Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nearly half of companies that received Ohio economic development awards didn't keep promises

A new Ohio Attorney General’s report showed that only 52 percent of companies that received Ohio taxpayer-funded economic development awards that ran out in 2010 kept their promises to boost the economy.

The report, released Thursday, identified 200 companies that received grants, tax credits and other awards from the Ohio Department of Development that did not meet their goals for job creation, job retention or other measures. More here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What’s behind those code names?

From The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA:

Referring to prospective companies by code names has a long history in economic development, said Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro Partnership.

“You come up with a code name so you don’t end up giving things away,” he said. Roberts said economic development officials strive for names that conjure a mental connection for those working on a project, but aren’t immediately apparent to outsiders.

When Enterprise Rent-a-Car was scoping out local sites for a call center, for example, Roberts and his team referred to it as Star Trek, as in the Starship Enterprise.

“When we told (company officials) that, they said, ‘You have to change that, it’s too obvious,’” Roberts said.

But it wasn’t too obvious in Lane County, where the typical resident would be more likely to associate Star Trek with a high-tech company than the car rental firm, he said.

Sometimes, a project will arrive already christened by a national site consultant. Sometimes, state officials will choose a moniker that local economic development officials adopt.

“I guess it’s one of the little ways we amuse ourselves in the economic development world,” Roberts said.

by Sherri Buri McDonald

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas present for Murfreesboro

Amazon announces a new $135 million distribution center that will employ 1,300 in this Tenessee community.  More here.

Wabash Valley marketing plan takes six-county approach

Six counties in western Indiana have joined together to market themselves through a new effort called “Accelerate West Central Indiana Economic Development.”

It is a cooperative effort of Vigo, Vermillion, Clay, Parke, Putnam and Sullivan counties to market the Wabash Valley with its available industrial and commercial land, buildings and workforce.

That cooperative marketing approach has brought leads such as a drug manufacturer now eyeing the former Pfizer property in Vigo County. Pfizer laid off more than 650 workers from its former Vigo County plant in 2008 after it decided to stop selling Exubera because of slow sales.More details on the new effort, its goals and successes can be found here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Company’s moving away ignites local political battle in Parsippany

Real estate franchiser Realogy Corp. is receiving $12.1 million in incentives from the state of New Jersey to move to a new location seven miles from their current one.

According to Richard A. Smith, president and CEO of Realogy,several other relocation options had been considered but business incentives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, along with the New Jersey Business Action Center’s efforts, were a significant factor in Realogy’s decision to remain in state. More here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Union: Show proof of missed jobs

In response to statements by Indiana Republican leaders that the state is missing job opportunites for lack of a right-to-work law, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 is calling for them to prove their claim.

David Fagan, Merrillville-based financial secretary of the Countryside, Ill.-based, 23,000-member union local, called for Gov. Mitch Daniels, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, to produce a list of companies that passed over the state in the past 12 months and where they went instead. More here

Monday, December 19, 2011

RI, chamber of commerce join to lure businesses

Another "knowledge" district is born. More here.

Palm Coast takes business-ready approach

This editorial in the Daytona Beach New Journbal describes Palm Coast government's efforts to take a positive, proactive steps toward economic development.

Among the proposed actions is spending $25,000 for the promotion and pre-permitting of some land suitable for new businesses. City Manager Jim Landon said the city could shave as many as 300 days off the building process, because pre-permitting could allow construction in as few as 30 days.

The plan, called the "Business Ready Program," is hailed by the paper as a "laudable "micro" approach to economic development. Instead of waiting for the national and state economies to lift the Palm Coast tide, city officials are taking simple steps to promote development," the ditorial says.  More here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

St. Louis needs to reboot economic development efforts


For the St. Louis economy, this year looked a lot like the previous 20 or 30, and it's a rut we really need to get out of.

Job growth lagged the nation. Well-known local companies succumbed to takeovers, without enough new businesses to take their place. Officials argued about strategy while failing to address the region's deep-seated problems.

Denny Coleman, the president of the St. Louis County Economic Council, has been sounding the alarm about these issues recently, ever since the council commissioned a report on the region's economic strategy.

One headline from the report, written by consulting firm AECOM, is that within two decades, because of slow population growth, we'll no longer be one of the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. We're currently No. 18.

That top-20 ranking automatically confers big-city status. National retail chains want to have a presence in the top 20 markets; advertisers target their messages there. Cities in the next tier are important, but they have to fight harder for attention.

Coleman believes AECOM's warning should be a wake-up call.

"We have been living off the wealth creation from select legacy companies here for some time," he said. "While we've created some new, significant wealth, the competition in other metro areas is outpacing us."

More here.

In Michigan, privately run development sector grows

By Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Though many communities and counties across Michigan operate their own economic development departments, nearly as many private organizations have been formed to spur growth in the state.

Most are set up as public-private partnerships, funded mainly by business with some contribution from cities, counties, school districts or colleges.

Nationally, about 55% of the members of the International Economic Development Council, a nonprofit trade group with more than 3,300 members, are from taxpayer-funded organizations and about 30% that were private-public partnerships. The remainder were either private consultants or private banks and utilities.

More here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Economists pitch Halifax-Detroit freight link

Detroit could become a major inland port by establishing a rail link with the expanding deepwater port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, say three Michigan economists who have formed a nonprofit group to promote the idea.

The Great Lakes Global Freight Gateway ultimately could create 150,000 jobs associated with transporting billions of dollars of auto parts, chemicals, agricultural products and finished goods sold by major retailers throughout the Midwest, backers say. More here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pulling the Strings

By Andy Meek

Long before the first widgets roll off the assembly line, way back before the ribbon cutting and the first shovels break ground, and even before executives quietly slip in to scout out a prospective piece of land, someone like Mark Sweeney gets a phone call.

Major corporate relocations and economic development coups might seem like a happy stroke of luck for the cities and states that win them. That’s because the public doesn’t see what went on to woo employers like City Brewing Co., Electrolux, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. (MEPPI), Great American Steamboat Co. and Kruger, all of which have brought tens of millions of dollars in new investment and the potential for thousands of new jobs to the Memphis area over the past year. One of the most recent such deals involved IDEXX Laboratories Inc., which completed a $13.5 million expansion of its Memphis reference laboratory and distribution center that will have resulted in 90 new jobs by the end of 2012.

IDEXX’s Memphis distribution center also is the worldwide hub for the company’s products, with more than 40 employees processing and shipping orders.

Like the journeys of a thousand miles that begin with a single step, so too begin the business recruitments and expansions that can reshape their hometowns for years to come. And what frequently sets that chain of economic development events in motion is often a site selection consultant like Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney Consulting, simply answering the phone. More here.

Hampton Roads business agency seeks funding

Like many regional economic development groups, the Hampton Roads EDA is finding it a challenge to raise funds in the current economy.  The alliance is having to redouble its efforts to raise funding from companies looking for ways to cut costs.Part of this year's campaign is explaining to businesses why the region needs an economic development group and pointing to deals it helped bring to Hampton Roads.  More here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Indiana economic development group backs right-to-work

This would be a game changer for the midwest.  The board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has thrown its support behind the push for right-to-work legislation.

The agency unanimously passed a resolution to support the legislation, which Republican lawmakers have promised to push in the upcoming General Assembly. The IEDC said the state doesn’t even get a chance to compete for as many as half of the expansion projects out there “due solely to the absence of a right-to-work law.” More here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Experts offer ideas on marketing Whirlpool plant

Shortly after Whirlpool announced plans to close its Fort Smith manufacturing plant by mid 2012, company, state and local officials said they would work hard to market the property to and attempt return jobs to the facilities. More on how they plan to do it is here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

More staff needed at TEAM Santa Rosa, expert says

TEAM Santa Rosa needs more staff and a new name to better do its job in economic development.

Those are among the recommendations that consultant Tom Ticknor made this morning to the Santa Rosa County Commission in his report on how to reform TEAM Santa Rosa.

"You have very, very good fundamentals to move forward from," Ticknor told commissioners. Ticknor, an economic development from Illinois whom TEAM paid $10,000 for his work. Ticknor spent a week in Santa Rosa County in November during which he interviewed 75 people, including all five commissioners, to determine how to best reform TEAM.

"The companies I talked to who have worked with TEAM Santa Rosa ... support it very, very strongly," he said. "That's not to say you don't have challenges. There have been downsizing in some of your major industries. ... The organization has relatively low private investment."

Ticknor recommended that TEAM keep its current staff and add a marketing professional as its chief executive officer for the purposes of better marketing Santa Rosa to potential industries and better managing the organization's image among voters and elected officials. TEAM chairman Dave Hoxeng said that position would require $100,000 from the commission this year.

He also recommended that TEAM work more closely with the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for regional economic development effort and that the organization change its name to Santa Rosa Economic Development Council, so that the name focuses more on the idea of economic development.

Ticknor said TEAM needs to be more aggressive in getting grants and private investment. He also said the county should consider increasing public funds to TEAM. Currently, at $413,480, the county pays $3.03 per capita, whereas he said "aggressive countywide" economic development efforts usually see a $3 to $5 per capital investment.

"If you want to be highly competitive, you need to look at strengthening those resources," he said.

The meeting is ongoing.

Chinese sweetener deal turns sour


By now, the SweetO plant on the edge of town was supposed to be up and running. It was supposed to be pumping out high-grade artificial sweetener by the truckload, paying nearly 200 people making $17.50 an hour, and serving as Exhibit A of how foreign — Chinese — investment could bring new life deep into the Missouri heartland.

Instead, the half-built plant sits idle, and the city could be on the hook for $39 million of the company's bad debt.

The apparent collapse last week of Mamtek USA's $46 million deal to build a sweetener plant in this central Missouri town is quickly becoming a sort of cautionary tale for those who ponder leaping into the rapids of the global economy. It also is becoming a flash point in Jefferson City jousting over a tax credit bill designed to draw Chinese investment to St. Louis and streamline incentives like those offered to Mamtek.

But in this old railroad town of 14,000 people, 30 miles north of Columbia, the swift disappearance of Mamtek and the jobs it promised is mostly just a disappointment.

It started with such promise.

More here.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Mo. jobs chief defends review of sweetener maker

This is the story of a deal gone bad and the ensuing argument over how much due diligence ws performed. 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced in July 2010 that a Chinese company named Mamtek would open a factory in Moberly that could employ up to 612 people. Moberly issued $39 million of bonds to finance the facility's construction, and the state offered about $17 million of incentives.

Work stopped on the partially built plant this September after Mamtek missed a bond payment to Moberly, which in turn said it would default on the bonds. No state incentives ever were paid, because the project collapsed before the aid could be triggered. The Missouri attorney general, legislature and federal Securities and Exchange Commission now are investigating the Mamtek project. More here.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Behind the Chiquita deal: Months of meetings, lobbying

The article describes the five months of meetings with state and local officials from Gov. Bev Perdue on down, an all-out lobbying push, a scramble to come up with financial incentives, custom-made bowties and a letter from a fourth-grader that served to lure Chiquita Brands from Cincinatti to Charlotte.

The city and state coughed up $22 million in an effort that also involved more than 180 elected officials, business leaders and others. It also included a grassroots social-media campaign.  More here.

Chamber study aimed at economic development enhancement

This article describes efforts by Cobb County Georgia to develop a new economic development strategy and model.   WIth the assistance of Market Street Services, it is believed to be similar to the effort in nearby Gwinnett County, There, econmic development services are delivered through Partnership Gwinnett, a special division of the Gwinnett Chamber that handles economic development there and has six full-time employees. The article gives good insight into Market Street's experience and the development of Partnership Gwinnett.  More here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New Iowa economic authority adopts new logo

The State of Iowa has made the first change to its braand strategy since 2003.  "Iowa is Life Changing" is out in favor of a new a new brand that features the state’s name with the “O” in Iowa a colored pair of parenthesis, with the materials playing off that image to highlight or showcase various messages. More here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tennessee effort seeks growth in rural incomes

Written by Duane Marsteller , The Tennessean

State agriculture officials are exploring various ways to promote Tennessee farmers’ and foresters’ products as part of a broader effort to spur economic development in rural areas.

Among the ideas on the table: targeting agribusiness recruitment efforts, marketing lesser-known commodities and seeking “green” certification for building products from Tennessee.

Those concepts are among the first to surface from a recently created working group within state government. The Tennessee Agriculture and Forestry Economic Development Task Force has met twice since it was formed in October.

“It’s primarily looking at things we can do or adjust to improve incomes in our rural areas,” said Joe Gaines, assistant commissioner of market development for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, one of the group’s member agencies. Others taking part include economic and community development, labor and workforce development, and tourism.

Gaines said the group has discussed only agriculture and forestry matters so far, but is looking at several key concepts, among them:

Better targeting agribusiness recruitment efforts by identifying which companies are most likely to relocate here or expand in Tennessee, then aggressively courting them.

Promoting Tennessee exports, especially of lesser-known products, by organizing more trade events and trade missions. The state also might take a more active role in a 12-state compact that promotes hardwood sales, which total $300 million a year in Tennessee.

Seeking LEED, Green Globe and other “green” certifications for Tennessee wood products.

State officials plan to meet with agriculture and forestry industry leaders in the coming months to get feedback and solicit other ideas, Gaines said.

Although there is no deadline or timetable for making any decisions, “we would like to have some of our thoughts together by the start of the legislative session,” he said.

The task force is part of a broader effort by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration effort to spur job creation. Other aspects include reorganizing the economic development agency and creating a $29.7 million seed, early and expansion-stage capital program for business interests.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Can Rick Scott's jobs czar bring business to Florida?

By Michael C. Bender, Times/Herald Tallahassee BureauTampa Bay Times

Gray Swoope pulls his hands from his pockets long enough to hold open each door he crosses in the state Capitol for anyone who might want to pass through first.

It's a fitting image.

As Gov. Rick Scott's jobs czar, Swoope (rhymes with "hope") must open the door to more business in Florida, finding a better calculus than his predecessors to lure new companies across the state line while keeping existing employers from escaping.

There have been early signs of success. The state's 10.3 percent jobless rate is its lowest since June 2009. In September, Time Warner announced plans to create 500 jobs in Hillsborough County. The company got state and local tax incentives worth $3 million.

But there have been hints of trouble, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brand Kenya unveils drive to market counties

By Mugambi Mutegi

Brand Kenya is training local government officials on the branding and marketing of counties in order to attract investment.
The national image agency is keen on preparing counties for the sizeable budgetary allocations expected once the devolved government structure becomes operational after next year’s General Election and has set aside Sh3 million for the campaign.

“Town and city branding is critical to the development of urban centres and if well planned such centres stand at a vantage point to attract investments and roll out better infrastructure facilities to benefit residents,” said Brand Kenya chief executive Mary Kimonye. More here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iowa’s New Economic Development Entity

The newly formed Iowa Economic Development Authority (formerly IDED) will use the best aspects of the public and private sectors to create a dynamic, results-driven partnership with programs and incentives that will meet the needs for business growth.

This model marks a new direction in economic development for the state and consists of two arms – the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Innovation Corporation.

The authority is a quasi-government agency that replaces the existing Iowa Department of Economic Development and will perform its current duties. The authority will have a more focused set of incentives, providing maximum flexibility to meet the needs of potential employers.

The second entity, the Iowa Innovation Corporation, will serve as the private sector side of the economic development equation and will work to attract investors and investment capital. A non-profit, the IIC will solicit funds for various sources in the private sector to be used for its job creation efforts.

Iowa has set bold economic development goals for the coming years: Create 200,000 private-sector jobs and raise family incomes by 25 percent. This new approach to economic development will focus on innovation and growing high-paying jobs that will support Iowa’s future.

Advanced Manufacturing On The Rise

One key economic cluster that will help the state reach these goals is the advanced manufacturing industry. Newly released numbers by the Battelle Memorial Institute, reveal that advanced manufacturing employs 13 percent of all Iowa private-sector jobs. It also accounts for 33 percent of Iowa’s private-sector economic output and generates 78 percent of its patents. During 2009, advanced manufacturing employed around 156,000 people.

The report also identified biosciences and information technology as key areas for the state.

Included below are some additional data points from the report:

• Iowa's advanced manufacturing sector remains diverse, and not overly dependent on any one sector for its economic fortunes. Containing 18 subsectors, the advanced manufacturing sector in Iowa demonstrates regional specialization in fully 14 of these.
• During the recession, Iowa's advanced manufacturing sector shed 11% of its jobs; somewhat less than the national sector which dropped by nearly 12%.
• Average wages for the state's advanced manufacturing sector and all of its major subsectors are greater than those for the average private sector worker. The average wage is $50,669 which is 40% higher or more than $14,000 greater per year. Among the major subsectors, aerospace has the highest average wages at $71,313 per year.
• The expanding biobased products sector and the need to find biobased alternatives to foreign energy imports is a good subsector in which to leverage strengths and holds promise for future employment growth.
• The "emerging potential" subclusters, that are gaining employment but have not yet reached regionally-specialized levels include "research, engineering and industrial design services" and "human biosciences"—areas that are actually supported by the other Iowa clusters of IT and bioscience.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Study looks at how to improve economic diversification in Nevada

By Jennifer Robison

No more muddling through.

That's the big message from an economic-development study to be unveiled Monday before Gov. Brian Sandoval and other state policymakers.

The 178-page report, from the Brookings Institution's Brookings Mountain West division and its Metropolitan Policy Program, features an exhaustive accounting of Nevada's past efforts at diversification, and how the state can do better.

One key finding: "We concluded there's been a bit of a drift in the past," said Mark Muro, coordinator of Brookings Mountain West and a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program. "There's been a lack of strong vision, not too much management of the state's partners and not much data used."

More here.

Unified economic development strategy urged

By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee area has several public and private groups doing good work to help businesses grow, but lacks a unified economic development strategy that would improve those efforts, a new report says.

As a result, there are conflicts between groups that focus on drawing larger companies to southeastern Wisconsin, and other groups that support local start-up businesses.

Those are among the conclusions in the report issued by the Public Policy Forum, a nonpartisan research group that focuses on Milwaukee-area issues. More here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Changing the Economic Development Paradigm in Maryland

By Oz Bengur

With the federal government and states scrambling to figure out ways to jump-start the economy, creating jobs seems like a politician's main job these days.

One tried (if not true) method has been for states to offer incentives to businesses to relocate from another state; or as an ode to our dismal economic times, offer incentives so a company doesn't take its jobs and leave. That's what happened recently when the O'Malley Administration offered about $9.5 million to keep Bechtel Corporation​ from moving its Frederick, Maryland manufacturing facility to Virginia and saving about 1,250 jobs.

No doubt the administration had nightmares of another company like Northrup Grumman​ choosing Northern Virginia over Maryland. Grumman, if you remember, was looking for a site for its corporate headquarters that would have brought 300 high paying executive jobs to the state. No matter that the deal cost Virginia about $40 million dollars of taxpayers' money or $133,000 for each job.

At just $7,600 a job, the Bechtel deal was a comparative bargain.

The state Economic Development chief and others argue that in the economic development equivalent of an arms race, the state has to ante up cash and incentives to attract companies and jobs - or worse, keep them from moving. These deals have become an accepted way of promoting economic development. But should that continue? The state will never have enough money to provide incentives to all the companies that may be looking around for another headquarters or manufacturing facility.

More here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Economic development millage defeated

In Adrian, Michigan, the Lenawee County EDC proposed a property tax to fund economic development after declining support from businesses and local governments. 

The ballot measure was soundly defeated after voters said no in Tuesday’s election to the tax. The vote was nearly 63 percent against the 0.28 mill property tax that appeared on the ballot as Proposal 1. The final tally for Proposal 1 was 6,957 against and 4,125 in favor. More here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

EDC turns to the Web and social media to spotlight economic development

By: Anne Polta, West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — A contest to help launch the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission’s newly retooled website at has turned up some little-known facts about the local economy.

For instance, 100 patents in agriculture and the biosciences have been filed since 2006 by companies located in Kandiyohi County. Or, within the next five years, local companies are projected to collectively invest $1 billion in renewable energy projects.

By the end of November, the EDC hopes to have dozens of similar stories to feature on the website, promoting the county as a dynamic, innovative place to do business.

“We’ve got some really great stories to tell,” said Jean Spaulding, assistant director of the Economic Development Commission.

More here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Gov. Bill Haslam joins Memphis officials in rolling out red carpet for site-selection experts

By Tom Bailey Jr
The Commercial Appeal

The governor, mayors and Greater Memphis Chamber rolled out the red carpet Wednesday for about a dozen people who advise businesses where in the world to build or relocate.

When all other factors among competing cities are about even, building relationships between local leaders and corporate decision-makers is crucial, said one of the visiting site-selection consultants, Robert M. Ady of the Chicago-based Ady International Company.

"Here, it's been demonstrated in spades, in my opinion,'' he said of Memphis. "Memphis has its act together."

Ady and his fellow travelers had just been treated to a lunch at The Peabody, given time with with FedEx chairman Frederick W. Smith, and greeted royally by Gov. Bill Haslam, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

After lunch, the Greater Memphis Chamber's "2011 Red Carpet Tour'' continued as the consultants boarded a bus. They were to see first-hand Memphis Bioworks, Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park and the CN/CSX intermodal facility, Smith & Nephew, and the Bartlett life science corridor.

More here.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Illinois program more about maintaining than growing jobs

A Chicago Tribune analysis shows Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged about a half-billion dollars in tax credits over the next decade to create 5,709 jobs and retain 22,610 workers through the EDGE program

More here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Art for Economic Development’s Sake

by James A. Bacon

Forget about art for art’s sake. Let’s talk about art for economic development’s sake.

A couple of days ago I lauded the City of Richmond’s efforts to create a downtown arts district. (See “Richmond’s Wine-and-Brie Path to Community Development.”) I was thinking mainly in terms of the effect that a cluster of artists would have in improving the region’s quality of life, making Richmond city a fun — dare I say it, even a cool — place to live. It turns out that I may have sold the arts district short by neglecting to observe that artists also make decent money and contribute to innovation.

A research update to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, “Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005,” suggests that artists aren’t all of the starving variety. Indeed, the median wage/salary for artists — a group ranging from architects, producers and writers on the high end to dancers, photographers and “other” entertainers on the bottom — averages out to be $43,230. That’s 10% higher than the average wage.

Artists are highly entrepreneurial: they are 3.5 times more likely than the total United States workforce to be self-employed. They also are better educated — more than half have a bachelor’s degree. However, they also are less likely to have full-year or full-time employment, which accounts for their having lower median incomes than workers with similar education levels.

Not surprisingly, New York and California have among the largest concentrations of artists in the country, although the top honors goes to Washington, D.C., with 3.1% of the population. (That’s “artist,” not “con artist.”) The home state of Broadway counts 2.3% of its residents as artists, while artists comprise 2% of the workforce in LaLa Land. Virginia lags the national average: only 1.3% of its workers are classified as artists. Virginia stands out artistically speaking only in one way: It has a high concentration of writers and authors. (Ironically, Virginia ranks way below average in the book publishing occupational cluster.) Richmond, for what it’s worth, has a high concentration of dancers.

As economic geographer Richard Florida has observed, artists are a key component of the “creative class” that contributes disproportionately to innovation and entrepreneurial activity. In the case of Richmond, the artistic cluster seems to be tied closely to the advertising/marketing industry segment. We’re not talking “high tech” here — a will ‘o the wisp for a region like Richmond. But encouraging the growth of Richmond’s artistic community strikes me as a sound economic development strategy that builds upon existing assets (the Martin Agency, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the VCU arts department) and contributes to the growth of a robust creative class.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lieutenant governor promotes area to consultants

By JOHNNY BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling attended the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday in part to market the region for economic development.

“We’ve got a group of, I guess, eight or nine site-selection consultants from all over the country in to help educate them a little bit about what Southern Virginia has to offer in terms of economic development and job opportunities,” said Bolling from the infield of the speedway before the start of the TUMS Fast Relief 500. “... This is the second year that we’ve done this type of economic-development retreat, and I think it’s been a great weekend.”

The weekend, which included a stay at Primland in Patrick County, was the latest of several trips Bolling has made to the area in his role as chief jobs creation officer.

Roughly two years ago, Gov. Bob McDonnell pledged that either he or Bolling would visit the Southside area at least once every 30 days in an effort to spur job growth. On Sunday, Bolling said they continue to honor that pledge, though he couldn’t immediately recall the last time he visited the region.

“I think we’ve proven true to the promise of putting a lot of attention and a lot of focus on Southern Virginia and on rural economic development. And I’m pleased with the progress that we’ve made,” he said.

He cited the creation of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, a marketing partnership between Henry, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The alliance “is going to well-position this region for future economic growth,” Bolling said.

Although he didn’t name specifics, Bolling said, “We’ve got a number of good projects in the pipeline that I think you’ll be hearing about over the next several months. We’re going to have a very aggressive legislative agenda again this year to help advance some of the rural economic development strategies that we have.”

Bolling also expressed satisfaction with Virginia’s overall economic progress since McDonnell’s term began in January 2010.

“According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve created about 34,000 net new jobs in Virginia in the last two years. We’ve brought our (statewide) unemployment rate down from 7.2 percent to 6.5 percent. We’re doing much better than almost any other state in the country right now,” he said. “But unemployment’s an absolute thing. If you’re out there looking for a job and you can’t find one, your unemployment rate’s 100 percent. So we’re not going to quit working until we get to where we want to be.”

Bolling pointed to a pair of recent accolades for the commonwealth. About six months ago, CNBC named Virginia the “top state in America for business,” he said. Roughly three months later, Helena Commercial Real Estate declared Virginia the most “pro-business state in America,” he said.

“We’ve invested over a $100 million in proven economic development and job creation programs in the last two years alone. So I think the effort that we’re making is paying off, and I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we all realize that we have a lot of work left to be done,” he said.

Unemployment rates in Southside are higher than the state average, with Martinsville’s rate in August 19.4 percent.

Bolling said he believes the governor will protect economic development initiatives even if he is forced to make cuts to balance the state budget. McDonnell has directed many state agencies to submit budget reduction proposals in the amounts of 2, 4 and 6 percent.

“What I suspect will happen is that, you know, budgets are always about priorities, so what I suspect will happen is that we will choose to invest more in some areas, like economic development,” Bolling said. “That may mean that we have less to spend in other areas, so we’re going to have to make some difficult choices. But at this point, the 2-, 4- and 6-percent budget reduction plans we’ve asked for are precautionary, and we’ll know better as we approach the release of the budget in December whether or not those plans will have to be implemented, and if so, to what degree they’re going to have to be implemented and what agencies they might impact,” he said.

Statesville 'very well suited' for food industry

By: Bethany Fuller

Statesville is positioned to be a player in the food industry, according to one of the senior vice presidents at Charlotte Regional Partnership.

Former executive director for the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corp., Russell Rogerson, told members of the Statesville Regional Development --- formerly known as the Greater Statesville Development Corp. --- Committee of 100 that many food manufacturing companies are looking for locations with good transportation access and proximity to large populations.

“I think Statesville is very well suited for it,” said Rogerson, senior vice president of economic development services at CRP. “They tend to locate where the product is. I believe it’s one of those areas that is going to continue to maintain momentum.”

The food industry has a variety of markets that fit into the Charlotte area, he said, such as niche, ethnic and organic foods.

Rogerson said there is an increased focus within the industry on trends and tracking food products, which is why manufacturers are able to track down the source of a salmonella or E. coli outbreak, for example, so quickly.

A good work force and access to utilities is a major factor in recruiting food manufacturers or distribution centers, Rogerson said. From his time in Mooresville, he said, he knows how helpful Mitchell Community College can be in recruiting new industry.

“I you can’t prove to them that we can train employees to perform, you won’t get to the starting line,” Rogerson said.

Iredell County already has a number of food manufacturers and distribution sites, and Rogerson said potential new businesses are going to want to go out and talk to them about what its like to do business in Statesville.

North Carolina is home to Food Lion, Fresh Market, Lowes Foods and Harris Teeter among others, he said.

Some of the selling points Rogerson described for the 16-county area within the Charlotte Regional Partnership are access to trucking companies, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, an agriculture base to pull products from and the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.

As the campus continues to develop and attract research projects from various colleges, Rogerson said, it will help the larger message that the Charlotte Regional Partnership, which serves 16 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina, shares with site selection consultants and businesses.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

County tries post card marketing blitz

The Hawk Eye

RICHMOND, Ind. - An eastern Indiana economic development group has launched a marketing blitz aimed at drawing food processing companies to Wayne County.

The Economic Development Corp. has sent postcards to 4,700 companies across the U.S., and created a new website to help attract businesses to the area.

Each card includes a link to and a code that can be used on smart phones to access the site.

The campaign cost $16,000 and has generated more than 230 hits from 34 states and Canada, reported the Palladium-Item.

Website visitors who provide an e-mail address receive a one-pound box of caramels from a local business.

Tim Rogers, chief executive officer of the economic development group and the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, noted Wayne County has a history with food processing.

The push comes despite struggles by Really Cool Foods, which opened a 79,000-square-foot organic food manufacturing and distribution center north of Cambridge City in 2008.

The company promised a $100 million investment in the community and planned to hire 1,000 employees over five to seven years, but it has struggled to meet investment and employment goals. It laid off 31 workers last November, and employment numbers fell again in July.

Primary Employer Attraction Tips from Greyhill Advisors Blog

Site seletion consulting firm Greyhill Advisors maintains a blog on issues related to place marketing. Here's a sample of the useful information they provide from Daniel Kah:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:20PM

Full disclosure - I stole today's post from Mike Masciola. I spoke with some wonderful people from Thornton, CO last week and Mike thoughtfully put our collective ramblings into an outline. Since I am just arriving home from the work day (I really need to start posting in the AM), this might be the only way for me to make my midnight deadline. Plus the outline is pretty good.

Primary Employer Attraction - What it takes to be competitive

Reasons primary employers move or expand into new markets
■Strategic positioning, efficiency needs due to increased competition nationally and internationally, new market opportunities, be closer to customer, consolidation/downsizing, etc.

Process used to evaluate new markets (Site Selection Process)
■Driven by the strategic needs of the company
■Location will be where company can be most successful
■Tremendous competition - Lots of choices – process of elimination
■Short list of Metro then go to Cities

Major considerations for new location decisions
■Use ~ 400 data points
■Traditional - Proximately, labor, operating costs, logistics /transportation, etc.
■In today’s environment
■Productivity improvements – reduces workforce needs
■Space optimization – smaller foot prints
■Existing buildings
■Shovel ready sites
■Alternative financing

What can a city can do to improve chances in the site selection process?
■Be very good at what the City can control (Good, Bad & Ugly)
■Government approvals (development, incentives, etc)
■Speed, Predictable, Flexible, Reduce risk and uncertainty
■Risks the projects (i.e. HR issues)
■Break means more work for company and consultant
■Makes community look unprofessional
■Effective ED staff - Importance of having a credible reliable single point of contact
■Regional networks/partnerships in place & coordinated
■Strong after care/retention program in place
■Long term strategic plan to protect investment
■An understanding/appreciation of business drivers not under city control
■Market fit, private sector negotiations, gaps in workforce, lack of building/site options, etc.

Actions city can take to increase opportunities of being included the site location process
■Marketing with regional organizations
■Strong relationships with site selectors
■Strong relationships with commercial brokers
■Data rich website
■Enlist existing industry in identifying prospect opportunities
■Effective public policy examples from other communities

Check out the blog here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mission job creation

By Adva Saldinger The Sun News

It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing about someone who is out of work, but now the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. has more money than ever to try and change that conversation.

Horry County Council nearly quadrupled the economic development group’s budget this year aiming to get results – more jobs and business investments – that have been elusive in recent years.

No major job announcements have been made in Horry County since 2009 and only 612 jobs from new companies have come to the area in the past five years, according to statistics from the S.C. Department of Commerce. That represented 0.7 percent of the 87,526 jobs that came to South Carolina from 2006 to 2010, according to the commerce department.

Read more.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Head of Colorado's economic development office says restructuring will help lure more jobs

By Steve Raabe
The Denver Post

A restructuring of Colorado's economic development office is intended to generate more big wins like the recent Arrow Electronics​ and GE deals, the office's director said Thursday.

"Our priority is to help retain and attract jobs to Colorado," said Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade​. "We need to realign to accomplish that goal more quickly."

The restructuring entails elimination of four positions and the hiring of 12 to 15 new staffers. More here.

Study urges St. Louis region to pull together around economic development

BY TIM LOGAN • > 314-340-8291

The St. Louis region is at a crossroads, and if it doesn't make the right decisions in the next two years, it could spend the next two decades sliding ever deeper into economic irrelevance.

That's the stark gist of a massive study issued Thursday by the St. Louis County Economic Council — the latest in a long string of calls for the region to pull together if it hopes to thrive in the global economy.

The report, produced by consulting firm AECOM and paid for with a federal grant, runs 247 pages and sounds alarms heard here many times before. But in an interview last week its author minced few words.

"If you want to create jobs, you have to start acting like a region," said Chris Brewer, a vice president for economics at AECOM.

That means no more incentives to companies just for moving across a city line or even the Mississippi River. No more sniping among the different groups that work on regional economic development. And, he said, political leaders have to step up and speak for the region, not just their own patch of turf. More here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shreveport leaders impressed with economic development efforts in trip to Oklahoma City


SHREVEPORT, La. — Shreveport city officials and community leaders say a trip to Oklahoma City last week provided them with new economic development ideas.

More than 50 people made the trip, according to The Times ( Businesses sponsored the bus trip and a reception. Meals and hotel expenses were paid individually.

Mayor Cedric Glover said he selected Oklahoma City for the trip because of its similarity to Shreveport.

Glover said he was impressed by the economic development efforts of Oklahoma City's Chamber of Commerce.

Glover said he was impressed by the economic development efforts of Oklahoma City's Chamber of Commerce. Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn said he, too, was impressed by the work of Oklahoma City's chamber. He said one of those efforts was a partnership with a biomedical research foundation.

Linn said he would like to see Shreveport's chamber become more involved in economic development.

Information from: The Times,

Despite its financial problems, states still want Sears

Sears Holdings Corp. has lost about $314 million during the first half of this year, has been criticized by Wall Street and constantly reinvents itself to lure back recession-weary consumers.

Despite those financial ailments, this legendary company based in Hoffman Estates is being actively wooed by at least 16 states — including Illinois — for its global headquarters. Ohio and Texas are among those that reportedly have offered incentives, while Hoffman Estates and Illinois continue to work on a deal. More here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wisconsin leaders plan more state promotion to businesses

Written by Larry Avila
Post-Crescent business editorFiled

NEENAH — To lure more jobs to Wisconsin, officials say an important step is to better market the state to prospective businesses looking for new places to set up shop.

Paul Jadin, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the reorganized state Department of Commerce, said the state has not effectively marketed itself in the past. With Gov. Scott Walker pushing a pro-business agenda, the retooled commerce department has shifted its focus on economic development.

"The state has been bad at (marketing)," Jadin said Wednesday during a business forum in Neenah organized by the state and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a Madison-based business association. More here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City manager: Economic development key to reversing ‘difficult’ budget trend

Evanston, IL beefs up its economic development staff to offset more than $15 million in budget reductions and the loss of 65 employees.  The city manager says further cuts will "severely impact our quality of life” and that the city must be more aggressive in attracting new business to the city and encouraging existing business to grow to reverse the trend.

“I believe it is the single most important thing that this city can do moving forward,” he said. More here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dothan looks to keep up with changing markets in industry recruitment

WIth major automobile manufacturers having located in Tuscaloosa (Mercedes), Montgomery (Hyundai) and Lincoln (Honda), residents of Dothan Alabama, are asking "where's ours?"

This article discusses what the community is doing to respond to changes in the marketplace and to be more competitive in its offerings.  More here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Port Authority trying to find way through economic woes

The Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority has experienced declining finances in recent years. Executive Director Mike Jacoby discusses what the organization is doing to respond. 

The Interstate 70 billboard at left is is one of several marketing attempts advertising Zanesville as a site for shale business, Along with the billboard, the authority is using SEO, advertising in trade publications, email marketing and created a separate Shale Play link on its website.

More here.

FD Chamber says yes to alliance

The Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce, the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County have joined together to form the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance effective Jan. 1.

The groups spent about a year planning the alliance. They expect it  will bring a unified message and centralized leadership to the quest for economic growth. It would also place the economic development and Chamber offices under one roof. More here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mayors want local economic development officers to be in on talks with Region

Niagara officials debate local autonomy versus regional cooperation as they attempt to put together a new model for their area.  More here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Michigan State plans economic development center

Michigan State University says it's planning to create an economic development center to focus on new ways of generating businesses and jobs statewide.

The East Lansing school said Tuesday the project is funded by a $915,000 grant over five years from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Rex LaMore will oversee the MSU University Center for Regional Economic Innovation. LaMore, who is director of the school's Lansing-based Center for Community & Economic Development, said in a statement the idea is to produce a "21st-century toolbox" for economic development.

Under the project, faculty and students also will work with local and regional governments to improve and document economic development practices.

Beachwood Ohio Gets a New Development Plan

The city of Beachwood, Ohio received a final report from a team hired to recommend an economic development strategy for the suburban Cleveland community.

The consulting team included Steve Schoeny of SZD Whiteboard, Mark Barbash, former economic development director of the city of Columbus, and Mark James from ED Solutions.

The 29-page report outlined nine broad recommendations that each include specific tasks. Here’s a summary.

Greater MSP plans to market region with one voice

Tthe Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership unveiled its economic development strategy for a 13-county region and its plans to market the Twin Cities to businesses that might be looking for places to expand.

Its goal is to grow jobs at a faster rate than the national average and add 100,000 jobs over the next five years.

The CEO of the new group, Michael Langley, was quoted as saying that "For the first time, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region will have a one-stop shop for businesses hoping to retain their workers, grow and expand their operations, or for those looking to move to a new community.

More here.

End of the U.S Economic Development Adminstration?

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas wants to eliminate the Economic Development Administration.

The Wichita congressman says the EDA  uses taxpayer money from across the country to fund local projects, but the government shouldn’t be in the business of “picking winners and losers” by selectively doling out aid.

Overall, the agency — an arm of the Commerce Department — distributed $285 million nationwide last year. The agency was among the social and economic initiatives developed under former President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” program in the 1960s.
More here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Kilgore Economic Development Corporation Uses Metrics to Drive Strategic Plan

The Kilgore Economic Development Corporation uses a number of measurements to gauge success including the number of jobs retained and created during the period, assessing the percentage of the tax base total value of commercial/industrial enterprises, tracking the balance of oil and gas investment against other development and monitoring household and disposable income in the local market.

Success against these measurements were used to develop a new strategic plan that will carry the organization into 2017.  More on their metrics and new strategic plan can be found here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Governors Share Development Strategies

Even though they compete against each other to lure businesses to their states, three governor’s attending the National Governors Association were open to sharing strategies that work for them last week.

While each state is different they all share the desire to get America back to work, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said.

Christine Stuart blogged on CT News Junkie that Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said “I think we all find ways to compete. Jack [Delaware Gov. Jack Markell] said earlier and I think we’d all agree, I think we’d all love if we didn’t have to have any incentives. If we leveled the playing field, by leveling the playing field as opposed to having to have tools. So the necessity is we have to have tools.”

More here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Millar: 'Manufacturing is not dead'

Friday, October 07, 2011

Montgomery development efforts questioned

Some officials in Montgomery County, Maryland are questioning whether the department that oversees its economic health is doing enough to attract high-end jobs. They say say the county has lost thousands of jobs and no longer can depend on its proximity to Washington, D.C. and its federal jobs machine for its economic health. .

“In general, attracting companies like Costco or Walmart is not building the kind of high-wage economy that we need here to support our quality of life,” Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring was quoted as saying. “The county has always been able to rely on the federal government to provide the economic engine to keep this county going. And I think those days are over,” he said.

Although Montgomery’s population grew by 100,000 from 2000 to 2010, the county lost about 5,500 jobs.

The director of the county’s Department of Economic Development, has released a plan that focuses on retaining businesses and attracting national and global interest. More here

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Partisan split emerges in NC over tire plant deal

After South Carolina won a new Continental Tire plant set to bring 1,600 jobs to the state, top elected leaders across the state line in North Carolina were already pointing fingers at each other over their failure to land the deal. More here.

Iowa works to reshape economic development efforts

Iowa's pipeline of businesses looking to locate or expand and the state's economic development director will seek $30 million in new incentive money to better compete for new jobs.

Debi Durham, director of the reconfigured Iowa Economic Development Authority, has been given indications that supplemental funds to recruit business prospects would be available if her agency runs short on funds.

More here.

TEAM Santa Rosa must reform to stay put

The Santa Rosa County Commission is calling for changes at TEAM Santa Rosa Economic Development Council.

At workshops held last week, some business leaders praised TEAM Santa Rosa while critics dismissed it as ineffective and lacking accountability.

TEAM Santa Rosa is working on a six month contract extension with the county, which began Oct. 1. County Commission chairman Lane Lynchard was quoted as saying there needs to be a look at the structure of the EDC.  Team Santa Rosa was asked to detail what reforms will be instituted.

Lynchard also said there was a public perception problem with TEAM that there is insider dealings. He called for reforms that instill confidence in the public.

Areas of potential reform Lynchard outlined include changing the makeup of the TEAM board of directors with more appointees from commissioners, and rebranding the organization. Some commissioners have also called for personnel changes at TEAM.

More here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sears eyes Ohio or Texas for HQ

The Chicago Tribune reported that Sears Holdings Corp. has narrowed its list of possible locations for a new headquarters to Illinois, Ohio and Texas.

The paper quoted a source as saying that a small group of Sears officials visited Columbus, Ohio, and Austin, Texas, last month to visit potential sites for their headquarters. They met with economic development leaders at the state and local levels and were offered offered incentives to relocate.

The company has said they prefer to stay at their current location in Illinois and are working with legislators there to develop a tax incentive package. More here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

EDC outlines marketing blitz of food processors

The Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County Indiana has developed a new marketing campaign that targets the food processing industry.

The campaign includes three different post cards, each with a different illustration and information. The themes include "Dine on Success" with a chef with pasta; "Sweet Reasons" with a chef with candy; and "We Deliver" with a chef in a car.

The cards are being sent to food processing company presidents and CEOs whose addresses were acquired by purchasing a mailing list of 5,000 names. The second and third post cards will be sent in two-week intervals.

The campaign invites recipients to visit a new website to provide an email address and receive a free gift of a one-pound box of handcrafted caramels from local businesses.  The website also includes testimonials from officials at existing food processing companies in the area. More here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

A plan to “Irrigate” St. Paul’s economic development through the arts

St. Paul has assembled nearly $1 million to galvanize a new artist-led economic development program along the city’s six-mile stretch of “Central Corridor” light rail construction. The program, called Irrigate, is a joint project of Springboard for the Arts (a Knight Arts grantee), the City of St. Paul and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Irrigate plans to actively enlist the city’s arts community and put them to work in Central Corridor neighborhoods, training artists to lead community development efforts on behalf of the area’s affected businesses and residents, with the aim of encouraging cultural vitality and fueling economic growth in those neighborhoods during the construction process and beyond. More here.

NASA And EDC Renew Economic Development Cooperation

Source: Kennedy Space Center

NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida's Space Coast are formally renewing their economic development partnership. NASA and EDC managers signed a new five-year Space Act Agreement on Monday at Kennedy that outlines economic development cooperation aimed at supporting NASA's current and future missions.

"The Kennedy Space Center appreciates our relationship with the EDC of Florida's Space Coast and looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with this agreement," said Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana. "It's the people of the Space Coast that have made Kennedy a success over the decades, and it's our hope that working with the EDC and other partners will help us and the surrounding communities continue to be successful."

The agreement calls for NASA and EDC senior leadership to meet regularly to discuss economic development matters of mutual interest. Managers from Kennedy's Center Planning and Development Office will work with the EDC on potential business partnerships and meet with business leaders and committees to address space-related and high-tech economic development. They will also collaborate with the EDC on industry recruitment initiatives seeking targeted space-related and high-tech companies and on targeted industry outreach activities, such as trade shows.

EDC officials will assist NASA with disseminating information about potential partnership opportunities and space-related and high-tech economic development, and increase awareness of Kennedy's Engineering and Technology Directorate collaboration initiatives. They also will promote the commercial use of underutilized facilities at Kennedy.

"The continuation of this agreement further enhances the partnership between the EDC and Kennedy Space Center," said Bob Whelen, Chairman of the Board for the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. "This agreement reinforces our joint goal of maintaining and enhancing Brevard County's vigorous activity in support of the nation's preeminent gateway to space."

NASA and the EDC entered into their first economic cooperation agreement in 2005.

For information about the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida's Space Coast, visit:

For information about how to partner and do business with NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit:

And for more information about Kennedy, visit:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

New Fla. agency formed to attack economic development

Florida has created a new Department of Economic Opportunity to help attract new business and grow jobs, under new director Doug Darling.

The new department was created from several existing agencies, including the governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, or OTTED. Also being folded into the new agency are the former labor department and Department of Community Affairs. More here.

Expert: Market Newton as manufacturing hub .

Jay Garner, president and founder of Garner Economics told Newton, GA officials they have a strong manufacturing base that can be capitalized on with the right marketing, but there are still lots of obstacles standing in the way of economic growth.

Garner's report was part of a study commissioned commissioned and jointly funded by the city of Covington, Newton County, the Industrial Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to determine the county's assets and shortcomings as they might be viewed by industries and businesses on the hunt for a new location.

Reality is our friend and hope is not a strategy," Chamber President Hunter Hal was quoted as saying. "We've got to deal with the good, the bad and everything in between and this study is going to help us do that," he said in an interview with Rockdale Citizen.

Of 75 criteria, Newton had 19 assets that should be marketed to attract business and 17 challenges that could deter companies from locating there, Garner found.  The remaining factors were deemed neutral, not a plus or minus. The challenge over the next few years is to turn those neutrals into assets and the challenges into neutrals, Garner said. More here.

Officials tap water's economic promise

Communities in southeast Michigan are overflowing with optimism about prospects for jobs and economic development tied to the state's enviable water supply.More here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Consultants unveil first phase of economic-development analysis

A new economic assessment of Beaufort and Jasper counties SC by Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, and McCallum Sweeney of Greenville paints a mixed picture.

Their report says the region lags the nation in job creation, but opportunities for growth exist. Further, a wide majority of the 530 residents surveyed support more funding for economic development. The study is the first of a three-phase analysis local leaders hope will create a framework for growth.

The consultants surveyed area residents and they gave the Lowcountry a C-minus for its economic performance over the past five years.Thirty-nine percent of respondents said job creation should be the highest priority, and 72 percent support higher funding for economic-development initiatives.

Yet many were concerned that might mean smokestacks and urban sprawl.

"Some people in the community associate economic development with a deteriorating quality of life," Avalanche's Amy Holloway was quoted as saying.  "And that's just not the case," she said. More here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who foots the bill when economic development deals fail?

State of Missouri officials and the city of Moberly spent a lot of money to lure Mamtek, a Chinese-American company that promised to bring 600 jobs to town to manufacture its groundbreaking new sweetener.

Mamtek laid off its few employees earlier this month. It left behind an unfinished manufacturing facility built with about $39 million in city bonds. The company missed its bond payments and now the the bondholders are on the hook to pay the balance.

This article highlights the mess that can be created by a lack of due diligence and points the finger at politicians "who are too eager to take credit for creating jobs and who are equally quick to wash their hands when complicated deals go bad." More here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

States, counties, cities look to compete on strengths

Economic development officials in states, counties and cities are exploring new ways to woo entrepreneurs and businesses in the flagging economy.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for states to offer high-dollar incentives because 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls totaling about $112 billion in 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported. 

More on how states are responding here.

Snyder tells Japan: Michigan welcomes talented immigrants

Michigan is breaking bad habits, not looking for fights and seeking talented immigrants as a key to rebuilding the state's economy, Gov. Rick Snyder said today at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference.

Snyder also is meeting with other Midwest governors from Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa in Japan to discuss how all the states can cooperate on some policy issues, "especially protecting the Great Lakes from invasive aquatic species," he said in an interview. More here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hudson Valley EDC takes marketing national

The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation has launched a new national marketing camis going after companies from coast to coast considering relocation with a marketing campaign called “Choose NY Hudson Valley.”

The effort targets site selectors, property management companies and businesses looking to relocate.The group's attraction efforts are aimed at nine target industries including biotech and pharmaceutical; datacenters; distribution, film production, financial services; food and beverage; green tech; semiconductors; and tourism and hospitality.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

C-Level Execs Give Thumbs Up to Carolinas, Texas

As states battle for corporate nods to gain more jobs, the Carolinas and Texas have the best business climates in the nation, according to a new survey of 322 U.S. executives.

The "Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing" survey is conducted every three years by New York-based Development Counsellors International. Texas led the pack with 49.4 percent of the nods, with North Carolina ringing up a 27.8 percent approval rating and South Carolina, 14.3 percent.
Corporate executives labeled California, New York and Illinois as the states with the least favorable business climates.

"With the battle for business more intense than ever, states and their economic development organizations need to pay close attention to the results of this survey," said DCI President Andrew T. Levine. "Whether accurate or misguided, perceptions about a location's business climate often play a crucial role in site selection decisions and where companies invest money and create jobs."

Of the survey's respondents, 46 percent said a location decision would be made in the next two years and 51 percent said they'd outsource a portion of the site selection process to a real estate broker or consultant. The real decisions covered the entire spectrum - relocation, expansion or consolidation of a manufacturing plant, offices, distribution center or other facilities.

This year, executives favored Texas and the Carolinas for their low operating costs and pro-business climate whereas three years ago the availability of a strong workforce was the leading reason.

Texas and North Carolina have consistently landed in the top spots since the survey began more than a decade ago. Texas has been in first place since 1999 while North Carolina has been second since 2002. South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida have frequently traded top positions in the survey and 2011 marks the return of South Carolina to third place.

California, New York and Illinois were faulted for the taxation levels, high costs and anti-business climate/regulation, according to respondents.

The survey polled C-level executives at companies with annual revenues of $25 million or more. The survey was augmented by 250 location advisers/consultants. A free copy of the full "Winning Strategies" survey is available at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't forget Austin in recruiting jobs, report says

By Kirk Ladendorf

When the experts go looking for new jobs to bring to Austin, California is a prime hunting ground.

But an economic development consultant advised the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce that another important source of job growth is already here: companies that are doing business in town right now.

Those companies also need to be recruited to expand here, and their business concerns need to be addressed, consultant Market Street Services Inc. of Atlanta concluded in an updated report on Austin's economic development strategy. More here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

State mulls deal-closing fund to woo jobs

By Tim Logan • > 314-340-8291

Talk to people involved in economic development in Missouri, and it won't be long before you hear this lament: "Texas can write checks to companies to get them to move there."

So can Georgia and Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, Florida and other states.

If a bill moving through the Legislature becomes law, Missouri, too, will be able to write those kind of checks.
Actually, not checks literally — the Missouri Constitution prohibits that. Instead, one piece of the massive jobs bill at the heart of the special session in Jefferson City would establish a new pool of tax credits that the state could offer to companies that pledge to generate jobs here. Unlike the rest of Missouri's menu of incentives, it could offer the credits upfront, before the first job has been created.

More here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Economic Development Coalition pushes Tri-State advertising campaign

The Evansville area has brainy students, a ready workforce and plenty of "swagger," according to a nationwide marketing campaign currently being rolled out by the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana.

The campaign includes postcard mailings, emailings and a website aimed at commercial real estate agents, site selectors and more than a thousand companies.

Information for the campaign was gleaned from a recently completed economic development study commissioned by the economic development group.

The purpose of the study, which was funded by a federal grant, was to identify the area's strengths and weaknesses, its best prospects for economic growth and the companies that might be most interested in investing here.

The study was conducted by Atlanta-based Garner Economics and Newmark Knight Frank of Chicago. Carmel, Ind.-based Applied Marketing compiled the target list of companies and individuals.

More here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just How Bad Is 'Jersey Shore' for New Jersey's Brand?

MTV's "Jersey Shore" was given a $420,000 tax break from New Jersey's Economic Development Authority this week, and most local politicians were upset, except for the mayor of Seaside Heights where the cast members llive and work.

Many think the show's debauchery hurts New Jersey's image and diverts attention from the state's attractive qualities, branding and tourism experts said. Facing budget shortfalls, many states have slashed their tourism marketing budgets, and New Jersey made a $2 million reduction in 2010, increasing the challenge of marketing the state. More here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mississippi's potential outlined in new Blueprint

A new study by Mississippi's state chamber of commerce says the state can use its creativity to grow jobs and foster a new sense of entrepreneurship in a business climate that supports diversity.

Supporters of the plan, dubbed, "Blueprint Mississippi 2011" will receive a second report that outline how to achieve the goals over the next ten years.

Recommendations include improved communication between the public and private sectors, cultivating diversity through community cooperation and racial reconciliation, expanding the state's economic base and improving education.

"The potential this document has is unbelievable. Now's the time for the real work to begin," said state Commissioner of Higher Education Hank Bounds, who chairs Blueprint Mississippi.

More here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New development councils start "urgent" work

After months of planning, New York's regional economic development councils have begun their work on Governor Cuomo's new idea to revive new York's economy.

Cuomo is pushing a fast-track approach that pits regions across New York against each other in a competition for state funding.

At the heart of Governor Cuomo's plan is the creation of 10 new regional economic development councils. Their task is to come up with a five-year economic plan for their region. Each council's plan will compete against other regions' for a billion-dollar pool of state funds.

Each regional council has about 30 volunteer-members, chosen by the governor's office. They include local leaders, in business, higher education, labor and elected officials. They have until November 14th to come up with their plans. Following that, a panel of economic experts will review and rank the plans, and money will be awarded to winning regions.

The Manhattan Institute's Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany believes the effect of councils will be marginal at best. More here.

City says it will fight for Chiquita

Cincinnati officials vowed to fight back Tuesday as cities like Charlotte and Miami try to lure Chiquita Brands International to relocate its corporate headquarters.

Charlotte news sources reported terms of a $4 million city, county and state incentive package that may soon be offered to the international marketer of fruits and vegetables, which employs 330 high-paid workers headquartered in a namesake building on Fifth Street downtown.

More here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nevada Governor Making Strides On Top Priority Of Job Creation

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval recently said he is making big strides in his top priority of improving the Nevada economy and growing jobs.

The governor has been making calls to businesses interested in relocating to the state and is launching a newly revised economic development board to help the state.

Sandoval said a key element of implementing his jobs strategy is a study being conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Stanford Research Institute, which will look at which economic development sectors the state should focus its efforts on.

More here.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New Collier economic development plan sets ‘big, bold aggressive goals’

A private consultant hired to evaluate economic development efforts in Collier county says there are serious gaps in the way economic development is handled there and that big changes are needed.
The draft strategic plan for economic development calls for new structures, new roles, new responsibilities, new leadership and a new shared vision for economic development.

It was prepared by Jim McGraw, the CEO of Ohio-based KMK Consulting Co.

More here.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

It's Liverpool marketing campaign launched

Public and private sector companies in Liverpool are joining together in a bid to change the image of the city.

More here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Alpharetta City Council Calls Economic Development Plan 'Sloppy'

Alpharetta, Georgia City Council members refused to accept an economic development plan from Market Street Services that cost the city $100,000.

A council member called the plan sloppy and a cut-and-paste job during the council's meeting on Sept. 6. Market Street's CEO, Mac Holladay, presented the plan at a joint City Council-Planning Commission work session on Aug. 29.

Staff was directed to get Market Street to update the report and bring it back to City Council for possible approval.

More here

Certified megasite marketing shifts to high gear

Baldwin County, Alabama officials are optimistic that they will land a major manufacturer on a 3,000-acre certified megasite.
Baldwin County commissioners recently voted to extend the options on the property for a year. A "diverse and comprehensive" marketing effort is under way.

McCallum Sweeney Consultants delivered the certification in May, based on the size of the site, available rail and four-lane highway access, work force and utilities. the certification requires that government or recruiters maintain either ownership or purchase options.

More here.

Dysfuntion in Flagler over a unified economic strategy

Flagler County Florida's will see its economic development program end officially this month, the victim of a breakdown in communication and cooperation between governmental and business interests.

Flagler County was the poster child for growth and prosperity in the middle part of the previous decade. New residents poured into the county from surrounding areas as well as New England, New York and the Midwest. Flagler County had almost full employment -- a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in July 2006.

But now, with county unemployment at 14.7 percent -- one of the state's highest rates -- the local newspaper ccalls for county and city officials from Palm Coast to Bunnell to get their act together, and fast on a new and unified push for economic development.

More here.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Collier to reshape EDC as critics question if it’s done its job creating jobs - POLL

Amid criticism from some local residents, the Collier County, Florida EDC is is moving forward with a new job creation plan.  Local residents and business leaders have had a chance to have a say about the plan and are invited to provide input again at a meeting on Sept. 23, when a consultant will present his final recommendations.

More here.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Louisiana's business climate profile on rise

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret said the state's rising business climate profile, both through tangible reforms and perception, has given the department a stronger platform to attract new jobs and companies.

Moret said Louisiana has climbed into the top half of business climate state rankings in virtually all media outlets that measure such rankings and near the top in some of them. His own agency was most recently ranked No. 1 in business recruitment by Site Selection magazine.

More here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garner Completes New Plan for Evansville Region

Garner Economics has issued a new report for the Economic DEvelopment Coalition of Southwest Indiana entitled “A Blueprint for Success."
The master plan for strengthening Evansville’s regional economywill require broad community support to achieve the plan’s numerous recommendations.
Funding for the project came from a $231,482 federal grant secured as a result of Whirlpool’s closure of its Evansville refrigerator plant in 2010.

The study recommends four target areas for job growth in this region: advanced manufacturing, plastics, health and life sciences and logistics/distribution. The four were selected because they build on the area’s strengths, pay above-average wages and represent growth industries.

The study also includes 32 recommendations for improving the area’s business climate and infrastructure, its approach to economic development and its marketing efforts.

More here.

Alpharetta plan targets new business

Market Steet Services has presented Alpharetta, Georgia with a new Economic Development Plan that stresses the importance of attracting new business.

The report said that Alpharetta is in a good position to grow, but the city needs to invest more in promoting
itself with a comprehensive marketing program. He also said small business growth would be key to the city’s success, especially with the current state of the economy.

The firm also told city officials that keeping and attracting younger residents would be important going forward. Creating a community that is aesthetically pleasing and easily commutable will assist in this effort.

Mac Holladay of Market Street said the city should be spending more money on economic development and hiring new staff members to work on these goals.

He salso said that developing good relationships with current businesses will also help the city be successful.

More here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New state business development corporation hoping to avoid pitfalls

This article describes Wisconsin's effort to transition its econmic development department to a public-private hybrid agency.

The new Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) was created by Governor Scott Walker through  legislation signed in February abolishing the former Commerce Department and replacing it with the WEDC, an agency free of the regulatory duties that many felt hampered Commerce.

The new agency officially opened July 1 and agency officials are still working out the details of its operation.  They are trying to fill four vice president slots and several key director positions.“It really is like buying a house and trying to remodel it from the inside out,” said Mike Klonsinski, WEDC chief operating officer.

More here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Southern Virginia kicks off regional alliance with cooperation theme

Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling recently helped launch the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance in Halifax County.

The alliance is a newly formed marketing partnership comprised of Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry and Patrick counties and the cities of Danville and Martinsville that promotes economic development and job creation in Southern Virginia.

The alliance has received a total of $600,000 in funding from the Virginia Tobacco Commission that funds $200,000, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership that provides $200,000 and each of the six communities that are contributing a total of $200,000 over the next two years.

It is being directed by its new executive director, Leigh Cockram, who was selected to head the organization in June. 

More here.

Texas incentive funds touted by Perry draw praise, criticism

With Texas Governor Rick Perry's entry into the presidential race, the tools used in offering state incentives for businesses to relocate and add jobs has come under scrutiny.

The Texas Enterprise Fund was created in 2003 to provide money to attract companies to the state or help them expand. As of June 30, the fund had committed nearly $440 million to about 100 corporations, according to the governor's office. A separate Emerging Technology Fund has awarded $370.5 million to new ventures and university research programs since its formation in 2005.

As Perry campaigns for president, he is trumpeting Texas' unmatched success in creating jobs and the importance of the funds in maintaining Texas' competitive edge.
But the funds have also come under fire for falling short of delivering on promised job gains and creating an appearance of political favoritism because Perry has accepted campaign contributions from companies that received taxpayer funds. There are also complaints that Perry exercises too much control over the funds.

More here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oakland County has growing interest in life sciences

Oakland County, Michigan has established "Medical Main Street" program to brand the region as a center for excellence in health care.

The effort doesn't involve any special incentives but instead relies on a mixture of traditional advertising, social media and more than 40 ambassadors, which are local companies, organizations and others that have volunteered to help market the area.

Oakland is aiming to be among the top 10 in the U.S. when it comes to the number of life science and health care companies. Right now, it's No. 11 or No. 12, according to the county.It aspires to become a major hub for medical device and other life science companies, joining the ranks of top-tier health care destinations like Cleveland and Rochester, Minn.

More here.