comparative standpoint to get a true measure of its position in the market with which it routinely competes for investment and job creation projects. The Greenbrier Valley EDC Region will be benchmarked against other similar communities within the state, as well as those outside of West Virginia. Areas of comparative focus will include demographic information, as well as available product, labor force, economic base, incentives, support programs, etc. The accumulated data will be combined into a Competitive Assessment.

In this section of the plan, Greenbrier Valley EDC is seeking to solidify its vision, and its practicality, as well as to inform best practices in these and many other areas that are critical to our economic success. More than simply listing out what other regions have done; however, we are also interested in learning how the region can apply these best practices through strategic tasks and actions that Greenbrier Valley EDC and our partners can implement.

Phase III: Implementation Plans (How do we get there?)

This segment of the strategy is geared to tying together all the previous elements into a clear set of strategic actions and tasks that Greenbrier Valley EDC in partnership with our allies within the economic development network (including businesses, CDCs, local county officials, the Chamber and others) can implement in order to reach our goal of developing a resilient and equitable economy in the Greenbrier Valley Region.

The final Economic Development Strategies Plan will be a “tool kit” adopted by Greenbrier Valley EDC and its partners as a living document that can be implemented in real time to achieve real, long-term population, business growth and stability for our region. The plan should include an implementation matrix that explains the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of the recommended strategies. This should include designation of leaders, partners, timeline, resources (both current and potential funding sources), priority levels, and measures for each goal and objective. The plan should clearly indicate overall milestones for successful implementation of the strategies, services, and programs.

The final document will address elements previously discussed, including:

  • target industries of the Greenbrier Valley EDC, and any necessary changes in recruiting and supporting these industries;
  • the economic development product of the Greenbrier Valley including industrial park assets, and steps to enhance this product;
  • policy, law, or procedural change recommendations, as needed, for the region to achieve the economic growth and resilience strategy’s goals;
  • changes to incentive programs (including new incentive or financing tools), or the addition of programs or services at Greenbrier Valley EDC to promote business development;
  • current operational capacity and programs and services at Greenbrier Valley EDC and provide recommendations for any structural organization changes needed within the economic development organization, to be more effective in accomplishing the goals within the strategic plan;
  • areas in which increased collaboration would accrue economies of scale and benefit all parties and community partners;
  • a framework and exact content in a format that Greenbrier Valley EDC could easily utilize to put this plan into a dashboard for tracking metrics. This framework should include a space for posting information on development projects, related plans and infrastructure projects that correlate to the strategic plan.


RFQ/RFP Submittal Requirements

Greenbrier Valley EDC requests that consultants interested in providing the above outlined services prepare and submit a Proposal that includes:

  1. Cover Letter – The Cover Letter is to be signed by an officer of the firm authorized to execute a contract with Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation.
  2. Consultant Team Qualifications – Describe the areas of expertise on the consultant team including current permanent staff and the types of services that the firm, lead firm, and any supportive team members can provide and have demonstrated experience in completing for economic development entities.
  3. Key Personnel – Identify the primary contact for the project and all personnel who will be assigned to work on this project that includes a description of ability, qualifications, and experience. Include resumes for all key individuals. A meeting facilitator shall be included as part of the project team. There can be no change of key personnel once the proposal is submitted without prior approval of Greenbrier Valley EDC.
  4. Project Understanding and Approach – Include a concise description of project understanding, work approach, and methodology.
  5. Project Schedule – Propose a general timeline for completion for the strategy including start date, milestones, and target completion date of November 15, 2023.
  6. Project Experience & References – Provide brief descriptions of three (3) projects with a focus on economic development planning, prepared by or under the direction of your firm. Include in your description the techniques utilized in the strategic planning process and their outcomes. Where applicable, provide examples where clients have followed your plan and successfully reached stated goals. Please include a list of references for these projects with an emphasis on those undertaken within the last five (5) years and those done for EDAs that are substantially similar to Greenbrier Valley EDC.
  7. Deadline and Delivery – One (1) digital copy of the proposal shall be submitted to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation by emailing it to atruesdale@gvedc.com and referencing Greenbrier Valley EDC Strategic Plan Proposal in the subject line. The deadline of submittal of qualifications is November 11, 2022 at 4pm EST. Proposals received after this deadline will not be accepted.
  8. Detailed Project Work Plan – The detailed project work plan should list specific tasks and any considerations, options, or alternatives and a complete timeline. Any assumptions regarding turnaround time for tasks completed by Greenbrier Valley EDC or its staff should be clearly noted.
  9. Subcontractors – Identify any portion of the scope of work that will be subcontracted. Include firm qualifications, and key personnel, telephone number, and contact person for all subcontractors. Greenbrier Valley EDC reserves the right to approve or reject all subcontractors or internal staff performing subcontracted services proposed by the consultant during or after the consultation review and selection process.
  10. Fees – Anticipated budget for the project is $65,000. Identify fee schedule within this framework and proposed timeline.
  11. Interview – Consultants may be interviewed by the selection committee as part of Greenbrier Valley EDC’s selection process. Lead members of the consulting team will be expected to attend any interviews scheduled with Greenbrier Valley EDC.


Review Process

Consultant selection will be based upon a qualitative review of the proposals submitted. Greenbrier Valley EDC’s selection committee may request additional clarifying information from any and all consultants that submit a proposal during the review process. The selection committee will evaluate the responses to this RFP/RFQ, may interview the top-rated consultants, and will make a recommendation to the Greenbrier Valley EDC Board for the selection of the consultant determined to be the most qualified for the project. It is anticipated that Greenbrier EDC and the selected firm will enter into a professional services contract for the period beginning December 2022 through November 2023.

Selection Criteria

The following selection criteria will be utilized (not necessarily in this order) during the review of all
proposals received.

  1. Demonstrated level of relevant qualifications, experience, and professionalism for the respondent firm, team, key staff, and sub consultants.
  2. Proven record in the preparation of economic development strategic plans and place-based strategies.
  3. Demonstrated level of multi-disciplinary experience on the project team, with respect to the range of services outlined in the Scope of Work.
  4. Demonstrated experience in community engagement, public participation, and outreach as part of similar efforts.
  5. Demonstrated experience working with public agencies, city departments, and other regional entities as part of similar efforts.
  6. Demonstrated ability to stay on task, schedule, and budget as part of similar efforts.
  7. Demonstrated capacity and capability of the firm to perform the work within the specified timeline.
  8. Overall value of the proposal and proposed services relative to the project’s budget, level of creativity and innovation in the proposed approach to the project.

Work Schedule

The consultant’s work schedule will begin immediately upon execution of the contract and is expected to continue until the Greenbrier EDC Board approves the acceptance of a complete plan. A proposed work schedule for the Strategic Plan process should be submitted as part of the proposal. Our desired date for completion would be November 15, 2023.

Litigation and Debarment

Respondents must disclose any prior, current, or proposed business-related debarment, suspension, ineligibility, voluntary exclusion from contracts, suspension, litigation bankruptcy, or loan defaults within the past (5) years as well as if the respondent or any of its principals are the subject of any investigations or hearings by any Federal, State, or local regulator agency, if not, a statement to that effect must be included.

Conflict of Interest

The Consultant shall notify Greenbrier Valley EDC, in its response, if any aspect of the anticipated work raises an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest. The Consultant shall explain the conflict in its proposal so that Greenbrier Valley EDC can fully assess and address such actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest. If no conflict exists, a statement to that effect must be included.


Procurement will be a fair and open procedure in accordance with 2CFR 200.318.


Responding to this Request for Proposal/Request for Qualifications does not create a contractual relationship. No obligation on the part of the Greenbrier Valley EDC as the RFQ/RFP issuing agency or on behalf of the responding entity is created by the response. Greenbrier Valley EDC reserves the right to establish further criteria, to waive any informalities in submissions, to reject any or all proposals and to re-issue an RFQ/RFP and to negotiate with successful respondents. Greenbrier Valley EDC reserves the right to request additional information from all or a single respondent.

RFP/RFQ Questions and Clarifications

To ensure consistent response and to ensure consistent and correct information to all interested parties, potential respondents must submit all questions and request for clarification via email to Ruthana Beezley, Executive Director at rbeezley@gvedc.com. No questions will be accepted after 4pm on November 4, 2022.