You have in front of you the largest issue of Site Selection we have assembled in the 20 years I have worked on the editorial staff. It didn’t just happen. It’s the result of hard work on the part of our writers, designers, sales staff and all who work to deliver the content you can only find in our pages. It’s the result of new and longstanding advertisers who know Site Selection is the most effective vehicle in the economic development marketplace for putting their message in front of corporate decision makers. We don’t take that support for granted. We will continue to be the go-to publication for facility location insights and analysis unavailable elsewhere.
We substantiate that claim with the project-success rankings in this very issue. These objective tallies of new and expanding project activity in states, metros and micropolitans are the most watched scorecard of location success in the economic development industry. We’re not reporting merely on which areas won, but why. My interviews with the 2016 Governor’s Cup winners — Governors Greg Abbott of Texas for total projects and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska for projects per capita — are windows into not just what they and their economic development teams did last year that worked, but what they’re doing to compete effectively again this year for your capital investment.
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois, is the Top Metro in the Tier 1 category — population over 1 million — again in 2016, with nearly twice the qualifying projects of its nearest competitors, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metros in Texas. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa is the Top Tier 2 Metro (200,000 to 1 million population); Sioux City, Iowa-Neb.-S.D. is the Top Tier 3 Metro (under 200,000 population). And Findlay, Ohio, continues to dominate in the micropolitan ranking. Corporate investors in these booming locations explain in this issue why they’re investing there.
If there is a common thread to be found among the winning locations, it’s this: The political leaders and the economic developers get the importance of speaking the language of business and delivering state and local services in a manner akin to best practices in the business world. They can demonstrate that budgetary or other hurdles are being worked on and resolved, and they don’t sugar-coat those hurdles. They hold departments or personnel accountable for not improving service delivery in a way deemed necessary by investors. They are innovative in talent acquisition and other critical initiatives. They welcome and strongly encourage corporate participation in curriculum development, internship programs, participation in trade missions and other activities. If they came from the business world, as did Gov. Ricketts, these habits of effective leaders are second nature.
When you’re scouting locations this year for your next capital investment, don’t forget to check who’s in city hall or the governor’s mansion. It’s not a deal breaker, but you’ll want a location with the kind of leadership demonstrated by the players you’ll find in this landmark issue of Site Selection.
Till next time,
Editor in Chief