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By Christy Ellison Lugo on December 14, 2016

November 30 – December 2, 2016
Savannah Georgia



  • Low cost of doing business is no longer a selling point.
  • There is some fear from site consultants that companies will not pay the incentives clawback if they are not able to find the workforce.
  • Companies are tracking absentee rates in the local schools. The thinking is that if students won’t go to school, they won’t go to work.  It’s a selling point if our local schools have low absentee rates.  



  • Susan Arledge:  E Smith Realty Partners, Dallas, TX
  • Christine Bustamante:  KPMG, Columbus, OH
  • Minah Hall:  True Partners Consulting, Chicago, IL
  • Ann Harts:  E Smith Realty Partners, Dallas, TX
  • Betty McIntosh:  Cushman & Wakefield, Atlanta, GA
  • Kim Moore:  Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Dallas, TX
  • Kathy Mussio:  Atlas Insight, NJ
  • Rebecca Truelove:  EY, NYC
  • Ann Marie Woessner-Collins:  JLL 


This is the first Women in Economic Development conference for Gregson & Co. Annie Gregson has been putting together a conference for women in economic development in Chicago for Area Development the past six years. The new program featured an outstanding group of leading site consultants who covered a wide spectrum of relevant topics during the sessions.  We were able to spend meaningful time developing relationships with them during all of the receptions, meals, and breaks. 

The following are a few key takeaways from the conference:

  • Midwest is a big sell for medical device companies.
  • Food industry growing because people are eating healthier.  Lots of “farm fresh” home delivered meal companies.
  • What isn’t growing:  oil services and data services.
  • Companies are tracking states that legalize marijuana because it means they won’t have to conduct drug testing. 
  • High schools that require an internship prior to graduation are experiencing positive results.  Typically require student to complete 120 hours prior to graduation.
  • During a site visit meeting include someone that knows how and where to obtain data requested on the spot.
  • Need to include date the EDO’s website was last updated even if programs have not changed.  It lets the consultants know the information on your website is not outdated.
  • The minimum wage in Oregon is about to double the next two years.  Anticipate this might be a good place to recruit companies.
  • The last incentive in Illinois is about to sunset.  Good time to poach their companies.
  • Communities should not ban new programs like Air B&B because it gives the message that you do not welcome millennials.