Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Pickaway County Manufacturer Story: From Impress Me to Impressive

Our neighbors in Circleville celebrated Manufacturing Week in an impressive way.  See the news at The Dispatch.

Private-label toilet tissue, napkins, and paper towels are now coming out of a new manufacturing plant in Circleville, Ohio, just an hour away.  The plant was a $400 million investment in building and equipment by Sofidel, an Italiian-headquartered company.  This is their first new plant built in the U.S. and their most modern plant on the planet.

It officially opened Wednesday with a day-long, international gala.

I'm celebrating with the Circlevillians and Italians.

I was part of the three-person team that visited Sofidel on April 22, 2015 outside of Porcari in the Tuscany region of Italy.  The visit was part of a Columbus 2020-led trade mission to Europe.  A sit down with the CEO of the family-owned business began with a bold challenge.  He said in very clear English, "Impress me."

We in Licking County didn't have a site for this plant that had some pretty precise needs for size with rail and stream access.  Obviously, Circleville did.

There's so much more to it than that.

Economic development is a little-defined profession.  This deal has lessons for all.

True economic development involves having ready-to-go sites and having capable people.  Communities need people capable of targeted sales/marketing and people capable of seeing projects from A-to-Z to ensure the smoothest landing for projects in a local community.  You gotta close the deal.  Without these, Ohio never impresses and the deal doesn't happen in Circleville.

I'm impressed.  Congratulations, Pickaway County.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When Headlines Compete

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Cleveland outpacing Columbus.  The Columbus Business First reports Columbus outpacing Cleveland.

How can both be true?

Each takes a different angle, but there are two things that I observed in reviewing both articles that are consistent:

Manufacturers deserve credit.  Though Business First fails to mention it, a deeper looks shows that higher than expected growth in manufacturing is why both Cleveland and Columbus areas saw growth.

The 'Burbs deserve credit.  Both cities are actually reporting metropolitan data.  I've done the research before.  Last year, 94% of manufacturing projects reported by Site Selection magazine, and consistently each year at a similar pace, are happening outside of the 3C's.  The 3C's should thank the 'burbs (both suburbs and exurbs) for the pace of growth in their respecting metro areas.

Now, we've settled it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Immersive Generation Passing Millennials Soon

My youngest kids are part of the generation some are calling "Generation Z."  I call them the Immersive Generation, because I see my kids demanding experiences that are more immersive than any generation before them.

Bloomberg reports "Gen Z to Outnumber Millennials Within a Year" caught my eye.

That fact, passing the Millennials, won't be quite true in the U.S. for a few more years, but it's noteworthy nonetheless.  It's especially noteworthy since the last of that generation hasn't yet been born and a pretty large recession bit into the population a few years too.

The article doesn't conclude much about what this means except to predict less selfishness and more gadgetry.  I won't comment so much on that.

I'll surmise that we'll hear less about millennials' supposed influence on housing choices (urban vs. suburban) with this next emerging, larger generation.  I also suppose we'll be justified in moving more and more to digital tools.  And immersion.

Immersive digital experiences are what this generation wants.  Take it from their Dad.