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BEST TO INVEST: TOP US GROUPS
From Site Selection magazine, May 2015
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Southern Migration

It’s all about the place.

BEST TO INVEST: TOP US GROUPS
Cincinnati’s Union Terminal
Photo by Robert Webber courtesy of Cincinnati Museum Center

By PATTY RASMUSSEN
C

orporate leaders looking to relocate or expand in 2014 were looking for more than just incentives or inexpensive land. Workforce, logistics infrastructure and proximity to the customer were common themes, but so was livability. Companies want to locate in thriving communities and cities that offer life outside the office or manufacturing walls.

This years’ Top US Economic Development Groups are based on four objective project criteria: jobs, capital investment, jobs per capita and investment per capita as tracked in Conway’s proprietary New Plant Database. Additional criteria include the creativity of economic development strategy; scope of project activity; and the ability to accurately document the link between the EDO and real results. 

Each recognized group was asked to cite the top three projects that generated the most impact in the community, something that isn’t always measured in the number of dollars invested or the number of jobs created. 
[All groups are listed alphabetically.]

Charlotte Regional Partnership
Charlotte, N.C.

  • Sealed Air Corporation; relocating global headquarters; $58 million; 1,262 jobs.
  • Nestlé Waters North America; building a water bottling facility; $40 million; up to 50 jobs.
  • Gordon Food Service; building a distribution center; $58 million; 275 jobs.

Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
Charlotte, N.C.

  • Sealed Air Corporation; relocating global HQ; $58 million, 1,262 jobs.
  • AvidXchang; building new corporate HQ; $21 million; 603 jobs.
  • Red Ventures; expanding marketing and sales operations; 580 new jobs.

“We are confident Charlotte will provide a great environment for us to operate and grow our business moving forward. This move will contribute to a stronger, one-company culture that will enable greater collaboration, efficiencies and better use of our investments in people and new technologies.”
—Jerome A. Peribere, president and CEO of Sealed Air


Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • Volkswagen Chattanooga; expanding manufacturing; $600 million; 2,000 jobs.
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company United; distribution center; $62 million; 43 jobs.
  • Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors; new manufacturing facility; $65 million; 185 jobs.

“We are proud to be making the new midsize SUV here. This is fantastic news for the plant and proof of the confidence placed in the workforce that does a great job here making high-quality cars every day.”
—Christian Koch, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations


World Business Chicago
Chicago, Ill.

  • Yelp; office expansion; $63 million; 300 jobs in 2014, an additional 100 jobs added in 2015.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield; office expansion; 1,300 jobs
  • Coyote Logistics; headquarters expansion; 500 jobs.

“Chicago is an ideal location for Yelp to grow our business while delivering the best online and mobile resources to help small businesses thrive and to connect consumers with great local businesses. We are excited to be a part of the Chicago tech community and help create hundreds of new jobs in the city.”
—Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman


REDI Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Festo – Mason, Ohio; new manufacturing facility; $50 million; 250 jobs.
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) - Northern Kentucky; new IT center; $8.9 million; 200 jobs.
  • General Electric Global Operations Center– Cincinnati; new global operations center; $90 million; up to 2,000 jobs.

“After careful evaluation, we chose the Greater Cincinnati Region for three reasons:

  • Logistics – bringing us closer to our customers and in close proximity to several airports, including Cincinnati’s international airport and a major DHL hub.
  • Skilled workforce – The Greater Cincinnati area offers a large industrial community and access to highly skilled engineers

Partnership – Close collaboration between the City of Mason, the industrial community and organizations including the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the European American Chamber of Commerce, REDI and Jobs Ohio.
Mason was ultimately chosen by our employees, which resulted in 25 percent of our employees and management team willing to relocate. This is a clear indication that we chose the right location!”
—Sven Doerge, CFO, Festo Americas, LLC

Minute Maid Ballpark in downtown Houston, Texas
Photo by VideoLens

Greater Houston Partnership
Houston, Texas

  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation; corporate headquarters relocation; $10 million; 2,052 jobs.
  • Sutherland Global Services; expanded office; 1,993 jobs
  • Nalco Champion; headquarters expansion; $45 million; 860 jobs.

“This project will help us bring together our people as one team, creating a critical mass of industry knowledge and a research and development powerhouse to better serve our customers. The new headquarters building and related renovation also reaffirms our continued commitment to the City of Sugar Land, where our company has long held a corporate presence.”
—Steve Taylor, president of Nalco Champion and an Ecolab executive vice president


Louisville Forward
Louisville, Ky.

  • Kindred Healthcare; expansion; 500 jobs.
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts; downtown redevelopment; $289 million; 320 jobs.
  • Computershare; new operations center; 250 jobs.

“Computershare chose Louisville for our newest US location because of the city’s talented workforce, cost advantages for the local business community and the cooperation of city and state governments. Our office here will be focused on supporting the company’s existing operations across the country. However, we are eager to grow in this region, and the city of Louisville holds many attractive qualities for the future of our company.”
—Steve Rothbloom, CEO and president of Computershare US


Greater Richmond Partnership
Richmond, Va.

  • Stone Brewing Co.; new brewery production/offices; $74 million; 288 jobs.
  • Shandong Tranlin Paper Company, new advanced manufacturing; $2 billion; 2,000 jobs.
  • Teleperformance; customer service center; $3.5 million; 500 jobs.

“We are excited about the opportunity to apply our innovative technologies in building an industry-leading production base in central Virginia.”
Jerry Z. Peng, Chairman and CEO of Tranlin, Inc.

Nashville’s music scene is legendary.
Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Nashville, Tenn.

  • Warby Parker; office expansion; 250 jobs.
  • Bridgestone Americas; new headquarters; $232 million; 607 jobs.
  • UnderArmour; new distribution center; $100 million; 1,500 jobs.

“Nashville is a creative hub with an amazing legacy of cultural engagement. The spirit of the city and dynamic workforce ensures that Nashville is not merely a ‘satellite office’ but rather, a true sibling office to complement our presence in New York City. As we got to know the Nashville community over a period of several years, it became clear that it was a great fit for Warby Parker.”
—Dave Gilboa, co-founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker


Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • 4moms; office expansion; $4.7 million; 120 jobs
  • General Electric; advanced manufacturing; $32 million; 50 jobs.
  • Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, LLC – a Division of Walgreen Co.; office expansion; 300 jobs.

“Pittsburgh has established itself as a hotbed for technology start-ups. With a skilled talent pool coming out of Carnegie Mellon University, and a community that supports the continued growth of companies, like 4moms, we’re proud to call Pittsburgh our global headquarters. Our decision to expand our corporate offices last year reinforces our belief that Pittsburgh is, and will continue to be, a great place to live, work and innovate.”
—Rob Daley, CEO and co-founder of 4moms


Economic Futures Group of Spartanburg
Spartanburg, S.C.

  • Toray Carbon Fibers America Inc.; manufacturing; $1 billion; 500 jobs.
  • BMW; manufacturing; $1 billion; 800 jobs.
  • Trelleborg Wheel Systems; manufacturing; $50 million; 150 jobs.

“Spartanburg is a vibrant international community with a welcoming spirit and at the end of the day after all the factors were weighed, Toray was comfortable with Spartanburg’s seasoned experience in economic development and confident they would support the growth of Toray’s new carbon fiber facility for generations to come.”
—Yasuo Ueda, Director on Special Assignment, South Carolina Project, Toray Carbon Fibers America Inc.

Top Groups Honorable Mention

  • Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (N.Y.)
  • Columbus 2020 (Ohio)
  • Greater New Orleans, Inc. (La.)
  • Greater Portland Inc. (Ore.-Wash.)
  • Indy Chamber (Ind.)
  • Kansas City Area Development Council (Kan.-Mo.)
  • Metro Atlanta Chamber (Ga.)
  • Select Greater Philadelphia (Penn.-N.J.-Del.-Md.)
  • Washington, DC Economic Partnership
  • Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine (Detroit, Mich.)

Top Micropolitan Groups of the Year

Americus Sumter County Chamber of Commerce
Americus, Ga.; $55 million; 307 jobs

Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership
Shelby, N.C.; $76 million; 135 jobs

Community Development Foundation
Tupelo, Miss.; $77 million; 1,659 jobs

Cullman Economic Development Agency
Cullman, Ala.; $145 million; 524 jobs

The Development Corporation
Plattsburgh, N.Y.; $310 million; 77 jobs

Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority
Dublin, Ga.; $26 million; 222 jobs

Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce
Dyersburg, Tenn.; $51 million; 486 jobs

Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development
Findlay, Ohio; $251 million; 1,328 jobs

Grant County Economic Development Council
Moses Lake, Wash.; $194 million; 520 jobs

Greater Burlington Partnership
Burlington, Iowa; $66 million; 287 jobs

Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce
Jefferson, Ga.; $79 million; 218 jobs

Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation
Warsaw, Ind.; $72 million; 145 jobs

The City of LaGrange Economic Development Office
LaGrange, Ga.; $65 million; 849 jobs 

Lee County Economic Development
Sanford, N.C.; $55 million; 166 jobs

Nelson County Economic Development Agency
Bardstown, Ky.; $108 million; 104 jobs

Norwalk Economic Development Corporation
Norwalk, Ohio; $108 million; 338 jobs

Oconee Economic Alliance
Seneca, S.C.; $95 million; 419 jobs

Putnam County Chamber of Commerce
Cookeville, Tenn.; $124 million; 1,202 jobs

Wayne Economic Development Council
Wooster, Ohio; $113 million; 316 jobs

Wilson Economic Development Council
Wilson, N.C.; $84 million; 163 jobs


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