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The Project: Inside Corporate Location Decisions

“The Project: Inside Corporate Location Decisions” looks at a new company every two weeks and shares the “behind the scenes” story of their relocation or expansion. Using an NPR-like format, co-hosts Andy Levine and Patience Fairbrother from Development Counsellors International (DCI) interview both company and community officials to detail the intense competition for jobs and capital investment.
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The Project: Inside Corporate Location Decisions
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Jul 25, 2017

This week, we bring you a new sub-series called “The Big Deal,” which takes a look at some of the biggest economic development deals in history and how they impacted communities. We start with BMW’s decision to bring its first facility outside of Germany to Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1992. To get the full story, we talked to Douglas Woodward, an economist with the University of South Carolina, Bobby Hitt, a former BMW staffer who became the Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce in 2011, and Wayne Sterling, a legendary economic developer who managed the BMW project 25 years ago. Listen on to learn how Governor Carroll Campbell convinced BMW’s Chairman to reverse an initial decision to locate the plant in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jul 10, 2017

The Shandong Ruyi Technology Group is a privately-held textile manufacturer based in China that employs 20,000 people around the globe. The company already had operations everywhere from Japan to Italy, but determined in 2015 that it was time to set up a major manufacturing facility in North America. They “followed the cotton,” their primary natural resource, to Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina, but ultimately chose a location in Arkansas – a state that barely made it on their short list, but impressed the company’s Chairman and his team with their responsiveness and tenacity. We spoke with two key players to get the full story: Jane Liu, a company legal advisor who was a key player guiding the company’s site selection process, and Danny Games, Deputy Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

 

Jun 30, 2017

On Thursday, June 29th, AETNA, Inc., a Fortune 50 insurance giant, announced a decision that had been months in the making. The company would relocate its corporate headquarters from Hartford, Connecticut, the company’s home base for 146 years, to New York City.

On the day after the announcement, we set-up a conference call with two highly-respected site selection consultants to get their take on AETNA’s decision. You’ll hear from Larry Gigerich, Managing Director of Ginovus and Jay Biggins, Executive Managing Director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro, another highly respected site consulting firm. Both firms are members of the Site Selectors Guild.

Jun 26, 2017
This week, we bring you the story of Granules Pharmaceuticals, an Indian manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals, which announced plans in May 2017 to invest $35 million and more than double its workforce in Fairfax County, Virginia. The company initially established a physical presence in the U.S. in 2014 with an R&D facility in Fairfax County and will soon begin manufacturing there as part of the expansion. We talked to Priyanka Chigurupati, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Granules India Limited, and Dr. Gerald Gordon, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, for the story.
Jun 12, 2017

As “big data” comes to the world of commerce, we’ve seen a major spike in the creation of new data centers for companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and IBM. To gain insight into this trend, we arranged an interview with Joe Suppers, Principal of NodeCom, Inc. Joe is the only consultant we know that is solely focused on data center site selection. He has worked with companies like America Online, Metromedia Fiber, 360 Networks and Switch since 1995.

May 22, 2017

This week we bring you the story of the Kudelski Group, a Swiss company that was looking to open its first corporate headquarters in North America. The company looked at three regions in the Western United States – Denver, San Francisco and Phoenix – and, in the tradition of amazing Swiss efficiency, they made the decision in just 90 days. Quality of life, according to Rich Fennessy, President & CEO of Kudelski Security, was the single most important factor in the decision—a first for “The Project.” Chris Camacho, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), weighs in on the decision process from the economic development perspective.

May 1, 2017

While a lot is changing in Washington this year, new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently confirmed one important initiative that is full steam ahead. SelectUSA, a program focused on helping the United States attract more foreign direct investment, is continuing and will be holding its fourth investment summit in the Washington area on June 18-20.

“The Project” travels to Washington for an interview with Fred Volcansek, SelectUSA’s New Executive Director. Anne McKinney, the organization’s Director of Investment Services, joins Fred for the interview.     

We also hear from the leader of one economic development group that has successfully worked with SelectUSA in the past. Jan Rogers, CEO for the Regional Economic Development Corporation for Eastern Idaho (or REDI for short) talks about her collaboration with the organization and success attracting two Japanese companies to Idaho as a result. 

Apr 16, 2017

For a multinational software company like Citrix, people are the secret sauce to success. We bring the story of how talent trumped just about every other factor that goes into a location decision to allow Raleigh, North Carolina to win a 400-job expansion, beating out competition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Alpharetta, Georgia, Santa Clara, California and Austin, Texas. We interview Nate Spilker, Citrix Vice President of Product Management and James Sauls, Economic Development Director for the City of Raleigh.

 

 

Apr 3, 2017

Welcome to our most international episode of “The Project” to date. NEST iON is a start-up company that manufactures specialized batteries for the law enforcement and security profession. The company was founded by a Spanish entrepreneur who relocated to Ireland, initially outsourced all of his manufacturing to South Korea and now has his sights on entering the U.S. market. In February 2017, the company announced plans to open a research & development/manufacturing facility at the Eastman Business Park, a 2.5 million square foot facility owned by Kodak. We interview company founder Boris Gragera, Matt Hurlbutt of Greater Rochester Enterprise and Matt Fronk of NY BEST (New York Battery & Energy Storage Technology Consortium) for the story behind NEST iON’s decision to locate in Rochester, New York.

Mar 20, 2017
The Site Selectors Guild started in 2010 with a dozen or so individuals quietly agreeing to create the world’s first trade association of site selection consultants. Seven years later, the organization has been wildly successful growing their ranks to 43 current members and hosting professional conferences that literally sell out in minutes. To gain insight into the Guild and its members, “The Project” sits down with Phil Schneider, an industry veteran who has worked nearly 400 site selection projects over the past 31 years. Phil recently stepped down as the organization’s Chair but remains an active member of the Guild’s Board of Directors. 
Mar 6, 2017

With plans to add 100,000 new, full-time, full-benefit jobs across the U.S. in the next 18 months, Amazon is the world's leading e-commerce company and one of the most sought-after companies for communities looking to attract jobs and investment. This week, to gain insight into the process of winning an Amazon project, we looked over the long list of communities that have successfully landed Amazon facilities in the past two years and arranged a conference call with two seasoned economic developers: Adriana Cruz, President and CEO of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, and Jerry Mallot, President of the JAXUSA Partnership in Jacksonville, Florida. Here are their insights into successful working with this fast growing company and our guide to winning Amazon’s next project.

Feb 20, 2017
Packsize is a pioneer in “on-demand packaging systems,” a technology that allows companies to create custom boxes for their products, reducing packaging volume by about 40 percent. With customers like Staples, Cabela’s and Boston Scientific, the company is rapidly growing and, though they considered Sweden and Germany, decided to make their biggest expansion to-date in Salt Lake City, Utah. We talk to Hanko Kiessner, CEO of Packsize and Brad Baird, Senior Business Development Manager at EDCUtah.
Feb 6, 2017

This week, we bring you the story of Menguin, a company that sought to bring the somewhat dated and often frustrating world of tuxedo rentals into the digital age with an online retail platform. The company was conceived on the campus of Indiana University and got its start in Atlanta, Georgia, but really found its stride when its co-founders took the advice of investor John James of Hayseed Ventures and relocated to Fayetteville, Arkansas. We talk to Justin Delaney, CEO of Menguin, and Brett Amerine, COO of Startup Junkie Consulting, to get the full story.

Jan 23, 2017
 
In October 2016, three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond took the stage in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to announce one of the most significant developments in carbon fiber production over the past 50 years—the opening of his company, LeMond Composites. The project involves $125 million in investment and the creation of 250 jobs in Tennessee over the next five years. To get the full story, “The Project” talked to Connie Jackson, research engineer and CEO of LeMond Composites, and Gary Human, East Tennessee Regional Director at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
Jan 9, 2017

So what does 2017 look like in terms of site location decisions? How will the Trump Presidency impact corporate decision-making? And will new minimum wage increases in states like New York, California and Colorado change the landscape at all?


“The Project” sits down with Kathy Mussio, Managing Partner with Atlas Insight and Brett Bayduss, Executive Vice President of the Site Selection Group for their perspective on the year ahead. They share interesting answers to some difficult questions in the first podcast of the new year.

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