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 write about Austin's economy, labor market, and population change for the next ten years. In 2012, Brian founded Civic Analytics LLC to help elected officials, business leaders, and others in Austin make data-driven decisions to improve their community.
Brian Kelsey is an economic development researcher 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 helped clients of all sizes — from rural communities to the White House — design, execute, and evaluate the results of economic development strategies.
Brian is the principal and founder of Nashville-based Civic Analytics LLC and recently served as chief strategy officer for two mayors there. He has completed 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.
In 2012, Brian was awarded a gold medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the agency's highest honorary recognition, for creating an “unprecedented platform for coordinating Federal economic development efforts” at the Economic Development Administration. From 2012 to 2016 Brian was an adjunct instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he taught graduate students about economic development research, strategy, and finance.
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”