By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2022 Issue
This past spring, Business Facilities held its 18th annual LiveXchange event at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in downtown Charlotte, NC. Having returned to an in-person format in fall 2021, this most recent event presented by the Business Facilities team brought together site selectors and consultants with economic development representatives from April 3-5.
Exploring opportunities for their relocation and expansion projects is a standout benefit for corporate site selectors (delegates). These three days in the Queen City included one-on-one meetings between delegates and location representatives, providing an environment where site selectors could gather a wealth of information in a relatively short time.
Welcoming attendees, Ted Coene, Business Facilities Chief Business Officer, said, “My sincere thanks to our sponsors, delegates, and speakers who have joined us at this year’s event. I’d also like to offer a thank you to our host, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, for welcoming us to this beautiful city.”
In its signature style, the Business Facilities LiveXchange schedule combines individuals’ meetings with relevant, timely keynotes and conference sessions. This year in Charlotte, three dozen corporate site selectors and site consultants engaged in more than 300 one-on-one meetings with economic development representatives from across the U.S. and Canada.
David Gaines, Managing Director, Goldstone Consulting Group, which works with companies to determine their optimal locations, said of his delegate experience: “LiveXchange is an excellent way for community-based economic developers to share with site selection consultants what the assets are in a community that will be of value to business decision-makers.”
When it was time to unwind, networking included a night of bowling; a tour of the NASCAR Hall of Fame where attendees drove stock car simulators and tested their pit crew skills; and a behind-the-scenes tour of Bank of America Stadium, home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
Leading Conference Sessions
Complementing the meetings between site selectors and economic developers, LiveXchange Executive Conference sessions delved into global events, trends, and economic conditions. The opening Keynote on the 2022 Economic Outlook was presented by Dr. Lindsey Piegza, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Stifel Financial. She spoke about the impact of the pandemic and international events, and what it meant for overall growth, interest rates, and monetary policy. Piegza’s presentation of these timely topics elicited a flurry of questions for the speaker, as well as conversation between attendees.
Recognizing that the pandemic has most likely permanently changed the way workers evaluate who they will work for—and where they will live, the program also included a talk about The Impact of Work from Home on Incentives. Presented by Allea Newbold, Principal for Ryan, this General Session on day two of LiveXchange examined the shift to work-from-home and remote workforce. With a comprehensive look at current and developing incentives across the U.S., Newbold shared insights into how corporate site selectors might factor this into their relocation and expansion decisions.
Richard T. Ward, CEcD, group director, business development for Louisiana Economic Development, an event sponsor, observed, “The latest review in remote worker incentives by Allea was a valuable takeaway. Meanwhile, we were impressed with the breadth of scope among the projects we discovered in our one-on-one meetings.
An Ask The Consultants Panel Discussion provided the opportunity to pose their site selection questions to several experts in the industry. Moderated by Angelos Angelou, Founder & Principal Executive Officer, AngelouEconomics in Austin, TX, the panel featured: Barry Albrecht, CEO, Strategic Location Services; John Boyd, Jr., Principal, The Boyd Company; Chris Steele, Principal, Economic Development, EPB-US; and Bob Westover, Senior Vice President, Colliers.
In a broadly sweeping and thoughtful General Session on day one, Mark Williams, President of Strategic Development Group, shared his observations from his 30 years in site selection. Speaking on traditional and emerging markets (electric vehicles, for one), Williams remarked that in terms of site selection he’s not seen business as good as it is currently.
Delegate Jamie Newell, a site selection consultant for NAI Ready, which assists companies identify competitive locations globally, said of her experience: “LiveXchange was a great opportunity for companies, economic development managers, and site selectors from all across the continent to come together and discuss new ideas, next step deliveries, and creative incentive approaches.”
April 2023: Myrtle Beach, SC
As the site selection landscape continues to evolve, Business Facilities LiveXchange is focused on being a reliable source for corporate site selectors and site consultants. Recognized for its professional, yet relaxed setting, the event has been a valued resource in site selection information-gathering and decision-making.
“We look forward to welcoming LiveXchange attendees next April,” said Jeff McKay, President, North Eastern Strategic Alliance in South Carolina. Also in attendance at the Charlotte event this past Spring, McKay shared that in addition to the recreational aspects that Myrtle Beach is well known for, attendees will be able to see firsthand all the region has to offer businesses.
New In November: LiveXchange Emerging Industries
And, the Business Facilities LiveXchange franchise is expanding with the introduction of LiveXchange Emerging Industries, to take place November 16-18, 2022 in Orlando, FL. Modeled upon the success of the original LiveXchange, this new forum will bring over those foundational elements valued by site selectors—with a focus on the issues germane to today’s high-growth industries.
Cryptocurrency, green energy, transportation, telemedicine, plant-based foods, and bio/pharma are among those industries at the center of the event. As companies in these industries seek the ideal location for new facilities or expanding operations, LiveXchange Emerging Industries will be the place for decision-makers to meet with economic development representatives.
In addition to one-on-one meetings between economic developers and company decision-makers, LiveXchange Emerging Industries features an Executive Conference Program focused on site selection strategies for these high-growth industries.
“For the past 18 years, Business Facilities LiveXchange has connected economic developers with companies searching for locations for their expansion or relocation projects,” said Coene. “With the explosion of high-growth industries like healthcare/medical technology, sustainability, blockchain, and others, there’s a real need for companies in these sectors to find locations that can support their growth. LiveXchange Emerging Industries is the ideal venue to connect these companies with potential suitable locations.”