The Last Word With Mark Williams, Strategic Development Group

Even in the age of COVID-19, the process of selecting the right site for a business remains a crucial part of business activities across the country.

By the BF Staff
From the January /February 2022 Issue

As 2022 gets underway, economic development and the process of selecting sites for industrial, distribution and headquarters facility investment remain the most important business activities in the United States and the world. The site selection process is ever dynamic—it always has been and always will be. Our nation’s navigation through Covid-19 and its economic impacts has made these activities even more critical to U.S. citizens and the health of the national economy.

The impacts of the pandemic and recovery are now especially fresh from a health and business perspective. However, in the longer view of history, Covid-19 will be simply another chapter, like previous major economic shocks including the recessions in 1929 and 2008 or World War II.

Although challenged in 2020 and 2021, the U.S. and global economy will continue to awaken and flourish in 2022. Site selection professionals will play an expanding role assisting corporations in their efforts to relocate, build and expand facilities to attack evolving market opportunities.

site selection Mark Williams, Strategic Development Group

Mark L. Williams, President, Strategic Development Group, Inc. (SDG) and Speaker at Business Facilities’ LiveXchange Executive Conference in Charlotte, NC on April 3-5, 2022

The role of economic developers will be more important than ever. They, too, must adapt to market changes. Perhaps more significant than anything else, they must intensify efforts to redeploy workers displaced in 2020 and 2021 while simultaneously developing talent and skills to meet the needs of corporate employers yearning to be competitive. Incentive strategies will also need to be re-worked to ensure they create a competitive advantage.

Site selection projects carried out with sound strategy and thought will be rewarded with long-term financial returns; those that aren’t will be a financial burden for a lifetime. There will also be headwinds that include aging infrastructure, inflation and higher interest rates, and the potential of Covid-19 presence for the long-term.

“2022 will be the most dynamic year for site location ever. There will be winners and losers in the corporate location world, resulting in closures and new projects. It won’t always be pretty: The site selection process will be increasingly complex and compressed from a time perspective.”

This year’s site location opportunities will include mammoth projects with supercharged application of technology and previously unimagined levels of capital investment. As automation increases, employee skill levels must continue to increase in tandem.

There will be bountiful projects and investments. This year will bring exciting new projects in the following sectors:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs): EV batteries and batteries for utility-scale storage
  • Green energy growth in solar and wind, including battery storage devices for utility-scale developments
  • Life science
  • Semiconductors
  • E-commerce
  • Heavy construction materials

As Bob Dylan said in 1964, “The times they are a-changin’.” 2022 will be the most exciting time to be in economic development and site selection—ever!

Strategic Development Group, Inc. (SDG) is a professional site location firm that provides solutions to its corporate clients related to their site selection decisions. Leveraging a professional team with decades of experience across the U.S. in locating domestic and foreign projects resulting in billions of dollars in capital investment, SDG is nationally recognized for innovation, competency, integrity and results.

Click here to learn more about LiveXchange 2022, which will take place April 3-5 at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Charlotte, NC.