I just spent a couple days visiting a region. I'd done my due diligence, and could rattle off
a couple dozen of the bellwether statistics about both the region and the state. But the reason that site selectors always go to visit a region is for the story that the numbers can't tell.
During my visit, I learned that although the state was known as one that was not very friendly to business, that the region had legislated a process that preapproved zoning and permits for their hallmark industrial park, sidestepping what otherwise could have been an eliminator.
I learned that the region had five colleges and universities, in a region with only 120,000 people, and that two of these were undergoing significant campus expansions. I learned that on the agribusiness side, this state had more young farmers than any other state - and the five reasons why.
And perhaps the best example of something I learned that would never have come out in the numbers is that this region attracted a major call center, with good wages and benefits, simply because when the prospect company visited its three finalist communities - including the one in this region, and two in other parts of the country - the customer service attitude of random residents made their decision to invest over $17 million to create 700 jobs a slam dunk. (Read more)