We power business. Contact
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share via Email

Site Selection and Suitability: A Mixture of Science and Art

Entergy Economic Development - Robert Guillot

By Robert Guillot, P.E., Senior Project Manager, Project & Technical Services

Posted July 17, 2015 in Site Selection

Finding a development-ready industrial site that meets a company’s criteria and its in-service date goals is one of the biggest challenges when companies contact economic development agencies for assistance in relocating their businesses.

Companies are looking for locations with proximity to attractive conditions — highways, railroads, ports, for example — and distance from undesirable ones such as flood-prone terrain or schools. Having an inventory of quality industrial sites—preferably pre-certified—helps economic development agencies meet a company’s aggressive timeline by decreasing the search time for a property that meets or exceeds their criteria.

Entergy is constantly evaluating available locations, performing potential site searches and meeting with landowners to increase our inventory in areas suitable for industrial development. We have many tools to assess locations in our toolbox, but one of the most innovative is GIS-based Suitability Analysis. GIS stands for “geographic information system,” a method designed to capture, store, analyze, manage and present all types of spatial or geographical data.

Entergy first saw the promise of GIS-based Suitability Analysis in 2013 and expanded it to our entire territory after initially trying it in Louisiana. In the past 12 months, we have conducted GIS analyses of existing and potential sites in our service territory in all four states, ranking sites on how they meet criteria in 10 categories:

We then use these geographical rankings to assist economic developers and site selection consultants in narrowing their search for optimal locations. If needed, the analysis data can be tweaked depending upon a company’s requirements.

Besides using this tool as a foundation for our site discovery work, we also use GIS-based analysis to scout out property that is not on the market. Since we began using GIS-based analysis, we have had great success with industries locating on sites discovered via this analysis.

Although GIS-based Suitability Analysis is a powerful tool for us, nothing surpasses human knowledge and experience when it comes to matching a company with the perfect location. Entergy’s skilled and adaptable research team complements our GIS analyses in sorting through available locations to find a site that best fits a company’s criteria. Our in-depth familiarity with our service areas allows us to lead a company to available properties that meet its needs with no unforeseen issues. We also have the capability to produce conceptual layouts using a company’s generic or specific project plan to show that its desired footprint will fit comfortably on the developable area of a property.

As important as science is to helping a company find a new home, it’s also an art. Many times locating the right site for a company, no matter the size or the industry, is a matter of people. State and local leaders in this region are committed to growing our economy, and our team’s experience in site and project development gives us the ability to offer solutions and alternatives to smooth the way to relocation. Our goal is to eliminate unknowns and surprises, obtaining complete information to help a company’s executives make the right decisions.

Key Industries

Advanced Materials, Agribusiness, Automotive Manufacturing, Chemical Products, Data Centers, Distribution and Warehousing, Energy Services & Manufacturing, Food Processing, Metal Fabrication, Primary Metals, Wood and Paper Products

Entergy Economic Development - Robert Guillot

Robert Guillot is a Professional Civil Engineer with 17 years of consulting engineering and six years of technical engineering services support with Entergy. Robert brings outstanding skills and capabilities in civil design, construction and surveying to his position as leader of Entergy’s Economic Development Site Development Program.