After 28 years as a principal of Mt. Auburn Associates, Peter established his own consulting practice, Peter Kwass Consulting, in June 2012, to focus on local and regional economic development strategy, program development, and evaluation. During his 35 years as an economic development consultant, Peter has built a strong set of core competencies in economic development planning and implementation. He has conducted extensive analysis of local and regional economies, key economic base industries, and economic development resources and capacity to help clients identify actions needed to successfully undertake economic development initiatives. He has developed comprehensive economic development plans for small and large communities and regions in both urban and rural settings to provide a detailed "roadmap" for achieving economic development objectives. He has also assisted clients to design specific programs, such as workforce and small business development programs, to move from planning to implementation. And he has evaluated a wide range of economic development programs to help clients determine whether these programs are achieving their objectives and what changes are needed to make them more effective.
Peter's views about economic development and his many years of consulting experience have shaped a particular approach to his work. First, he brings a strong commitment to devising customized solutions. Every community is unique, and while models from other communities can provide guidance, economic development must reflect the particular needs, goals and values of the community. Second, he views economic development as a partnership between the consultant and the client. While he brings specialized knowledge and experience to a project, he also recognizes the essential value of local knowledge and devotes substantial amounts of research time to thoroughly learn about the community. Third, he believes that strong community engagement is critical to moving from planning to implementation. Too many plans sit on the shelf because the planning process does not sufficiently engage community stakeholders and build the level of support and community consensus needed to turn ideas into reality. Finally, he believes that sound and sustainable economic development must benefit the entire community, not just some. Equity is a strong principle underlying his work.