Thursday, January 31, 2008

Glendale using Super Bowl spotlight to spur development

Carrie WattersThe Arizona RepublicJan. 29, 2008 12:00 AM

Glendale has spent seven years surprising the Valley with ambitious plays that culminate on Sunday with one of the most high-octane events of all: Super Bowl XLII.

But the city that grew a sports Mecca from cotton fields wants more than a Super Bowl ring.

Glendale, which lags similar-sized Valley cities in jobs and has a smaller sales-tax base, aspires to become a regional employment hub.

The city enjoys a prime location in a Valley sprawling westward, but sports have been a major catalyst to its rapid development.

When Super Bowl XLII winds down, city leaders hope to have created a national brandfor the city and have their pockets bulging with business leads.

"We are going to every single event we know of except the game itself," said Brian Friedman, Glendale's economic development director.

Around the country, development experts and leaders in other Super Bowl host cities, offered insights on Glendale's strategy.

When the Super Bowl came to Jacksonville, Fla. in 2005 Jerry Mallot was vice president of economic development for the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"The Super Bowl will be one of the most important marketing opportunities Glendale will have," Mallot said.

A growing Jacksonville, Fla., landed 3,612 new jobs a year before the game, the chamber reports. That jumped to 4,449 in 2006 and tapered back to 3,129 new jobs in 2007, according to the chamber.

Companies don't move to a city because of a football game, but adding Super Bowl host to a city's resume bolsters people's confidence, Mallot said.

"It put us on a stage we weren't on," he said. More here.

Gateway Airport becomes Super Bowl player

Art ThomasonThe Arizona RepublicJan. 31, 2008 06:59 AM

Land dozens of corporate jets from America's cities of frigid winters, treat their crews and passengers like celebrities and send them home a few days later with compelling reasons to move here.

Call it the Gateway Bowl, a game of marketing to reach the heads of corporations who fly in luxury to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport for Super Bowl XLII.

"You have all of these CEOs coming from all over and they're normally not that easy to access," airport spokesman Brian Sexton said. "We'll do our best to make them feel comfortable here. And when their catering order is boarded for the trip home, it will include plenty of reading material about why they should move their aircraft and companies here."

Gateway is not within a government-imposed restricted flight area around game time so it could get several game-day flights, Sexton said.

Expecting as many as 1,000 additional aircraft at Valley airports, the Federal Aviation Administration is imposing flight restrictions around University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale on Sunday, said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the FAA's Western-Pacific region.

The number of flights is expected to climb as Sunday's matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants draws closer.

"So far we have from 20 to 25 that want parking space at Gateway, from the small Learjet to the larger Gulfstream GV," said Matt Nebgen, the airport's aircraft services manager. "With both teams from the East Coast, the potential is unknown. We're getting calls every day that lead to bookings."

Two larger charter aircraft, a Boeing 737-400 from Boston and Boeing 757 from Washington, D.C., also will be arriving, he said.

At Falcon Field Municipal Airport in east Mesa, reservations have been made for 17 aircraft and more are expected, said Corinne Nystrom, the airport director.

The marketing campaign is the brainchild of Mesa's Office of Economic Development, and partners in its execution will be Gateway, Falcon Field and its fixed-based operator, Tango One, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"How many times do you have a real chance to reach sea-level decision makers," William Jabjiniak, economic development director, asked rhetorically. "You take advantage of an opportunity like this, and you don't have to spend a fortune."

Slick-paper literature and photos telling the story of business advantages in Mesa and the Southeast Valley also will get to corporate executives for their flights home from Falcon Field. The promotion print will be embellished with a tote bag full of marketing treasures from the city and culinary treats from Mesa businesses, including trail mix from the Lehi Valley Trading Company, oranges from the Orange Patch and cookies from Sweet Cakes restaurant, said Holly Hosac, spokeswoman for the Mesa Office of Economic Development.

Although Gateway can comfortably accommodate 200 corporate aircraft, he said that number may not be reached because distances between the Mesa airport and homes of competing teams - 2,300 miles from Boston and 2,100 from New York - are pushing the fuel capacity limits for corporate jets.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cabarrus ED Official Responds to Charlotte Incentive Proposal

By Eric C. Deines
Sunday, January 20, 2008

CABARRUS - A proposal from Charlotte’s economic development team to end regional, incentivised competition for existing industry is nothing new for Cabarrus economic development officials.

John Cox, CEO of Cabarrus Economic Development, said he proposed the idea to Charlotte officials two years ago.

“We are very willing to discuss this issue,” Cox said.

Cox said the proposal was brought up at a Cabarrus Regional Partnership meeting last week, with officials specifically citing Cabarrus County.

“One thing that allows people to talk about it was the issue of Lowe’s Motor Speedway,” Cox said.

The economic development competition heated up in the Charlotte region in October 2007 after Speedway Motorsports CEO Bruton Smith said he was considering moving Lowe’s Motor Speedway out of Concord. More here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

City’s job focus ‘behind the times’

After wading through pages of documents about what area cities do to attract new jobs and businesses to their communities, City Commissioner Mike Amyx offered one brief summary.

“It seems to me that we’re kind of behind the times,” Amyx said as part of a City Commission study session Monday morning about economic development activities.

City staff members put together a survey of Big 12 communities and Kansas cities that have populations above 50,000 people. The results showed commissioners that several communities have special funds in their budget devoted to providing cash incentives to companies, and others go far beyond just traditional tax abatements when trying to lure companies.

Mayor Sue Hack, though, said Lawrence likely will continue to lag other cities until the community figures out how to make the process of attracting companies less political. Hack said the city needs new policies that set clear guidelines on when companies should receive tax abatements or other types of incentives, rather than relying so much on city commissioners’ opinions.

Hack said now is the time for the city to consider making changes to its economic development policies because the market is becoming more competitive.

“We’re in a different ball game now in terms of the amount of projects that are out there,” Hack said. “There are a lot fewer, and because of that, I think we need to be more aggressive, unless we just want to continue on the trend of being a bedroom community.” More here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Birmingham slogan, marketing campaign to be unveiled

A unified marketing campaign touting Birmingham's top attractions will soon be launched to boost tourism and recruit local ambassadors to promote the city.

BIG Communications President John Montgomery unveiled prototypes for the "In Birmingham" campaign - which his firm is handling - during the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce's 2008 Business Outlook Conference Thursday at the downtown Sheraton.

The new slogan features the city's name in bold letters with a red square highlighting the "in" portion of the name Birmingham. The campaign will officially launch in February, Montgomery said.

Montgomery said the campaign consists of "In Birmingham" advertisements in national meeting and convention magazines. The joint city branding campaign will feature "one voice" representing the airport, the metropolitan development board, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the visitors' bureau and the chamber of commerce.

The campaign will solicit local suggestions for the best of Birmingham, including top restaurants, golf courses, shopping venues and tourist sites. Montgomery said the plan is to identify the city's best with red-squared "In" stickers based on local voting.

"We want the city's input," Montgomery said.

"In Birmingham" will promote the city's civil rights history, sporting events and its potential as a family reunion destination. The campaign also will include an "In Guide" that will feature local favorite destinations. Birmingham residents' suggestions will be printed with their names in the guide to be distributed to visitors. More here.

Alliance sets stage for more growth

By almost any measure, 2007 was a successful year for the Wayne County Development Alliance as it oversaw the announcements of more than 1,000 new jobs over the next five years.

But with the board of directors approving an ambitious set of new goals for 2008 this week, the nearly 2-year-old economic development organization isn't resting on its laurels.

"This is a very aggressive plan," said WCDA President Joanna Thompson. "However, economic development is competitive and if you're not aggressive, you're left out.

"We probably won't get it all done, but we are going to at least touch on everything. The important thing is that you have some direction."

Product development

Topping the list of priorities for the next 12 months is "product development" -- meaning the development of tangible, physical draws, such as industrial sites and shell buildings.

"You've got to have product in your community," Ms. Thompson explained. "That's your draw -- a site or a building. Typically workforce is the deciding factor, but you've got to have that draw." More here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

State sells itself across state lines

Indiana’s friendly economic development rivalry against Michigan and Illinois is heating up. Confident that its business costs are lower, Indiana has begun a six-month advertising campaign designed to attract companies across the state line.

“You don’t have to go very far,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Nathan Feltman said. “You can go right across the border and find a more competitive environment.”

The campaign, which debuted last month, features a series of billboards placed at key locations, such as the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road. Each bears the slogan “Come on IN,” and touts Indiana’s lower taxes, business and housing costs. Feltman said Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, conceived the slogan himself.

Indiana’s advertising also includes a series of morning and afternoon drive-time radio spots in Chicago and Lansing, Mich. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is following up with a flurry of direct mail and targeted inquiries to corporate executives and site-selection consultants. IEDC’s foundation is underwriting the campaign, which has an initial cost of $75,000. If successful, it could be expanded to include other states.

“We think we’re going to get a lot of bang for our buck,” Feltman said.

Indiana’s pitch is based on its business costs, which IEDC claims are consistently lower than those in neighboring states. For a company with 100 employees, IEDC calculates that annual business taxes are nearly $100,000 lower in Indiana than in Michigan or Illinois. By IEDC’s estimation, Indiana’s expenses for Worker’s Compensation, unemployment insurance, utilities and cost of living are all significantly lower, too.

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said he’s been fielding questions from economists in Michigan and Illinois about the new IEDC campaign. Because each state has a relatively similar geography, population and economy, he said, government policy is one of their key differentiators. And because Indiana’s total cost of business is clearly the lowest, he said Hoosiers would be crazy not to press their advantage.

“I think it’s a nifty idea,” said Hicks, director of the university’s Bureau of Business Research.

“I have to tell you, I’ve gotten many, many calls chuckling about this from my colleagues in Illinois and Michigan.” More here.

Pondering wind energy possibilities

Muskegon's future might be blowing in the wind. Literally.

And it could mean hundreds of new jobs and the development of energy that is both plentiful and clean.

Local leaders want Muskegon to become the center of a Great Lakes industry that would produce wind energy and the turbines and parts necessary to make it happen. Such a vision would involve placing dozens -- if not hundreds -- of 325-foot wind turbines, or windmills, on floating anchor points 22 miles off the Lake Michigan shoreline that couldn't be seen from land.

Parts for the towers and turbines could be generated by Muskegon manufacturers, which have experience in fabricating metals. Today, many turbine parts are built overseas and in other states.

"The state of Michigan is endowed with very large wind energy potential," said Imad Mahawili, director of the Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon. "This renewable wind energy can be harnessed using advanced wind turbines that have been successfully proven over many years in various parts of the world."

Mahawili hopes to spark a West Michigan Offshore Wind program by temporarily erecting one of the wind turbines on Muskegon Lake. A yearlong test of the turbine would help officials gauge, among other things, what effect such a tower might have on the Lake Michigan environment. More here.

State aims its biz-marketing out-state

LANSING - Michigan is retooling efforts to advertise itself to business.Like tourism promotional funding, state business-marketing dollars are in tighter supply this year.

And the reduction means the state will cut back on what it spends in Michigan and target its out-of-state spending on specific industries or international investment, as opposed to broader promotion.

For example, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. is likely to home in more on regions that house industries the state is trying to foster, like alternative energy, said MEDC executive vice president Lisa Dancsok.

The MEDC has $11.35 million this year to spend on business marketing, down nearly 13 percent from the $13 million it had available last year. This year's support comes from several sources: $3.75 million from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, $5.5 million in MEDC funds derived from casino revenue, $1.4 million from the state general fund, and $700,000 unspent from 2007.

Total business-marketing spending will shift from the previous 80 percent out-of-state and 20 percent in-state, to about 95 percent out-of-state and 5 percent in-state. Dancsok said in-state marketing will probably be tied to specific events, like the North American International Auto Show and the SAE 2008 World Congress.

The MEDC will continue to use the Upper Hand advertising campaign, which features actor Jeff Daniels and highlights Michigan companies.

— Amy Lane, Crain's Detroit Business

Top Ten Trends in 2008

From Jack Schultz, CEO of Boomtown Institute and Agracel Inc.

For the past four years I've been invited to tour over 300 towns in 44 states, a privilege that I've treasured in seeing this great country of ours. Here are the trends that I've seen from my journeys that will grow in importance in 2008 and beyond.
  1. Millennials-This generation, ages 10 to 27, dwarfs the Baby Boomers in size. These young people are going to be the most entrepreneurial in the history of the USA. I'm finding incredible examples of what these young people are already doing. You need to be recruiting and retaining the Millennials.
  2. Retirement as Strategy-The oldest Baby Boomer turned 60 in 2006. Several communities are actively recruiting young retirees to them. These young retirees aren't going to be passive, they are going to be starting new businesses, volunteering and transforming the communities that are able to attract them.
  3. Education-This isn't Kansas, Toto! The jobs of the 21st Century are increasingly going to go to the well educated. Towns that have world class primary and secondary schools are going to be the winners. Entrepreneurial education is going to increasingly be pushed down to Kindergarten. Community Colleges will be the key to the constant retraining of the work force due to the rapid changes taking place in our economy.
  4. Promises-It started with Kalamazoo, MI which promised to pay the college education for anyone who attended its grade and high schools. Newton, IA, and El Dorado, AR have followed suit. Several others are looking to follow. Huge driver of where the Gen Xers and Millennials are going to decide to raise their families. Employers will follow.
  5. Water, Water, Water-You can't have enough of it. Boomers are going to want to live on it, the west is starting to fight over it and those that have control of it will rule.
  6. New Urbanization-Downtowns are hot! Boomers and young professionals don't want to drive for everything. The old walkable neighborhood is back.
  7. Enviropreneurs-Green is increasingly growing in importance. Many local entrepreneurs are investing everything to get in on the front edge of this trend.
  8. Niche Ag-Farmers are increasingly diversifying from a dependence upon traditional commodity crops to new niche products. Local food production is also driving this trend as is the growing interest in all things organic.
  9. Premiumization-It started with coffee but has been embraced in many other products like honey, chocolate, vodka, cheese, breweries and others.
  10. Birds Beating Birdies-The fastest growing spectator sport in the USA is bird watching. Geo- caching, biking, hiking and extreme water sports are also growing in importance. Golf will still be important for some, but won't be as dominant as in the 90s.

Center helps focus economic development vision

BELOIT — Economic development for Beloit and beyond.

That’s the mission of Vision Beloit, a one-stop showroom of ideas and information that celebrated its grand opening Tuesday in the City Center Building, 500 Public Ave., Beloit.

Vision Beloit is the common marketing tool of four organizations with offices in the renovated building: Visit Beloit, the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Beloit Association and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp.

While each group has its own role in promoting the community, Vision Beloit is expected to be a driver of the city’s economic future and a reminder of Beloit’s successes.

Jim Fisher, president of Beloit 2020, said more than $1 million went into the demolition and rehabilitation of the building, which, at the corner of Public Avenue and Highway 51, was once the Beloit home of Wisconsin Power & Light. With an impressive rehabilitation that features exhibits, photos, maps and other points of information, Vision Beloit operates in about 6,500 square feet of that space.

Fisher said Vision Beloit will promote economic development in Beloit. But it also will promote the regions, including southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

“If a company comes to Beloit, fine,” he said. “But if it goes to Clinton, Milton or Janesville, that would be great, too.” More here.
NIAGARA COUNTY: Banking on our wealth of water

County officials agree on $83,000 campaign to lure in drought-affected companies

By Mark ScheerNiagara Gazette

SANBORN — Niagara County’s Center for Economic Development will be looking south in 2008 as part of a campaign to market one of the area’s most abundant resources: Fresh water.

The department’s new marketing initiative will target Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and other “water-starved” southern states where business owners and residents are finding it exceedingly difficult — and costly — to cope with severe drought conditions that continue to plague their region.

“The availability of fresh water in this area gives us a competitive advantage over other areas of the country,” said Niagara County Legislator and Economic Development Committee Chairman Richard Updegrove, R-Lockport.

Through the $83,000 effort, economic development officials hope to identify at least 25 companies that will be interested in either moving their companies to Niagara County or expanding existing operations within the county during the next several years. Working with the marketing consultant, Fred Teeter of Teeter Marketing Services, the county will target southern manufacturers whose operations rely heavily on the use of not only water, but electricity, another resource available to county business owners through the New York Power Authority. Ideally, county officials would like to focus on companies that already have a connection to Niagara County and may be interested in relocating “sister” operations from the south due to extremely dry conditions.

“We are basically promoting the fact that Niagara County has an abundance of fresh water that can be used in manufacturing and other types of businesses,” said Economic Development Commissioner Samuel Ferraro. “We want these companies to know that if they are interested in expanding or doing business in the Northeast, then they should look at Niagara County.” More here.