James Caraway

James Caraway

Manager of Business Development, Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership
Omaha, NE
Master of Public Administration, 2015

"Continue to learn and seek knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Recognize that you can learn something from anyone and treat everyone with respect. No one is ever 100 percent prepared for a new opportunity or challenge. Don’t be afraid of failing, because often on the other side of failure is greatness."

Q&A with James:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

I am a manager of business development for the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership. I am responsible for business retention, expansion, and attraction for six counties in Nebraska and Iowa. I am also tasked with building relationships and rapport with business leaders, community leaders, and industry leaders, in and outside the region. To date, I have led or been a part of 17 economic development projects that have resulted in approximately $1.3 billion in capital investment, along with 535 jobs.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

As an athlete, I had to learn how to engage and connect with teammates from all walks of life. Developing this skill takes an open mind, empathy and the ability to meet people where they are. This skill also helped me when building relationships with professors and ultimately, has helped me progress to where I am today. I would be remiss if I did not mention my time at the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC). While still a full-time student in the MPA program, I joined the VCDC and was exposed to economic development in its best form. I learned building relationships with the university, community, and local organizations were critical for the growth of a community.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

My proudest achievement would be my involvement in the landing of Facebook’s 2.6 million square foot and $1 billion Data Center in Papillion. Particularly, I’m proud of have led and facilitated the discussion of what would become a comprehensive boundary agreement between two municipalities that would help ensure the data center’s arrival. The agreement also led the way for the dropping of multiple lawsuits between the two communities, which was a key requirement for the company representatives. I was especially proud of my role in the agreement because it validated my position as an emerging leader in Sarpy county.

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

I had an absolutely wonderful experience at USD. I came to South Dakota as a student-athlete transferring from a different university and was immediately introduced to the many great things the community had to offer. On and off the field, I was met with encouragement and support from faculty and coaches, as well as many within the community. As a football player, graduate student, and husband, I had a limited amount of time to engage in activities other than athletics and academics, but USD made it very easy for me to engage. My wonderful experience at USD can also be attributed to the faculty and staff of the department of political science. If it wasn’t for the support of many of these individuals, I would not be where I am today.

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