Site Selection and the Guild Looking Forward
Friday, May 21, 2021
Rick: Welcome to Site Selection Matters where we take a close look at the art and science of site selection decision-making. I’m your host, Rick Weddle, president of the Site Selectors Guild. In each episode, we introduce you to leaders in the world of corporate site selection and economic development. We speak with members of the Site Selectors Guild, our economic development partners, and corporate decision-makers to provide you with deep insight into the best and next practices in our profession.
In this episode, we have as our guest, Jay Garner, president and founder of Garner Economics and chair of the Site Selectors Guild. Today, Jay will talk with us about the state of site selection and the Guild. More specifically, Jay joins us to share his unique insights regarding the major top-of-mind questions impacting our economy as we come out of the pandemic and head into what we hope to be a strong and significant economic recovery. Join me as we welcome Jay Garner to Site Selection Matters.
Jay, to kick us off today, why don’t you take a minute and give our listeners a brief update on the state of the Site Selectors Guild? One of the Guild’s founding members and its current chair in this important 10th year anniversary year. I think you have a unique perspective and one that would be of great interest to our listeners. So, where are we today?
Jay: Hey, Rick, thanks so much for having me. And I’m always thrilled to talk about the Guild. I’m passionate about the Guild since I was blessed to be one of the founders. So, you know, we’re having our annual conference coming up in June and I’m calling that just informally, you know, not with any fanfare but I’m calling it the 11, 10 celebration. So, what does that mean? Well, the Guild will be 11 years old this July. We were founded in July of 2010. We had our first annual conference in Orlando 10 years ago. So, we’re basically having the 10th anniversary of our first conference. So, that’s why I’m, you know, just to put a little spin on it and I’m calling it the 11, 10 celebration.
Rick: That’s really interesting. I mean, that has a nice little alliteration. The Guild’s in great shape coming out of this pandemic.
Jay: It is. A lot of people have helped make it that way. You being one of them as our president and CEO. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we did what any well-managed, well-led organization would do to sustain itself and we did a pivot. The Guild was basically an organization that relied primarily on our two conferences to sustain itself. Our annual conference and another conference, a smaller one that we call the Fall Forum. And those were good, and they still are good, but we needed to diversify our services and our products.
And so we created a business plan that we called Guild Forward and it was a multi-year business plan that did just that. It diversified our product services and even took it a little step further and then allowed us to focus on other issues regarding our thought content, thought leadership, and then more of an internal focus on what we call executed effectively. So, we added a number of products and services. We added webinars that have been exceptionally well attended. At our in-person conferences, we had a little tool that we called Table Talk, where we got to network with all of the economic development friends that came to our conferences.