Site selectors for national companies to tour Miami-Dade, get lesson in local growth
By Frank Norton
Top national site selectors from firms such as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers next month will get a lesson on Miami's growth and development - a lesson that could lead them to recommend corporate relocations or site additions here.
The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County's economic development agency, is hosting its fifth annual Site Selector Showcase March 19-21, aimed at attracting business from around the country to relocate or expand here. The two-day showcase includes workshops, tours and a public luncheon at noon March 20 at Coral Gables' Biltmore Hotel.
Key topics include local and state business incentives, education and workforce training opportunities, real estate availability, Latin America trends, international business opportunities and an update on the future of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
"Basically they want to know the basis of job growth here and what are the major economic drivers," said Holly Wiedman, Beacon Council executive vice president. "It's a fact-finding mission."
Much of that information may come from local experts during the luncheon.
Leading discussions on local assets will be a panel of top Miami-Dade executives including Armando Codina, chairman and CEO of Codina Group; Nelson Gonzales, CEO of Alienware; Dawn McCall, president of Discovery Channel Latin America International; and Jack L. Williams, president and CEO Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises.
Ms Weidman noted that Miami-Dade closed 2002 leading the nation in its decline in the jobless rate - an important selling point for decision-makers this year.
"Miami is made up of a lot of small business and I think that's part of why were faring better than major cities with downsizing headquarters operations," she said.
She also said Burger King's and Ryder System's decisions to retain base operations in the county attests to the region's strong business retention. Both companies were local start-ups.
Ms. Wiedman declined to comment on the county's traffic, K-12 education or a series of major international bank pull-outs during the past 18 months.
In the past, regarding efforts to quell concerns about traffic congestion, Beacon Council CEO Frank Nero has said, "Even when we lie, its bad."
"These site-location consultants are so important," Ms. Wiedman said, "because their corporate clients are evaluating new locations and expansion opportunities all over the United States."