By Anne Cosgrove
From the January / February 2023 Issue
In November 2022, Business Facilities presented its signature LiveXchange conference in Orlando, FL—with the November 16-18 event focused on site selection trends and issues facing companies in emerging industries, such as advanced manufacturing, electric vehicles, AI, fintech, biotech, and agritech. Taking place at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, this LiveXchange featured more than 140 meetings between site selectors and economic development professionals. During these one-on-one meetings, attendees and sponsors discussed the relocation and expansion needs of companies in high-growth sectors. Recognized for its professional, yet relaxed setting, Business Facilities LiveXchange brings together corporate site selectors and site consultants with active projects in the pipeline, to the table with economic development groups to explore what those locations have to offer to business.
In the signature style of the Business Facilities’ long-running LiveXchange events (the 19th annual meeting will take place April 24-26, 2023; see more below), LiveXchange Emerging Industries in Orlando combined business meetings with conference sessions and fun networking events, including an afternoon at the nearby Universal Studios Florida theme park.
A Lively Look To The Future
With emerging industries and the specific site selection needs of those firms, Greg Lindsay, futurist — and two-time Jeopardy! champion — presented the opening keynote to the group. In a fast-paced, engaging style, Lindsay talked about the numerous, significant, and, perhaps, surprising ways technology is impacting people, business, and overall development across the globe. As Senior Fellow for Applied Research and Foresight at NewCities, as well as a Senior Fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab and a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative, Lindsay’s perspective and interaction with future themes and impact on society are far-reaching.
Next up was “Trends in FDI” and current data around industries in this sphere. Presented by Bruce Takefman, Founder and CEO of ResearchFDI, five emerging industries and a sampling of foreign direct investment into these were showcased. Takefman’s talk provided eye-opening context into the amount of investment into these industries, and the potential for growth.
Rounding out day one was a “Key Factors For Site Selection” panel. This talk took a look at relocation and expansion requirements for companies in emerging industries—electric vehicles and agritech, for example. Panelists were: Jenny Massey, Director of Site Selection/Incentives, Sikich; Linda Burns, Incentives Practice Leader, WDG Consulting; Alexandra Segers, General Manager, Tochi Advisors; and William Parsons, Senior Consultant, Ryan, LLC.
Specific workforce skills and “ready-to-go” sites were among key points, and these also highlighted factors that are common across both emerging and traditional industry sectors. ESG goals and mandates were also discussed as many high-growth companies are concerned with environmental impacts.
The final day of LiveXchange Emerging Industries kicked off with a conference session focused on cybersecurity, including the dire workforce shortage in both federal government and private sectors. Barry Albrecht, CEO of Strategic Location Services, a consulting firm with significant experience in the defense industries, presented the state of the cybersecurity workforce—and how this and other aspects are affecting site selection decisions.
“Over the last 40 years I’ve participated in many trade organizations, and the ‘speed dating’ technique utilized by LiveXchange is a superior method of networking and information exchange.”
— Geoffrey Troan
After the morning meetings, John Boyd, Jr., Principal at The Boyd Company, a site selection consulting firm, shared insight into the “EV Market: Opportunities & Challenges.” In an informal chat with Business Facilities’ Editorial Director Anne Cosgrove, he discussed the rapid growth of the EV market and site selection factors.
“This event was a great opportunity to meet various public sector agencies and to discover their targeted industry models,” said Geoffrey Troan, Managing Director, Site Selection and Business Incentives Services Support for Vista Site Selection in Columbus, OH. “Over the last 40 years I’ve participated in many trade organizations, and the ‘speed dating’ technique utilized by LiveXchange is a superior method of networking and information exchange, providing a concise organized format for the birth of public-private economic development partnerships.”