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Ice House: Using an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Empower Employees

Erie County, PA
Program Year: 2019

How do you keep county employees engaged in their work? Erie County, Pennsylvania, has landed on a unique solution to that problem, adopting a strategy from the business world.The county’s Ice House program uses the book “Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons From an Unlikely Entrepreneur” and supplements it with customized discussions, exercises and activities to help employees form what the book’s authors dub an “entrepreneurial mindset.” That is, they adopt the tried-and-true method that entrepreneurs have used for generations: Identify a problem, and sell a solution. But county employees aren’t using this mindset to start a business – they instead use it as a new approach to their work. The program has been an incredible vehicle for change within Erie County. More than 250 employees have gone through the program, finding both a newfound connection to their colleagues and the confidence to shatter the status quo. In fact, several suggestions that have arisen from Ice House have been implemented by county government. As a result of the Ice House program, Erie County has been able to not just engage employees but to empower them – empower them to make a difference within their workplace and in their community.

Ms. Kristin Bowers
Public Information Officer