From the September Issue


Could Rwanda Be the Next Singapore?

Thibault Serlet and Preston Martin of special economic zone advisory Adrianople Group write that certain countries — like Taiwan, South Korea, or Singapore — have famously risen out of poverty to “first world” status. In this exclusive to Site Selection, they explore why Rwanda — a landlocked country marked by a historic genocide and persistent poverty — could be the next to join their ranks.

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From the September Issue


This is Not the Same Old Kansas Anymore

Operating by a new playbook, the Framework for Growth, Kansas excels. Learn more from our conversation with Kansas Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland.

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From the September Issue


North American Reports

Read quick updates on Pittsburgh’s airport of the future; Querétaro’s new lab from UL; NBA star Chris Webber’s cannabis plans in Detroit; MIT’s top 10 tech trends in real estate; and a $2.8 billion liquid fuels plant in North Dakota.

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Graphic courtesy of Kastle Systems

Studying anonymized keycard, fob and KastlePresence app access data from the 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses the company secures across 47 states, Kastle Systems’ Back to Work Barometer reports that U.S. office occupancy rebounded after the Thanksgiving holiday, with Austin and Houston showing pronounced jumps among the top 10 cities examined, where occupancy reached 40.6% on average. “The legal industry occupancy average remains well ahead of the Back to Work Barometer for all businesses,” the company reports, noting that it provides managed security services for 49 firms in the AmLaw 100. “Despite holiday schedules, 56.2% of legal industry employees worked in the office during the past week, while only 40.6% of all workers did.” Compared to the 10-city average on the Kastle Back to Work Barometer, the legal industry is returning to the office at rates 10 percentage points higher than other businesses. Kastle has been tracking the anonymized activity of 341,000 unique office credential holders in major cities, 31,582 of which are in the legal industry. Meanwhile, the company itself recently has announced expansions into new markets in Boston, Charlotte and Seattle.

“In talking with our law firm clients, we are hearing many factors that have made remote work more challenging for this sector, including paper-heavy office systems and generally being slower to adopt new technologies,” Kastle CEO Haniel Lynn said. “For many of our members, some firms never closed at the beginning of the pandemic,” added Association of Legal Administrators Executive Director April Campbell. “Different local government guidance on what workers were deemed essential meant that in some cities, that sometimes included law firms. There have also been concerns about the ability to onboard new employees and conduct new associate training remotely, so we’re seeing law firms in the office at higher rates.”

Data from the Conway Analytics projects database show law firms haven’t been putting the brakes on new office projects and leases either: The data show a total of 91 projects from law firms since March 2020 when the pandemic began. The New York metro area leads all with 18 law firm projects. Below are the top five, which like the Kastle numbers are led by Texas cities. — Adam Bruns

Metro Area Law Firm Projects Since March 2020
1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 18
2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 8
3. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 7
4. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 6
5. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 6
Source: Conway Analytics




The complete Digital Edition of Conway Data’s Workforce 2022 publication is now available. Inside, in addition to reports across a range of industries and topics from Site Selection’s team of editors, you’ll find exclusive, high-level insights from such contributors as the Kauffman Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Cresa, Opportunity America, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the Work Institute and the National Center for Construction Education & Research.






Georgia Has a Sweet Tooth for Food Processing

Straight from the pages of the just-published 2021 Georgia Economic Development Guide, we learn directly from CEO Stephanie Stuckey why the iconic roadside retail chain has joined a cadre of investors bullish on Georgia.

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EY announced this 400-job investment in Phoenix in mid-November. “We are extremely proud of the work our team has done to launch the first EY Cloud Enablement Center in Phoenix!” exulted Paul Sussex, principal at EY - Digital Technology Transformation & Cloud Leader - Financial Services, on LinkedIn. “We are focused on helping our clients accelerate their journey to the cloud, fostering innovation and transformation.” The company plans to complete this hiring in 2024. The project is the first outgrowth of the company’s $1 billion technology strategy commitment made in March 2021 that pledged to bring together “our market-leading risk, regulatory and technology experience with capabilities in areas such as cloud, analytics, cybersecurity, data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate technology transformation” through dedicated technology centers. “As one of the fastest-growing metro areas of choice for some of the largest financial and IT organizations in the country,” the company said then, “Phoenix holds the promise to continue expanding on the pool of cloud-related talent while serving as a scalable cloud service center for both existing and new clients.”

Source: Conway Analytics


This Vancouver, British Columbia–based packaging material manufacturer followed up the October announcement of its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Hampton County, South Carolina, with the November announcement of this project in Nevada, where the average wage will be $24.19. The company expects to create 54 jobs in the first two years of operation, with the potential for 114 jobs within five years of operation. The company produces 100% plant-based and 100% compostable single-use products including straws, cutlery and take-out containers. “As a complete solution to replacing single-use plastics and expanded polystyrene foam in food packaging, Evanesce is excited to bring our second U.S. manufacturing facility to North Las Vegas,” said Evanesce founder and CEO Douglas Horne. “Our Nevada facility allows us to serve our growing customer base in the Western U.S. and rapidly expand the production of our American-made, sustainable food packaging solutions.” State incentives for this project and five others supported by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA) were approved by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board of directors early this month.

Source: Conway Analytics




Built to Last

Washington’s forest products industry is where sustainability, innovation and manufacturing meet.

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From the September Issue


Grape Expectations

The state’s wine industry is full-bodied and growing by the day.

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Add two events with national economic development implications to your calendar. First, on January 11, 2022, the U.S. Chamber kicks off the year with State of American Business 2022: Competition for the Future, a virtual event. “The challenges, disruptions, and opportunities accelerated by the pandemic are creating a new economic era that American businesses will help define,” says the Chamber. “From the competition for talent in a transforming workforce, to the competition in the global economy, to the competition in the markets for world-changing solutions, to the competition of ideas that will take shape in the midterm elections, and more — we will delve into the multilayered dynamics businesses will confront in 2022.”

Meanwhile, SelectUSA has announced that its annual Investment Summit will return to an in-person gathering, taking place June 26-29, 2022, at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The annual event will include more than 150 sessions, as well as networking and interactive exhibitor showcases featuring economic development organizations, service providers, industry experts and international tech startups. Site Selection readers will recall our reporting from past SelectUSA Investment Summits at National Harbor, in including insights into life sciences and petrochemical projects.


Photo courtesy of LOC

Part of Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive at the Library of Congress, this photograph made last year in Chickasha (“CHICK-a-shay”), Oklahoma, depicts a giant replica of the famous (infamous?) woman’s leg lamp featured in the film “A Christmas Story.” Highsmith notes that it was erected specifically for the 2020 holiday season in honor of a late local resident, Noland James, who claimed to have designed a prototype of such a lamp. Be careful … it’s “fra-gee-lay.”