From The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA:
Referring to prospective companies by code names has a long history in economic development, said Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro Partnership.
“You come up with a code name so you don’t end up giving things away,” he said. Roberts said economic development officials strive for names that conjure a mental connection for those working on a project, but aren’t immediately apparent to outsiders.
When Enterprise Rent-a-Car was scoping out local sites for a call center, for example, Roberts and his team referred to it as Star Trek, as in the Starship Enterprise.
“When we told (company officials) that, they said, ‘You have to change that, it’s too obvious,’” Roberts said.
But it wasn’t too obvious in Lane County, where the typical resident would be more likely to associate Star Trek with a high-tech company than the car rental firm, he said.
Sometimes, a project will arrive already christened by a national site consultant. Sometimes, state officials will choose a moniker that local economic development officials adopt.
“I guess it’s one of the little ways we amuse ourselves in the economic development world,” Roberts said.
by Sherri Buri McDonald