Saturday, May 31, 2008

Council wants to visit China every other year

by Wes Bowers
Article Launched: 05/30/2008

City of Fremont is hoping it will be able to send trade delegations to the Shanghai area of China every other year, now that its latest trip was deemed successful by those involved.

Angela Tsui, the city's economic development coordinator, presented to Fremont City Council Tuesday evening 11 suggestions for maintaining a relationship with China, created by the delegation team that traveled to Shanghai on April 25.

The delegation included Councilman Bob Wieckowski, Deputy City Manager Melissa Stevenson Dile, and Tsui, along with Economic Development Advisory Commission members Theresa Cox, Sheena Chang and Nancy Lee, planning commissioner Sue Chan and Ohlone Board of Trustees President Garrett Yee.

Wieckowski, Stevenson Dile and Tsui traveled at the city's expense, for less than $15,000.
The delegation's mission, Tsui said, was to promote Fremont as a strategic Silicon Valley location for business expansion and establish new relationships with Chinese government officials.

Additionally, the delegation was to show support for Ohlone Community College, as it opened its outreach exchange center at the Suzhou College of Science and Industry.

The delegation's suggestions to the city included:
  • Contact the individuals the delegation met on the trip and develop a database to build a relationship.
  • Develop a database of Fremont companies with operations in China, especially the Shanghai area.
  • Continue learning about Fremont's place in the global economy and proactively adapt the city's economic development strategy to the current world economy.
  • Consider a trade mission to China every other year for business retention and continue making new contacts with Chinese businesses to expand into the United States.
  • Continue receiving delegations from foreign countries.
  • Consider participating in regional efforts of other organizations such as the Bay Area World Trade Center, East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Bay Area Council Economic Institute and the U.S. Export Assistance Center of Silicon Valley.
  • Explore opportunities to partner with educational institutions like Ohlone as they develop international exchange programs with Chinese universities.
  • Develop marketing materials focused on international attraction and investment.
  • Explore hosting international business forums and invite executives from Fremont companies to speak about their experiences expanding locally and overseas.
  • Serve as a point of contact for international businesses looking to find land and other available properties.
  • Include more companies with ties to China as part of the existing corporate site visit program managed by the Office of Economic Development.

Cox, chair of the Economic Development Advisory Commission, said it was crucial for the city to maintain a relationship with Chinese delegates in order to become a stronger economic partner.

"This is growth and development of our future for the economic area," she said. "We need to maintain contacts because to be successful, we need to remain together.

Of the 11 suggestions made by the delegation, council members all agreed they wanted to focus strongly on a trip every other year.

"I believe we should focus on No. 4 (the number it was given by the delegation), because a lot of things could spring from that after we make our next trip," Wieckowski said.

Mayor Bob Wasserman said the city should word its option to take a trip to China differently.

"I don't believe it's wise to lock in to saying we'll go anywhere every two years," he said. "I think it's much wiser to say we're committed to making new relationships or expanding our existing ones."

City may pay for new image

Leaders considers spending $88,000 on logo and catchphrase

By John Davis
Published Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NORTH PORT — Tired of being overshadowed by more established areas, the city once known as North Port Charlotte is looking for a way to distinguish itself.

After all, city leaders say, there are more than 50,000 people here now, meaning North Port's population rivals a certain city to the north that has long anchored the region.

"When I travel, I tell people I'm from North Port, Florida, and they say, 'Where?'" said Commissioner Fred Tower.

Besides Sarasota, neighboring Port Charlotte, Englewood, Punta Gorda, Venice and Bradenton can all claim more defining characteristics than North Port, including history, identifiable downtowns, waterfronts and cultural amenities.

So this week city leaders will consider paying a Tennessee image company $88,000 to "brand" North Port, including giving the city a distinctive logo and catchphrase.

The closest thing North Port now has to a slogan is the internally generated "Safe, Clean, Pretty, Fun," used as shorthand for the day-to-day goal of city government. It graces documents such as the city budget.

"I'm not really thrilled about 'Safe, Clean, Pretty, Fun,'" said Commissioner Vanessa Carusone. "I don't think the citizens would necessarily agree with that."

But Carusone is not sure the city should give North Star Destination Strategies nearly $90,000 for an image makeover amid a brutal economic downturn.

City Manager Steve Crowell said the money will buy more than a slogan.

"It is more than a logo and 'Virgina is for Lovers' statement," he said. "It's really talking about how we want to market ourselves." More here.

Towns start to cooperate

State readies incentives to reinforce that cities benefit when region grows

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 3:12 AM
By Mark Ferenchik

After fighting one another for jobs for years and finding it counterproductive, communities throughout Ohio are trying to cooperate more.

To encourage that thinking, the Ohio Department of Development is putting together incentives, as mayors in 16 northeastern Ohio counties, including Richland, work on a plan to share new tax money.

"The department is reviewing a variety of options to get communities to work together and prevent competition," said Mark Barbash, chief economic-development officer for the Development Department.

The state announced a grant last week to provide $1 million to communities to study how to combine services.

State officials also are discussing rewarding groups of communities that collaborate on economic development, perhaps through revenue sharing or additional incentives such as tax breaks, Barbash said.

The goal is that businesses see cooperation rather than competition between communities that might push them out of state, Barbash said. Many community leaders understand that their success depends on the success of their region, he said.

However, Jeff Green, who is Groveport's development director and president of the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, acknowledged that a lot of parochialism remains among central Ohio's elected officials. And although local leaders have discussed tax sharing, "we realized that's a long way off."

Last year, development directors for Columbus and eight of its suburbs -- Dublin, Gahanna, Groveport, New Albany, Obetz, Upper Arlington, Whitehall and Worthington -- pledged not to initiate attempts to poach jobs from other central Ohio communities.

That agreement has generally worked, Green said. "There's always going to be instances where a company is looking around purely for business reasons.

"We have to learn to play well together, and that's happening."

Matthew Shad, Upper Arlington's deputy city manager for economic development, agreed. "We still have to think of Columbus as a whole first," he said.

That happened when local officials met with Norfolk Southern representatives recently in Norfolk, Va., to discuss the $150 million Heartland Corridor, which includes a new train-truck terminal near Rickenbacker Airport.

The Columbus Chamber printed business cards for all local officials that read "The Columbus Region," Franklin County economic-development director Jim Schimmer said. "We're stronger in our marketing efforts as a region than individual locations."

In northeastern Ohio, officials are talking about sharing income and property taxes to boost a regional economic-development plan and projects.

Communities would put 40 percent of new property taxes and 20 percent of new income taxes into a pool they would share, said Hudson Mayor William A. Currin, who heads that region's group of mayors and city managers.

The money could be used to pay for public services as well as development, said Kerry Smith, a spokesman for the mayors group.

That plan might need state legislation to make it happen, Smith said.

In the Dayton area, Montgomery County communities share property-tax money generated by development anywhere in the county.

Communities also can apply for economic- development grants funded by a countywide sales tax, so a township, for example, can benefit from taxes generated by new projects in a neighboring city.

"There is much more collaboration," said Jack Dustin, director of the Center for Urban and Public Affairs at Wright State University.

City, county move to streamline economic development efforts

By AARON LONDON Staff Writer

Since he arrived here in April 2006 to head Enterprise Flagler, the county's economic development agency, Tom Cooley's dream has been "one team, one voice."
An effort initiated by Flagler County and Palm Coast officials could make that a reality for economic development.

There has been no lack of agreement on the need for the county to attract new business development to provide jobs and relieve some of the tax burden on residential property. But that doesn't mean things have always gone smoothly in pushing economic development.

"Far too many times you had too many groups going in varied directions," said Ira Corliss, Palm Coast economic development coordinator. "The overall consensus at this point is that we need to be consistent with what we are presenting."

That lack of consistency led Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon and Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey to step in and offer a new economic development strategy for Enterprise Flagler and the county. More here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

LEDA gives go-ahead to marketing plan

by Chris Van Wagenen | A-J BUSINESS EDITOR

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Story last updated at 5/20/2008 - 2:03 am

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance signed off on a resolution Monday authorizing a much-publicized national marketing campaign aimed at attracting more workers to the Hub City, where the jobless rate is among the lowest in Texas.

LEDA, which will spend at least $200,000 on the campaign, said it's already advertising on two radio stations in Dallas with plans for more. Plans call for using billboards, magazines and airport dioramas or back-lit sign displays at Love Field in Dallas, Houston's Hobby Airport and Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Okla.

"The official campaign doesn't kick off until June, but every sign indicates we're headed in the right direction, said David Alderson, chairman of the city-appointed economic development corporation.

The campaign - "L_bbock, the only thing missing is U," is being directed by Austin-based Arsenal Brand LP, a creative/design firm brought on board in December.

LEDA is partnering with hundreds of local businesses that have had little success in filling job openings on their own.

Earlier this month, LEDA executives attended a job fair in Wichita Falls, where they obtained more than 100 resumes, resulting in requests for 45 informational packets on jobs available in Lubbock. More here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Google boosts Bluffs' profile


Council Bluffs and Omaha, for the first time, are both among the top 10 desirable U.S. locations for new high-security data centers - a coveted type of business development that generates top-paying jobs with high-profile employers.

Google's $600 million data center northwest of U.S. Highway 275 and South 11th Street has helped land Council Bluffs on a top 10 list for high-security data centers.

Thank Google for that.

Omaha was on the Boyd Co.'s list of top data center sites in 2005, and now Council Bluffs is, too, because Google is establishing a $600 million, 200-employee data center along U.S. Highway 275.The timing is just right, although Omaha faces some challenges, as well.

John A. Boyd, a consultant and son of John H. Boyd, founder of the Princeton, N.J., site selection company, said Google's Council Bluffs location has huge implications for the Omaha area's chance to attract at least one other major data center in coming months.

"I can tell you Omaha's being looked at very closely," said Boyd, who was in Omaha last week advising clients. "There's an Omaha brand that's very compelling. Smart people are aware of Omaha."

A long list of businesses with sensitive digital records - banks, insurance companies, hospitals, drug companies and many others - are looking for new sites to protect their data from storms, electrical blips, terror strikes or other calamities.

"This is the next big frontier of capital spending," Boyd said, because of government regulations and the importance of data protection. More here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Older and Wiser: How Brands Stand the Test of Time

by Barry Silverstein May 12, 2008 issue

You could think of Coca-Cola, GE, and IBM as legendary legacy brands. Despite massive shifts in consumer preferences, changing business environments, and the evolution of marketing from print to electronic and interactive means, these three brands have not only survived for a century, they remain at the top of their global game. Somehow, through a combination of being organized and disciplined, yet being creative and taking risks, these brands have succeeded where others have failed.

While Coke, GE, and IBM reside in very different industries, they share common traits that offer some clues to their sustainability.

Each of these three brands was launched because of a new, innovative product. Coca-Cola was a unique soft drink invented by a pharmacist. GE was the outgrowth of Thomas Edison’s breakthrough invention, the incandescent light bulb. IBM was, in part, created as a result of the first time recording company in the world.

While many brands are born because of singular products, these brands distinguish themselves by continuing to innovate throughout their corporate lives.

Coca-Cola developed a unique bottle, created the six-pack, and has long been a leading innovator in product marketing techniques. Early on, GE established a research laboratory; now called GE Global Research, this capability has helped GE amass thousands of patents and win two Nobel prizes. IBM has been an information technology powerhouse, pioneering computers that used interchangeable software, introducing the first commercially successful personal computer, and leading the e-business revolution.

Being a “one-trick pony” only goes so far. Coca-Cola may have started with a single product, but today, the company sells over 400 brands in 200 countries. Coca-Cola markets four of the world’s top five nonalcoholic sparkling beverage brands, as well as waters, juices, teas, coffees, and energy/sports drinks.

GE has six diverse businesses and sells products and services in more than 100 countries. GE Industrial sells consumer and industrial products, plastics, equipment services, and security. GE Healthcare’s offerings include diagnostic imaging and clinical systems. GE Infrastructure is involved in energy, aviation, transportation and process technologies. GE Commercial Finance handles corporate financial services and real estate. GE Money offers consumer finance. NBC Universal includes television and film production and distribution.

IBM has gone beyond its early days of building machines to providing fully integrated business solutions that include hardware, software and networking products, services, and technologies. By acquiring such product companies as Lotus, Tivoli, and Rational, as well as PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ global business consulting unit, IBM has broadened its offerings and continued to innovate and diversify in a rapidly changing business.

Behind every great brand story is also the story of one or more leaders who had the vision to push that brand to greatness. Coca-Cola says “perhaps no person had more impact” on its company than Robert Woodruff. Woodruff became president in 1923. According to Coca-Cola, it was his marketing genius that led to the expansion of the company overseas, the presence of Coca-Cola at the 1928 Olympics, and the development of numerous packaging and distribution innovations.

While Thomas Edison himself was one of GE’s great leaders, many would agree that it was Jack Welch’s twenty-year tenure that turned GE into a modern-day mega-corporation. Through streamlining operations, acquiring new businesses, and ensuring that each business under the GE umbrella was one of the best in its field, Welch helped the company expand dramatically. Company revenues grew from about $27 billion before his arrival to nearly $130 billion the year before Welch left.

IBM’s version of Jack Welch was Lou Gerstner. Gerstner joined IBM as the first leader from outside the company in 1993, when IBM was struggling with a loss of direction and declining profits. Gerstner made a controversial but prophetic decision to retain the company’s unified corporate structure rather than divide it into separate, independent companies. He is credited with reinventing IBM and reviving its brand.

Great brands can make big mistakes, but they are still able to check themselves, get both hands back on the wheel, and move forward. Coca-Cola, GE, and IBM have all stumbled at some point, but it hasn’t stopped them from achieving success.

For example, one of the most notorious and now legendary brand blunders was the introduction of “New Coke” in 1985. Executives at Coca-Cola decided to update the Coca-Cola product, tampering with a secret formula that was, at the time, a century old. The resulting negative publicity and public outcry doomed New Coke. Only three months after New Coke’s introduction, Coca-Cola admitted its error and brought back the original Coke under the name “Coca-Cola Classic.” The original formulation eventually became the preferred brand again, and Coca-Cola relentlessly promoted it. In 1994, according to Constance Hays in her book The Real Thing, Coke was pursuing such concepts as “‘a 360-degree landscape of Coke,’ where Coke ads, products, and vending machines would assert themselves everywhere a person looked, making you buy a Coke even if you hadn’t known that’s what you wanted.”

Coca-Cola, GE, and IBM have benefited from innovation, diversity, leadership, and resiliency. It is because of these attributes that, even after 100 years, they stand out as the most valuable global brands. If they maintain their focus and consistency, chances are good these legendary legacy brands will be a lasting presence on brand lists for a long time to come.

Barry Silverstein is a 25-year advertising and marketing veteran and co-author of The Breakaway Brand (McGraw Hill, 2005).

Milwaukee loses a piece of its bowling heritage

Despite efforts to keep the U.S. Bowling Congress in town, it's moving to Texas.

By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 11, 2008

MILWAUKEE -- The brick factories sit silent and empty. The beer barons died long ago. Even Laverne and Shirley are a distant memory.

People here have learned to live with loss. But when city elders heard that the United States Bowling Congress was planning to move to Texas, they weren't going to just sit by and watch it leave.

Milwaukee bowlers proudly call their home America's Tenpin Capital. To them, it's a place where people are as passionate about beer as they are about bowling. It's as ingrained in the town's fabric as golf is in Augusta, Ga., and NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Since the 1800s, when German and Polish immigrants seeking factory jobs brought the game to this southeastern Wisconsin city, blue-collar men and women have flocked to wooden lanes after the end-of-shift whistles. Kids here still celebrate their birthdays with a few frames, and professional bowlers drop by their old haunts to show off trick shots -- like throwing strikes at will with a towel -- to wide-eyed onlookers.

"It seemed like a bad joke," said Jim Paetsch, director of corporate expansion and relocation for the Milwaukee 7, the region's largest economic redevelopment organization.

Paetsch's group and a team of civic leaders mapped out financial incentives, enough to transform an empty field -- or possibly a defunct ice-rink project -- into expansive new offices. There would be a bowling-themed hotel; a museum filled with leather shoes, wooden pins and tavern songs; and a high-tech testing and training laboratory, where virtual reality programs would chart the trajectory of a bowler's delivery and gauge the perfect rotation of a ball's spin. More here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Nike, Wal-Mart, FedEx Deliver Marketing With a Capital "M"

By Mila D'Antonio, Managing Editor
1 to 1 Weekly

Marketers face a tough reality: Traditional channels are under assault.

That was the stage Harley Manning set at the recent Forrester Marketing Forum. To fight back, marketing's new imperative must be engagement, said the Forrester vice president and research director.

"Marketing got marginalized as 'make it pretty people,'" he said. "How do we get back to marketing with a capital M?"

The answer is by engaging with customers more often and through multiple channels. At the forum, the topic of engagement took center stage as analysts and business leaders offered advice and examples of how to effectively create desirable interactions with consumers, given all the new marketing channels.

Brian Haven, a senior analyst at Forrester, suggests that companies identify where discovery and evaluation happen outside the marketing channels and determine the context of use. This is where integration with sales, service, and other customer-facing channels is imperative. Firms should facilitate conversations by encouraging advocates and word-of-mouth activities both with the company and externally. Finally, reward these brand ambassadors.

A new program within Nike's Jordan brand aims to do all of these things. Emmanuel Brown, Nike's director of digital and content, discussed the brand's Jordan Breakfast Club. With Jordan Breakfast Club, consumers can sign up on the site and customize individual workout programs that they can download to their iPods. On the site, they can report their progress and their peers have the option of assessing the workouts by rating their strengths and weaknesses.

The program has resulted in 20,000 engaged influencers and an expanded 10-city summer Jordan Breakfast Club tour. "It's not hard to become part of the culture," Brown said. "It's a small nucleus of people who influence the masses. Our footwear team listens to's like a having a focus group."

Cathy Halligan, CMO of, says her company is also engaging its customers in new ways. One vehicle is the retailer's online ratings and reviews. Recent research revealed that 75 percent of customers are going to its website, so Wal-Mart decided to leverage the site better as a loyalty resource. Customers who visit can rate products using a 1 to 5 scale. These reviews have created transparency and have given Wal-Mart valuable information about how to enhance product offerings. "We're getting better at using information to make decisions," Halligan says. "If you ask your customers a lot and then listen, you get a lot more information than one would think."

Finally, FedEx discussed its efforts to engage its B2B customers. Mark Columbo, senior vice president of digital access marketing at FedEx Services, considers satisfaction the lowest form of engagement. His goal is to go beyond just satisfaction.

Instead, the company's mission is to create customer advocates whose word-of-mouth rings loud and clear. "Intense loyalty really comes out of innovation and the customer experience," he explained.

For example, FedEx offers customized solutions aimed at how its B2B customers prefer to conduct business, rather than use standard products and processes. The company then measures customer-stated attitudes and conducts real-time, moments-of-truth surveys. As Columbo explained, "Experience is how you feel about yourself transacting with that company."

Cleveland+ creators now take aim at site selectors

Crain's Cleveland Business


Site selectors. It's their job to advise companies on what cities or regions would make good spots for, say, a new distribution center or polymer plant. They're the influencers. And they're in the crosshairs of the Cleveland+ economic development campaign.

"Most large projects, (those that would bring) 50-plus jobs, end up in the hands of a site-selection consultant,'' said Carin Rockind, vice president of marketing and communications for regional economic development group Team NEO. "There are only a couple thousand in the country, and really only a few hundred that do most of the work. We know who they are, and we just have to start building (deeper) relationships with them.''

The roughly $1 million economic development campaign will start with some direct marketing to site selectors under the new Cleveland+ banner. It will hit them with a message that defines the region as including Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown and all points between. Establishing that collective identity, Ms. Rockind said, has been a problem in the past.

In researching the area's image, Ms. Rockind noted, "We couldn't find a site selector (from outside the region) who could name two cities in Northeast Ohio. The first message is going to be that all these communities are working together now.''

Mailings to site selectors will include monthly newsletters listing things such as new properties for sale, updates on changes in tax incentive offerings, or news about the work force. Larger quarterly promotional packets will be sent out as well.

Furthering the concept of Northeast Ohio as a collective region rather than separate cites and counties, the Cleveland+ campaign includes a web site,, that will give site selectors a single place to do some of their homework. Information such as profiles of the work force and of businesses in a given area will be in the Cleveland+ database.

Don Schjeldahl, vice president and director of facilities location for Cleveland-based Austin Co., an engineering and construction firm that offers site selection services for clients, said the availability of such information is important, but it's also "just the price of entry'' in terms of competing for business against other regions.

"That's one of the big challenges in Northeast Ohio, where you've got this great big geography that has all these local and parochial interests,'' Mr. Schjeldahl said. "It's really hard to bring all that together to a standard that will satisfy the kinds of people that need the information.''

Direct mail and an abundance of data may induce site selectors to take interest in a region, but there's also the matter of showing a place off during what's called a familiarization tour. These are usually held once a year, and while making effective presentations and having the right business leaders on hand to make a case for an area are important, there also must be a way to make the trip stand out.

Familiarization tours in Tennessee, for instance, have included walks down the red carpet at the Country Music Awards.

This year, Ms. Rockind said, the Cleveland+ movement for the first time will offer site selectors two familiarization tours, each with a different theme to its glitz-and-glamour angle.

Akron promoters, she said, have worked with Team NEO for a few years to put together a tour centered around the Bridgestone World Golf Championships at Firestone Country Club. This year, the golf tournament happens to be the same August weekend as the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inductee dinner in Canton, so a familiarization tour combining both events in one package is in the works.

For site selectors who can't make that one, or whose interests are less sports-oriented, a second tour is in the making.

"The folks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been wonderful, and they've offered to us some backstage, unique opportunities for the site selectors we bring into town,'' Ms. Rockind said. One approach to that tour might be to pair a behind-the-scenes Rock Hall visit with prime seats or backstage passes to a concert.

Austin Co.'s Mr. Schjeldahl said there's a "a certain indulgence about (familiarization tours) that's a little annoying'' for site selectors. Nonetheless, Mr. Schjeldahl said, "There's no better way to tell your story than to get someone to come there and tell your story in a controlled setting.''

Mr. Schjeldahl said he takes about one familiarization tour per year from a field of several dozen, and that's about par for the course in the industry.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Economic Alliance set to market region as 'Performance USA'

Published 05/01/2008 By Sharon Caskey Hayes

North Carolina has Research Triangle.

California has Silicon Valley.

Now the Tri-Cities has Performance USA.

The Regional Alliance for Economic Development, a marketing effort covering 10 counties across the region, launched a new initiative Thursday that identifies the area as Performance USA.

Alliance CEO Andy Burke and Newt Raff, alliance chair-elect, unveiled the plan at a news event at Kingsport’s MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center.

“When I got here, we were really not very well-known in the marketplace. Our job has been to create an identity and to help people understand not only where we are but who we are and what we’re all about,” Burke said. “That’s part of this mission.”

Burke said the new identity was developed after a two-year process involving marketing experts and community members from every city and town in the region. Through the process the alliance identified the region’s assets, which include Bristol Motor Speedway, Barter Theatre and the International Storytelling Center.

“We kept coming back to one word about this region, and that was performance,” Burke said. “We as a region excel in performing.”

He emphasized that the new identity is not meant to re-brand the region. He said the Tri-Cities will continue to be called the Tri-Cities, and each town and city will retain their unique names and characters.

He said Performance USA is designed to unify the region in marketing materials and efforts targeted to site consultants, corporate real estate executives, and others considering locating businesses in the area.

“We think it’s a direct and easy way to begin to think about us,” Burke said. More here.

What Is a Megaregion?

What Is a Megaregion?
by Richard Florida

Adapted from “Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life” by Richard Florida.

Cities have always been the natural economic units of the world. But in the past several decades, what we once thought of as separate cities — with central cores surrounded by rural villages, or later by suburbs — have grown into "megaregions" composed of two or more cities, like the Boston-New York-Washington corridor. Megaregions are more than just bigger versions of a city. As a city is composed of separate neighborhoods, and as a metropolitan region is made up of a central city and its suburbs, a megaregion represents the new, natural economic unit that emerges as cities (and their suburbs and exurbs) not only grow upward and become more dense, they grow outward and into one another.

Today, megaregions range in size from 10 to 50 million people — and in some cases, in the developing world, even more. They produce hundreds of billions — and sometimes trillions — of dollars in economic output. They harness human creativity on a massive scale, and they are the source of the lion’s share of the world’s scientific achievement and technological innovations.

The megaregions of today perform functions that are somewhat similar to those of the great cities of the past — massing together talent, productivity, innovation, and markets. But they do so on a far larger scale. Furthermore, while cities in the past were part of national systems, globalization has exposed them to worldwide competition. As the distribution of economic activity has gone global, the city-system has also become global — meaning that cities compete now on a global terrain. This means that bigger and more competitive economic units — megaregions — are required to survive and prosper.

Population is not tantamount to economic growth. Unlike megacities, which are termed as such simply for the size of their populations, megaregions are by definition places with large markets, significant economic capacity, substantial innovation, and highly skilled talent, as well as large overall populations.

A megaregion must meet three key criteria. First, it must be a contiguous, lighted area with more than one major city center. Second, it must have a population of 5 million or more. Finally, it must produce more than $100 billion in goods and services. By that definition, there are some 40 megaregions in the world. If we take the largest megas in terms of population:

Friday, May 02, 2008

The sounds of success: Warren, Simpson outpace both state, nation in industrial employment growth


A regional outlook, proximity to Interstate 65 and an educated work force are among the factors that have helped drive economic development in Warren and Simpson counties. But challenges loom in both a slumping national economy and an ever-growing need for educated workers.

In past years, economic development has been a complicated process in both Simpson and Warren counties, but the results have paid off - industrial employment growth in both counties outpaces that growth in Kentucky and the nation. In fact, recent jobs announcements have put the Franklin-Simpson area at the top of the commonwealth’s job creation heap for 2008. More here.

Latest in Corporate Location Strategy

By Joel Burgess

Whittaker Associates

Corenet Michigan Chapter invited Dennis Donovan, principle of Wadley-Donovan-Gutshaw Consulting, to Livonia, MI to present on the Latest in Corporate Location Strategy. With Dennis’ permission to report, below are a few of my “take-aways” from his course:

Current Relocation & Expansion Activity:

  1. Levels: Down 10-15% in 2008, expected to rebound in 2009
  2. Most Active Industries: Bio/Pharma, Medical, Scientific Instruments, Food Processing, Distribution, Back Office, Call Centers, Shared Services, and Data Centers
  3. Most Activity by Region: Concentrated in the Atlantic Sunbelt (Virginia to Florida), Texas, and Inter-Mountain (Idaho to Arizona) regions because of infrastructure improvements, human capital, and business climate

Global Strategies: 18% of expansion/relocation activity in the US is foreign investment

Factors Influencing Relocation & Expansion Decisions (in priority order):

  1. Labor Market – present and future – supply cost, and quality
    1. Most locations are branch location
    2. 60% of the jobs required are entry level
    3. 20% of the jobs required are skilled
    4. Favorable labor ratios
      1. 3:1 for employment surplus
      2. 200:1 for particular occupation
      3. 200:1 for total population
  2. Logistics/Transportation
    1. 10% of projects require rail transportation
    2. Backhauling presents the biggest opportunities
  3. Electric Power – capacity, generation, and reliability
  4. Available Buildings
    1. 70% of clients seeking existing building
    2. For call centers: 3% employment in market is saturated
  5. Risk of Natural Disasters
  6. Incentives
    1. Tax Credits preferred

Attracting Talent in High-Tech Firms (in priority order):

  1. Compensation
  2. Benefits
  3. HR Practices
  4. Career Advancement
  5. Training
  6. Achievement Recognition
  7. Company Reputation
  8. Internal Work Environment
  9. Onsite Amenities
  10. Challenge of Job
Strategies for Offshoring (in priority order):
  1. Risk – socio, political, and financial
  2. Cost of Benefits
    1. US roughly 25%, other countries greater than 50% of compensation
  3. Cost of Extraction (layoffs, closures)
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Safety

For more information regarding Dennis’ presentation, you can visit the CoreNet website ( and click on the Michigan Chapter.