We finished work on this issue, with an Infrastructure theme, as the fourth-largest US metro area’s infrastructure was overwhelmed, to understate the situation. It still is. The flooding in Houston and throughout southeastern Texas is heartbreaking for all of us with family and friends — personal or professional — in the region. As we have done in the past following natural disasters like this, we will devote pages in a future issue for leaders in affected areas to communicate directly with you about recovery efforts, resumption of business services and other matters. It’s one way we can work with areas to help facilitate a return to normalcy.
It’s possible Harvey will jumpstart plans to get a meaningful national infrastructure measure passed in Washington and acted on sooner rather than later. Such a plan is needed regardless, and there will be a spike in demand for public-private partnership expertise once that gets rolling, as our cover story explains.
Meanwhile, it’s been covered elsewhere in the business press, but you won’t find coverage of Foxconn’s selection of Wisconsin for its $10-billion manufacturing site like you will in Ron Starner’s Upper Midwest report. It’s packed with input from Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Ann Kleefisch and others who helped bring the biggest FDI project to the US so far this year, or in recent memory, for that matter. Even with 20 years’ experience covering capital investment, I wouldn’t have guessed Wisconsin for this project — journalists are always learning.
Speaking of 20 years’ experience covering site selection content, I made the same point about always learning in this role to an audience of economic developers and service providers recently in Nashville. I was asked to speak about my observations about the site selection industry based on two decades under my belt covering it. I was compelled to note I might not have lasted that long if it weren’t for the excellent co-workers I produce this publication with year in and year out, and the many industry friends and experts willing to share their experiences and knowledge with me — and therefore with you. If I’m not learning something meaningful about what makes for effective corporate real estate management every issue we produce, then what’s the point?
Feedback indicates I was right about several points made in this column in recent years. A couple are worth referencing here: (1) areas need to get better at distinguishing themselves and quantifying, with specificity, the available skills in a metro or region, because savvy corporate investors may have better numbers than they do; and (2) capital investors now more than ever are making site decisions based on environments where they will find the workers they need, not on the hope those workers will migrate where they want them to be for reasons that worked 20 years ago. Time flies.
Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief