Before moving to Nashville I lived in Austin, Texas, for the majority of 2002-2016. I started writing about the city and the local economy after reading a story that claimed “100 people per day” were moving there–mostly from California–with no hard evidence to back it up. It was an exaggeration, of course, but it provided an opportunity to demonstrate how stories like the “100 people per day” myth shape our perceptions of local issues–and why the availability of public data is so important for examining them. I have been writing and speaking about economic development and other issues in Austin and other places ever since. In 2012 I founded Civic Analytics LLC to help community and economic developers make data-driven decisions about policy and practice.
Brian Kelsey is a Nashville-based researcher, writer, and consultant. He has advised clients of all sizes — from rural communities to the White House — on economic development policy and practice.
As founder of Civic Analytics, Brian has completed projects for more than fifty clients across the country, including a study of Austin’s tech sector that was quoted by President Obama. As a public servant, Brian was chief strategy officer for former Nashville mayors Megan Barry and David Briley and also served as senior policy adviser at the U.S. Economic Development Administration, where he was awarded the agency’s highest honorary recognition for creating an “unprecedented platform for coordinating Federal economic development efforts.”
Brian has also led regional and local economic development programs in Texas and California. But his favorite economic development job so far was adjunct instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, trying to recruit the next generation of practitioners to the field.