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2018 GLOBAL BEST TO INVEST
From Site Selection magazine, May 2018
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2018 GLOBAL BEST TO INVEST
by GARY DAUGHTERS

McKinley Conway, founder of Conway, Inc., and Site Selection Magazine, was a prolific writer and world traveler. A visionary in the field of economic development, “Mac” once wrote that “we provide an important communications link between productive companies and those seeking to attract them who represent cities, states and nations around the world.”

Site Selection’s Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development recognize the top local and regional economic development agencies in the US for their roles in helping to deliver prosperity to their communities. While not a ranking, objective criteria are used to identify the top performers, which are listed below alphabetically by group name.

This year’s Mac Conway Award winners were determined by an index that examines corporate facility investment projects in US metro areas as tracked by Site Selection’s proprietary Conway Projects database in 2017. Scores are awarded based on six criteria: total projects, total investment associated with those projects and jobs associated with those projects; and those same three numbers calculated per capita for the metro area.

“Looking at the world landscape, we know that our small company is but a grain of sand,” Mac wrote. “However, joining with many others, we know that we are part of a wonderful vista.” In that same spirit, Site Selection recognizes that the groups we salute represent but a single constellation in a universe of bright stars.

Charleston (S.C.) Regional Development Alliance

David Ginn
President & CEO

www.crda.org

Significant Projects:
Carver Sand & Gravel, AgruAmerica, Wacker Chemie AG, Ncgs, Inc., T-Mobile

Programs & Initiatives:
CRDA’s “One Region” vision is a strategy for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties “to act as a unified region to be a globally competitive place where people and businesses flourish.” A component strategy, The FDI Plan, focuses on deepening the Charleston region’s foreign investment portfolio and integrating new foreign companies and their foreign national workers.

Did You Know?
The U.S. Census Bureau reports 34 people move to Charleston each day; Southern Living ranks Charleston as the South’s Friendliest City for 2018.

“You can forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”
— Pat Conroy, “The Lords of Discipline”
 


 

Charlotte Regional Partnership

Ronnie Bryant
President & CEO

www.charlotteusa.com

Significant Projects:
LKQ Corporation, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, Staples, Inc., Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., Mutual Distributing Company

Programs & Initiatives:
The Charlotte Regional Partnership focuses on creating new jobs in financial services that provide meaningful employment for residents throughout the 16-county Charlotte USA region. A public-private partnership called ProNet Charlotte is designed to retain the city’s top talent in the financial services sector.

Did You Know?
Charlotte, in March, unveiled a 9.3-mile extension of its light rail “Blue Line” that adds 11 new stops and connects Uptown to UNC Charlotte.

“Charlotte’s a possibility.”
— Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball commissioner, on prospects for Charlotte landing an expansion team, July 2017
 


 

Columbus 2020

Kenny McDonald
President & CEO

www.columbusregion.com

Significant Projects:
West-ward Pharmaceuticals Corp., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., White Castle System, Total System Services, Old Dominion Freight Line

Programs & Initiatives:
The Columbus Regional Growth Strategy, launched in 2010, seeks by 2020 to add 150,000 new net jobs; generate $8 billion of capital investment; and raise per capita income by 30 percent.

Did You Know?
In 2013, the Intelligent Community Forum named Columbus the most intelligent city in the country.

“The strong workforce in Marion and in the Columbus region as a whole has helped fuel our company’s ongoing growth.”
— Rod Galbreath, President, CenMac Metalworks
 


 

Commerce Lexington

Robert L. Quick
President & CEO

www.commercelexington.com

Significant Projects:
Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distillery, United Parcel Service, Lexington Dixie Plant, Tru-Tone Finishing, Aventics Corporation

Programs & Initiatives:
Commerce Lexington aims to support existing businesses and to encourage new ones in an eight-county area known as the Bluegrass region. The group also seeks to advance minority business development and business education.

Did You Know?
The median age of Lexington-Fayette county is 33.7 years old, three-and-a-half years younger than the national average.

“The Lexington facility [makes] it possible to reach parts of the Midwest and East.”
— Greg Klemenswicz, President, Tru-Tone
 


 

Dallas Regional Chamber

Fort Worth Chamber

     

Dale Petroskey
President & CEO

www.dallaschamber.org

Bill Thornton
President & CEO

www.fortworthchamber.com

Significant Projects:
Flex-N-Gate Corp., Ashley Furniture Industries, Nutribiotech, DMN, Inc., Quality Tech Services, Raytheon

Programs & Initiatives:
The Dallas Regional Chamber’s “Get on Board Initiative” allows young professionals to meet and learn from current board members. Separate task forces focus on economic development, innovation and corporate recruitment. The Fort Worth Chamber’s Women’s Insight Network increases the visibility of professional women in the Greater Fort Worth area. The Chamber’s Stay in School Initiative encourages all students to complete requirements for graduation from high school.

Did You Know?
The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area’s 146,000-population increase last year was the most of any metro area, according to numbers released in March 2018 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“If you’re young and you’re getting ready to start a business, then I’d say come to Dallas.”
— Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks
 


 

Detroit Regional Chamber

Sandy Baruah
President & CEO

www.detroitchamber.com

Significant Projects:
Ilitch Holdings, RSM US LLP, Microsoft Corp., Diversenote, LLC

Programs & Initiatives:
Michauto is a key economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. Startgrid is a collaborative platform for entrepreneurs to test, share, innovate and grow ideas.

Did You Know?
Nearly 1,300 foreign companies from 38 countries employ more than 150,000 people in the 11-county Detroit region.

“Our region must be overly competitive in next-generation mobility. To complete this ecosystem, we need to attract more tech pioneers and entrepreneurs to our region.”
— Sandy Baruah, President & CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber
 


 

Greater Des Moines Partnership

Jay Byers
CEO

www.dsmpartnership.com

Significant Projects:
Kum & Go, Atlantic Bottling Company, EMC Insurance Group, Global Atlantic Financial Group, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation

Programs & Initiatives:
The Greater Des Moines Partnership’s seven priorities focus on developing central Iowa’s technology workforce, increasing the number of small business owners and entrepreneurs, and attracting more diverse candidates for executive level jobs.

Did You Know?
The Greater Des Moines Partnership plans to launch a STEM academy in 2018 to help central Iowans develop science, technical, engineering and math skills.

“With our expansion, we’re now able to serve most of the state of Iowa, so it made business sense for us to make a move to the south side of Des Moines.”
— Ryan Tyler, Regional Sales Manager, Atlantic Bottling Company
 


 

Greater Louisville, Inc

Louisville Forward

 

Kent Oyler
President & CEO

www.greaterlouisville.com

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl
Chief

www.LouisvilleKY.gov

Significant Projects:
W.W. Grainger, Ford Motor Company, Res-Care, Inc., Arroweye Solutions, Inc., Arvato Digital Services

Programs & Initiatives:
Greater Louisville 2020 and Advance Greater Louisville are economic growth initiatives spearheaded by Greater Louisville, Inc. Louisville Forward supports Bank on Louisville, a pipeline for financial talent geared toward low-to-moderate income earners; Louielab, an innovation hub for public-private collaboration; and the Nia Center, a resource for individuals and businesses looking to create new wealth and opportunities.

Did You Know?
Louisville in March unveiled “The Barrel,” an enormous installation designating the intersection of Fourth and Main Streets as the center of the city’s Bourbon District.

“Expanding our footprint in this centrally located logistics hub will allow us to continue our growth by servicing clients with multi-channel distribution and fulfillment services.”
— Dominik Dittrich, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Arvato SCM Solutions
 


 

Greater Houston Partnership

Bob Harvey
President & CEO

www.houston.org

Significant Projects:
Packwell Inc., Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, United Parcel Service, Sabic Americas, Lockton, Inc., TAS Energy

Programs & Initiatives:
HYPE (Houston Young Professionals Endeavor) offers a platform for young professionals to expand their business networks; Executive Women’s Partnership (EWP) is a networking group for senior executive women; Business Development helps members develop their businesses and hone their sales skills; The Talent Attraction initiative guides efforts to help recruit young talent from around the country.

Did You Know?
Metro Houston — including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties — created 62,900 jobs in 2017, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

“Houston is, without a doubt the weirdest, most entertaining city in Texas.”
— Texas Tourism Guide
 


 

Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Chris Camacho
President & CEO

www.gpec.org

Significant Projects:
B. Braun of America, Scientex Berhad, Interplast Group, Essendant, Inc.), Aquafil USA

Programs & Initiatives:
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council is leading efforts to promote development of driverless vehicles, wearables, cybersecurity and blockchain, thus bolstering the region’s reputation as “The Connected Place.”

Did You Know?
Phoenix does not require home buyers to pay residential real estate transfer taxes.

“The excitement behind the Phoenix technology scene is contagious … The value proposition of starting and scaling a business in Phoenix is clear and has the attention of our friends in Silicon Valley who are investing their dollars and creating jobs in our community.”
— Anthony Kennada, Chief Marketing Officer, Gainsight
 


 

Kansas City Area Development Council

Tim Cowden
President & CEO

www.thinkkc.com

Significant Projects:
Spring Venture Group, Hy-Vee, Inc., Bms Logistics, AutoAlert, Inc

Programs & Initiatives:
KC Rising is a long-term vision for the 18-county greater Kansas City region to build capacity, bring existing businesses to scale and target high growth in trade, people and ideas.

Did You Know?
More than 25 colleges and universities call the Kansas City area home.

“This area is rich with innovation, and AutoAlert is excited to be added to the mix.”
— Mike Dullea, CEO, AutoAlert
 


 

REDI Cincinnati

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED

 

Johnna Reeder
President & CEO

www.redicincinnati.com

Dan Tobergate
President & CEO

www.northernkentuckyusa.com

Significant Projects:
Ensemble Health Partners, American Retail Corporation, Interplastic Corporation, Mission Critical Wireless, Lisnr, LLC

Programs & Initiatives:
REDI Cincinnati leads a business retention and expansion program in Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio. The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation blends public and private funds to enhance the business climate in and foster regional cooperation among Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

Did You Know?
Cincinnati is the nation’s 28th-largest economy, and the sixth-largest economy in the Midwest.

“The access to top talent, central US location and affordable lifestyle and business environment that southwest Ohio offers are very attractive.”
— Judson Ivy, CEO, Ensemble Health Partners
 


 

World Business Chicago

Andrea Zopp
President & CEO

www.worldbusinesschicago.com

Significant Projects:
Siemens Schweiz, The Hatchery, Norfolk Southern Corp., Deutsche Post, KCura, West Monroe Partners

Programs & Initiatives:
World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs is built around strategies to encourage advanced manufacturing, transportation & logistics, exports, innovation and entrepreneurship and neighborhood development.

Did You Know?
Chicago ranked as Site Selection’s top performing Tier 1 metropolitan region for 2017.

“Going to Chicago was like going out of the world.”
— Muddy Waters
 


 

Metro Atlanta Chamber

Hala Moddelmog
President & CEO

www.metroatlantachamber.com

Significant Projects:
Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Digital Realty Trust, Anthem, Accenture, Sysnet Global Solutions

Programs & Initiatives:
The Metro Atlanta Chamber leads initiatives to drive growth in target industries including bioscience, fintech, technology, supply chain, mobility and IoT across the 29-county metro Atlanta region.

Did You Know?
Mercedes-Benz USA opened its new corporate headquarters in Sandy Springs, 10 minutes north of Atlanta, on March 15.

“I do love the weather here, where I can drive with the top down all year long.”
— Dietmar Exler, President & CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA, at the March 2018 grand opening of the company’s new headquarters in the metro Atlanta city of Sandy Springs
 


 

Regional Growth Partnership (Northwest Ohio)

Dean Monske
President & CEO

www.rpg.org

Significant Projects:
General Motors Company (automotive), Martin Motor Sports, LLC (powersports), Directions Credit Union (finance), Cliffs Natural Resources (mining), Sofo Foods of Ohio (food and food services)

Programs & Initiatives:
RGP Northwest Ohio leads business development and recruitment in the target sectors of energy, automotive, food processing, advanced manufacturing and logistics & transportation.

Did You Know?
Toledo’s entertainment district, known as Hensville, is anchored by Fifth Third Field, home of minor league baseball’s Toledo Mud Hens.

“What’s irresistible is a sense that Toledo not only is shedding its rust and coming back, but – especially downtown – coming back strong.”
— Alan Solomon, Chicago Tribune, October 2017
 

Gary Daughters
Senior Editor

Gary Daughters

Gary Daughters is a Peabody Award winning journalist who began with Site Selection in 2016. Gary has worked as a writer and producer for CNN covering US politics and international affairs. His work has included lengthy stints in Washington, DC and western Europe. Gary is a 1981 graduate of the University of Georgia, where he majored in Journalism and Mass Communications. He lives in Atlanta with his teenage daughter, and in his spare time plays guitar, teaches golf and mentors young people.

 




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