As the maturation process of the Opportunity Zones marketplace continues, what really needs to be done to make this entire OZ effort successful is starting to crystallize. We all know what Opportunity Zones are. We all know what they mean to investors, developers, real estate professionals, and each community with the potential to be revitalized. But now what? In this podcast, Executive Director Aaron Grau from the Opportunity Zone Association of America talks about how his organization is hosting community workshops and bootcamps for economic development professionals and community organizers to answer the “Now What?” question with best practices and success stories from communities who have experienced similar challenges.
What can we learn from the early implementers who have been successful with Opportunity Zone investing and what can be done to streamline development in Opportunity Zones? As Mr. Grau explains on the podcast, it is important to understand there are many programs and resources from the federal government that span the spectrum to what it means to build a community in what he calls “wrap-around services”. These all make up the components necessary to help each individual opportunity zone to promote itself to investors and developers. but it all comes down to two major concepts: symbiosis and partnerships. This is exactly what OZAA are addressing at their bootcamps.
ABOUT OUR GUEST: Aaron Grau, Esq.
Aaron serves as Executive Director of OZAA. He’s the Principal of Grau & Associates, LLC, an association management firm in Pittsburgh. Before creating his own Pittsburgh based company, Mr. Grau directed Pittsburgh’s Duane Morris Government Strategies’ federal government affairs practice from its creation, a 2012 merger between GSP Consulting and Duane Morris Government Affairs.
Before G&A’s Virginia start, Mr. Grau was General Counsel for an Alexandria, Virginia based boutique-lobbying firm. While there Mr. Grau developed extensive experience establishing, managing, and growing trade associations including the National Job Corps Association and the National Organization of Rehabilitation Partners. Given associations’ ability to leverage broad based platforms to impact policy, economics, and business, he maintained his interest and abilities in trade association management through his career in Pittsburgh and today.
Earlier, Mr. Grau was Majority Counsel on the US Senate Health Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee where he developed Senate hearings and negotiated and drafted several pieces of federal legislation. He was part of the Senate team that created the Workforce Investment Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law during a Rose Garden ceremony in August 1998.
Mr. Grau has a BA from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Juris Doctorate from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Courts and has been honored by the State of Ohio for his legislative work on behalf of people with disabilities.
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