Episode 18: Phoenix Rising: Quality of Life  Drives Kudelski’s HQ Location Decision

This week we bring you the story of the Kudelski Group, a Swiss company that was looking to open its first corporate headquarters in North America. The company looked at three regions in the Western United States – Denver, San Francisco and Phoenix – and, in the tradition of amazing Swiss efficiency, they made the decision in just 90 days.

Quality of life, according to Rich Fennessy, President & CEO of Kudelski Security, was the single most important factor in the decision—a first for “The Project.” Chris Camacho, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), weighs in on the decision process from the economic development perspective.

Episode 17: Game On: Trump Administration Moves Forward with SelectUSA

While a lot is changing in Washington this year, new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently confirmed one important initiative that is full steam ahead. SelectUSA, a program focused on helping the United States attract more foreign direct investment, is continuing and will be holding its fourth investment summit in the Washington area on June 18-20.

“The Project” travels to Washington for an interview with Fred Volcansek, SelectUSA’s New Executive Director. Anne McKinney, the organization’s Director of Investment Services, joins Fred for the interview.

We also hear from the leader of one economic development group that has successfully worked with SelectUSA in the past. Jan Rogers, CEO for the Regional Economic Development Corporation for Eastern Idaho (or REDI for short) talks about her collaboration with the organization and success attracting two Japanese companies to Idaho as a result.

Episode 16: Talent, Talent, Talent: Citrix Picks North Carolina Over Georgia and Florida

This week we bring you the story of how talent trumped just about every other factor that goes into a location decision to allow Raleigh to win a $5 million, 400-job expansion from Citrix, beating out competition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Alpharetta, Georgia, Santa Clara, California and Austin, Texas. We talk to Nate Spilker, Vice President of Product Management at Citrix, and James Sauls, Economic Development Director for the City of Raleigh, to get the full story.

Episode 15: Talent, Facilities and Market Access Drive NEST iON to Rochester, New York

Welcome to our most international episode of “The Project” to date. NEST iON is a start-up company that manufactures specialized batteries for the law enforcement and security profession. The company was founded by a Spanish entrepreneur who relocated to Ireland, initially outsourced all of his manufacturing to South Korea and now has his sights on entering the U.S. market. In February 2017, the company announced plans to open a research & development/manufacturing facility at the Eastman Business Park, a 2.5 million square foot facility owned by Kodak. We interview company founder Boris Gragera, Matt Hurlbutt of Greater Rochester Enterprise and Matt Fronk of NY BEST (New York Battery & Energy Storage Technology Consortium) for the story behind NEST iON’s decision to locate in Rochester, New York.

Episode 14: Inside the Site Selectors Guild

The Site Selectors Guild started in 2010 with a dozen or so individuals quietly agreeing to create the world’s first trade association of site selection consultants. Seven years later, the organization has been wildly successful growing their ranks to 43 current members and hosting professional conferences that literally sell out in minutes.

To gain insight into the Guild and its members, “The Project” sits down with Phil Schneider, an industry veteran who has worked nearly 400 site selection projects over the past 31 years. Phil recently stepped down as the organization’s Chair but remains an active member of the Guild’s Board of Directors.

Episode 13: A Guide to Winning Amazon’s Next Announcement

With plans to add 100,000 new, full-time, full-benefit jobs across the U.S. in the next 18 months, Amazon is the world’s leading e-commerce company and one of the most sought-after companies for communities looking to attract jobs and investment. This week, to gain insight into the process of winning an Amazon project, we looked over the long list of communities that have successfully landed Amazon facilities in the past two years and arranged a conference call with two seasoned economic developers: Adriana Cruz, President and CEO of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, and Jerry Mallot, President of the JAXUSA Partnership in Jacksonville, Florida. Here are their insights into successful working with this fast growing company and our guide to winning Amazon’s next project.


Episode 12: Sweden, Germany or USA? Packsize Selects Utah for International Headquarters

Packsize is a pioneer in “on-demand packaging systems,” a technology that allows companies to create custom boxes for their products, reducing packaging volume by about 40 percent. With customers like Staples, Cabela’s and Boston Scientific, the company is rapidly growing and, though they considered Sweden and Germany, decided to make their biggest expansion to-date in Salt Lake City, Utah. We talk to Hanko Kiessner, CEO of Packsize and Brad Baird, Senior Business Development Manager at EDCUtah.


Episode 11: Goodbye Atlanta…Hello Fayetteville: Menguin Thrives as Big Fish in a Small Pond

This week, we bring you the story of Menguin, a company that sought to bring the somewhat dated and often frustrating world of tuxedo rentals into the digital age with an online retail platform. The company was conceived on the campus of Indiana University and got its start in Atlanta, Georgia, but really found its stride when its co-founders took the advice of investor John James of Hayseed Ventures and relocated to Fayetteville, Arkansas. We talk to Justin Delaney, CEO of Menguin, and Brett Amerine, COO of Startup Junkie Consulting, to get the full story.


Episode 10: A Cyclist Invests $125 Million in Tennessee

In October 2016, three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond took the stage in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to announce one of the most significant developments in carbon fiber production over the past 50 years—the opening of his company, LeMond Composites. The project involves $125 million in investment and the creation of 250 jobs in Tennessee over the next five years. To get the full story, “The Project” talked to Connie Jackson, research engineer and CEO of LeMond Composites, and Gary Human, East Tennessee Regional Director at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Update: Connie Jackson has since left her post as CEO of LeMond Composites.


Episode 9: Two Consultants Forecast Site Selection Trends for 2017

So what does 2017 look like in terms of site location decisions? How will the Trump Presidency impact corporate decision-making? And will new minimum wage increases in states like New York, California and Colorado change the landscape at all?

“The Project” sits down with Kathy Mussio, Managing Partner with Atlas Insight and Brett Bayduss, Executive Vice President of the Site Selection Group for their perspective on the year ahead.  They share interesting answers to some difficult questions in the first podcast of the new year.


Episode 8: Charles Schwab’s Crystal Ball: Projecting the Location of “Future Talent” Leads to Texas  

Charles Schwab recently announced plans to build a $100 million campus that would initially house 1,200 staffers in Westlake, Texas, a growing community in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Understanding where the right financial services talent “is going to be” in the next 20 years was the key to selecting a location in the Dallas region.

To get the inside story we decided to “Talk to Chuck” – or in this case Chuck’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Glenn Cooper. We also interview Larry Gigerich, Managing Director of Ginovus (a site selection firm engaged by the company) and the Honorable Laura Wheat, Mayor of Westlake, Texas.


Episode 7: Trump and Carrier Corp: The Deal That Saved 1,000 U.S. Jobs

It started with a Thanksgiving Day tweet from Donald Trump: “I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier to stay in the U.S. MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”

On December 1, just a week later, President-Elect Trump, Vice-President-Elect Pence and Greg Hayes, President of Carrier Corp’s parent company, stood on-stage together and announced that 1,000 jobs would stay in the United States and not relocate to Mexico. It was an extraordinary reversal and Carrier’s local workforce couldn’t have been happier.

So on the day of the announcement, we set up a conference call with two highly-respected site selection consultants to get their take on this decision. You’ll hear from Larry Gigerich, Managing Director of Ginovus and Michelle Comerford, Industrial & Supply Chain Manager with Biggins Lacy Shapiro, another highly respected site consulting firm. Both firms are members of the Site Selectors Guild.

Episode 6: Should I Stay or Should I Go? – Illinois Manufacturer Weighs Move to Wisconsin

Vonco Products, a manufacturer of flexible packaging products with 80+ employees, recently announced plans to move its operations across state lines from Lake Villa, Illinois to Salem, Wisconsin. If you’re up on your Midwestern geography, you know that move was just 20 miles to the North. But the deal at the center of this episode was nearly two years in the making. We talk to Keith Smith, President at Vonco Products, and Todd Battle, President of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, to get the full story.


Episode 5: Under the Radar: Telecommunications Firm Quietly Explores Headquarters Relocation

Hotwire Communications is a fast-growing, privately held company that was rapidly outgrowing its headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. When they began exploring a new location, they did so quietly without the help of consultants or economic development organizations. Their search led them to purchase a 180,000 square foot building in Fort Lauderdale that was a perfect match with their needs. And they called upon both the city and the state for a $1.9 million incentive package that would seal the deal.

We interview Dan O’Connell, Vice President of Sales for Hotwire Communications and Bob Swindell, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance in this episode.

Episode 4: Waiting For Alorica: A Site Selection Drama in Three Acts

Alorica is a $2 billion company with over 92,000 employees and the largest customer engagement company in the United States. They operate 162 different centers across the country but they needed to add new facility based on their growth path. They looked at a short list of five communities in the Southeast but ultimately chose Owensboro, Kentucky for a new center that will employ over 800 people.

We talked to Greg Bush, a Divisional Vice President with Alorica, Jeff Pappas who is with E. Smith Realty and served as a consultant on the project and Madison Silvert, President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation and produced the following episode titled “Waiting for Alorica: A Site Selection Drama in Three Acts.”


Episode 3: Go West Young Firm…Tech Startup Finds Home in Reno

The name of the company is CAEK – which stands for Catherine, Anna, Elizabeth and Katie – four entrepreneurial women who started a software development company in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Their growth plans will take them from 9 employees today to a staff of 150 people in five years. So the need for talent and venture capital took them to the West. They looked at tech hotspots of Silicon Valley, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Austin but ultimately they decided to relocate their growing company to Reno, Nevada. We talked to CAEK Founder Katie Lay and Stan Thomas, Executive Vice President of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (or EDAWN for short).


Episode 2: If You Build It…Dana Inc., Toledo and the Spec Building

When Dana Incorporated was selected to supply axles for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, the company chose the Overland Industrial Park in Toledo, Ohio – the exact site where the first Jeeps were built in the 1940’s – as the site of its new manufacturing facility. For the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which purchased the site in 2010 and invested heavily to attract tenants, the decision represented a big risk that ultimately paid off. We talked to Ken Andres, Global Director of Real Estate and Construction at Dana, and Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, to get the full story.


Episode 1: Fast Growth Tech Company Finds New Home in Old Space

iCIMS, a technology firm that had been on the Inc. 500 list for ten years in a row, had outgrown its existing space. Based in Central New Jersey, the company needed a new home that would appeal to its millennial talent. Their search took them to Bell Works, a former research laboratory constructed in 1962 with a long history of innovation. They hit some bumps along the way, but with the help of a pioneering real estate developer, our story has a happy ending.


Andy Levine

Andy Levine is President/Chief Creative Officer of DCI and Creator of “The Project.” As the son of Ted Levine, founder of Development Counsellors International, Andy was introduced to the world of economic development and travel marketing at birth. Since joining the firm in 1991, Andy has helped launch the company into a new era, advancing the quality of client work performed, growing the number of staff and adding to the range of client services offered.

Patience Fairbrother

Patience Fairbrother is an Senior Account Executive at DCI and Co-host of “The Project.” Since joining DCI in 2014, Patience has worked on a broad range of marketing programs from the State of Texas to the Netherlands. Her passion both for podcasts and economic development inspired her work on “The Project.”