Monday, December 12, 2011

Pulling the Strings

By Andy Meek

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

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

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

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

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