Economic Development

Slater Barr

Last week I talked about the Object of the Game and the difference between consumptive industries and primary industries, how dollars are replenished, and the direct relation between diversification and a strong local economy. This week, "The Game of Economic Development - Playing to Win: Where Do They Hold Tournaments?"

Where Do They Hold Tournaments?

Previously, we talked about why we play the “Game of Economic Development” and the object of play. This week, we look at where the game is played. I have been told that there are about five thousand economic development organizations across the United States, each working diligently to attract new businesses and investment to their respective communities. In reality, this game is being played all over the country and, in fact, all over the world.

Still, there are parts of the nation that play the game of recruiting industries much more frequently than other regions. Area Development magazine conducts an annual survey of corporate site selectors. One of their questions deals with plans for new facilities in various regions of the country. A few years ago, I took those responses and mapped them according to Area Development’s predefined regions.

The region receiving the greatest interest were the southeastern states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Some 17% of those participating in the survey indicated plans for a new facility in that region. The Southwest, comprised of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, followed closely behind at 16%. The mid-Atlantic states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia were at 13%.

Area Development combined Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee for a region that came in at 9%. The regions receiving the least interest were the upper Midwest at 5% and Alaska at 1%.

However, it is important to remember that these percentages reflect only the intentions of those site selectors that participated in the survey. We also need to recognize that each region is comprised of hundreds of communities, each with varying degrees of interest to relocating companies.

So when we DO receive notice that an industry wants to join in our game – that they are considering a new facility in Dyer County – we need to play at the best of our ability. We must be prepared with high-quality sites, supporting infrastructure, workforce training, and an exceptional quality-of-life. Our competition is simply too great for us to succeed with anything less.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's segment and I encourage you to join me next week. Have a great week and please don't forget to join us on February 8, 2020 for the Annual Chairman's Banquet and Awards Program!

Slater Barr, CEcD

Slater is a Certified Economic Developer and a certified Economic Development Finance Professional. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and of the prestigious Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In addition, he has the Urban Land Institute Certificate in Real Estate Development and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.