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First Daze

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By Meagan McDougall, on May 21, 2015

My first few days at my internship are under my belt and I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to love it here!

For the duration of my summer internship I’m going to be working with a small public-private nonprofit, the Chatham Economic Development Corporation. (Here is a link to their website: They currently operate with a staff of 4 full time employees and I must say, I absolutely love the tight-knit nature and strong culture of the office. From day one everyone was super welcoming and they are always willing to chat with me about what they do on the daily as well as how they ended up in economic development. The fact that I’m able to just pop into someone’s office and ask them about all of that has already had such an impact on my outlook and understanding of economic development as a whole. I’ve been here almost a full week now and I still can’t get over how great the office and organizational culture is here; everyone genuinely likes each other and the work that they do and I know it will have an effect on me moving forward and eventually define the type of organization I’ll want to work with after graduation.

During the course of my internship I have been given ownership over three initial projects within the EDC’s Strategic Plan: develop an annual business tour for elected officials; begin a business recognition and awards program, develop a small business engagement program for the EDC and elected and appointed officials. I’m really excited to work on these projects because they involve a lot of attention to detail and they fall within my closeted hobby/love of event planning. On top of that, these programs are hopefully going to become a regular part of the EDC so it’s pretty cool to know that I will be playing a part in setting the stage for future events and interns to operate on.

On my first day we all sat down and I was given a presentation about the general gist of the EDC’s work and some information on one of their hot topic projects of the moment, Chatham Park. Since then, in an effort to better wrap my mind around all the different elements of the EDC, I’ve read up on Chatham Park as well as the County of Chatham as a whole and I must say it’s some interesting stuff and it’s always good to read both sides of the issue to understand it all fully. Since day one it’s been pretty quiet at the office, but I sat down with some of my coworkers to better frame the projects I’m working on and get some more direction. Yesterday I also got the chance to attend a Pre-App meeting which was very interesting and a really cool opportunity developed by the EDC so businesses can have the chance to ask questions to all the various Town Departments they’ll encounter in the application, approval, and development process at once rather than having to bounce back and forth. Super beneficial and time efficient to everyone involved.

Olivia and I at the 2015 State of the Region conference
Olivia Hammill and I at the 2015 State of the Region conference

Today I got the chance to attend the 2015 State of the (Research Triangle Park) Region event and met some of the EDC Board members and happily ran into one of my classmates and fellow blogger, Olivia Hammill! It was amazing seeing a familiar face in the sea of strangers and just getting the chance to chat with her about our past few days on the job. She’s over at Granville County and the people I met who she’s working with seem amazing so shout out to her over there!! Apart from the joy of running into Olivia, the transit to the event was almost better than the event itself! I carpooled with 3 of the 4 employees and their sense of humor is great.

Anyway, enough gushing about how much I love working with the EDC so far haha!! I’m excited to see what additional projects I’m able to get involved with as well as all the cool meetings and people I’ll get to meet throughout the summer! I take notes at almost everything so I can remember what strikes me and may be of importance so I’ll have a nice bank of knowledge to draw from at the end of the summer.

Stay tuned for my “dazed” adventures through the summer and leave as much feedback as your heart desires!

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3 Responses to “First Daze”

  1. Olivia Hammill

    LOVE your first post, Meagan! Glad you’re having so much fun, and running into you was a highlight of my first week on the job (my hair also looks better in our picture than in my solo shot…wonder if I can switch them?). Can’t wait to read more!

    • Meagan McDougall

      Thank you so much Olivia! I love our picture too!!

  2. JNunnelly

    Welcome to Chatham County Meagan! Hope you continue to have fun and learn all about economic development this summer!

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