Brian Kelsey started writing about Austin in 2007 after reading a story that claimed "100 people per day" were moving to the city--mostly from California--with no hard evidence to back it up. Armed with a background in research and data, he dispelled that myth and continued to provide commentary on Austin's economy, labor market, and growth for elected officials, community groups, and business associations. In 2012, he founded a company, Civic Analytics, to help community leaders in Austin and other cities make data-driven decisions to improve their local economies.


Brian Kelsey is an economic development analyst and consultant, who brings to every research challenge a rare combination of deep analytical thinking and the ability to explain complex information in simple terms. He has advised clients of all sizes — from rural communities to the White House — on economic policy and practice.

Brian is the founder of Nashville-based Civic Analytics and recently served as chief strategy officer under Mayor Barry and Mayor Briley. He has completed research and consulting projects for more than fifty clients across the U.S., including a study of Austin’s technology sector that was quoted by President Obama in a 2013 speech.

Prior to launching Civic Analytics, Brian was a senior policy advisor at the Economic Development Administration, where he was awarded a gold medal, the agency's highest honorary recognition, for creating an “unprecedented platform for coordinating Federal economic development efforts.” Outside of public service and running a small business, Brian spent five years at The University of Texas at Austin, teaching graduate-level classes on economic development at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the School of Architecture.

"Brian has the unique ability to tell community leaders what they need to hear, often not what they want to hear, and be incredibly well received."

Betty Voights

“I read other blogs for information, but I read Brian’s blog for insight. I never fail to walk away without having a new way of thinking about an old problem. Put simply, I am smarter after reading Brian’s commentary than I was before it.”

Joe Siedlecki

“ATC's partnership with Civic Analytics has proven to be one of the most valuable partnerships to the organization and to the tech community. The data, context and insight provided by Brian and his team have built a solid foundation from which the tech and broader community have gleaned understanding about the tech sector's importance and influence in Central Texas.”

Julie Huls

“Our oil exploration client was looking outside the Gulf Coast to identify new labor sources to meet its aggressive growth objectives. Civic Analytics provided the foundation for confidently designing and executing our project in half the time with better-than-expected results. Within ten days, Civic Analytics provided detailed analysis and recommendations for the top fifteen U.S. locations that met our criteria for age, experience, travel, and wages. With this information, we implemented a focused marketing strategy that generated a 400 percent increase in the number of qualified candidates–in just two weeks of marketing.”

Brooks Graul

“We contracted Brian to help with a difficult research project that required creativity and direct involvement with our team. He stepped in and provided much needed direction, analytical ability, pragmatism, and intelligence to the process. The work he produced will inform our long term planning and save us valuable time and resources along the way. I would be thrilled to call Brian a member of my team again in the future.”

Kelly Harper

“Brian offers the incredibly hard-to-find combination of deep academic understanding and the ability to explain difficult concepts in simple terms. He does it all–from data analysis to keynote presentations–with creativity, integrity, and candor.”

Randall Kempner

“It is not often that a presenter can blend research and demographics into a presentation style that individuals from all walks of life can easily relate to. He truly has a gift for looking at the big picture and helping us focus, and gain clarity on how it relates to our community.”

Charley Ayres