MDB Insight Blog


Meet Justin Dias

#WednesdayswithMDBInsight – Today we’re sharing thoughts and ideas from Justin Dias, Consultant, who joined our team earlier this year.

When did you join the MDB Insight team? And what surprised you the most about your first month with the firm?

JUSTIN: I joined MDB Insight in April of 2019. The most surprising thing in my first month with the firm was the huge variety of projects that MDB Insight is involved with across the country.

What’s the coolest task you’ve worked on in the last few months?

JUSTIN: The coolest task I’ve worked on would have to be conducting interviews with business and community leaders to uncover what makes their local economy tick and what challenges they are facing. I feel like I’m getting to know about some really cool places and stories from across Canada!

What are you reading right now that you would recommend?

JUSTIN: I mostly read articles on LinkedIn related to work and especially like to find posts by Municipal World and CityLab as well as following what fellow economic development practitioners are doing.

If you could work in any community in Canada which one would it be and why?

JUSTIN: I would love to do a project in Victoria. Vancouver Island is definitely one of my favourite places to visit.

Are there any particular trends you’re watching or developments in the field that you’re following closely?

JUSTIN: I’m really interested in the emergence of new and innovative ways of implementing community improvement plans (CIPs). There is a dramatic shift going on from traditional, downtown and brownfield CIPs to more and more unique approaches to developing a CIP to suit communities of all sizes, especially in rural areas.

What’s the most helpful or complimentary feedback you’ve received from one of our clients recently?

JUSTIN: I recently received some really positive feedback from an experienced Planner who commented on the quality of some work I had done to support a CIP. As someone without planning expertise or training, it was really great to get that feedback.

What do you think are the key issues facing economic development as a profession over the next few years? How might your role change?

JUSTIN: I feel that the profession is in good hands right now. There are a lot of young economic development professionals who are entering and excelling in the profession. I really appreciate that economic developers are always keen to share their experience and best practices with each other. I hope that this continues to be the case.

I think the main role will be mostly the same, but the real change will come from the sources of data and engagement we use to inform our research. StatsCan data is great but is usually quite slow to be released. New data sets and tools from governments and private companies will probably make that part of the role much different. Technology will also likely change how we conduct interviews, stakeholder sessions and other engagement but hopefully we can always maintain that human connection to the clients and communities we work in.

Justin 2019To learn more about Justin and the other members of our team, go to

Our Wednesdays with MDB Insight blog posts (#WednesdayswithMDBInsight) feature the thinkers and doers on our team sharing ideas and talking about what’s important to us as professionals. We have very diverse backgrounds and a range of interests to share with you.

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