60 Seconds with Tracye McDaniel, CEO, Choose New Jersey


     On the first day of this month, a dark cloud that loomed over the 16-acre parcel in New York City known as Ground Zero evaporated with news from overseas that justice finally had been visited upon the perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
     We hope this long-awaited reckoning will enable the 10th anniversary ceremonies in New York this fall to mark the rebirth of the World Trade Center site.
     Construction crews in downtown Manhattan are working 24/7 to make sure the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is ready for viewing on the anniversary. The footprints of the Twin Towers are being converted into recessed pools surrounded by trees; a glass-enclosed pavilion will welcome visitors.
     Also rising on the World Trade Center site is a 1,776-ft. skyscraper, which upon completion will be the tallest building in New York, and a $2-billion transportation hub featuring a unique wingspan design by architect Santiago Calatrava.
     The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which built the original World Trade Center and owns the site, offers a website with a daily view of the construction progress at http://www.panynj.gov/wtcprogress/index.html.

Tracye McDaniel, CEO of Choose New Jersey; Don Slaght, Managing Director, Advance Real Estate Solutions; and Andrew Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins, Lacy, Shapiro & Company, recently participated in a panel discussion on New Jersey’s economic development efforts. Here are excerpts:

DS: Mr. Slaght noted that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority currently has more than thirty incentive programs designed to help bring businesses to New Jersey and assist businesses in the state with growth issues. The major negative, despite these initiatives, is the impact of the New Jersey tax profile on profitability and the regulatory requirements that force delays of years to put a shovel in the ground despite the financial incentive programs. Noting that Ms. McDaniel has relocated from Houston, TX, he pointed out that Texas serves as the national model of economic development initiatives.

TM: Ms. McDaniel lauded Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor
Kim Guadagno for the bold move in establishing ChooseNJ, an organization that will align business and political leaders to make progress on the issues that stymie business growth in the state. The main function of ChooseNJ will be to generate leads for business attraction and job growth. Ms. McDaniel noted ChooseNJ has commissioned a “Perception Study” of 4,000 CEO’s in and outside of New Jersey as a first step in determining the strategic initiatives to enhance business and job growth. The other major initiative is the development of a statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that will include a three-to-five year industry forecast.

AS: Mr. Shapiro noted that the National Governor’s Conference recently issued “best practices benchmarks” for economic development: 1) Private Sector Involvement—the Choose NJ Board 2) Establish a Core Mission 3) Active Role by the Governor 4) Audacious Vision
(ChooseNJ). His conclusion is that New Jersey is currently right on target with these best practices. He also indicated there is agreement that a comprehensive statewide Geographical Information System (GIS) is a necessary economic development tool that, along with the right staff to get things done, the engagement of professionals and simplified of regulatory requirements, will create a positive business growth climate in the state.

TM: Ms. McDaniel concluded by noting that the triumvirate of
ChooseNJ, the NJ Economic Development Authority, and the Business Action Center are partners working toward the same goal of business attraction and retention. Together, the organizations will create a seamless process to do business in New Jersey. Elements of the initiative are a strategy to create relationships, a network for lead generation, an advocacy team for businesses currently doing business in the state and the steady growth of effective incentive programs.