MassEcon Hosts its Annual Conference: “Prime Properties, Prime Communities: Choosing Locations for Growth-Oriented Companies”
MassEcon welcomed over 120 attendees to its Annual Conference last Friday morning. The event included a panel discussion anchored by Massachuetts Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki, as well as new Bonus Breakout Sessions. The Executive Panel discussion centered around the theme of “Prime Properties, Prime Communities.” Secretary Bialecki’s opening remarks lauded the State for finding a way to embrace corporate growth in all regions.
“There are great opportunities all around the state of Massachusetts and we have the opportunity to capitalize on them if we work hard,” Bialecki remarked. Fittingly, each of the three Panelists represented a company thriving in different sectors and regions of Massachusetts.
Tim Healy of EnerNOC gave the perspective of a growing company within the Boston community. Healy explained that his company fits the urban setting for several reasons, one of them being its proximity to EnerNOC’s young employee base. Healy also proclaimed Boston the hub for energy and high-tech industries within Massachusetts, lending itself as a prime location for EnerNOC. For a perspective on Suburban location, Joseph Zink of Atlantic Management, spoke about the development of Marlborough Hills along Route 495. The 1.5 million square feet of property were purchased just three years ago, and are now home to numerous tenants and provide a thriving base for companies across many industries. Zink believes the region will continue to thrive as businesses seek alternatives to Boston and as workers opt for less expensive housing in the MetroWest area. Anita Worden of Solectria Renewables spoke from the perspective of running a company in a Gateway City. Solectria chose to locate in Lawrence because of its ability to foster growth for less expensive costs. Local restaurants and retail options also make Lawrence a prime place to set up shop, explained Worden.
During the Q&A session, several location-based topics were covered in depth. Panelists spoke on the green culture emerging in corporate settings. Joseph Zink argued that clean energy has entered the workplace conversation as something that both employers and employees care about. Also discussed was the nature of the Startup Community in Massachusetts. Both Solectria and EnerNOC were once startups, and both Worden and Healy lauded the state for its support of small new businesses. “We’re very fortunate to be in a state that has a lot of the right element for success for small startups,” remarked Worden. The Panel went on to outline the struggle of finding qualified talent for their workforces. Secretary Bialecki called for a re-examination of the system that may be falling short of properly preparing future employees.
Bonus Breakout Sessions
Following the Panel, Bonus Breakout Sessions were held, each led by industry experts. These sessions were a new addition to the Conference, and we were pleased to see how informative and personalized they turned out to be.
“Marketing Matters: Positioning Your Location for Competitive Advantage” was headed by Investment Consulting Associates’ Chris Steele and Connelly Partners’ Scott Madden, who offered advice on attracting companies and scouting optimal locations, using a simple rule of thumb: community compatibility comes first, and all other factors come second.
Lynn Tokarczyk of Business Development Strategies lead the session, “Win-Win: Creating an Incentive Package that Both Your Community and Your Company Will Love,” where she consulted attendees on how to develop incentive packages that fit corporate needs, as well as the needs of the municipalities that surround them.
The “Behind the Scenes of Corporate Site Selection” session was led by Brian Cohen of Transwestern|RBJ. He examined factors that lead to corporate moves and expansions, as well as the location requirements of these companies.
MassEcon Senior Director Doug Kehlhem led the “ReadyMass 100” breakout session and provided insight into the selection process for the ReadyMass 100, an elite listing of top Massachusetts properties. Qualifying to be a part of the ReadyMass 100 is a competitive process, but once properties are accepted, it acts as a high-profile resource for companies seeking facilities.
We would like to thank our speakers, session leaders, and sponsors for making the event so successful, and our special appreciation goes out to Secretary Greg Bialecki for taking the time to moderate our panel. We also thank our attendees for helping to spark great discussions, and look forward to next year’s big event.
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