The old joke about consultants is that they ask for a client’s watch to tell them what time it is. This attempt at humor does accurately describing the reality that many answers companies seek are actually in plain view. But what it fails to note is that many of those clients simply don’t have the expertise or staff to notice them in the first place.
Historically, these clients have been corporations and other large institutions, but increasingly small towns are turning to outside advisors to help them manage such challenges are tourism, economic development, affordable housing and the like. Lacking the internal resources to identify unique opportunities, as well as funding sources to pay for those initiatives, these tiny municipalities are increasingly breaking from their “do-it-yourself” problem-solving approach and are bringing in real pros to analyse those issues and develop thoughtful action plans to address them.
In the case of Mid-Shore towns, it would be hard to find more capable or well-known outsiders than Ross Benincasa & Sam Shoge, the partners of the newly-formed Roads and Rivers Consulting firm based in Easton.
Active Talbot County residents will immediately recognize both men. Before starting on his own, Ross had been the highly-regarded executive director of Discover Easton at a time when Sam was serving as the economic development coordinator for the County. Benincasa led the effort of Talbot County’s first Arts & Entertainment District during his tenure and has remained an active board member of Chesapeake Music and Talbot Interfaith Shelter. The Elizabethtown College graduate also serves as an advisor at the innovative SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate firm, focusing on infill development projects.
And Kent County citizens have known Sam since he grew up in Chestertown and later when he was a member of Washington College’s admissions office just after graduating from Elon College and more recently as the former director of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce and member of the Chestertown Town Council.
The Spy asked Ross and Sam to stop by the Spy studio earlier this month to talk about this new partnership and why small towns and organizations benefit from having a new set of eyes look at their structural challenges.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more information on River and Roads Consulting please go here.