Economic Development News
Site selectors come to Missouri
Published: Monday, May 13, 2019
By: Missy Bonnot
In the first part of April, I had the pleasure of organizing an Economic Development Marketing Event called Insight Missouri.
Insight Missouri is an annual event hosted by the Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC), a statewide association of economic development professionals and community leaders. During Insight Missouri, professional site selection consultants provide a 360° analysis of Missouri’s competitiveness for new and expanding business projects. Each consultant represents a diverse set of clientele and industry sectors.
MEDC members attend this event to hear the latest news, trends, and advice from site selection consultants relating to workforce development, business climate, incentives, industry trends, logistics, and transportation.
Site consultants that attended were:
- Vickie Horton | Myriad Partners | Norcross, Georgia
- Craig Hughes | HWH Group | Paris, Texas
- Woody Hydrick | Woody Hydrick Consulting | Greenville, South Carolina
- Chris LLoyd| McGuire Woods Consulting | Richmond, Virginia
- Shannon O’Hare | Cushman Wakefield | Chicago, Illinois
- Don Schjeldahl | DSG Advisors | Kent, Ohio
- Dave Robinson | The Montrose Group, LLC | Columbus, Ohio
- Paige Webster | Webster Site Selectors | Phoenix, Arizona
The 8 site selection consultants represent hundreds of companies from around the globe. Companies that are looking to expand or locate to a new market many times contract with a consultant that specializes and has expertise in this site selection field instead of trying to navigate the company location or expansion on their own.
In addition to the consultants, 35 communities/ED entities from all over the state of Missouri participated in the event. The attendees had a great opportunity to hear from the experts on very specific topics.
The day and a half conference consisted of 8 unique round table topics including:
- Incentives That Work: Offsetting Upfront Costs, Operating Expenses and Tax Abatements
- Strategies for Rural Competitiveness
- Spec buildings, and Certified sites, and Mega sites, Oh MY!
- What is happening behind the scenes with your client?
- Strategies for Talent Recruitment and Growth
- Eye-Catching Communities
- Project Case Study – What worked, what didn’t
- Federal Economic Development Incentives: OZ, NMTC, EB5, EDA Grants
Hosting an event like this can’t be all work and no fun so the highlight of the conference that was held in Springfield was a private tour of the Wonders of the Wildlife Aquarium. The group had a private tour of the multi-million-dollar attraction funded by Johnny Morris.
This not-for-profit educational conservation-themed attraction is located adjacent to the Bass Pro Shops National headquarters and is named after the Bass Pro Shops' founder. The 1.5-Million-gallon Aquarium showcases 35,000 individual fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The facility opened to the public in September 2017.
The community economic developers had the opportunity to network with the site selectors during the evening networking events.
The last session of the event was a business climate policy roundtable discussion with 13 legislators from across our state. The consultants were able to relay information directly to the state policymakers Missouri’s strengths and weaknesses. Much of the discussion centered around economic development incentives, including training, workforce development, and right-to-work issues.
There is a lot of work that goes into this event from developing the program to providing logistics and transportation for the consultants but one that has proved very successful for community economic development leaders. The one-on-one interaction with 8 consultants in one location in our great state allows us to show off the assets of the state of Missouri and our individual communities.
Site Selectors represent an estimated 60% of corporate site selection projects ranging from international supply chain analysis to local business relocations and from globally known corporations to new business startups. Jefferson City will continue to have a dialogue with the site selectors to cultivate business attraction leads for our community.