Fort Thomas, Ky., native Seth Cutter’s interest in politics and public service led him to Washington, D.C., for college at American University. He went on to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for a master’s of public administration, but Kentucky called him back in 2012. Cutter went to work with Northern Kentucky communications and public relations firm Strategic Advisers, but soon had to try his own entrepreneurial hand for two years with Cutter Solutions consulting firm. Today, the 28-year-old is an economic development officer for Campbell County Fiscal Court. We asked him a few questions about his path and what he’s doing in Campbell County.
TLR: What made you decide to take the job in Campbell County?
SC: Part of my passion is to help create a community in which businesses thrive, where citizens have economic opportunity and mobility, and that helps transform Northern Kentucky into the type of place where young professionals want to choose to live and work. There’s a clear demand in the work of economic development to be entrepreneurial, so this job is the marrying of many of my passions.
TLR: Why is Campbell County a good place for young professionals?
SC: It is a truly unique place to live, work, raise a family and enjoy life. Within minutes of being in the middle of downtown Cincinnati, you can enjoy Northern Kentucky’s urban core, be on campus at Northern Kentucky University and our growing suburbs, or find yourself tucked away in rolling hills, surrounded by farms and wineries.
TLR: What specific programs encourage economic activity among young people?
SC: Some of things we have been part of include an urban living tour that spans all our Northern Kentucky river cities (the Catalytic Fund’s Beyond the Curb tour), the Backroads Farm Tour that our Conservation District puts on each July to showcase the dozens of great agribusiness and agritourism destinations, and the work we and our partners are doing to create a community filled with the amenities millennials are demanding. That work includes Riverfront Commons, an 11-mile pedestrian pathway that stretches across the Ohio River’s southern bank. Our friends at Southbank Partners have been working on this project for years, and we know that economic growth in all sectors is, in part, a result of the strength of how livable our community is.
TLR: How do you see millennials contributing to Northern Kentucky?
SC: In addition to the fact that we will be called upon soon to be more active leaders in our communities and businesses, the attitude and energy we bring with us to work, I believe, is a great asset for employers. Especially here in our county where I know how much the value of hard work was emphasized growing up, millennials have been forced to be comfortable with, and to embrace, change. Part of this was how quickly technology was evolving when we were growing up.
TLR: How does Campbell County attract job seekers?
SC: One of the ways Judge Executive Steve Pendery and our team feel Campbell County can be really competitive in this area is through our greatest economic growth driver: Northern Kentucky University. We’ve got students coming from all over to pursue careers in cybersecurity and health informatics. The $97 million Health Innovations Center on campus is being built as we speak. The College of Informatics is now in its 10th year. The university has grown tremendously in its academic program, scope and reach. Now, can we, the community, close the argument to keep graduates around?
TLR: Personally, what are your career goals? And what advice would you give people who want to pursue a career like yours?
SC: I never quite knew what it was I wanted to “do” – I always say that for those with a lot of interests it’s OK to be confused or unsure. I knew, however, that I enjoyed the public sector for the good things the community can and must do together. My time in D.C. proved that politics takes a special appetite. I much prefer this role where I am able to work for our county but still spend time on all the things I love: business and entrepreneurship; strategic planning; communication and marketing; research; real estate; finance and incentives; and so much more. To those (around the state) who have a lot of varied interests, I would suggest they try an internship at GLI (Greater Louisville Inc.) or the Neighborhood and Community Services Department of the City of Bowling Green or at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED.