In last week’s Fox File, I mentioned that I was en route to Chicago for a training hosted by Conway, the publishers of Site Selection magazine.
The training was a two-day event and drew organizations like EDCUtah from all over the globe. I had the chance to share and learn best-practices with colleagues from the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Germany, Chicago, Kansas City, and elsewhere. I left the conference feeling very energized!
There were several great sessions, including one on talent attraction led by Utah’s very own, Carine Clark. For those of you who don’t know Carine, she is a top tech executive in the state. She is currently the CEO of Banyan and serves on several boards, including the GOED Board and the Board of Silicon Slopes. Her session was terrific and my little Utah heart was brimming with pride watching this talented Utahn sharing her gifts with a global audience.
One of the sessions I enjoyed most was an open Q and A with a leading site selector, Bob Hess. Bob is with Newmark Frank and I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few deals with him over the years. During Bob’s remarks, he mentioned that he had recently completed projects in a variety of locations, including in Budapest, Singapore, Michigan, and even Missoula, Montana. I asked him how a relatively small state like Utah can stand out from the crowd, and what the best communications strategies are for engaging multipliers like him. He had three great recommendations that I wanted to share with you:
- Know Thyself: Bob recommended that any great EDO needs to know its market’s industry sectors and eco-systems backwards and forwards.
- Be Where We Are: Bob mentioned that as data heavy as economic development and site selection can be, for Bob to take a client into a market he needs to know and trust the EDO on the ground. So he recommended that we spend time forming and strengthening relationships with site selectors.
- Story Tell: Again, the data is incredibly important but make sure there’s a narrative to illustrate and add context and color to the data.
I loved those recommendations and they provided a great reminder to continue executing on several key items within this year’s program of work. We have been working closely with GOED to refresh our understanding of the State’s Strategic Industries and the way we communicate about them. We have programmed a lot of time visiting site selectors and welcoming them into our market. In fact, over the next month, we’ll be attending both the prestigious Site Selectors Guild Conference and the Industrial Asset Managers Conference. And finally, we are always working on storytelling. Utah has a great economic success story in and of itself, but it’s the individual company successes, the entrepreneurs, and the great people who operate here that make Utah so amazing and we are happy to be able to share those stories wherever we are.