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32nd Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Managing the EDO Investment Portfolio to Maximize Job Growth

The investment conversation has to start somewhere, and when companies are seeking new locations, the conversation begins with site inventory.

Q1 2018
Investment bankers follow a well-established set of general guidelines. They determine client risk tolerance, diversify investments, and take long- and short-term actions to create wealth. The data provided in this year’s survey allows EDO professionals to learn from these guidelines to create wealth for their communities. When I look more closely at the numbers, here are the analogies that I see.

Seventy-three percent of the companies making an investment decision employ fewer than 500 people; 85 percent of the investments will be less than $50 million. Therefore, the EDO that spends more than 70 percent of its time on the small to medium-size companies is going to be more successful than the EDO that spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on or looking for larger projects.

Regarding long-term vs. short-term actions, nearly half of the respondents who are planning to open new domestic facilities say that their ultimate decision will be within two to three years, and 74 percent of the survey respondents say the information-gathering process takes a year or longer. Time is on the side of the EDO to plan, then act.

Looking at the top 20 combined ratings, 16 of the 20 are in the four portfolio categories of financial, workforce, transportation, or available sites and buildings. We know the overall economy is strong, but the survey results show this is driven by factors other than recent economic fiscal policy. The question then becomes, “Which of these four broad categories does the EDO professional have the most ability to influence?” Of the four broad categories, this year, increasing the inventory of available right-sized sites and buildings is where EDOs can make a real impact. The other categories are important, but the investment conversation has to start somewhere, and when companies are seeking new locations, the conversation begins with site inventory.
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