Martinez: Site selection tour a big step

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Walking through a massive hangar housing helicopters in various stages of completion, five site selectors from around the nation and the world marveled at the innovations taking place at Metro Aviation, an aviation operator and the world’s largest air medical completion center, based in Shreveport. They also visited the State’s only Tier III Data Center, owned by Eatel Business and housed in the historic Selber Bros. Department Store in downtown Shreveport. They toured the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Across the Red River, the site selectors took in the ultra-modern CSRA Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City and Bossier Parish Community College’s Center for Manufacturing & Engineering Technology— the first of its kind workforce training center in the nation.

These tours were a part of a three-day familiarization event sponsored by North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), an Accredited Economic Development Organization. NLEP annually brings in five members of Site Selectors Guild, the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants, to learn about our region’s assets, programs and opportunities.

“Site selectors are key influencers in the site selection process and can sway where a major economic development project locates,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, NLEP President. “That’s why NLEP dedicates a lot of resources to market our region to site selectors to create top of mind awareness of all the assets and opportunities available here.”

Site selectors work for Fortune 1000 companies from every industry sector, helping clients decide where to locate or expand their operations. The five site selectors who attended the 2017 NLEP Familiarization Tour, presented by Southwestern Electric Power Company, have worked for major companies like IBM, Apple, Coca-Cola, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble.

“This familiarization tour helped me to fill in my mental map of what Shreveport-Bossier City has to offer,” said Gregg Wassmansdorf, Senior Managing Director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank based in Toronto, Canada. “I did not realize the depth of the technology sector in North Louisiana.”

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the workforce and the workforce training programs I’ve seen here in Shreveport-Bossier,” said Dean Foote, President/CEO of Foote Consulting Group, based in Phoenix, AZ.

For Wassmansdorf and Foote, it was their first trip to the Capital of the Ark-La-Tex.  But for Mike Mullis, President & CEO of J.M. Mullis, based in Memphis, TN, he has worked numerous projects in North Louisiana. This latest visit reaffirmed in his mind that Shreveport-Bossier is a good place to do business. 

Other site selectors on the tour included Angelos Angelou, Founder of AngelouEconomics based Austin, TX and Chris Lloyd, Senior Vice President of McGuireWoods Consulting, based in Richmond, VA. They are both heavily involved in the technology sector and left with positive impressions of North Louisiana’s Cyber Corridor.

At the end of the tour, the five site selectors offered their impressions of Shreveport-Bossier during a site selector panel, attended by economic development, political, business, higher education and community leaders. All the site selectors expressed how impressed they were with the familiarization tour and that they believe Shreveport-Bossier is ready to support a major economic development project. 

Scott Martinez is president of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership