Sunday, February 27, 2011

Region touts its assets to attract new employers

Craig Wolf • Poughkeepsie Journal • February 27, 2011

One of the Hudson Valley's inducements to potential
employers is the Hudson itself.

People in economic development are keenly aware of
it and actively use it.

"The Hudson River is absolutely an asset, and one
of our biggest ones, when it comes to economic
development," said Michael Oates, president of the
Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. "Of
course, you've got to have the other assets as well: a
ready site, a nearby work force with the needed
skills, a welcoming community, a business climate
that works. But the Hudson River is a huge asset for
New York."

It's part of the amenities package, what they often
call, quality of life. That can speak loudly to people
looking not only for a tourism rail but for place to
land and live.

"I think when people look at the number of people
coming into Dutchess County and the Hudson
Valley and they look at the other attractions that we
have available, they know it's a good place to do
business," said Mary Kay Vrba, Dutchess County's
director of tourism. "When you cluster more
attractions in one area, the people are going to want
to come and visit and stay longer."

Tourism can hook new businesses because the
entrepreneurs get their first taste of the region as
visitors. One example is the Empire Cruise Line
venture that plans to start seasonal sightseeing and
dinner cruises out of Poughkeepsie in May.

The owner's wife had family in the area, Vrba said.

Some kind of family connection, vacation or other
link to the region often underlies the decision by an
executive or entrepreneur to locate a business here,
said Lance Matteson, president of Ulster County
Development Corp.

"That is where a lot of the new activity that we get
comes from," he said.

In Dutchess, the tourism staff is under the umbrella
of the Dutchess County Economic Development
Corp. Both sides work hand in hand in pitching to
potential employers looking for a home. The
tourism component describes the quality of life
aspect that is one of the items employers look for,
she said. That's because the employees want to
know what there is to see and do.

Vrba said they start with the general tourism
package and then "customize it for the individuals
involved." For example, they may ask, "What is the
CEO interested in — arts or hiking?"

Another concept is to refer to the region as a
gateway between New York City and upstate. Ulster's
Matteson said, "We try to fairly routinely promote the
concept of the Hudson River Valley as a gateway
from metropolitan New York City to the upstate and
vice versa. We're the channel between the capital
and the talent in New York City."

Some development themes work best if pitched on a
regional basis. The region, in this case, the Hudson
Valley, is a fairly recognizable one.

That fact is played strongly by the regional group,
the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. Its
BioHud Valley initiative takes a very regional
approach, despite the great majority of existing
biotechnology companies being sited in only two
counties, Rockland and Westchester.

Other counties can benefit from BioHud, though, if
companies accept the logic that manufacturing costs
vary with distance, Matteson said. "If you want to
manufacture, the further downstate you get, the
Advertisement pricier it is," he said.

Oates said that the region and its attractions are an
asset for companies in attracting employees.

"Many of the companies we're trying to attract, the
life sciences companies especially, they need smart, w
ell-trained employees. The Hudson River, the
valley, is a place where those employees will want to
live because of everything that goes with it."

Reach Craig Wolf at cwolf@poughkeepsiejournal.
com or 845-437-4815.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

States' offer of tax breaks no guarantee for jobs

Associated Press

NEW YORK — It's recently become an article of faith for many governors as they try to attract jobs: raising taxes during a recession is a nonstarter, choking off growth and damaging a state's fragile economic recovery.

With the notable exception of Illinois, where Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed a 66 percent temporary personal income tax increase and a separate corporate rate hike to help close a $15 billion budget gap, governors this year are mostly vowing to cut regulations and hold the line on taxes to attract employers and rebuild after a brutal recession.

"We ... hope that every bill you consider passing will be viewed through the lens of its impact on our economic growth," Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told lawmakers in his State of the State address, sounding a theme many governors share. "This doesn't mean we compromise our standards or put our land, air or water at risk, but it does mean that we'll keep a fierce and even relentless focus on jobs."

Whether they can hold to that promise will become clearer in the coming months as governors release their new budget proposals.

But there's a catch to the anti-tax, pro-business rhetoric: Businesses consider a range of factors when deciding where to locate, including the quality of schools, roads and programs that rely on a certain level of public spending and regulation. And evidence suggests there is little correlation between a state's tax rate and its overall economic health.

"Concerns about taxes are overstated," said Matt Murray, a professor of economics at the University of Tennessee who studies state finance. "Labor costs, K-12 education and infrastructure availability are all part of a good business climate. And you can't have those without some degree of taxation."

States' tax rates also do not predict their resilience during an economic downturn.

While high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California have been clobbered by the current recession, so too have states that pride themselves on low tax rates, including Nevada, Texas and Arizona. The collapse of the housing market and the financial industry meltdown largely drove the current conditions, sparing almost no state regardless of its level of taxes.

Governors agree this is a particularly challenging budget year, with federal stimulus dollars drying up after years of deep state budget cuts. Some 34 states raised taxes or fees as recently as 2009 to help close budget shortfalls.

Now, chief executives from both parties mostly have little appetite for new tax measures after Republicans successfully ran on tax issues last fall — they now control 29 governorships — and President Obama and Senate Republican leaders teamed up to extend Bush-era tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans.

Illinois' big tax hike is considered an anomaly — an emergency measure that includes strict spending limits to close a budget hole that is the largest of any state as a percentage of its overall budget.

Neighboring states such as Wisconsin quickly pounced, urging businesses to relocate from Illinois even though its tax rate remains lower than those of many states in the region.

Meanwhile some other governors have opened the door to potential tax increases, insisting the measures are necessary to offset fiscal calamity.

In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has been promoting a package of temporary tax increases as a ballot measure for voters to consider, while also proposing deep cuts to higher education and social services.

Two newly installed New England governors — Connecticut's Dan Malloy and Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee — have told state residents to expect some taxes to go up. Most are pairing their tax increase proposals with targeted spending cuts and promises of fiscal discipline over the long term.

To be sure, several governors, including Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey and Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York, say they have sworn off tax increases. Some other governors — such as newly sworn-in Republicans John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida — say they plan to cut taxes even as they try to bring their budgets into balance. Scott wants to reduce the Sunshine State's corporate income tax despite the fact that Florida faces a projected budget gap next fiscal year of at least $3.5 billion; the corporate income tax now generates about $2 billion a year.

Other governors, despite tight budgets, want to boost spending on economic development projects to bring jobs to their states.

In Nebraska, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman has proposed a $16.5 million initiative aimed at attracting jobs while saying he will not raise taxes. The money would be spent on several measures, including an internship program pairing graduates of Nebraska universities with state-based companies, and a fund offering start-up cash and technical assistance to small businesses.

In an interview, Heineman said his state must spend money on education and job programs to attract economic development.

"We're competing for jobs with other states and other countries, and I'm trying to do it in a healthy and positive way," Heineman said. "The only way I can compete is to have a better tax and regulatory climate, but education and a quality work force are also key to that."

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is requesting $105 million for universities in his state to do targeted research in the areas of animal health, cancer and aviation. Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has proposed a $54 million jobs initiative for the state to compete more aggressively against neighbors North Carolina and Maryland.

The quality of a state's labor market is another significant factor for businesses as they choose where to locate, in some cases mitigating the level of taxes they will have to pay.

"As much as Nevada talks about getting California business because of their low taxes, their population would need a substantial amount of retooling," said Kim Reuben, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center in Washington. "Nevada has survived largely on growth, a place where people without much education could get relatively good jobs in construction and casinos. California is a place that has great intellectual institutions and will always attract talent and overcome its taxes."

But Kail Padgitt, an economist with the conservative Tax Foundation, said a state's tax burden might not have affected its performance during the recession but certainly will affect the pace of its recovery.

"When the economy starts to pick up, that's where you're going to see more the impact of taxes," Padgitt said. "Where businesses are going to expand operations, where new investments are going to be made — a lot of these companies want to know what their taxes are going to be."

How much the lure of lower taxes acts as an incentive for businesses seeking to relocate or expand remains an open question.

In late 2008 and early 2009, California lawmakers and then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved a series of corporate tax breaks that was estimated to save businesses about $1.3 billion a year. At the time, Schwarzenegger and GOP lawmakers promoted the tax cuts and credits as a way to create jobs, but there is little evidence they have done so.

California's unemployment rate rose in December to 12.5 percent and has remained above 12 percent for a year and a half. The questionable connection between corporate tax policy and job creation prompted a Democratic state lawmaker to call for legislation that would force companies to prove they were using tax breaks to boost employment.

"The bill is not to deny them those tax credits. I want to give them those tax credits because they make a rather credible argument why they need them," state Sen. Leland Yee said. "All I'm asking is for them to prove it."

Associated Press writer Don Thompson in Sacramento contributed to this report.

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

Details revealed about Mitsubishi selection process

Memphis Business Journal - by Jennifer Dawson and Jane A. Donahoe

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products this week officially announced plans to build a $200 million, 350,000-square-foot facility at Rivergate Industrial Park which would manufacture large power transformers. Memphis will serve as the headquarters for the company’s heavy electrical equipment production in North America.

HBJ reporter Jennifer Dawson interviewed Mark Sweeney, the consultant who headed Mitsubishi’s site-selection team. (HBJ is a Memphis Business Journal sister publication.)

Sweeney would not comment on why Memphis won the deal, dubbed Project 21 throughout the site selection process. He also would not disclose what financial incentives were offered by each community or if the ultimate decision came down to the dollar amount.

“We acknowledge that the incentives mattered,” Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney Consulting in Greenville, S.C., told HBJ. “They always have an impact on the final decision.”

Houston and Memphis were two of three finalists; the third finalist was not disclosed.

Charles Iupe, general partner of the 15,000-acre Houston industrial park that would have landed the project, said he met several times with Project 21 executives, who were so secretive they only gave their first names.

A Houston real estate broker said in the HBJ story that Memphis was “buying jobs.”

“They can throw a lot more money than we can in Texas to get them,” said B. Kelley Parker III, the Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc. real estate broker who represents the industrial park. “They’re buying jobs, basically. If that’s the case, they didn’t go with the best site; they went with the one that gave the best benefits.”

The Memphis-Shelby County Industrial Development Board unanimously approved $34 million in tax breaks for the project that will eventually create 281 jobs in Memphis.

Sweeney told HBJ he visited Houston at least six times during 2009 and 2010 for Project 21. He was able to keep Mitsubishi Electric’s identity under wraps by educating his clients on the tricks of the trade, like not telling anyone where they grew up or where they went to school.

Some clues were evident toward the end of the process, when Mitsubishi Electric executives came from Japan to conduct site visits. They spoke English, but Sweeney told HBJ it was obvious they were from Japan. He recalls that a Mitsubishi Electric executive joked with hosts at one site saying, “You can tell we’re a German firm.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pocono economic development group turns to new 'app'

Pocono Record Writer
February 19, 2011

Local real estate agents now have a new way to access the area's commercial property database on their smart phones.

The Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation launched a smart phone-ready app of its websites and available commercial sites.

"After a challenging 2010, it feels terrific to hit the ground running in 2011 with a major initiative to give site selectors improved tools for researching our properties," said Executive Director Chuck Leonard.

The smart phone app, touted as the first of its kind in the region, combines and reconfigures two sites: and the former, the Pocono Mountains commercial and office property database.

The new combined mobile site gives users instant access to comprehensive information about commercial, industrial and office properties available in the Pocono Mountains region, as well as regional information and data that complies with International Economic Development Council standards, according to corporation Marketing Director Michelle Bisbing.

The economic development board's chairman, Michael Baxter, believes that the new app will have an immediate impact on how PMEDC interacts with the site selection community.

"Nearly every broker and agent that I see or meet with carries a smart phone," Baxter said. "It's convenient to be able to access the Web on those phones, but looking at a standard website can be a bit challenging. The mobile app makes it very easy to navigate and search the property database."

Baxter said that with the new app there's no delay when an agent is traveling through the area looking up properties.

"They can drive by a property, pull over, look it up on their smart phone and start the process of qualifying that property for the clients."

Smart phone users can simply visit the with their mobile device. The site will auto detect the device and deliver the appropriate content.

German trip targets food producers

By STEVE SNYDER Staff Writer
Updated: 02/18/2011 05:48:32 PM ES

Charles Blankenship planted some seeds on his latest trip to Germany that he hopes will yield jobs for Lebanon County.

"We were successful," Blankenship said of his eight-day mission to two of the 16 German states.

Blankenship, president of the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp., was accompanied by LVEDC board member Tom Haag, a retired Bayer executive and owner of Marketechs, a marketing company.

The trip, which ended Feb. 5, was funded in part by a Regional Initiative Marketing Grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development's Office of International Business Development. The office's representative in Germany, Stefan Peikert, set up meetings for Blankenship and Haag with their German counterparts.

"Our primary reason (for the trip) was to focus on food production suppliers and to try to create an alliance with similar organizations like food industry associations," Blankenship said.

Another goal of the trip to the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony was to encourage German business representatives to visit Lebanon County, which has a solid connection to Germany through businesses like Bayer, Schott Pharmaceutical and rubber-products producer Regupol America, which recently announced it was purchasing an additional 10 acres in an LVEDC-managed business park, Hawk Acres.

Although Germany has weathered the international recession better than most, if not all, European nations, the German population is stagnant.

"The food industry ... has to have an expanding market," Blankenship said. "The U.S. has a growing population, and that makes it attractive to German companies. We have labor-force growth."

Blankenship found a partner in the Borken Department of Business Development. Borken, similar to Lebanon, once had a steel- and iron-producing economy.

"Their strategy was to diversify, like ours was," he said. "They're struggling because of no increase in their labor force. We are more oriented to growth."

Blankenship reached an agreement and partnership with three German food associations.

"They will work with us to survey German food suppliers about making trips here," he said.

Four years ago, Blankenship and Haag made their first trip to Germany. Two more trips followed, but none was taken last year due to the global recession.

"I think we've re-established our brand for German businesses," Blankenship said. "We had lost some momentum. The test will be whether we can get companies to visit us."

To that end, Blankenship is working on a three-day trip itinerary for German representatives to come to Lebanon County later this year. He will let the Germans choose the dates.

"Germany has businesses looking for expansion, particularly in the food industry," Blankenship said. "We're in the center of one of the largest food-production areas in the U.S."; 272-5611, ext. 152

Tone of Nevada’s marketing for new businesses is changing

By David McGrath Schwartz
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.

Carson City — In what might signal a kinder, gentler approach to attracting business to Nevada, the state’s economic development agency plans to take down a billboard in Los Angeles that pokes fun at California Gov. Jerry Brown.

The billboard, which went up in mid-January near Los Angeles International Airport, reads: “Congratulations Governor Brown! It’s déjá vu all over again.” The address for an authority website,, is included.

The message is a reference to Brown’s prior tenure as CEO of the Golden State in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time when he came to be known as “Governor Moonbeam.”

“The nickname accompanied Gov. Brown as he declared his fascination with outer space, proposed that California launch its own space satellite and made headlines dating the rock star Linda Ronstadt,” The New York Times reported last year.

The billboard, which continued the Nevada Development Authority’s mocking tone toward the state’s biggest neighbor, will come down in the next few weeks, according to an authority lobbyist.

“The Nevada Development Authority recognizes it needs to change and modify how it promotes Nevada,” lobbyist Russell Rowe said. “We’re looking for a more positive message that attracts quality jobs and headquarters.”

The Nevada Development Authority is a private nonprofit agency that receives funding from the state and through members, including some of Nevada’s largest businesses and Southern Nevada local government leaders.

Nevada’s approach to economic development is coming under scrutiny during the 2011 Legislature as lawmakers grapple with a massive budget deficit and look to short-term fixes and long-term remedies to what many see as an economy in dire need of diversification.

This has led to some criticism of the authority’s focus on marketing the state as a low/no-tax haven for business. Democrats and some business leaders are calling for a broader, more nuanced appeal to get businesses to move to Nevada, which leads the nation in unemployment.

The billboard will be replaced by a message that focuses on Nevada offering a good climate for business, said Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas.

Horsford has criticized the authority’s recent ads, which have featured talking orangutans imitating former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the slogan “kiss your assets goodbye.”

“I am glad the NDA (will remove) the billboard,” Horsford said in a statement. “We need to promote Nevada by building ourselves up, not knocking others down. We should attract businesses here by focusing on the positive qualities of our state.”

In an interview last week, Nevada Development Authority President and CEO Somer Hollingsworth said the agency’s eye-catching campaigns were necessary because it’s underfunded. The authority receives about $1 million a year from the state; he said the state should spend at least $1 million a month to attract businesses.

“We didn’t go out and do this with any form of malice,” Hollingsworth said of the orangutan ads. “It was the only way we knew. We had to do it with monkeys — we had to use monkeys, for God’s sake!”

The agency’s strategy was to use controversial ads to gain a wider audience through media.

Hollingsworth also noted that the authority isn’t the only entity selling Nevada based on its low taxes. “I certainly can’t sell our education system, can I? I have to have something,” he told the Sun last week.

Horsford, Assembly Speaker John Oceguera and Gov. Brian Sandoval have agreed to rework the state’s strategy on economic development, which is spread among 19 entities. But the three officials have not agreed on an overarching message.

Horsford has advocated making a broader appeal to businesses, and said the state can’t cut education if it wants to attract quality businesses.

Oceguera agrees with Horsford.

Sandoval, with his fiscally conservative budget, has said raising taxes would send the wrong message to businesses considering a move to Nevada.

NJ fights for Panasonic

By Shane Dixon Kavanaugh

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawmakers are asking the head of Mississippi's economic development agency why the Delta and the southwestern part of the state are often overlooked for major industrial projects.

Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday that industries have their own consultants when it comes to site selection. He said companies may have specific transportation needs. For instance, if there's a need for FedEx, a location near Memphis, Tenn., would be suitable.

"We are driven by the criteria the company has laid out there. It's not politically driven," Swoope said.

Swoope also defended the state's practice of keeping details of projects secret until an agreement has been signed.

"That in itself has gotten us to the table on other deals," Swoope said. "Companies know they can trust us."

Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, said he didn't think secrecy was good policy.

"To a certain extent you trust a lot has to be secretive to be able to compete in terms of other states," Johnson said. "I think it's a little bit unrealistic and unfair to expect a committee to say 'OK' and rubber stamp projects that are millions and hundreds of millions in taxpayers' money or bonding authority."

Areas that are predominantly black and are disproportionately poor aren't being considered for major projects, Johnson said. He said lawmakers who represent those areas aren't given an opportunity to provide input on development proposals that are done in secret.

Most large projects approved by the Legislature since 2004 have been in north Mississippi, including the Toyota plant in Blue Springs and Severstal, a steel manufacturer in Columbus. The projects were approved under the Major Economic Impact Act that authorizes the state to spend money on the projects or provide other incentives.

Swoope said several other projects have been approved over the years across the state, but the major economic impact law wasn't used for those. He said a number of projects in south Mississippi benefited from the federal Go Zone incentives and post-Hurricane Katrina federal grants.

"We look at the projects and all available resources, and we will pick the right available mix to land the project regardless of location," Swoope said.

Swoope said there's been economic development activity in the Delta. He said MDA helped retain hundreds of jobs at Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland and he cited the filming in Greenwood of the movie, "The Help."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, said Swoope had volunteered to appear before the committee to explain the process MDA uses to bring development projects to the state.

Watson said he'd like to see MDA provide more information to legislators as early in the process as possible when it comes to economic projects, but "I feel they know more about their job than I do."

Miss. economic head: No politics in site selection

By SHELIA BYRD - Feb 15, 2011 3:20 PM ET By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawmakers are asking the head of Mississippi's economic development agency why the Delta and the southwestern part of the state are often overlooked for major industrial projects.

Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday that industries have their own consultants when it comes to site selection. He said companies may have specific transportation needs. For instance, if there's a need for FedEx, a location near Memphis, Tenn., would be suitable.

"We are driven by the criteria the company has laid out there. It's not politically driven," Swoope said.

Swoope also defended the state's practice of keeping details of projects secret until an agreement has been signed.

"That in itself has gotten us to the table on other deals," Swoope said. "Companies know they can trust us."

Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, said he didn't think secrecy was good policy.

"To a certain extent you trust a lot has to be secretive to be able to compete in terms of other states," Johnson said. "I think it's a little bit unrealistic and unfair to expect a committee to say 'OK' and rubber stamp projects that are millions and hundreds of millions in taxpayers' money or bonding authority."

Areas that are predominantly black and are disproportionately poor aren't being considered for major projects, Johnson said. He said lawmakers who represent those areas aren't given an opportunity to provide input on development proposals that are done in secret.

Most large projects approved by the Legislature since 2004 have been in north Mississippi, including the Toyota plant in Blue Springs and Severstal, a steel manufacturer in Columbus. The projects were approved under the Major Economic Impact Act that authorizes the state to spend money on the projects or provide other incentives.

Swoope said several other projects have been approved over the years across the state, but the major economic impact law wasn't used for those. He said a number of projects in south Mississippi benefited from the federal Go Zone incentives and post-Hurricane Katrina federal grants.

"We look at the projects and all available resources, and we will pick the right available mix to land the project regardless of location," Swoope said.

Swoope said there's been economic development activity in the Delta. He said MDA helped retain hundreds of jobs at Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland and he cited the filming in Greenwood of the movie, "The Help."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, said Swoope had volunteered to appear before the committee to explain the process MDA uses to bring development projects to the state.

Watson said he'd like to see MDA provide more information to legislators as early in the process as possible when it comes to economic projects, but "I feel they know more about their job than I do."

Indiana steps up its campaign to attract Illinois business

Keith Roysdon • February 16, 2011

Surely this means war.

Since Illinois officials raised taxes a few weeks ago, their counterparts here in the Hoosier state have been jumping for joy.

They see an opportunity to lure some Illinois businesses to Indiana, touting the state's favorable tax rates.

Delaware County economic development officials say they're been in contact with site consultants in Illinois since the higher taxes were enacted, and Indianapolis-area officials have been running ads in Illinois.

This week, Indiana economic development officials promoted the "Illinoyed by Higher Taxes" marketing campaign, which features advertisements directing business owners to websites touting "the advantages of doing business in Indiana."

The ads began running in Chicago this week, following on the heels of earlier ads.
State officials say the campaign resulted in 2,700 unique visits to, the state's website.

The state said the campaign has been budgeted at $250,000.

Northwest Indiana officials, in particular, are feeling optimistic about the marketing campaign.

"Northwest Indiana communities are Chicago's east suburbs, offering lower costs of doing business, affordable, high quality of living and a prime business location in the heart of the Midwest," said Mark Maassel, president and chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana Forum. "In cooperation with IEDC, we believe this campaign will educate and entice businesses with the opportunities right next door and show them that we are prepared to assist businesses in finding their new home."

Contact business editor Keith Roysdon at 213-5828. Find him on Twitter at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indy business recruiting arms join forces

Written by
Tom Spalding

Two economic development organizations will combine their marketing, fundraising and administrative operations to create a more potent business recruiting force for Central Indiana.

The nine-county Indy Partnership and Marion County-focused Develop Indy will maintain their separate brand identities while pursuing their respective economic development missions, according to a news release.

"We have two organizations pursuing similar missions - one representing the region, one representing Indianapolis, the core of the region," said current Indy Partnership President and CEO Ron Gifford in a statement. "It makes sense to bring them together in a more formal fashion to achieve our strategic goals, realize financial efficiencies, and give investors more 'bang for their buck.'"

The consolidation becomes effective at the end of February. Indy Partnership will share office space with Develop Indy in the Chase Tower in Downtown Indianapolis.

The collaboration also means corporate supporters will not face multiple solicitations on behalf of the area's business-attraction efforts.

"To companies located around the country, 'Indianapolis' is the brand that we're all selling, whether we live in Marion County or not," said Dax Norton, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp., in the same release. "By combining the marketing efforts of these two organizations, we can more effectively promote the region while giving every county a seat at the table."

Site consultant says Alabama can bring in foreign companies, development

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

MONTGOMERY -- A leading global site consultant said Alabama is already well known to international companies and the state has an opportunity to boost its share of international investment, which is expected to hit $2 trillion in 2012.

Woody Hydrick, associate principal and global site consultant for Cushman & Wakefield, told Alabama economic development professionals at a Monday conference that they often don't know they have sites in the running for major projects. Only when sites make the finalist cut do many local economic development groups know they are being considered for a project, he added.

Hydrick, who worked with Germany's Thyssen Krupp in choosing a site near Mobile for a $5 billion steel mill, said in an interview that Alabama's ability to build an automotive industry from scratch, starting with Mercedes-Benz in 1993, has cemented its place in the global market.

"Alabama has shown they have the infrastructure and the ability to work large, complex projects," Hydrick said. "Birmingham is in the middle of all of that."

Hydrick said the European Union countries have a number of companies that will look to carry out projects in the next few years. Alabama should position itself to be ready to land those companies as they focus their site searches in the eastern U.S., he told members of the Economic Development Association of Alabama meeting in Montgomery.

Much of the technology used by alternative energy companies was developed in Europe and those companies view the U.S. as a major growth market, Hydrick said. Also, gasoline prices around $3 a gallon are keeping the focus on producing cars that are lighter but still safe, which could represent another opportunity for automotive suppliers.

Research and development firms and engineering and production support companies are also among those that could be looking to the U.S. for expansion opportunities, he said.

As a general rule, companies are looking for market access, low costs and risk avoidance when making site selection decisions, Hydrick said. Anything a local community can do to address those three concerns will go a long way in making a company's list and staying on it, he said.

Incentives, infrastructure and clear titles on sites are ways Alabama has done that for major projects in the past. Worker training programs, energy costs and available sites and buildings are also key factors that have helped Alabama win projects in the past, he said.

Hydrick said in an interview the Magic City is on that radar screen and is a growing player in logistics.

"Alabama is well-positioned in the Southeast to win its share of projects and I think Birmingham has a number of factors in its favor for certain industries," Hydrick said.

Hydrick said global foreign direct investment is expected to be between $1.3 trillion and $1.5 trillion this year and rise to around $2 trillion next year. Although the so-called "BRIC" countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China are getting the bulk of the attention, the U.S. still leads the world in foreign direct investment, Hydrick said, pulling in $130 billion in 2008-2009, the most recent figures available.

Cushman & Wakefield has 231 offices in 58 countries.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

FIXING THE FALLS: ‘Ten’ reasons to be hopeful

By Nick Mattera
Niagara Gazette The Niagara Gazette Sun Feb 13, 2011, 12:10 AM EST

NIAGARA FALLS — One region, two Niagaras and a shared future is the motto of the cross-border bi-national advocacy dubbed the Niagara-10.

The group of mayors and regional officials from 10 communities situated along the U.S.-Canadian border was established in 2007 in an effort to support and advocate for development, transportation and tourism initiatives that impact the bi-national region.

The 10-member, unofficial group is made up of a representative from the cities of Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Ontario, and Buffalo, the Towns of Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the villages of Lewiston and Youngstown, Niagara and Erie counties and the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

The group met Friday for the first time this year in downtown Buffalo to discuss a host of topics ranging from specific development projects in the region, border security and the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

“(The Niagara 10) aligns itself with a common interest of promoting the region jointly,” said Kerry Mitchell, manager of political and economic affairs at the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo. She said the different communities have a realization that working together in terms of supporting ideas or projects that would be beneficial to the entire region is key.

“I think that what came out of this meeting was a reaffirmation of the importance of acting together,” she said.

Acting together in advocating for specific economic development projects, an open border between the two countries and an agreement on the importance of high speed rail were all topics on conversation, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said.

“We discussed the fact that we may have to lobby together in Albany, Washington and (Ottawa, Ont.) for high-speed rail funding,” Dyster said. “We also discussed the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and its significance for the two countries as a tourism driver.”

High Speed Rail

Dyster, who has long advocated for the benefits of high speed rail and aided in the city receiving a competitive federal transportation grant to construct an intermodal train station in the city’s North End, is not alone in his realization of the importance of improving the rail infrastructure.

Mitchell said there is a realization amongst the officials that a high speed rail corridor connecting the Greater Toronto area to Niagara Falls, N.Y. and beyond is beneficial for both countries.

ten ...

Continued from page 1A

Niagara Falls, Ont. Mayor Jim Diodati is currently looking to secure funding to add a year-round Greater Ontario Rail Service line which will connect the city directly to Toronto.

“It is going to act as an umbilical cord to the Toronto area and its 4.5 million residents,” Diodati said. “It ties so closely into what you guys are doing in Niagara Falls, N.Y. and even further to the northeast corridor. We want to go right from Toronto to Miami. Which is going to be so exciting.”

William Ross, chairman of the Niagara County Legislature and member of the Niagara 10, said the bi-national group is key in its ability to work with higher levels of government to secure the massive amounts of funding necessary for projects such as high speed rail.

“It’s a great advocacy group,” Ross said of the Niagara 10. “I think it’s great to bring officials from both sides to discuss these issues and look to the next levels of government for the necessary funding. Do I think it’s worthwhile to have these meetings? Yes, of course. It’s always good to establish a relationship with people that have some of the same problems as you, but live in a different country.”

John Percy, chief executive officer of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. said rail visitors are a growing market, as many travelers are moving away from flying due to tighter security at airports. He added that many visitors to Niagara Falls are coming from foreign countries in Europe and Asia where high speed rail or rail in general is the primary means of transportation.

“We are very cognizant of the possibilities that could come from high speed rail,” Percy said.


A key piece to a larger economic puzzle, is the ability for the region as a whole to attract and retain tourists, which is one of the goals of the Niagara 10, Mitchell said.

“(The Niagara 10) wants to take advantage of the rather unique historic and strategic opportunities that exists in the region,” she said.

One of the topics discussed Friday pertaining to tourism was the celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The event which has received much support on the Canadian side of the border but little funding on the U.S side could bring hundreds of thousands of heritage tourists to the region.

Ross, noting the region played a pivotal role in some of the major battles of the war, expects an influx of tourists at spots like Fort Niagara and Fort George. He stressed the importance of lobbying for more funding to put on a “good show.”

Aside from the War of 1812, both Dyster and Percy said marketing Niagara Falls as one destination and not as Niagara Falls, N.Y or Niagara Falls, Ont. exclusively. Percy said the entire regional is full of unique destinations that if marketed together could keep residents here for longer periods of time.

“We do have uniqueness and unique attractions to the traveling public,” Dyster said. “We have always said whether they stay on the U.S side or the Canadian side, we want tourists to visit both countries and stay that extra day or two.”

Development Projects

A long list of bi-national economic development projects for the majority of municipalities in the Niagara 10 was presented to the group Friday. Some of the projects or initiatives involved projects that have already been completed, while others involved projects that have not been formally discussed in public.

Locally, a Niagara River ferry project connecting Youngstown to Niagara-on-the-Lake was reviewed by the group. There was no price tag or timeline on the project but the developer was identified as the Niagara County Department of Economic Development.

The renovation of the historic U.S Customhouse on Whirlpool Street, as well as the marketing of the Niagara Falls International Airport were proposed in Niagara Falls.

In Buffalo, projects such as Canalside Development and the Buffalo Medical Campus were put forward for review by the group.

Ross said the development projects are truly what he believes are the key to the Niagara 10. He said any time a group can work together to further any project that will create jobs and improve the quality of life of residents in a community it’s something he supports.

“That’s what is important,” Ross said of the projects.

Dyster said in order for the Niagara Region and the bi-national region to move forward, relationships like those being formed through the Niagara 10 are certainly beneficial in the furthering of the community as a whole.

Another Effort to Lure Illinois Companies to be Unveiled

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Northwest Indiana Forum are scheduled to announce on Monday the latest initiative to attract companies from Illinois. The latest endeavor to lure businesses from the neighboring state will include a three-month marketing campaign. Indiana picked up its efforts to lure companies from Illinois after its lawmakers passed a series of tax hikes.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Indiana Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Mitch Roob will be joined by Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Mark Maassel at Monday's announcement.

The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. Central Standard Time at the Hammond Marina.

Economic development campaign taking greater hold

By Gordon Oliver
Columbian Staff Reporter

Sunday, February 13, 2011

When a group of Clark County business boosters launched a low-budget branding campaign last summer, they didn’t know whether their “Land Here, Live Here” theme would take off in the larger Portland region. They hadn’t noticed the hidden meaning that captured the imagination of Susan Bladholm.

Bladholm, marketing vice president for the Greenlight Greater Portland business group, hatched the idea of flying corporate leaders to Pearson Field and other area airports for a business recruitment weekend. Perhaps giving leaders a view of the region’s attributes would translate into decisions that would create new jobs.

It’s not exactly what the campaign’s originators had in mind, but they’re happy to take it.

“Land Here, Live Here” aims to lure companies to move to the Vancouver-Portland metro area and grow here. The campaign was hatched with almost no budget by a handful of local business boosters but has since gained support from many of the leading economic boosters on both sides of the Columbia River, blossoming into a bistate regional effort.

The slogan was intended to have a double meaning, with “land” referring to the existence of available industrial land for businesses to build on, and also to the idea that they should arrive, or “land,” in the greater Vancouver-Portland area.

Bladholm’s insight added a third meaning to the phrase — and also another tool to recruit business. Corporate leaders will land at area airports in mid-September to check out metro-area opportunities.

“The whole ‘Land Here’ aspect speaks to flying,” said Bladholm, who is engaged to a pilot.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Ginger Metcalf, executive director of Identity Clark County, a private economic development organization. “Originally, we set out to do this just in Vancouver and Clark County, but it didn’t take us long to recognize we are part and parcel of a larger partnership.”

It’s certainly unusual for business and economic development ideas from Clark County to cross the great Columbia River divide. On the Oregon side, this county is often seen as plotting to woo businesses with its relatively favorable tax structure — a notion that’s at odds with the reality of the county’s 13.1 percent unemployment rate.

Connecting name, place
On this side of the Columbia, there’s a historical tendency to focus on differences — culturally, politically and economically — between Clark County and the rest of the Portland region. Yet every day, the two bridges linking Portland and Vancouver are packed with the estimated 60,000 commuters who live here and work in Oregon.

The branding campaign’s headline “Portland-Vancouver USA” acknowledges that Portland is the region’s central city and distinguishes Vancouver from its giant Canadian neighbor to the north. The approach of putting Portland’s name first ruffled some local feathers, but economic development advocates say it reduces the awkward meet-and-greet conversations cluttered with confusion over place names.

“When people ask where you’re from and you say ‘Vancouver,’ they think Canada,” said Brent Grening, the Port of Ridgefield’s executive director and one of the originators of the “Live Here, Land Here” campaign. “With Portland, they think Portland, Maine. It just goes on and on.”

The image of Mount Hood takes advantage of its obvious importance to the region’s sense of identity, said Patrick Hildreth, owner and designer of Tribe 2 Graphic Design in Vancouver, which created the logo. “It represents strength, history, and upward momentum.”

The curved lines running through the mountain are meant to represent the Columbia as a river that unifies the region’s history, culture and economy, he said.

The marketing campaign is flexible, allowing local communities to attach their messages to the larger regional theme. That has proven popular on the region’s periphery, in communities that cannot afford high-quality promotions.

The Port of Ridgefield now has “Land in Ridgefield, Live in Ridgefield” handouts that focus on the availability of land for development and its shipping port, as well as its good schools and proximity to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, schools and Tri-Mountain Golf Course. It describes Ridgefield as being “on the northern edge of Portland-Vancouver USA.”

“You cannot market yourself as a small community,” Grening said. “You’re just kind of lost.”

Adding to buzz
The two-pronged regional and local promotion also appeals to Tom Nelson, economic development manager for the city of Sherwood, Ore., a town on the southwest edge of the Portland region that has become a partner in the campaign. While individual communities or subregions undoubtedly will want to continue their own branding efforts, “if we were to all adopt ‘Land Here, Live Here,’ it would be a buzz to go along with the other buzz,” he said.

“I think it’s a great regional presence,” he added.

As to whether other communities will embrace the campaign, “I think if they will get past their awkwardness about it being from Vancouver, we can just move on,” Nelson said.

The project’s biggest champion, Brush Prairie communications consultant Ron Arp, is among the most measured in assessing the branding campaign’s prospects to take the region by storm.

“What I think in all reality this will be one of a few regional brands,” said Arp, president of Amplify Group Inc. “I don’t want to give the impression Portland will adopt this lock, stock and barrel. I see it as a long burn before people say this is a brand we want to use for our region.”

‘Sweat equity’
The current strategy is for businesses, governments and civic organizations to pay a $199 fee to use the slogan with its logo on their business materials and cards. So far, about 40 organizations have bought into the campaign, Arp said.

The “Land Here, Live Here” campaign has been an almost all-volunteer effort, and Arp estimates the value of donated time and materials at about $350,000. The $10,000 to $15,000 spent so far has come from private seed money raised by Identity Clark County and through the $199 fee, Arp said.

“This one is a lot of sweat equity,” he said. “It will be run by the business community and helped by the public sector, rather than the other way around.”

But even with those warnings of diminished expectations, the initiative seems to be generating serious enthusiasm within the economic development community. Regional Partners, a nonprofit economic development consortium that includes representatives from Vancouver and Clark County, has embraced the branding campaign, said Pam Treece, the consortium’s executive director.

“This is one of the few times I’ve seen such a high degree of cooperation across the two states, and it’s wonderful to see,” Treece said. “The branding effort is just part of both the public and private sectors coming together to work more efficiently.

“It’s a perfect storm, although in this case you could say it’s a perfect rainbow.”

Could Muncie's strike-torn union past haunt its future?

MUNCIE -- Although the incidents took place in Muncie, they were noteworthy enough to rate a mention in The New York Times: Two thousand members and supporters of a Muncie labor union went on strike. As marchers took to the streets and rioting ensued, store windows were smashed. Workers and strikebreakers threw rocks and fired shots into the air. Businesses shut down after threats were lodged and the Indiana National Guard was called in.

The turmoil unfolded during an Indiana Union Traction Co. strike in January 1908.
Ancient history? A Google search of the words "Muncie" and "strike" results in short articles about the conflict. And while no one would equate a 103-year-old interurban strike with the community's current business climate, the volatility of Muncie's labor-management relationship dogs the community a century later, largely because of divisive strikes throughout the 20th century.

Mayor Sharon McShurley recently told The Star Press that, during her economic development trips to Japan, concerns about labor and Muncie's proximity to what some call the national union/nonunion dividing line -- Interstate 70 -- have come up.

"The Japanese in particular will point at I-70 on a map of Indiana," McShurley said, adding that the potential investors believe workers north of that interstate are more prone to union organization. The theory is one that's cited in explaining why recent auto plant developments -- including the Honda plant in Greensburg -- have been built south of I-70 and, most often, in southern states.

"I do have concerns about the United Auto Workers trying to unionize international facilities," McShurley said. Because international companies can easily relocate jobs, the mayor added, "That will hurt our chances at investment."

More here:

Michigan Ag director takes on rural development mission

Associated Press
4:35 a.m. CST, February 12, 2011

DETROIT — For Keith Creagh, a 33-year veteran of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the chance to lead the agency as it takes on the broader mission of strengthening the state's rural communities is allowing him to put his passion for agricultural policy back to work.

Creagh left the department in 2007 for the private sector, spending three years with Lansing-based food and animal safety products company Neogen Corp. His return came as new Gov. Rick Snyder gave the department an expanded economic, social, and educational focus.

"By now elevating the importance of rural development -- not at the expense of urban redevelopment, but in consorts with that -- then that actually will allow the various players ... (to) address the needs for those rural communities," Creagh told The Associated Press in a recent telephone interview.

In addition to its established role as agricultural regulator and booster, a name change taking effect next month reflects the Republican governor's desire for the department to help food producers and agribusiness play a stronger role in the improvement of rural communities.

In the next six months, Creagh said the renamed Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will turn that charge into action, helping strengthen processors of cherries in the Traverse City area, potatoes in Detroit, meat in the Kalamazoo area and pickles in the state's Thumb region.

"We'll assist them in their expansion efforts by making sure that the economic tools that are necessary for them ... are there," Creagh said.

One change Snyder has made to provide those tools is by adding David Armstrong, president and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services, to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s board, bringing his expertise in farmer credit needs to the state agency. And the governor has proposed going even further, lifting restrictions on the 21st Century Jobs Fund so more types of businesses, including agriculture, can be supported by it.

In rural areas such as Cass County in southwestern Michigan, there's interest in partnering with the state on economic development. Last year, the county got a $10.5 million federal loan for improvements to water service for residents and firefighting. And Chuck Clarke, the county's administrator and controller, said there's opportunity to piggyback on the county's main business.

"We could do more in economic development to promote agribusiness" Clarke said. "To open the door to people to do research and development, or other crops."

Since being tapped by Snyder to lead the agriculture department, Creagh has been meeting with other agency heads about how their work can help rural development. They've looked at how projects from the state Department of Transportation, for example, can help economic growth in those areas. And how federal rural development efforts, directed in part through U.S. Department of Agriculture, can work with the state.

"We're engaged in pretty much every economic aspect of a small town," said James Turner, the USDA's Michigan director for rural development. "I'm hopeful that our partnership is going to lead to a better coordination of resources."

Just this week, President Barack Obama's interest in rural development was showcased by his stop in the Upper Peninsula city of Marquette, where he promoted plans that include spending $5 billion for infrastructure to help rural areas access high-speed wireless.

That plan -- as well as Michigan's focus on rural development -- has a supporter in U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Stabenow is chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which oversees rural development programs. She said she wants to work closely with Creagh and Snyder on rural development efforts for Michigan, and has asked Creagh to testify Thursday before the committee about the role rural communities have in strengthening Michigan's economy.

"Modernizing our infrastructure in towns and counties throughout Michigan will help small businesses grow and hire more workers," Stabenow said. "Rural development projects also increase the quality of life for people throughout our state by making sure drinking water is safe, supporting local police and firefighters, and lowering energy costs for small businesses and farmers."

The Michigan Farm Bureau supports the new role of the state Agriculture Department, saying it makes sense to bring rural development programs under its umbrella. Bob Boehm, manager of the Farm Bureau's Commodity and Marketing Department, said it is encouraging that agriculture and food-related businesses are being increasingly seen as a way of driving the state's economic recovery.

"There's no reason why we can't have a strong manufacturing sector coming back and a strong resource-based industry like food and agriculture," Boehm said.

Creagh also wants to expand the role Michigan's rural areas play in attracting visitors to the state, including promoting culinary tourism linked to wineries. And he sees room to work with state natural resources officials, for example, bring Internet access to state parks and campgrounds.

"If you're at a state park, you can check your e-mail, you can enjoy wine on the beach and maybe even go fishing in one of the Great Lakes," Creagh said of one approach to encouraging tourism. "That type of a packaged approach is really what we're trying to get at."

Forbes lauded for service potential

By Tim Hrenchir

Forbes Field has the potential to become a "world-class commercial logistics hub," according to site consultants who recently studied Topeka's possibilities for economic development.

Forbes is "one of the region's top potential assets," says a study prepared for the local economic development group Go Topeka by Austin, Texas-based Avalanche Consulting and Greenville, S.C.-based McCallum Sweeney Consulting.

"Although undernurtured at the moment, there is little standing in the way of transforming this park into a national hub for logistics," the report said of Forbes’ ability to serve as a jumping off point for the distribution of goods. "Few other communities have such enviable interstate connections and sites located alongside of a 12,500-foot commercial runway."

The consultants concluded economic development in the Topeka community has been on a slow and steady course that has generally kept pace with the U.S. economy and performed well compared to other parts of the Midwest.

However, they wrote that Topeka "is at a crossroads and has several decisions to make about its future and how it pursues economic development."

The report was an update of a targeted industry study conducted in 2008, said Steve Jenkins, senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and Go Topeka. Jenkins said such studies "should be updated at least every three years to have validity, especially with the changes occurring in both the national and global economy."

Jenkins said revenue from a countywide, half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2004 was used to pay for the recent study, which cost $78,000. Ed McCallum, a senior principal at McCallum Sweeney, is the "leading site consultant in the U.S.," Jenkins said.

He said financing for the study was included in the 2010 Go Topeka budget approved by the Joint Economic Development Organization, a body of city and county elected officials that oversees use of revenue from the half-cent sales tax. Go Topeka works under contract with JEDO to administer the revenue earmarked for economic development.

Jenkins said Go Topeka put out a nationwide request for proposals from site consultants interested in conducting the targeted industry study and received nine proposals, which were ranked by a panel of six volunteers and staff members.

The finalists, Avalanche and McCallum Sweeney, put forth a study that listed several strengths they say buoy economic development here.

Those include the community's geographic location, the residents' strong work ethic, the presence in the area of major universities. and a substantial base of government and health care employment that helps the area weather economic turbulence.

But the study warned that this region was on a "middling" trend line in which it could safely stay on its current course without risk, but also without gain.

The consultants recommended the community work to "enliven a national economic development initiative" by seeking to make progress in five priority areas, which it identified as:

n Business sites. "Topeka/Shawnee County's opportunities are limited by its shortage of Class A office and industrial sites," the study said. "We are intrigued at the possibility of masterplanning Forbes Field and Kanza Fire Commerce Park properties so that they are linked thematically, with Forbes Field serving as a world-class commercial logistics hub and Kanza Fire fueling research and manufacturing activity for the region.”

n Workforce development. "Investment in quality partnerships and infrastructure will fall short of potential unless Topeka/Shawnee County radically realigns workforce training programs around the needs of 21st century companies," the study said.

n Regionalism. The study suggested Go Topeka reach out to team up in national and international marketing efforts with economic development professionals in Lawrence and Manhattan, which Jenkins said is being done.

n University partnerships. The study suggested Topeka position itself as a central hub for technologies emanating from The University of Kansas and Kansas State University and engage universities in master planning for Forbes Field and Kanza Fire Commerce Park.

n Quality of life. "Redeveloping downtown Topeka is essential," the study said. "It is no longer a problem of city government and downtown businesses, but an issue that impacts the region's ability to recruit and retain business and talented workers."

The study also recommended five broad target industries and niche sectors that hold promise to bring the region growth in terms of high-paying jobs and new investment.

It identified those as "food processing, logistics and distribution, bioscience, back office, and clean energy."

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at (785) 295-1184 or

Is low-taxes sales pitch enough to bring businesses to Nevada?

By David McGrath Schwartz (contact)
Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 | 2 a.m.

CARSON CITY — Creating jobs, elected leaders said Thursday, is the No. 1 priority for the legislative session. But although they were unanimous in their goal, there is sharp disagreement over how to accomplish it.

This debate over the state’s approach to economic development has evolved into a proxy fight over the state budget, and whether to cut spending on education or increase taxes.

It can be summarized like this: Does Nevada continue to try to poach out-of-state businesses with a low-/no-tax pitch? Or should the state make a broader appeal to businesses, emphasizing potential partnerships with education, planned improvements to infrastructure and quality of life?

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget policy puts him firmly on the anti-tax side of the debate. In it he calls for deep cuts in K-12 schools and higher education, as well as cuts to social services. Raising taxes, he has repeatedly argued, “would be the worst thing we could do.”

At the same time, he wants to overhaul the state’s economic development agencies and make them a cabinet-level position. He proposed creating a $10 million “catalyst fund” to attract businesses here.

While agreeing that the structure of economic development needs to change, Democrats have criticized the well-worn low-tax sales pitch Sandoval favors. Nevada can still be business-friendly in its taxes and regulatory policy, but also expect businesses that relocate here to contribute to the education system.

At a recent budget hearing, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, called out the Nevada Development Authority — a nonprofit organization that gets $1 million a year in state funding to recruit companies — for boasting that Nevada has no business tax in ads placed in California publications.

“I’m very disappointed in the NDA,” Horsford said. “I’m not going to fund any money for economic development that uses that approach ... We can’t market ourselves as a place to come for free while gutting education.”

The Nevada Development Authority has for decades run offbeat, controversial campaigns targeting Southern California businesses and boasting of Nevada’s low-tax status. Its approach is most succinctly summarized by its telephone number: 1-888-4-NO-TAXES.

Somer Hollingsworth, the authority’s president and CEO, said the $1 million the state allocates each year for marketing isn’t enough. It should be “a minimum of $1 million a month,” he said.

The authority’s latest campaign uses talking primates to knock California’s legislature for tax and “anti-business” policies. Hollingsworth said with limited funding, the ads are meant to get attention from news outlets.

“We didn’t go out and do this with any form of malice,” he said. “It was the only way we knew. We had to do it with monkeys — we had to use monkeys for God’s sake!”

Responding to critics of the agency’s ad campaign, Hollingsworth wonders what else Nevada can sell?

“I certainly can’t sell our education system, can I? I have to have something,” he said.

He noted that the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Secretary of State’s website also emphasize Nevada’s tax-friendly policies.

But Horsford, in an interview, said he believes that pitch ignores other advantages the state has to offer.

“It’s not just no-new-taxes. It’s friendly regulation. It’s the ability of business leaders to meet with high-level officials,” he said. “I don’t feel the strategy used in the past will work for the future.”

Sandoval, in an interview last week, implicitly criticized Nevada’s economic development agencies.

“They will tell you they have been successful,” he said. “I think we need to set a high bar.”

The governor’s bar may be higher, and he has promised to be personally involved in recruiting businesses. But the strategy still sounds like the status quo.

“It’s going to be a combination of factors that are going to attract business to Nevada,” Sandoval said. “Primarily of which, I believe, is we’re a business-friendly and low-tax state.”

This tension over how the state sells itself and, to a degree sees itself, follows closely the current debate about the state’s budget.

Democrats are loath to admit publicly that they will try to raise taxes to undo the cuts Sandoval has proposed in his budget. Instead, they have argued that cutting K-12 and higher education would make the state’s workforce less attractive to businesses looking at Nevada.

“Just low taxes alone are not the thing businesses are looking for,” Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said. “It’s an educated workforce, quality of life, affordable housing. They look at a number of things.”

Horsford and Oceguera spent last year met several times with a group of high-level executives from gaming, mining and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. They brainstormed about what changes are needed to the state government and its education system, as well as possible tax increases to better fund it.

Their arguments are that cuts to education would irreparably harm schools, colleges and universities — and ultimately the overall economic health of the state.

Sandoval maintains he will fight any tax increase. When Republican lawmakers have expressed a willingness to raise taxes, he has met with them and convinced them to support his cuts-only approach.

He called all the cuts “tough decisions,” but said raising taxes would send the wrong message to businesses and ultimately lead to higher unemployment.

Hollingsworth said Nevada’s economic problems could be solved with more money directed at marketing the state across the country. Nevada could, he said, sell itself as the “best business climate in the U.S.”

“I’m sold on this state. We’re simply the best,” he said. “Other states simply out-market us.”

Economic development groups try to lay seed for job growth

By Larry Avila • for The Northwestern • February 6, 2011

Bringing jobs to a region is like bringing a harvest to market.

Before that can happen, a field must be prepared, seeds planted, and crops tended to grow and mature into a bumper crop. The same approach is taken by economic development groups, which are under constant pressure to recruit innovative companies to the region to provide highpaying jobs that support families well into the future.

It's these same groups that also are under the gun to convince existing Valley employers to expand as well as keep those still in operation from moving elsewhere.

"What we're really trying to do is leverage all the regional resources and use what we have to create what constitutes a healthy economy," said Jerry Murphy, executive director of The New North Inc., economic development organization representing an 18-county region of northeast Wisconsin.

Murphy said New North's goal is to encourage business investment, which is a key ingredient for job creation.

"In order for jobs to be created, there has to be someone making an investment," he said. "So the kinds of things we're trying to do really are designed not only to encourage it, but accelerate it."

One New North initiative is Wisconsin Wind Works. With the nation seeking alternative energy sources, New North evaluated the resources of northeast Wisconsin and compiled a list of companies that could produce components for electricity generating wind turbines.

Its research not only found companies that could make all of the parts and components, but businesses that also could install and maintain the massive turbines.
The regional program has since blossomed to an online statewide directory, which features more than 280 businesses that can serve the wind power-generating industry in an assortment of capacities.

Murphy said New North simply is the first part of the job creation strategy for the region.

"We're coordinating a lot of strategic activity that adds up to an environment for
investment," he said. "We're in a coordinating role that helps define the best of what the region has to offer."

Grassroots effort

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a business advocacy group representing about 1,800 companies, launched the Team Fox Cities initiative in 2006. The program was designed to work with Fox Cities companies with a major presence here, but headquartered elsewhere.

The chamber focused on these businesses because its research found about 90 percent of these companies would be responsible for future job growth in the Fox Cities.
Jim Schlies, vice president of economic development for the chamber, said the program called for chamber staff and board members to make site visits to regional companies to get to know the businesses, understand what they do and what obstacles precluded them from doing business in Wisconsin.

"We would often hear from companies who would say they like doing business in Wisconsin, so then we'd ask, 'If you like it here so much, why not bring other operations here,'" he said.

Team Fox Cities also worked on business recruitment, although Schlies said this was the more challenging route.

"A lot of organizations devote a lot of resources to this," he said. "It's the one thing everyone focuses on."

Site visits and working with businesses led to some success stories, Schlies said.
National Envelope, based in Texas with operations across the country including an Appleton plant, moved 55 jobs from one of its sites to the Fox Cities. Albany International, a papermaker in Menasha, relocated its research and development arm here.

"There have been others," Schlies said.

The recession has stalled regional job creation in recent years, he said. But as the economy began its slow recovery months ago, companies began pointing to other obstacles.

"When we have asked about job growth recently, it's been a mixed bag," Schlies said. "For some, it's the business climate in Wisconsin, while others will say it's the high energy costs … It's not really crystal clear."

Schlies said the chamber can be more proactive in identifying the types of industries that would thrive in the Fox Cities and pair well with existing businesses and services.

"I think it starts with good targeting," he said.

Need drives job growthBefore any company will add workers, it needs a market that will provide sustainable sales, said Scott Anderson, a Minneapolis-based senior economist with Wells Fargo.He said job growth has been stagnant nationally because businesses learned to maximize production with fewer workers during the recession.

"So not only did companies cut back on employees, they also cut back on inventories," Anderson said.

With consumer spending — the primary driver of the U.S. economy — showing signs of a sustainable recovery, businesses may be nearing a point where they need additional workers to replenish business inventories.

"I think we're close to that tipping point now," Anderson said. "This is where the efficiency model starts to break down and businesses will have to start hiring."
Anderson said U.S. manufacturing appears re-energized.

"Demand drives production and it is starting to look like it will be self-sustaining," he said.

Anderson said the economy is expected to create at least 2 million new jobs in 2011.

That breaks down to about 170,000 a month.

But he and other analysts caution a job rebound won't happen overnight because the recession, which lasted 18 months, was among the longest in U.S. history. What will keep jobless rates high for the near-term are the unemployed who gave up looking for work during the recession but will re-launch their job search as employers return to a hiring mode, Anderson said.

"Even if the present pace is maintained, it will take a long time to get back to a normal level of unemployment," Anderson said. "We're probably looking at 2014 to 2015 before we see unemployment back down to 6 percent."

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Why we give economic development projects with code names

From the staff of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce ......

As we work with businesses, we are told a lot of information that must remain confidential. Sometimes projects involve a business trying to gain an edge over a competitor and sometimes they are trying to gain an edge over another facility in their own corporate entity.

To help keep projects confidential, code names are attached to the project.

I've seen projects give some unusual project code names. We worked with one site selection firm on a project and we kept the code name secret. We knew we were competing against another city in another state but we didn't know the name of the other city. Kansas Department of Commerce staff did a google alert on the project name and we found out the City of Grand Island Nebraska had discussed the project, by its code name, in a public meeting. Thanks to this, we then knew the entire incentive package that city was offer to the firm. Salina never got the project because the capital credit markets dried up when the recession hit. By not guarding the project name, we knew exactly what the competition was doing.

Project Searchlight was the code name for a big national project about 10 years ago that involved 1,000 jobs. It ended up somewhere in the south. I've seen project code names given based on a person's favorite NBA player or the home town of the ultimate decision maker.

Recent/current projects involve names like Project Acorn, Project Babysit, Project Pluto, etc.

We have one very active project (that Salina will get) where the company has one code name and locally we've given it another code name. This has been done to ensure that the other plants in the corporation will not realize Salina is getting a growth project until the last minute.

In Salina, the airport authority names their projects after golf courses that host PGA events in light of a passion for golf. Project Riveria was the code name for the FedEx building being built.

In our office, we decided to honor our wives by using their names. I'll not apologize for honoring our family members.

Is the system as transparent as it could be? No. I wish it were a more open process. But, we work with the imperfect system that exists in the global business world.

Contracted Community and Economic Development Project Management:

Town and city governments are faced with a dilemma. Their local economies are undergoing stress and change, while the competition for new jobs, tax base and internal investment grows. They want to be effective growing their local economies and providing new opportunities. However, they are also under severe budget pressures. Their existing costs are increasing, while state aid – and local acceptance for higher taxes - declines. They cannot afford not in invest in their economy, but can’t afford to, either. How may a community invest less, and still get results? Is there a “third way”?

A third option is available: to contract for community and economic development services. Possible contractors include:

Local Chambers, Regional Planning Commissions. Regional Economic Development or housing organizations with existing professional staffs

Local economic development not-for-profit corporations, if staffed

Public entities, such as community colleges or state agencies

Private entities that have Economic Development Project Management capabilities

For an indefinite period - or as a way of transitioning to a full-time capacity - contracting could be the best option for some communities. Here’s why.

Costs: A town can decide what it can afford, and stop there. Any alteration requires joint contractual sign-offs.

Growth: A community may elect to start small, and see how it goes before seeking full-time funding. A successful contract can be expanded over time, as the Economic Development Project Manager works more, or assigns additional personnel. A part-time employee may not want to move to full time. If full-time is their goal, they might prematurely jump to another job, requiring the town to start over.

Specialization and Networks:

We have identified ten core competencies that a local economy development initiative should have, or should have access to, which you can find by clicking here:

No one can do it all. A community might find someone with one or two of these skills. The other skills should be met from the network of federal, state and other-local practitioners, as well as with other professionals in related fields such as finance, design and planning. An experienced employee might bring their network to a community, but experience is expensive. A less experienced –but more affordable – employee might mistakenly try to do it all, learning-as-they-go. These can be expensive lessons.

Conversely, a contracted Economic Development Project Manager “lives” off of their network; they must collaborate with their peers regularly. Their experience in a particular area – such as brownfields development or incubator start-up – is valuable to others too. Competitors are regularly also collaborators.

Efficiency: Innovative economic developers are beginning to package the full range of core skills, by having key subject matter experts onboard “virtually”. This minimizes the learning curve for complex development opportunities within the community. Most key projects require a team approach. A community may be looking for a person, but be pleasantly surprised to be getting a whole team.

Focus. A contracted Economic Development Project Manager is just that, a person or group focused on assigned projects. A key part of any contract is to determine the deliverables. A community can decide what is important, when they need results, and what it will cost to achieve these results.

But….There are downsides to contracting. Costs can escalate if too many projects are assigned; prioritization of tasks is a key. The on-site presence is less, so there isn’t always someone there to answer a question or to join an ad-hoc meeting. Close collaboration and communication with either the Manager or Planning Director is needed, to keep the Project Manager updated, and be alerted to possible political “land mines” locally.

Permanence: A new employee – while less experienced – may stay for many years. Having someone with institutional memory and community connection is important. If grooming a long-term successor is a goal, then that becomes a deliverable; to help build the community and peer support network for an eventual permanent employee. The contractor is working to successfully replace themselves, but is still available as needed later.

Summary: Current public management challenges require new thinking. One trend is to “in-source” economic development for specific projects. If it’s the right fit, it can allow for a less-costly start-up while focusing on specific outcomes, and build public support. It is not for everyone, but it might be the “third-way” a community needs.

Stuart Arnett is the owner of Arnett Development Group LLC of Concord New Hampshire. He is also a founding member of the Better Future Alliance. He can be reached at

Social networks useful to EDCs

By Stephen Williams (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

CAPITAL REGION — When the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal ran articles last fall about GlobalFoundries and eastern New York’s growing reputation as a high-tech hub, the stories were spread around the world within hours.

Using article links posted on websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the Capital Region’s economic development boosters put those stories in front of a worldwide audience.

They do the same thing with articles from the local papers they think are worth sharing, along with press releases, economic announcements and their own commentaries — finding a wider audience for things that might previously have reached only insider audiences.

“We post interesting articles,” said F. Michael Tucker, president of the Center for Economic Growth, a regional development organization in Albany. “It gives you a chance to recirculate things.”

That’s an example of how social networking websites aren’t just for teenagers and technology geeks anymore. With their enormous audience (Facebook has 500 million users), such sites are where a growing number of organizations involved in economic development — the promotion of new business for the region — are trying to put their region’s best face.

According to a recent survey by the International Economic Development Council in Washington, of the hundreds of local economic development organizations across the country, 57 percent now use social media.

The Center for Economic Growth and Saratoga Economic Development Corp. are among those that regularly post items on such websites. Such organizations have their own websites for those who want to search them out, but social media sites can reach a wider audience.

“It certainly helps us raise awareness about our events and activities,” Tucker said.

The Saratoga EDC is using social media to reach out to the kinds of technology-oriented companies that are going to be following GlobalFoundries into the region.

SEDC started making intensive use of social media about a year ago, as part of its marketing strategy.

SEDC’s leaders say the initiatives draw attention to a county that is trying to market itself as business-friendly to a tech-savvy global audience.

Dennis Brobston, SEDC’s president, said, “For my money and for the time we spend, we’ve gotten very positive feedback from companies interested in coming to the area.” SEDC expects to have a “very active year” in 2011, he said.

That’s because of the companies in the supply chain for the $4.6 billion GlobalFoundries computer chip plant under construction in Malta. They are expected to start selecting locations in and around the Capital Region this year. Over time, supply chain companies are expected to create 5,000 jobs, in addition to the 1,400 to 1,660 jobs expected at GlobalFoundries.

“We’re having a lot of conversations, and a lot of companies are looking at space because of their relationship with GlobalFoundries,” Brobston said last week.

Some of those conversations have started after companies checking out the Capital Region from afar used the Internet, much as prospective homeowners might when looking for a house.

less airport time

For years, SEDC officials traveled to semiconductor industry trade shows on the West Coast and in Europe, looking to promote the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where GlobalFoundries is locating. Attending such shows and meeting people has been an essential part of economic development marketing.

Increasingly, though, companies will have checked the county’s resources out on the Internet before they even call, said J. Shelby Schneider, SEDC’s director of marketing.

“I’ve found social media to be an extremely effective tool,” said Schneider, who oversees SEDC’s day-to-day social networking.

A three-minute promotional video made last spring highlighting Saratoga’s quality of life and the arrival of GlobalFoundries has been viewed more than 3,000 times on YouTube, she said: “It’s been viewed around the world. We’ve had viewers in Singapore, in Germany, in Saudi Arabia.”

The worldwide viewership may reflect where GlobalFoundries already has a presence: It has manufacturing plants in Dresden and Singapore, and the majority ownership is a technology fund in Abu Dhabi. Employees at the other plants are being recruited to come to Malta for the plant start-up work later this year. The plant is scheduled to start test production in 2012 and commercial manufacturing in 2013.

Economic developers said one of their most effective tools is LinkedIn, a professional networking site.

SEDC’s LinkedIn group has more than 900 members, Schneider said — including 200 with some sort of semiconductor manufacturing connection.

“When we go out to trade shows, we invite people to follow us, and they do,” Schneider said.

Sites like LinkedIn can be a two-way street, with professionals sharing problems and solutions, said Tucker, of the Center for Economic Growth.

“I can throw out a question and economic developers all over the country will respond, if they have the time,” he said. “Or I can be a good Samaritan when someone else has a question.”

Schneider said maintaining a Web presence for SEDC doesn’t necessarily take up a lot of her time: “First thing in the morning I’ll read the regional papers online for any stories to share, and then the national papers.” Then, throughout the day, she uses features like Google Alerts to allow her to learn about and then post breaking news stories.

Melanie LaRose, who maintains CEG’s social media, said she works on it every day but it requires only a few minutes of her time.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to promote ourselves, and it creates a viral buzz in our region or even worldwide,” she said.

‘We’re not really rooting for ourselves anymore’

By By Bill Torpy

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kasim Reed wasn’t shy about touting his accomplishments as a first-year mayor: putting more cops on the street, operating on a leaner budget, making good on his promise to reopen recreation centers. Then he paused, offered a judgment and issued a challenge.

“There’s a pall that’s over this town that is unacceptable,” he told a roomful of civic leaders and journalists last week at the Atlanta Press Club.

Atlanta, lulled to complacency by a frenetic economic boom and battered by a historic bust, hasn’t been doing what it does best — swinging for the fences, he said. And other cities are catching up.

“The process of competing against other cities — of saying you’re the best and having to show you’re the best — is healthy for us all,” he said, sounding like a college football coach at halftime. “And when you’re not trying to be the best you are declining.”

Today, the world’s attention will focus on Dallas, Atlanta’s big rival, as the Super Bowl is staged in the brand-spanking-new $1.3 billion Cowboys stadium. All anyone remembers of Atlanta’s last Super Bowl a decade ago is that it was icy.

Last week, Charlotte, Atlanta’s scrappy little sister, reeled in the 2012 Democratic National Convention and gained some regional bragging rights. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch rued its city’s losing effort, saying St. Louis “could not match the allure of staffing a convention in the booming capital of the New South.”

Ouch. Charlotte?

It all begs the question: Is Atlanta — shameless booster, collector of business headquarters, Olympic city — losing its luster?

Not exactly, Reed said in a later interview. “But we’re not really rooting for ourselves anymore.”

The last time Atlanta reached beyond its grasp, it snagged the 1996 Olympics and finally laid claim to what it had been calling itself for years — “international city.” He said the $3.5 billion it cost to stage the Olympics “led to $80 billion [in investment in the city] over the next decade.”

A real estate and construction frenzy transformed the city and region, then crashed hard in 2007, perhaps best symbolized by the 8-acre hole sitting in the midst of Buckhead where the $1.5 billion Streets of Buckhead development was started, then stalled.

“We need a second act,” the mayor said, something Olympian in scale to rally the region.

Reed traveled to the White House last month to personally appeal to President Barack Obama for help in a $551 million proposal to deepen the Port of Savannah, not as thrilling as Olympic flames but a lot longer lasting and practical, he said. His aim is for the state to become — in prime Atlanta overspeak — “the logistics center for the Western Hemisphere.”

It’s a lofty designation he’s thrown around before.

In business and politics, image and reality sometimes blur. And big plans and pronouncements are sometimes needed to get attention.

Joel Babbit, a longtime Atlanta advertising executive, has been hired at least twice through the decades to install a lasting new tag line for the “City Too Busy to Hate.” Neither campaign ever took hold. Currently the city has no such branding campaign.

Babbit said Reed is creating buzz, which is a very good thing.

“It’s very motivating,” he said. “In terms of image, it says the city is aggressive and sets aggressive goals. It’s better than any marketing slogan.”

Rusty Paul, a former legislator who headed the state GOP, laughed when told of Reed’s comments about Atlanta’s potential decline. “It sounds like the speech I’ve been giving,” he said. “I’m glad the mayor is talking this way. If you’re going to fail, fail big.”

“Atlanta was the regional hub of the South because it did things first; Atlanta was on the cutting edge of transportation,” Paul said. “But, after the Olympics, we sat back and coasted. We expected growth to keep coming like it would never end. We got lulled into complacency.”

In recent years, cities such as Charlotte, Dallas and even Nashville have been chipping away at Atlanta’s regional dominance, he said. Both Charlotte and Dallas have invested heavily in light rail, a concept Atlanta is just embracing. Dallas opened its first light-rail line in 1996 and now has 72 miles, with a $1.8 billion, 20-mile addition that opened in December.

Charlotte has nearly 10 miles of light rail cutting through its downtown, helping to spur some additional development.

Last year, Atlanta was turned down in its bid for $300 million in federal funding to install a light-rail line down Peachtree Street. “I really pushed for it,” Reed said.

Later, the city went back and garnered $47.6 million in federal funding to go toward a $72 million, 2.6 mile line from the King Center to Centennial Olympic Park.

Projects like that can help better the entire region, but leaders must regain a focus on the big picture, Paul said.

“Nobody has sat down and figured out what Atlanta wants to be in the 21st century,” he said. “I’m glad the mayor is talking this way.”

Paul was heartened last month to see a sign that the state and city might actually work together. Reed and other city officials were originally left off a panel of metro leaders that will decide what transportation projects will be funded if a 1 percent sales tax is passed in a 2012 referendum. But House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from North Georgia, forced members to include Reed.

“He said, ‘No, we’re not going to leave Atlanta off. We’re going to do business differently than before,’ ” Paul said. “That is the kind of leadership we need to have.”

A successful vote could raise $5 billion to $8 billion for badly needed road projects to ease the congestion that threatens to scare off businesses that might potentially move to the city.

John Brock, who is chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises and chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, said business leaders are pleased by what they have seen lately.

“He has the best relationship with state government that we’ve seen in a long time,” Brock said. “It is critical to our future that we pass this referendum.”

Metro Atlanta has long been a destination for businesses and residents. The 20-county region has added more than a million new residents since 2000, but recently growth has slowed to a trickle. That’s largely because there are 230,000 fewer jobs than there were in December 2007, a nearly 9 percent drop. Paychecks here are shrinking. Per capita income in the region dropped 4.8 percent to $36,482 in 2009 from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Unemployment still hovers above 10 percent, more than a point higher than the national average. And from the peak of August 2007 until late 2010, Atlanta home values are down nearly 25 percent, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Index.

Chamber president Sam Williams refuses to concede Atlanta has lost a step relative to other cities. He said the city has gained three Fortune 500 headquarters in the past two years — NCR and First Data Corp. relocated to the area, and AGL Resources forced itself onto the list with acquisitions.

Charlotte leaders are still celebrating their success at pulling in the Democratic convention, a feat accomplished by Atlanta in 1988. “We feel it will make Charlotte hip and happening,” said Lynn Wheeler, the former mayor pro-tem and chair of the City Council’s economic development committee. “We pride ourselves as having a can-do spirit. Our business leaders go after it.”

Charlotte had a good run with banking headquarters being concentrated there, but it’s suffering because of the financial meltdown. The city’s unemployment rate is higher than Atlanta’s. Even the new $200 million NASCAR Museum, which Charlotte pulled away from Atlanta in a bidding war five years ago, is losing money.

Charlotte leaders aren’t fooling themselves into thinking their city will overtake Atlanta. At 2.1 million residents, it’s a little more than a third the size of metro Atlanta, which weighs in at nearly 5.5 million residents. Charlotte’s competition is Indianapolis or Cincinnati or even Cleveland, Wheeler said. “We always said in Charlotte that we don’t want to be the next Atlanta,” she said. “We’re not competing head on.”

Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, said audacious plans are part and parcel of the city, recalling that when he was mayor 40 years ago, the city fathers coined the slogan “Atlanta: The New International City.”

Harvey Newman was a young professor in the early 1970s when Massell and others concocted the “international city” line. “When I heard Sam Massell say that, I rolled on the floor laughing,” said Newman, now the public management chairman of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

He said he’s not laughing anymore.

Find this article at: