JOHNSON CITY - When consultants set out several months ago to perform a new Med Tech Corridor study for Johnson City, one thing became clear fairly quickly - there wasn't actually a corridor to study.
"As we got into the work, we realized the corridor, as it was talked about 10 or 20 years ago, doesn't really exist," said J. Mac Holladay, CEO of Atlanta-based Market Street Services Inc.
Geography not withstanding, Market Street representatives had a task to perform as the city, East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance had commissioned the company, at a cost of $90,000, to bring a fresh perspective to the Med Tech concept.
Thus, the focus turned to Johnson City's medical and technological economy as a whole.
More than four months of interviews, focus group sessions, stakeholder input, competitive assessment work and examination of "very reliable" national data went into the process, Holladay said.
"The work is about creating an economic strategy based on the medical and technology focus the community already has," he said.
Representatives for all three entities have had the opportunity to review a draft version of the study's findings, though the final report is slated to come down later this week.
"We made some changes based on the input we got from the clients," Holladay said. "What we've done is rework it into a 60-page document that includes more strategy and more choices."
While it includes very specific language, objectives and timetables, Holladay said it is somewhat pliable in terms of implementation by necessity.
"Any strategy needs to be a living document, able to evolve over time," he said.
In addition, Holladay stressed the study only takes a look at one section of the Johnson City/Washington County economy, though it is likely the most important section.
"It's very interesting that the three entities came together and wanted to look specifically at Med Tech," he said. "Now, they may want to take another step and say, ‘what would a holistic approach look like?' "
In the past, studies of this type have sometimes basically gone unused after they were conducted, such as the Hammer, Siler, George study from 1993 that focused on the Med Tech Corridor.
"We certainly hope that doesn't happen with this," Holladay said. "Normally, when somebody pays for a study like this, they want to implement it."
Market Street representatives are prepared to deliver a public presentation of the study after it has been delivered to the clients, he said.
The company, in existence since 1997, touts its "honest and informed assessments" and ability to bring "original insights and clarity to the evaluation and revitalization of the places where people live, work and grow."
Market Street's client list spans the United States and extends as far as Australia.
Holladay has previously served in several high-ranking economic development posts in several states.