Metro Denver Builds Relationship with Site Selectors to Increase Business Opportunities in the Region

by Tom Clark

Last week, site selectors and economic development professionals from across the country visited Denver for the Site Selectors Guild Annual Conference, which was hosted by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and organizations listed below:

  • City and County of Broomfield
  • City of Centennial
  • City of Commerce City
  • City of Lone Tree
  • Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
  • Denver International Airport
  • Denver Office of Economic Development
  • Denver South Economic Development Partnership
  • Douglas County
  • Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation
  • Upstate Colorado Economic Development
  • Xcel Energy

What’s the Big Deal? Colorado Hosts Conferences All the Time

Site selectors work with large companies to help them find places to expand and relocate their business. In fact, this elite group of professionals is responsible for more than 10 percent of the 3,000 expansion or relocation deals made each year nationally, bringing millions of dollars in economic impact to cities and regions.

“As the Metro Denver EDC, we want to provide value to our 40 partners and 70 communities that are a part of our network,” said Pam Reichert, vice president of the Metro Denver EDC. “One of the ways we provide value is getting them access to the site selectors so they can build relationships and help to promote their communities and what we have in this entire region.”

According to Winning Strategies, a survey of corporate executives with site selection responsibilities conducted by international PR and economic development marketing firm Development Counsellors International, building relationships is the most effective marketing tactic used by economic development groups. Of the 322 survey respondents, 57 percent found the most effective marketing tactic to be planned visits to meet with executives in person, and 35 percent found that a special event hosted by an economic development group was the most effective.

Here at the Metro Denver EDC, we’re no strangers to developing relationships with this key audience. Some of our most recent company expansions that resulted from site selectors include:

  • Los Angeles-based Cool Planet Energy Systems’ plans to move its first manufacturing facility and headquarters in Greenwood Village. The company turns biomass material including beetle-killed pine trees into fuel for cars and could create as many as 393 jobs in Metro Denver over the next three years.
  • Fidelity Investments, one of the world's largest providers of financial services, opened a new regional site in Greenwood Village in 2013. Fidelity is leasing 100,000 square feet for the new customer contact center, where it already employs 200 people and plans to expand to as many as 500 workers.
  • Visa Inc. will significantly expand its existing Global Technology Center in Douglas County, leasing 66,000 square feet with a $9 million capital investment. The company anticipates adding more than 400 new jobs over the next five years at the site.
  • TriZetto Corporation, a provider of information solutions that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare businesses, opened its new world headquarters at the Meridian Business Center in Douglas County in 2013. The project generated 500 construction jobs and accommodates the more than 150 local jobs that TriZetto had recently created. The company plans to create as many as 750 new jobs at the headquarters by 2017.
  • FMC Technologies Inc., a global provider of technology solutions for the energy industry, announced in early February 2014 that it will locate a new sales and service facility at a 20-acre site in Brighton. The $11.9 million project will include construction of a 50,000-square-foot facility that will initially house 66 employees, with growth of up to 50 additional jobs over the next five years. 

And while we have worked with more than 20 of the 34 site selectors in attendance, last week gave us an opportunity to build relationships with the rest.

“I help companies figure out if this is a place where they can find enough of the people they want to hire with the right skills at costs that let them be competitive,” said Jerry Szatan, president of the Site Selectors Guild. “I think that’s one of the huge advantages that Denver and the Front Range have is a growing, talented workforce.”

Last week’s conference touched on some of the most effective marketing tactics to this integral group: It allowed us to share the Metro Denver business message, the collaboration between our communities, AND we were able to showcase why this is such a great place for businesses.

“It’s not just the host, Denver is a partner,” said Szatan. “Our clients in the private sector don’t stop at the Denver city line. They look next door, we look at the whole region – so having the region be able to work together is a huge plus for the area.”

With a visit to Metro Denver fresh in their minds and new relationships formed, we look forward to working with site selectors this year to help strengthen the story of our state’s competitive workforce and business climate. Hopefully we will see many more companies setting their sights on the region for their business as a result, so stay tuned this year for company headquarters and expansions announcements coming to Metro Denver!

Tom Clark

Former CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Council

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