About Us



"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth,
they can be depended upon to meet any  national crisis.
The great point is to bring them the real facts."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~


The American Economic Development Institute (AEDI) is a nonpartisan public policy and economics research institution whose mission is to improve the American economy by fostering economic growth and prosperity through employment creation and international trade. 

This shall be accomplished by working with the public and private sectors to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.  The Institute will use the most effective means available to originate, advocate, promote and disseminate applicable policy proposals that improve federal, state and local economies in the United States.

The American people are in an economic war, with most Americans finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their standard of living.  Median family income has not been keeping pace with the cost of living.  Unemployment and millions of foreclosures emphasize the fact that 25 percent of our children are living in families with incomes below federal poverty standards.

The U.S. has the highest national deficit and trade deficit of any nation in history.  Continued offshoring will perpetuate unemployment and suppress our economy.  Companies move offshore because we have created a hostile business environment.  Combine federal, state and local corporate taxes and regulations and we create an extremely costly environment for companies.

As a nation, we do not have a credible economic plan. Consequently, America faces a new world order.  China’s economy is predicted to surpass the U.S. economy as the world’s largest economy in 2016.  The Chinese rise is the result of their exceptional planning and leadership.   We no longer have the vision and long-term strategy we once had.  The federal government, like most states, has attempted to solve the problem with short-term, superficial solutions that do not address deeply ingrained problems in our economy.

Therefore, the primary goal of AEDI is to improve federal, state and local economic development planning in the United States. Through research, training, conferences, demonstration projects, publications and multimedia, AEDI provides the highest quality, nonpartisan analysis and evaluation for federal, state and local economic development planning and policy decisions.



"If your actions inspire others to dream more,
  learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 

  ~ John Quincy Adams ~ 


The Board of Directors of the American Economic Development Institute will oversee its policies, work   programs, budgets and investments. Its members include notable academics,   practitioners and public officials interested in fostering economic   evelopment at the federal, state and local levels throughout the United States. Our Founding Board of Directors:

Ronald R. Pollina, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronald R. Pollina is President and founder of Chicago-based Pollina   Corporate Real Estate, Inc. Since 1981, Pollina Corporate has represented   clients nationally and internationally with strategic planning and location   analysis. Dr. Pollina is recognized as an expert in corporate location   analysis, economic development and geoeconomic trends.

Prior to forming the company, Dr. Pollina was real estate economist for one of the   nation’s largest real estate firms. During the mid-1970s, he served as   geoeconomist in the economic development division of Continental Illinois   National Bank.

Dr. Pollina has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies as location   consultant, including Xerox, E.I. du Pont, 3Com, Time Inc., Bosch,  Caterpillar, State Farm Insurance and Prudential Insurance. He has   represented his clients in virtually every state in the United States as well   as foreign locations. Many of these projects have included the location   selection of corporate headquarters, research and development, manufacturing   and distribution facilities.

Dr. Pollina has authored over 70 published articles on the subjects of   geoeconomics, corporate relocation and economic development. His opinions on   geoeconomics and corporate location have been quoted in The Wall Street   Journal, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times. Dr. Pollina is the author of the   nationally recognized Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States study that   is published annually and has received coverage by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX   and NPR. His latest book, Selling Out a   Superpower: Where the U.S. Went Wrong and How We Can Turn It Around  (http://sellingoutasuperpower.com) is published by Promethus Books.

In addition to being interviewed numerous times on television and radio, Dr.   Pollina has made scores of presentations before groups such as the National   Council for Urban Economic Development, International Economic Development   Council, International Development Research Council, National Association of Realtors, International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate   Real Estate, Business Roundtable and several state legislatures.

Dr. Pollina is a member of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, American Real Estate Society and Lambda Alpha (Land Economics   Fraternity). He served on the International Development Research Council’s   Board of Directors and was granted its highest level of achievement, Master Professional. Pollina served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Tenant Representative Alliance, an international association of corporate real estate brokerage firms, and also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate.

He has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois and DePaul University. Dr. Pollina received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois.

M. Gordon Brown

Vice President & Economic Policy Strategist


M. Gordon Brown is Principal of Space Analytics, a Chicago firm providing expert services in architecture and urban design for real estate. Space Analytics has served clients in the U.S. and Europe since 1989 focusing on problem property, urban design and redevelopment, retail real estate, access takings, public/pedestrian space, architectural copyright and owner-designer-builder disputes. He is also Adjunct Professor Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he teaches the Ph.D. research methods course.

His forthcoming book to be published by Routledge, Access, Property and American Urban Space, examines long-term changes in American urban configurations and their impact on economic exchange. Dr. Brown developed the shape-network™ modeling process that transforms spatial-visual patterns into hard evidence about economic functionality of buildings, street locations and large-scale urban configurations.

He has consulted on shopping centers of all sizes, main street redevelopment, office workplace design, industrial buildings, hospital patient floors and been an expert witness on cases about public space, eminent domain, premises liability, architectural copyright and very large luxury houses many of which involved multi-million dollar awards and were the largest in that category.  His testimony in leading, high-profile cases has successfully undergone Daubert review in U.S. Federal Court and used in and state Supreme Court opinions.

His scientific, professional and critical articles have addressed functional/economic failure, conditions for urban innovation, real property investment anomalies, office space, real estate valuation, eminent domain law, premises liability and architectural competitions, education and theory. He has been a keynote speaker and given dozens of presentations at conferences on architecture, real estate, anthropology, public art, leadership and management. He was interviewed on Public Radio's Marketplace program, gave expert testimony on Court TV and commented on real estate issues in a variety of magazines and newspapers.

He was recently on the Board of Academic Advisors for the Homburg Academy, Academic Fellow of the Urban Land Institute and ALDAR Dean of Business at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE. Dr. Brown earlier served as Head of the Real Estate Management and Development Group at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands.

Before starting Space Analytics, he taught at the University of Colorado where he was Associate Dean, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Arizona State University where he started the joint Master of Architecture/MBA program.  Dr. Brown received a Homer Hoyt Advanced Studies Institute Leadership Award, two American Real Estate Society best manuscript prizes for showing how to diagnose functional obsolescence and grants for work on eminent domain access takings and on public forums.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and currently Chair of its U.S. Midwest Chapter and on the Board of Directors of the Center for Sustainable Urbanism, Sudbury, Massachusetts, and Capranica, Italia. He was on the Board of Directors of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Colorado, the Denver Architecture Foundation and The City Club of Denver.

His academic credentials include a B.S. from the University of Illinois, Urbana, an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, an MSc (Architecture) (thesis distinction) from University College London, and the DTech, (higher doctorate) from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

Phillip   D. Phillips, Ph.D., CEcD
Vice President & Economic Policy Strategist


Phil  Phillips is a consultant and educator in economic development and site   selection.  His primary areas of experience and expertise are in   economic development, site selection, strategic planning, technology transfer   and higher education.  Through his career experience, he has gained   broad experience in the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and the   academic world.

Dr.  Phillips serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International   Economic Development Council, the leading membership organization in the   field of economic development and the American Economic Development   Institute, a newly created economic development “think tank.”  He also   serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Economics Department and the   Executive MBA Program of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Prior to his retirement in October 2012, Phil Phillips served as Senior Director at   the Greater Omaha Chamber for 17 years, where he was responsible for existing   business retention and expansion efforts.  He also led strategic   planning efforts for the GO! economic development program, including   supervising the work of a consultant to prepare a five-year strategic plan   for GO! efforts from 2014 to 2017. Examples of recent projects that he has   led Chamber efforts on are:

  • Interpublic Group (IPG) –   Relocation of corporate global information technology operations for a 42,000   employee company with offices in over 100 countries.  Technology operations   were consolidated from New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and   other locations to Omaha.  IPG now has over 500 jobs and $20 million   investment in Omaha.

  • Intersystems, Inc. – Consolidation   of four Omaha area manufacturing operations into a single new facility with a   later major expansion.  One hundred and fifty jobs were retained and 100   new jobs created.

  • Unannounced Project – Expansion of   Silicon Valley-based social networking company with 70+ new jobs to be created.

  • Fidelity National Title Company –   High end property title review.  Over three hundred new employees have   been added, including 240 lawyers; 70,000 sq. ft. of space leased.

  • WebEquity Solutions –   Internet-based company providing mortgage evaluation services to financial   institutions; over 100 jobs created to date.

  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union -   Customer Care Center expansion; $5,000,000 investment with 285 jobs retained   and 300 new jobs to be created.

  • Unannounced Project – Expansion of   third-party employee benefits provider creating 100 jobs.

  • Proxibid – Retention and expansion   of online auction firm – 56 jobs retained and 45 new jobs created to date.

Phil   played a key role in development of the Nebraska Advantage incentive program   enacted in 2005 and in preparing the Chamber’s 2004-2008 and 2009-2013   strategic plans for economic development. From 1995-2004, he also served as   Director of International Programs for the Greater Omaha Chamber.

Before  coming to Nebraska, Dr. Phillips served as Director of the Office of   Corporate Relations and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  In this position, he was responsible for the   University’s economic development programs and for a technology transfer grant program that assisted University faculty members in creating 31   spin-off companies.  He also managed a small business assistance center and a rural development capacity building program supported by a major grant   from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Phil was a consultant and Vice President of the Fantus Company in Chicago from 1980 to 1986.  At that time, Fantus was the nation’s leading corporate   site selection and community economic development consulting firm. While there, Phil directed projects for companies including Beech Aircraft, Corn Products, Kimberly Clark, NCR, JVC Sanyo, Navistar and Proctor and Gamble as well as development strategies for the states of Illinois, Kentucky and Wyoming and cities ranging from Phoenix, Arizona to Lexington, Kentucky and Lubbock, Texas.

Prior to joining Fantus, Phil was a professor at the University of Kentucky, where he taught courses in economic geography and urban studies. He has also served   as an adjunct professor of geography and economics at the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

He   holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Dr. Phillips is author of numerous articles in publications including the Economic Development Review and Site Selection Magazine and is author of several books, including Retaining and Expanding Local Business and Industry, Strategic Planning for Community Economic Development and Economic Development for Small Communities and Rural Areas.

Phil holds the designation of CEcD (Certified Economic Developer) certification awarded by the IEDC. He has been a board member and officer of numerous other organizations, including the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, the Midlands Venture Forum and the Midwest International Trade Association.  Phil has served on the editorial board of the Economic Development Journal for over a dozen years.


Brent A. Pollina, Esq.
Vice President & General Counsel


Brent Pollina works closely with corporations in order to ensure that they achieve and surpass all of their real estate goals. He actively represents corporations in all aspects of the companies' real estate transactions, including site and building evaluation, lease negotiations, purchase contracts, and lease administration.

As a consultant, he assists clients nationally with strategic planning and all other forms of real estate consulting. His responsibilities include real estate financial analysis, such as lease vs. buy analysis, and sale/leasebacks. Mr. Pollina also conducts location analysis studies, which   include analysis of all relevant location factors such as state and local   taxation, labor availability, cost and reliability, transportation costs, and utility costs.

As Vice President of Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc. and a member of the Pollina Corporate negotiating team, he is active in analyzing and negotiating state and local incentives on behalf of corporate clients. In addition to working for many corporate clients, Mr. Pollina had performed numerous economic development studies for various Regional, and Local Economic Development groups as well as Chambers of Commerce and Business Organizations.

Mr. Pollina has authored multiple articles on site selection and state and local incentives, as well as contributed to the publication of the Pollina  Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States report for 2004-2007. In 2008, Mr. Pollina became the primary Author of the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States Report.
Mr. Pollina received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Drake University and then went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Marquette   University. Mr. Pollina has been admitted to practice before the Illinois and   Wisconsin Supreme Courts and is an active member of the American, Illinois and Wisconsin Bar Association. In addition, Mr. Pollina is also a member of the International Tenant Representative Alliance, (ITRA), and a member of the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE).


Frank Martin
Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs


Frank Martin, a lifelong media hound and president of FWM Communications, combined public relations and non-profit experience with newsroom and investigative savvy to serve a wide spectrum of clients over the years.

Martin provided innovative corporate communication solutions to companies with national and international image problems and offered strategic counseling, including crisis communication and media training. He became an indispensable communication troubleshooter for clients in the U.S. and Europe.

In the literary world, Martin provided manuscript development services, literary representation to the book publishing marketplace and book promotion services. He enhanced the editorial quality of a book through his knowledge of the book acquisition process, his intimate understanding of the difficulties that authors encounter during the revision process and his skill as a hands-on editor and collaborative manager.

Martin also spent the last twenty-plus years working behind-the-scenes as a book doctor with an eclectic collection of Washington, D.C.-based think-tankers shepherding their nonfiction and fiction books from concept to completion. A versatile and diplomatic problem-solver, Martin dealt with local, state, regional, national and geopolitical issues.

Additionally, he managed corporate publishing projects such as the development of high-quality, four-color coffee table books that expanded the brand identity of world-class resorts like Vail, Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Martin co-authored a nonfiction book in 1990 entitled My Days in Court  with Emmy Award-winning Ida Libby Dengrove, the chief courtroom illustrator for NBC News from 1972 to 1987. The hardcover book, published by William Morrow & Company, Inc., described the landmark national and international events Dengrove brought to life for network television and the nation’s largest market.

Prior to his book publishing experience, Martin spent nine years with Time Inc. as a People bureau chief in Denver and correspondent in Chicago  identifying, reporting and writing stories of national and international importance. He covered top news events, including the Iranian hostage crisis, boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Reagan assassination attempt and the first artificial heart implant.

Martin also obtained Secret Service clearance to cover Former President Gerald Ford, Vice President Walter Mondale, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and satellite trackers at the North American Air Defense Command beneath Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. He also filed stories forTime and worked on Life’s special issue, “One Day in the Life of America.”

He earlier served as a reporter for The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado, and as a reporter, writer and editor for Pioneer Press, Inc., a Time Inc. subsidiary then-based in Wilmette, Illinois.

Martin gained national recognition in 1971 when he worked as an undercover reporter and writer for a series of stories that detailed a heroin ring operation in Chicago’s western suburbs. The series earned Pioneer Press the Roy W. Howard Award, given to the newspaper, television station or radio station exhibiting the most outstanding public service, as well as a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Martin earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in journalism and minor in political science from Northern Illinois University.



”He who knows nothing   is closer to the truth
  than he whose mind is filled with falsehood and errors."
~ Thomas Jefferson  ~

What is the AEDI?


The American Economic   Development Institute is a think tank dedicated to increasing   and enhancing the understanding of key public policies that impact economic   development at the federal, state and local levels.


What is a think tank? 


It is a research   institute that comes up with new ideas that could influence public   policy.   Contrary to the common perception that think tanks are   organizations with specific political or ideological agendas, AEDI is   strictly nonpartisan. Our core values are quality and objectivity, and our   focus is on facts and evidence.


Does AEDI lobby for   any political groups or corporations?


The Institute does not   undertake lobbying efforts, back political candidates or engage in direct   political activities. AEDI is not associated with any political organization   or party — Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian or other.


Why aren't you located   in Washington, D.C. with other think tanks?


We're based in the   Chicago area because that's where we were founded.  It is also our   opinion that there are some advantages to being located outside of the   Washington, D.C. area.   Recognizing that every region of the   nation has special and unique needs, a location in the Chicago area provides   us with a national perspective that allows us to better understand all   regional variations and needs.  A Midwest location also provides better   access to a wide range of American people, business and state and local governments. 


How does AEDI   select projects?


Project selection is   decided by our board with the objective of meeting the Institute’s   mission.  In addition, AEDI uses philanthropic support and the   organization's own endowment for projects that are either too new, too urgent   or demand total independence, such as our ranking of the pro-business   stature of state governments or in researching  positions on campaign   issues, policy issues or pending legislation that will impact national, state   or local economic development and resulting job creation.


Is AEDI really nonpartisan?


Some states require   contributors to provide their occupation and employer information when making   a donation to a campaign. Such donations may come from individuals who   work at or are affiliated with AEDI, but not from the Institute itself.