Special Conference Held by Georgia Tech's Economic Development Institute
in Conjunction with CoreNet Global
For speaker presentations and agenda details please click on www.ceds.gatech.edu
The event, which attracted more than 75 economic developers and other industry professionals, examined how corporations' location analysis and site selection approaches are becoming increasingly more strategic in nature.
In fact, Corporate Real Estate 2010's (CoRE 2010) focus in the strategic location arena reveals that corporations are treating their location decisions more seriously, integrating them with global corporate strategies, and prioritizing them along the lines of proximity to customers and suppliers, to emerging markets, and to knowledge workers, as well as the accompanying de-emphasis on access to cheap labor, as a Gallup survey on CoRE 2010 indicates.
Among the participants was member Tom Rocheford, Vice President, Express Scripts Inc. He found many of the ideas discussed to be relevant, taking away useful large concepts as well as small strategies to implement in future business practices.
"Simply re-branding 'site selection' to 'location analysis' makes a lot of sense in today's global economy. There are many more factors to consider when analyzing sites (labor quantity and quality, logistics, local legislation and regulations, culture) than before (location, location, location)," Rocheford said. "Companies and communities now work together to foster an environment that will allow both parties to be successful. A true partnership is required as we go forward in this expansive and ever-changing industry."
"Of course, part of this strategic shift is the reality that economic developers need to understand and grasp - then deliver on - the increasingly complex and integrated needs of their corporate clients," observed CoreNet Global Vice President of Discovery Prentice Knight.
Knight was one of 12 speakers at the June 24-25 conference, which was anchored by a strong diversity of presenters. A conference panel, entirely composed of CoreNet Global members, featured senior corporate real estate executives, site selection consultants, incentives experts, economic developers, and state officials.
"We believe that by 2010 there will continue to be a relatively small number of powerful forces that shape the nature of work and influence how and where work will be done," said Knight, who addressed the past, present and future of business location decisions after opening remarks by CoreNet Global CEO Peggy Binzel and Rick Duke, Director of Georgia Tech's Economic Development Institute. "These business drivers include globalization, technology, changes in the workforce and the nature of work . . . as well as the related issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainability."
Following Knight's presentation, two senior-level corporate real estate executives offered case studies through which the economic developers in attendance could gain more of an inside view of the factors influencing companies' site selection decisions.
Mary Manning, Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate at SBC, presented a case on "The Evolution of SBC and How It Impacts Location Decisions." Matt Fanoe followed with a look at "Consolidating Backroom Accounting Functions in a Central Location," offering his first-hand perspective as Corporate Director of Real Estate for Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Larry Moretti, Senior Manager with Deloitte, addressed "Location Strategies for Offshore Manufacturing" that offer companies cost-effective operating options and that economic developers should understand as part of the mix of information and practices affecting where and how their prospects locate different pieces of their overall support infrastructures.
Del Boyette, National Leader, Comprehensive Incentives Management Services, Deloitte, was also part of the two-day agenda. Boyette shared his views about the importance of economic incentives to location decision outcomes, and how incentives can be of mutual benefit to companies and the communities in which they do business.
In addition, Dennis Donovan, Principal with site consultants Wadley-Donovan-Gutshaw, spoke on the "Strategic Role of Place." Donovan, a co-author of the CoRE 2010 report of the same title, drove home the key points that corporate location strategies are intertwined with companies' business plans incorporating market share, product development, supply and value chains, workplace management and many other factors that add to the competitive advantages of the enterprise.
Economic development professionals who also spoke at the conference included Robert Pertierra, Vice President of Logistics at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Janet Miller, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Nashville Chamber; and Charlie Sloan, Executive Vice President of Business Development at the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
The Atlanta Chamber has developed a special emphasis on positioning the metro area as a logistics center, and Pertierra's report on "Logisitics in the Location Decision" addressed the organization's strategic focus in that expanding area.
Miller and Sloan shared stories of how their organizations successfully market their communities as viable business destinations in their respective presentations on "More than Just the Music City - Nashville;" and "Putting Imagination to Work - Orlando."
CoreNet Global Member Marc Weiss, Director of Economic Development for Hanover County, Virginia, commented that the overall presentation was one of the most valuable and practical economic development seminars that he has attended.
"The speakers were uniformly excellent and the topics extremely relevant. This seminar clearly demonstrated the declining importance of place in the location decision-making process and illustrated the need to develop flexible, knowledge-based strategies for business attraction and retention programs," Weiss said. "These trends will continue to accelerate over the next several years and successful economic development organizations will be prepared to meet the challenges brought about by these changes."
For more information about Georgia Tech's Economic Development Institute, please visit www.ceds.gatech.edu.