In my 25 years of experience in business and economic development, I have asked company representatives and site selection consultants many times “What can we do better to help you?” Their answers have helped Entergy become a leader in economic development because we’ve developed innovative tools in response to their requests for location information. We were among the first to develop database tools such as our Site Selection Center, and we will unveil a totally revamped Site Selection Center with more ED bells and whistles in 2016.
When I recently had that “What can we do better for you?” conversation with Dr. C. R. “Buzz” Canup, the founder and President of Canup & Associates, Inc., I got a very insightful answer. Too many economic development teams, he said, don’t see the project through to the end, or they miss the obvious factors that can torpedo a site.
According to Buzz Canup, maybe these teams identify locations, but they don’t provide strong demographics, the details needed to choose between a good site and an excellent site. Maybe they don’t supply all the information that a company requests because tracking down data costs time and money. Or maybe the project reaches the negotiation phase, and the ED team is nowhere to be found, leaving the company to bargain on its own. Still other ED teams aren’t supportive enough when it comes to discussions about incentives, leaving a company to muddle through and possibly miss some financial benefits.
Sometimes it’s as major as bungled electrical infrastructure needs. He cited a couple of recent examples:
Of course, Entergy makes sure that slip-ups like this never occur because our Business Development team includes engineers who proactively determine power line capacity and extension feasibility for every site. Before Entergy recommends a site for a power-intensive project, our engineers have already determined that the location can be served electrically with the amount of power a client needs.
This follow-through and attention to detail are priorities for the Entergy business development team. Not only do we offer technology that helps companies locate the data they need, but we are available to explain it and to do specialized research. We also offer business services that help companies determine their energy needs and costs and can develop customized plans for their business.
Our experienced team is extremely knowledgeable about everything from incentives and local labor forces to resource availability and electrical infrastructure. Entergy knows the local players, and those relationships we have spent years developing with government and business leaders in our four-state area come in handy when it’s time to sit down at the negotiating table.
So do we go the extra mile for our clients? Yeah, we do. You can depend on it.
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