Specialist in travel and economic development
Development Counselors International distinguishes itself through its focus and through its culture. It focus (for the past 45 years) is on the travel and tourism and economic development business, representing local, regional and national agencies anxious to attract tourist or investment dollars. Its culture is unique among midsize public relations firms, a result of president Andy Levine’s long-standing commitment to open book management, a process through which the firm’s four partners share detailed financial information—not to mention profits—with employees at every level.
Last year was a year of expansion, with new regional offices in Chicago and Charlotte and the appointment of a new director for the firm’s west coast operations. Jim Lee, an expert in the tourism business, and Jefferson George, a four-year veteran of DCI’s economic development practice, moved from New York to Chicago and Charlotte respectively, while Tracey Foster moved west to Marina del Ray, where she succeeded Jan Taylor Bauer.
There was growth from the firm’s innovative prospect development and qualification (PDQ) unit, which employs a predictive model to identify corporations that might be considering a new location, and draws on a DCI phone bank to qualify these companies and arrange face-to-face meetings with clients. In 2004 the PDQ work led to new clients from overseas, including the U.K. Trade & Investment agency (UKTI), the South Korean agency for trade and investment promotion (KOTRA), and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. Revenues held steady at just over $4 million.