Improving Business in the Wilmington Region

WBD Joins Partners and Allies in Hosting Consultant Outreach Tour

FAM Tour FAM Tour3 FAM Tour Group

The global nature of today’s business world makes county limits irrelevant to most companies. That’s why WBD joined with economic development counterparts in Brunswick County, the NC Ports and The Southeastern Partnership in organizing a familiarization tour of the region for leading national site selection consultants. Such “Fam tours” were among the recommendations of the 2014 “Pathways to Prosperity” strategic plan by Garner Economics, LLC.

Eleven consultants joined regional economic development and businesses leaders for event, held September 16-18, 2015. ECS Carolinas, the NC Biotechnology Center, Duke Energy and Wilmington International Airport sponsored the tour, which including a welcome reception on the fantail of the USS North Carolina. Consultants heard presentations from leaders of UNC Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College and Brunswick Community College. Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, also addressed the meeting.

An aerial tour of the region highlighted available industrial properties and other economic assets. Executives from key companies around the region participated in an existing industry roundtable discussion of Greater Wilmington’s economic assets. Included were top officials from Corning, GE, Fortron, PPD, Acme Smoked Fish, Lee Controls and ADM.

“Site selection consultants are key influencers for companies seeking mission-critical locations,” explains Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development. “This valuable event enabled leading location consultants to get up-close-and-personal with everything Greater Wilmington has to offer their current and future clients.”

In a 2014 national survey of site selection consultants by Area Development magazine, about 25 percent said clients rely on them to make the final call on their locations. Just over half of them reported working on behalf of durable-good manufacturers and distribution and logistic operations. Nearly as many said they had worked with non-durable goods manufacturers on location projects (some consultants head up searches in all these industries). Not all consultants represent large operations: about a third of the survey’s respondents said they had clients that employed 100 or fewer workers.