The Site Selectors Visit

Tim Burg Economic Development, Monday Memo

In the business of doing the business of economic development, every now and then we have something unexpected take place. Sometimes those surprises are good and sometimes those surprises are not so good.

This past week we had a good surprise.  A Site Selector who we had met a long time ago, paid us a visit along with a good friend of ours who is also an economic development professional.   

It is kind of a rarity for smaller sized communities to be visited by site selectors and while there wasn’t a specific project on the table to discuss, we were able to share with our visitors some of the growth activities that are ongoing in our community.  

It’s important to mention that several years ago, unbeknownst to us, this same Site Selector had visited our community and looked at an industrial site that we have available in the northern portion of the community.   

While we weren’t notified in advance of that past visit and the subsequent review of our property, we were contacted after his visit and told about his onsite inspection of our property and our community.   Equally as important, the Site Consultant told us what the project was, what they were looking for and where they eventually decided to locate.

While that might seem like a minor deal, the value of learning someone who helps make the decisions on where something locates and why one site is selected over another is invaluable.  

Success in the world of economic development can often be measured by how we respond to the failure of not landing a prospect, by maintaining our enthusiasm for what it takes to have the opportunity to land the next one.  

From the perspective of wanting to learn how improve our chances of making it to the next level in the site selection process, knowing what we need to do to improve our chances in the selection process, is critical.  Having a relationship with a Site Selector who is willing to provide us with that insight is GOLDEN… 

While our visitor was meeting with us, he shared the other people and organizations he was meeting with in his road trip through Oklahoma, and also gave us some insight into our own community.

In his words, “I see Shawnee’s name come up in a lot of site selection conversations.  Your community is certainly getting the kind of attention you want.”   He went on to tell us he was well aware of what we can offer to some of his clients who want to be in an edge city, next to and near to a larger metropolitan area.  

We all know that having visitors who speak nice about us and taking the time to meet is not winning a project or a deal.  But having those who help companies decide where to locate, take the time to come meet with us and provide us with their professional perspective is a positive direction for our community.

Knowing we are on the Site Selector’s radar is a good thing. That makes us want to do more to raise the awareness of what Shawnee can offer to others.