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Phoenix Site Selectors Look to Detroit for Workforce Talent

As national and international investors increasingly set their sights on the Detroit region’s revitalization, the Detroit Regional Chamber kicked off a new round of site selector engagement during a two-day trip to Phoenix, Ariz. in March.

The trip served as a springboard to build relationships in a key market and educate site selectors about the region’s highly-skilled workforce, supply chain and industry trends — information manufacturers and investors can use when looking for a location to grow their operations.

“Twenty to 30 percent of corporate real estate transactions now involve the assistance of site selectors,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of Business Attraction for the Chamber. “We’re trying to be proactive by making the business case for Detroit and getting timely information about the region in front of these site selectors.”

The Chamber partnered with economic developers from Consumers Energy, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Oakland County, and the city of Southfield to host one-one-one meetings with four firms.

Brian Bilger, senior business development representative for the Chamber, said questions ranged from training opportunities, to university degree programs and quality of life amenities to attract and maintain talented millennials.

Bilger said oftentimes potential investors are interested in an entire region’s assets versus a specific city or community. Telling that story with one unified voice can make the difference from a “no way” to becoming the top of a company’s list for possible growth or expansion.

Mark Adams, senior business development representative for Oakland County, said trips like Phoenix are advantageous both from an information and investment standpoint.

“These site selector missions provides an opportunity for the Detroit region to tell our own story of why business thrives in Michigan. One of the leading agencies, CBRE Labor Analytics and CBRE Incentive Practice, has done several corporate attraction and expansion deals in the region that have resulted in several hundred jobs to Michigan residents,” he said. “That’s a return on investment that we all can understand. I hope the Chamber continues to target the consultant business sector in the future.”

Robinson said the Chamber will engage with the Phoenix site selectors throughout the year through providing updates on recent project announcements, positive news and legislative policy changes. The Chamber will next lead a delegation of regional partners to meet with site selectors in the Dallas market in April.

For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson.