Development Counsellors International

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Development Counsellors International
Industry Place Branding, Economic Development
Headquarters 215 Park Avenue South,
New York, NY 10003
United States
Area served
Key people
Andy Levine (President / Chief Creative Officer)

Development Counsellors International, also known as DCI, is a place marketing firm based in New York City that specializes in economic development and travel marketing, as well as investment lead generation services. Founded in 1960 by Ted Levine, the company now employs more than 60 people and has regional offices in Denver, Toronto and Los Angeles.

Since its founding, DCI has worked with more than 450 cities, regions, states, provinces and countries, helping them attract both investors and visitors. The firm’s clients include large economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, and community and destination marketing organizations with a focus on economic development and tourism marketing.[1]


According to the company founder, DCI began with just one client and two employees. The company’s first office consisted of two small rooms in a medical supply warehouse on 14th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. As the U.S. director of public relations for Puerto Rico’s Operation Bootstrap program, Ted Levine created a model economic development program for other countries wanting to boost tourism or encourage business development.

Andy Levine, son of Ted Levine, joined DCI in 1991 and has since taken over the day-to-day management responsibilities as the firm’s president.

The company’s use of an open-book management philosophy has led to unique monthly staff meetings, where employees, including administrative staffers, present the company’s financial report for the previous month.[2] To give every employee a financial stake in the outcome, when a certain profit is accrued, a "win" is declared and 30 percent of the profit is distributed across the company, based upon a formula derived from each staff member's base salary during the "win" period.[3] For those interested in working at the company, Andy Levine, the firm’s president, requires no less than 12 references from finalists.[4]

DCI acquired Mondotels in 2010, creating DCI’s meetings and incentive (MICE) division.[5] Founded in 1982, Mondotels specialized in developing meeting and incentive business for destination marketing organizations and convention bureaus.

In October 2012, DCI released the first 40 Under 40 Awards, a biennial competition to find rising stars under 40 years old who have achieved success in the Economic Development industry. Chosen from submitted nominations by a team of industry thought leaders, past winners have proven success records iof influencing the economic development of their regions, which have spanned from Afghanistan to NYC to rural Oklahoma, and many places in between.

Awards & Rankings[edit]

Outside Magazine choose DCI as one of the "100 Top Places to Work" in 2014 and 2016.[6]

In 2016, DCI received a Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation[7] from the Public Relations Society of America for their media relations work on behalf of the city of Salinas, California.[8]

According to O’Dwyers, in 2016 DCI ranked as America’s fourth largest tourism and economic development marketing firm based on net fees [9] and 42nd largest overall in fees of major independent US public relations firms.[10]

The company received PR News’ Community Relations award in 2006 for its efforts to help the Baton Rouge community recover from the effects of hurricane Katrina.

Research & Reports[edit]

As an industry leader, DCI often conducts research and releases studies that provide insight into economic development and tourism marketing trends.

The Tweet Elite: 25 Mayors Who Have Mastered Twitter- By looking at the mayors of the 250 largest cities in America and ranking them in five important categories of Twitter usage (audience, frequency of tweets, responsiveness, engagement and influence), DCI developed a list the top 25 mayors in America who understand how to communicate in 140 characters or less. Released in 2016 as a part of DCI's quarterly Q Report series.

Best Locations for FDI- DCI’s surveyed tax advisors who frequently consult with clients on international location decisions. With the data, the firm then gauged current and changing trends in foreign direct investment (FDI). Released in 2016 as a part of DCI's quarterly Q Report series

Winning Strategies in Economic Development- Released every three years since 1996 (most recently in 2014), the report analyzes what influences North American meeting planners and best practices for influencing their global site selection decisions. It includes the most effective marketing techniques in economic development and executive perceptions of the best business climates in the United States and the world.[11]

Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing- This report examines at the decision making processes of the meeting industry’s "customers," the study reveals and examines best practices in marketing places. Released in October 2015.

A View from the Lower 48- Analyzed survey results reveal perceptions of U.S. executives and site selectors of Canada’s business climate. The findings revealed that when compared to Canada, the United States is rated more favorably on numerous factors that are important to site location decisions.[12] Released in December 2013.

Exploring the Generational Preferences of North American Meeting Planners - In 2013, DCI and IACC’s Emerging Trends Committee conducted a survey exploring the generational preferences of meeting planners. The study revealed differences in the key criteria that each generation of meeting planner considers relevant when selecting a destination and conference facility.

Exploring the Generational Preferences of European Meeting Planners- In 2014, DCI and IACC partnered with the IMEX Group to develop a follow up study to the 2013 edition to explore the purchasing habits of meeting planners in Europe across multiple generations. The study’s results were launched at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2014.

A DMO Deep Dive into Social Media: Budgets, Challenges and Staffing- From awareness generation to on the ground communication, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are rapidly deploying social media campaigns. This research reveals how destinations structure and deploy their budget and staff to tackle social media challenges

External links[edit]