By Anne Cosgrove
From the May / June 2023 Issue
On April 24-26, site selection professionals and economic developers came together in Myrtle Beach, SC for the 19th annual Business Facilities LiveXchange event. Taking place at Marina Inn at Grande Dunes resort, LiveXchange set the backdrop for site selectors to meet with representatives from locations across the United States and Canada to explore relocation opportunities for companies from a variety of industries.
Presented by Business Facilities, the event’s signature feature is to connect site selectors and economic development professionals in an atmosphere that is professional, productive, and fun. Over three days, attendees at this year’s LiveXchange were able to gather a vast amount of information about locations and interact with peers through scheduled meetings, conference sessions, networking, and more.
“The energy at this year’s LiveXchange in Myrtle Beach was palpable,” said Ted Coene, Chief Business Officer of Business Facilities LiveXchange. “Corporate relocation and expansion projects are moving at a fast pace, and the attendees were actively seeking timely and relevant information that they could bring back to their office to make informed decisions. From the keynote by Dr. Anirban Basu to jump start the event to our first ever women in site selection panel discussion, the tone was set for the most successful LiveXchange in our 20 year history.”
The signature highlight of Business Facilities LiveXchange is the one-on-one meeting format, and in Myrtle Beach this took place between the 30 site selection delegates and 34 economic development sponsors. This year’s event created 315 meeting opportunities over two days, providing these busy professionals the chance to gather a great deal of information in an abbreviated amount of time. But the time did not feel short, with those meetings complemented by an executive conference program featuring topics germane to the current site selection and economic development landscape.
Christian Price, President/CEO of one of the event sponsors, Maricopa Economic Development Alliance in Arizona, said, “It was great to meet all the site selectors and other EDOs at this event. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the upcoming LiveXchange events.”
This year’s keynote, “Show Me The Money (Supply)” was delivered by noted economist Dr. Anirban Basu and presented attendees with a look at the key indicators related to investment and workforce. In an informative and entertaining style, Dr. Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group based in Baltimore, MD, framed corporate relocation and expansion decisions through the lens of what is happening on the ground for industry and their workforce.
The first day of conference sessions on April 25 included Streamlining Your Site Selection Process, presented by Jeff Pappas, Senior Managing Director at Newmark in Dallas, TX; and the afternoon session focused on Where Is Your Best Workforce?, a panel discussion during which four site selection consultants shared their insights — Jacob Everett, Founder, Corsa Strategies (Indiana); David Gaines, Managing Director, Goldstone Consulting Group (Moberly, MO); W. Ford Graham, Senior Managing Director, McGuireWoods (Charleston, SC); and Margaret Riter, Vice President & Eastern Region Leader, Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners (Rochester, NY).
On April 26, the conference sessions continued with a Women In Site Selection panel discussion, a first for LiveXchange. The panelists were: Sabrina Champagne, President of State Tax Credits, OnCentive (Indianapolis, IN); Jenny Massey, Director of Site Selection & Business Incentives, Sikich (Indianapolis, IN); and Jamie Newell, Broker & Consultant, NAI Ready (Greenville, SC).
A talk on Impactful Incentives from Taylor Murray, Manager, Location Analysis and Incentives, Maxis Advisors (Atlanta, GA) brought this 2023 LiveXchange conference program to a close. Sharing anecdotes and a bit of humor, Murray shared his experiences and thoughts to this topic that is central to all relocation and expansion projects.
Throughout the week, attendees had the opportunity to initiate or continue conversations outside of scheduled meetings and conference sessions. Networking events fostered these interactions as well. Commenting on the connections he made at LiveXchange, James Kostenblatt, Senior Director, Industry Development for New York’s Empire State Development, an event sponsor, said, “I’ve got a stack of cards I’m working my way through, and have good project leads as a result of attending. [This was a] productive and fun event.”
Ahead of the meetings and conference sessions at the start of the week, a group of attendees hit the links at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club, consistently ranked among top 100 courses in the U.S. Afterwards, a poolside gathering at the event facility afforded a relaxing setting for all attendees to get acquainted.
Host sponsors this year were Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development (MBREDC) and North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA). Sandy Davis, President & CEO of MBREDC said of the event, “The MBREDC was excited to partner with NESA and the Myrtle Beach Chamber to be the host of LiveXchange. The event last week allowed economic development officials the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a group of 30+ site selectors.”
What’s Next? Columbus, OH and Richmond, VA
For 2024, the 20th annual Business Facilities LiveXchange will take place March 17-19 in Richmond, VA, and the planning is in motion for this milestone that marks two decades of site selection professionals meeting with economic developers at this event. Sited at the Omni Richmond Hotel, this will deliver all the hallmarks of past LiveXchange events.
But first, Business Facilities LiveXchange Emerging Industries is scheduled for October 4-6, 2023 in Columbus, OH. In its second year, this event from the Business Facilities LiveXchange team focuses on relocation and expansion projects in high-growth and tech-related sectors. To take place at Sonesta Columbus Downtown located in the city’s Arena District, LiveXchange Emerging Industries features all the hallmarks of the event that took place in April 2023 in Myrtle Beach—with a focus on high growth industries.
To learn more about both of these events, visit BusinessFacilities.com/LiveXchange.