Site Selection Matters is a podcast that takes a close look at the art and science of site selection decision making with Rick Weddle, executive director of the Site Selectors Guild. Every two weeks we plan to bring you a new episode that introduces you to different members of the Site Selectors Guild and offers insight into the best and next practices in our profession.
Episode 45 - What the American Rescue Plan Means for Economic Development
Rick Weddle (Site Selectors Guild): Welcome to Site Selection Matters, where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I’m your host, Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild or economic development partners and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession. In this episode, we have as our guest, Chris Lloyd, senior vice president and director of infrastructure and economic development with McGuireWoods Consulting, a leader in the practice of location advisory services and economic development. Today, Chris will talk with us about the American Rescue Plan, where specifically Chris will discuss just what the plan means for the economic development community going forward. Join me as we welcome Chris Lloyd to Site Selection Matters.
Chris, as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re starting to see some of the real impacts of the various federal stimulus plans adopted to help restart the economy. Now we even have a new one, the recently approved American Rescue Plan. To get us started if you will, take a minute or two, help our listeners understand what all is really included in the American Rescue Plan.
Chris Lloyd (McGuireWoods Consulting): Sure, Rick. And again, thanks for hosting us and inviting me to be a part of this today. You know, as you outlined, Rick, you know, this is not the first and nor will it probably be the last federal stimulus plan to come out of Congress. And I know we’re going to talk later about the potential American jobs plan, the infrastructure plan that the Biden administration has floated, but you know what we’ve got here in the American Rescue Plan, which was passed, you know, within the first month of the new administration is $1.9 trillion. Yes, that’s trillion with a T dollars that’s going to flow from Washington to the states and through various federal agencies for a variety of purposes.
What makes this program a little bit different from the CARES Act or some of the earlier stimulus plans adopted by Congress is that while there’s certainly an overlay and a theme that runs through this money that links it to the COVID pandemic and recovery from it, there’s a little bit more flexibility with regards to how this money is used by the states and the federal agencies in that, a lot of those earlier packages were exclusively tied to reimbursing expenses incurred by impacted small businesses, by local and state governments related to PPE expenses, related to overtime for personnel for running vaccination clinics, for running COVID testing.
And while there’s certainly money in the new America’s rescue plan for those expenses as well, there are a number of programs here that really do have an economic development nexus that I think that, you know, many of the listeners of this podcast will be interested in and thinking about how we can use that money for an economic development purpose. You know, starting at the high level of the $1.9 trillion, you first and foremost, you’ve got $219 billion is going directly to states, $130 million goes directly to localities for allocation. There’s $10 billion allocated in a Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, which is for each state gets at least $100 million for capital projects that are related to work or education or health monitoring related to COVID-19. You’ve got money set aside for travel assistance. You’ve got $4 billion going to USDA.
Episode 44 -How a National Infrastructure Plan Positions the U.S. for Long-term Economic Growth
Rick Weddle: Welcome to Site Selection Matters, where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision making. I’m your host Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild.
In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession.
In this episode, we have as our guest, Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Ginovus, one of the nation’s leading location advisory firms. Today, Larry will talk with us about infrastructure. More specifically, Larry will discuss how a national infrastructure plan can position the U.S. for long-term economic development growth. Join me as we welcome Larry Gigerich to Site Selection Matters.
Rick: Larry, today we’re going to be talking about infrastructure, and more specifically, a national plan for infrastructure. But before we jump into the details, why don’t you take a minute, if you will, explain to our listeners exactly what is meant by this word infrastructure?
Larry Gigerich: Well, absolutely, Rick, and great to be with you as always. In my mind, infrastructure is really a physical asset as you think about. It’s something that’s required to support residential, commercial, and industrial development. So I think about things like roads, rail lines, water, sewer, natural gas, electric, broadband. Those kinds of issues are really key underpinnings to economic development and are physical in nature. You know, without it, businesses can’t operate, individuals can’t live their lives. They’re all things that are important to what we all do day-to-day, and we really need certainly a national plan to help us enhance our infrastructure in our country. It’s something that is important. Again, serves as a key underpinning for economic development over the long-term, and it’s something, honestly, we’ve neglected for a few decades as a country in the U.S. and something needs to be addressed.
Rick: You know, Larry with that definition as a baseline, physical infrastructure, you’ve explained that very well kind of what it is. Take a minute, if you can, help us understand why infrastructure development as a process is so important to economic development, and as a follow-up, why a national plan seems to be the right way to go.
Larry: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, again, as I think about infrastructure and those physical assets, it’s really important for economic development as it relates to being able to either develop or redevelop sites or buildings, you know, having the things in place that you need to. You know, as I always say, it’s kind of like when you think about infrastructure, you know, when you throw on the light switch and your lights come on, you turn on a faucet, water comes out, you don’t necessarily think about that infrastructure and what it takes to get it to your business, to your home every day until you don’t have access to, until you turn the light switch and the lights don’t come on or turn on the faucet, no water comes out, then it becomes a crisis. So I think that the importance of a national plan, especially one that ends up being focused on physical infrastructure is really important. Again, we’ve not seen anything concentrated, probably close to 30 years now, and we’ve seen a lot of aging of our existing infrastructure, let alone the technological adva
Episode 43 - The Macro Factors Driving Foreign Direct Investment Trends
Rick Weddle (Site Selectors Guild): Welcome to Site Selection Matters, where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I’m your host, Rick Weddle, president of Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession. In this episode, we have as our guest Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief of Investment Monitor, a part of New Statesman Media Group, with a mission of explaining how the world is changing for decision-makers in need of data-driven answers. Today, Courtney will talk with us about foreign direct investment or FDI. More specifically, Courtney will share with us about FDI trends and the macro factors driving them. What an interesting and relevant topic for today’s discussion. Join me as we welcome Courtney Fingar to “Site Selection Matters.” Courtney, before we get into the weeds of foreign direct investment or FDI as a topic, take a minute, if you will, and tell us about the “Investment Monitor.”
Courtney Fingar (Investment Monitor): Well, first of all, thanks very much for having me. “Investment Monitor” is a new publication that was launched in September 2020. It’s digital-only, and it’s free to read and access. So, I hope all the listeners will check it out. Our audience that we’re targeting would be senior decision-makers at multinational companies and those who influence their decisions, so that, of course, would include site selection advisors. But, of course, it could be interesting for anyone in the broader FDI ecosystem. We consider ourselves to be data-led. So, we are trying to sort through all the vast amounts of data out there that relate to FDI and help our readers make sense of them. I come to the publication from a relatively long career at Financial Times, formerly running fDi Magazine there, and I’ve been joined at Investment Monitor by about 10 other colleagues from there. And we’re just looking to build something new, and we felt there was a gap in the market that we’re trying to serve.
Rick: Well, that’s great. It sounds like a great opportunity at a really interesting time. You know, 2020 was wow, quite a year as we faced the first global pandemic in at least our lifetimes. One area that was impacted by the pandemic was global investment or FDI hugely. By some estimates, the total of foreign investment fell by over 40% maybe in 2020. Take a minute if you will and help us unpack that fact or data, as you would say, and explain why our listeners should be concerned with it.
Courtney: Yes, it was a highly disruptive year, and the data charts are pretty ugly when we start to look around what happened last year. And it’s arguably the most difficult situation for FDI in decades. And that would even include the big collapses that we saw after the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. Now, the collapse is not uniform. There were some sectors that have continued to perform relatively well, and they are not surprising ones like healthcare and ICT. And a few countries are outliers. We saw increases in China and India, for example. But apart from those few bright spots, we saw declines in every mode of FDI. So, we saw declines
Episode 42 - Climate Change Actions Emerge as a Site Location Factor
Rick Weddle (Site Selectors Guild): Welcome to "Site Selection Matters" where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I'm your host, Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession.
In this episode, we have as our guest, Didi Caldwell, principal with Global Location Strategies, one of the world's leading site selection consultancies for manufacturing and industrial companies. Today Didi will talk with us about how community or state action to combat climate change is emerging as an increasingly important site location factor. Join me as we welcome Didi Caldwell to "Site Selection Matters."
Didi, the interest in sustainability is clearly escalating. The new administration's push for climate change programs, renewable energy jobs, plus the recent announcement by BlackRock chief, Laurence Fink, calling for companies to actually disclose plans on how they'll support a net-zero economy all seem to reinforce this point. Take a minute, if you will, to help our listeners understand why this is important, specifically to site location, and what a net-zero economy actually means.
Didi Caldwell (Global Location Strategies): Thank you, Rick. It's great to be here with you. We've seen an increasing interest from our clients in net-zero and other sustainability goals over the last, I would say decade. Net-zero essentially means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere and those that are taken out so that we can achieve a net-zero emissions. It differs from gross zero, in that gross zero would mean that we're trying to take out all carbon dioxide emissions, which is, I think most people would agree, is not achievable with today's technology. But net-zero accounts for our ability to take out greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere through nature or through other technologies.
Rick: So that would mean we're not making it worse, right? If you're at net zero, it's do no harm, kind of.
Didi: Exactly. And the widely accepted increase in temperature that we can achieve... We have to get to net-zero in order to achieve an overall warming of 2 degrees Celsius or less. That's what the scientists are telling us, that we need to in order to avoid major environmental damage and beyond social and all kinds of other things that scientists are telling us that degrees Celsius is about where that threshold is. And in order to achieve that, we really need to get to net-zero and as quickly as possible.
Rick: You know, there's a lot of details and a lot of substance to be understood and learned in this. But, you know, we've been talking about global warming and climate change for a long time now, some more intensely, some less intensely, but some of us actually remember back when Al Gore first raised the conscious level with the release of the movie, "Inconvenient Truth." Why do you think it's coming to the forefront now, after all these years?
Didi: Well, there's a couple of reasons. I mean, one thing is that was sort of a call-to-action, but we really didn't have the technologies, at least not at a price point where we could implement those technologies back when "I
Episode 41 - Unpacking the Location Strategy Decision Process
Rick Weddle (Site Selectors Guild): Welcome to "Site Selection Matters," where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I'm your host, Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession.
In this episode, we have as our guest Larry Moretti, principal with LFM Corporate Solutions. With over 30 years of professional experience, Larry focuses on global location strategies and site selection across all industry platforms, corporate real estate advisory services, economic development, and program management. Today, Larry will talk with us about the location strategy decision chain. More specifically, Larry will help us unpack and understand what goes into the decision process? Who was involved in the decision and how it works in practice? Join me as we welcome Larry Moretti to "Site Selection Matters."
Rick: Larry, thanks for joining us today and helping us understand the location decision process from the inside out. Why don't you start by giving our listeners your perspective on the strategy decision chain and what's required for a successful decision path?
Larry Moretti (LFM Corporate Solutions): Well, thanks, Rick. I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today. It's interesting having done projects like that, site selection projects for many years, I have seen a pattern I'm sure my colleagues do as well. I mean, the bottom line is the successful project for expanding, consolidating a relocating a company's geographic footprint, they all share a common grounding. They're guided by a logical defendable process to build a business case and to guide that decision. And this is often based on, or always I would say based on underlying business need and the project success factors.
So, you know, really important dimension there, in addition to all of the value developments of a citing selection, it's having a clear project management communications and decision structure. And this structure constitutes what I would call a supply and demand decision chain of corporate site selection and economic development. And, you know, this decision involves a couple of categories, I would say three categories in total. One I would call the demand side, then there's a supply side, kind of makes sense, and then the third is a group in between that that evaluates or otherwise influences the decision.
So the views and motivations of each of these groups towards alternatives solutions and factors of importance is going to vary, but the underlying process needs to be grounded in project objectives, but it also has to be flexible enough to anticipate actions and reactions to each of these parties. So, it's really, really important for the roles of these key groups to be established and how they fit into the process upfront early in the process. So truly a classic exercise in project management, and we'll go into some of the details.
Rick: Very, very interesting. Larry, moving or changing a corporate location, a facility if you will, is clearly a big decision impacting the whole company most likely. As such, I would expect that a lot of different people or stakeholders inside the company would want to have a say or do have a say in that process. Who do you consider to be the key parties in that decision chain from the company or the demand side?
Larry: Stepping back a
Episode 40 - The COVID-19 Impact on the Food and Beverage Processing Industry
Rick Weddle (Site Selectors Guild): Welcome to "Site Selection Matters," where we take a closer look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I'm your host, Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession. In this episode, we have as our guest, Jay Garner, president and founder of Garner Economics and chairman of the Site Selectors Guild. Today Jay will talk with us about the impact COVID-19 has had on food and beverage processing. Jay will also share his unique perspective and insight on the role the Site Selectors Guild has played in professionalizing the location advisory business. Join me as we welcome Jay Garner to "Site Selection Matters."
Rick: Jay, I read with interest your recent article on the impact COVID-19 has had on the food and beverage processing industry. You suggest the impact has been both positive and negative. Take a minute, if you will, and tell our listeners how you see this industry in a post-COVID world.
Jay (Garner Economics): Hey, Rick, thanks very much for having me. And I love talking about the food and beverage sector, it's our wheelhouse, and so we are engaged in that sector extensively. Boy, let me tell you something, this pandemic really has impacted all of us, many of us negatively, especially economically, health-wise. But some of us, some corporations, have made profits like no other. And the food and beverage sector and all of the downstream companies associated with it, like grocery stores, have done the best they have ever done in the history of their business.
So, let me tell you a little bit reason why. Well, obviously, there is no such thing as a recession-proof industry sector, but the food and beverage sector is the closest thing to it because everyone still needs to eat. So, what happens is, because of consumer preference, you have an evolution and always evolving demand of what these products should be. In the case of food and beverage, a number of things were happening before the pandemic, they got exasperated during the pandemic. And what we're seeing, coming out of it, is profound. Protein plants, for example, during the month of May. You know, between 40% and 60% of all protein plants, those are meat-processing facilities went offline. So, not only did you have a shortage in the grocery store and a lot of meat products, but, obviously, you had an escalation in prices as a result of that. And then we all know about paper products associated, in your grocery stores. Those don't typically classify in the food and beverage sector, but you kind of get the idea, get the drift, you know.
At the same time, you have sectors like those that have alcohol-infusion that have really grown exponentially. Alcohol sales were on the decline, in the U.S., pre-pandemic. And then during the pandemic, alcohol sales grew significantly because of lockdowns, job losses. You know, there's some inherent psychological challenges that people have faced and continue to face during the pandemic. So, anything...alcohol is classified as food and beverage. And you have alcohol-infusion waters, like these hard seltzer waters, that's the rage now, everyone wants to buy these hard seltzer waters.
So, you know, in South Carolina, last month, you had one of these seltzer companies, that's associated with White Claw, doi
Great podcast with excellent insights into the site selection process....
Great podcast with excellent insights into the site selection process....how a project is managed and how a site is selected. Looking forward to future podcasts with experts in the industry.