Congratulations again to Texas and Kentucky for their 2015 Governors Cups — the recognition we bestow annually on the states with the most total capital investment projects and the most per capita. The same states won last year, but as the cover story makes clear, new leadership is in place in both states — Kentucky especially, where Gov. Matt Bevin just took office in December. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has a year behind him now but accepted the award in Austin last year as a newcomer to his office.
I hasten to point out that both governors quickly deflect credit to the economic development professionals throughout these states whose work these trophies honor. Both governors are class acts who are committed to winning again in the future — not because they want to collect nice trophies, but because those trophies represent success in their most important roles as governors, which is job creation and fostering business climates in which that can take place demonstrably. Governors Abbott and Bevin spell out how they plan to earn this recognition in the future in these pages.
My interview in February with Governor Bevin, the nation’s newest governor, was remarkable for this reason: This guy is connecting directly and immediately with the business leaders already in Kentucky and with those mulling an investment there. Directly is the operative word. He speaks their language, having assumed his new office directly from the business world, with ambitious and challenging plans to make his state a business powerhouse. Keep an eye on the Bluegrass State, which I predict will not resemble in a few years the one you think you know today.
The language of business is powerful on the other side of the equation, too. What happens when the right business person is charged with leading a complicated regional economic development initiative that had floundered for years in spite of the best intentions of smart, visionary and dedicated public officials? You awaken a sleeping giant, in some cases, like the now airborne Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance. The region surrounding the world’s busiest airport — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International — now has a shot at realizing the many airport city benefits that metros around the world already enjoy.
Lots of credit goes to the local economic development and municipal leaders in the region who have championed the notion of developing the ATL vicinity into a global business, leisure and residential destination. But it’s beginning to happen now, thanks to the exciting Porsche Cars North America complex that opened there in early 2015, and the Aerotropolis Alliance leadership in 2014 and 2015 of Porsche’s Joe Folz. Don’t miss his take on the power of the language of business to transform cities and regions in the Airport Cities feature. And don’t miss an opportunity to be part of an effort like this in your area. Your fluency will serve your region well.
Congratulations to the Top Metros and Top Micropolitans featured in this issue, in addition to the top-ranking states in the Governors Cups facilities race. And congratulations to the corporate location decision makers who put them there. On a scale big or small, your decision to build or expand where you did is transforming the location you chose.
Till next time,
Editor in Chief