The last two articles I wrote for this issue have me looking forward to the New Year more than I have in recent memory. The Asia Pacific report includes a sidebar about a US-based contract manufacturer with Asian production facilities that’s in the midst of acquiring some US operations so it can do manufacturing for clients at home as well as abroad — wherever the most optimal location for doing so may be, the EVP explains. Lots of factors are behind that decision, of course, and it’s an ironic coincidence that I wrote this the day Congress passed sweeping tax reform that makes the US demonstrably more competitive on the basis of corporate tax rates. This has me looking forward to a US economy that will be hard to slow down — for a change.
I hope you’ll share with us in the months ahead the ramifications of this tax reform in the context of your corporation’s facility planning decisions. What comes back to the US? What stays outside the US and why? How will this new era shape your strategic planning and help your organization and its sites be more successful?
The other piece is about Scotland — in the Western Europe spotlight. I chose the headline about a new business currency carefully. It’s data. On a recent location advisors tour, I was more than intrigued by Scotland’s expertise in all things data and the workforce and resources in place to maximize it and turn it into new business opportunities. On a side note, Abertay University in Dundee, which we visited, launched the world’s first degree program, in 2006, with “hacking” in its name — Ethical Hacking, that is. Its graduates are experts in helping organizations prevent or at least minimize cybersecurity threats. What corporation or IT department wouldn’t like to see that on a resume?
The point is that locations with a large supply of high end data analytics expertise will be best positioned to win important capital investment projects in the future. Can the areas your operations are in make that case? They’ll need to before long.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find our annual State of the States report, which I encourage you to consult as you consider future locations for new projects and expansions. It’s a one-stop shop for new state legislation you might not know about yet, among other gauges of location attractiveness.
We reengineered our regional workforce development rankings this year to better reflect the contexts in which state workforce development programs are administered. And as we go to press, we are finalizing our project data for 2017 in preparation for the Governors Cups, Top Metros and Top Micropolitans rankings that will appear in the March issue. I hope your area is optimistic about its prospects for the year ahead, as I am.
More so, my colleagues and I hope you and yours are prosperous in 2018. With deep appreciation to our loyal readers and advertisers in 2017, Happy New Year!
Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief