Our Top Thought Leadership Pieces of 2023

February 1, 2024

2023 was quite a year for thought leadership from GLS. Here’s a roundup of our most shared pieces.

View from the Americas by Didi Caldwell

Our Best Insider Tips from Former Economic Developers

Did you know? The majority of the GLS team began their careers in economic development, bringing a combined 31 years of experience across 11 organizations with them. As site selectors, we understand the intense lift to put your best foot forward with corporate decision-makers. Next week, our former economic development rebels will share the best insider tips they’ve learned since joining the dark side. 

Tess Fay’s Project Tips  

  1. Looking to stand out? Just filling out the RFI completely gets you a higher score. We can’t score what we don’t know. 
  2. Know your strengths. There is a project for every community, but a community should not compete for every project. 
  3. The most successful communities learn from their losses. Do a postmortem with your stakeholder team after every project loss. 

Katie Harris’ Marketing Tips 

  1. Site selectors lead with regions, so don’t be confined to the bounds of your city or county limits in your talent attraction strategy. Be sure to include landmarks, museums, sports teams, and more if they’re within a reasonable drive time. 
  2. Stand out on site visits. Showcase your most unique assets: the most raved about foodie spots, stellar views, and accommodations. Also, consider finding ways to tailor the visit to the company. 
  3. Seth Godin said it best – not everyone is your customer. EDOs tout their “quality of life.” But who will truly thrive in your community? Attract them. 

Meghan DiGiacomo’s Team Tips 

  1. Do the work ahead of time to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page and leading with the same message. Clients can tell when you don’t get along. 
  2. Site selectors and economic developers work hand-in-hand. Be the person we want on our project team. Communication, responsiveness, and a great attitude open doors to more opportunities. 
  3. Sit on an economic board – local, regional, state, or association. Having a seat at the table for these vital conversations helps you troubleshoot concerns and prioritize your strategic efforts. 

Kornelia Kostka’s Data Tips 

  1. Have shapefiles of your top sites ready to send with your RFI. Often the various file types we get in submissions show different boundaries for the same site and it’s challenging to reconcile which area is actually available. 
  2. Proactively submit your sites to site selectors. As the number of quality sites decreases and turnaround times speed up, having your site data on hand increases the opportunities to be considered for future projects. 
  3. Site selectors have labor market data. Help us fill the gaps and send us what the data doesn’t show us, like workforce development programs and company success stories. 

Nicholette Ross’ FDI Tips 

  1. Be intentional with educating companies on your location within the US. They do not always recognize state outlines, city or county names by heart. 
  2. Putting together a clear outline of permitting processes and the path forward to beginning operations in your area can be helpful for companies entering the US for the first time. 
  3. Understanding different cultural norms, values, and customs is a critical skill for all business professionals. Educating oneself on cultural sensitivities builds trust, avoids misunderstandings, and improves communication with international prospects. 

Cedric Colbert’s Incentives Tips 

  1. In the current industrial real estate environment, the most meaningful incentives are often related to site development. 
  2. While state and local incentives can move the needle for a final location decision, it is important to remember that incentives alone cannot justify a location decision. 
  3. Successful communities don’t simply walk away after a deal is done; they continuously monitor a project’s performance and offer assistance with filing requirements. 

Lisa Franklin’s Site Promotion Tips 

  1. Struggling to maintain listings? Focus on industry-specific sites and buildings with minimum size requirements to lessen the load. It’s better to have fewer well-maintained property listings rather than hundreds of subpar ones.  
  2. Consider adding customized incentive zone geospatial files to search by new market tax credit areas, opportunity zones, or other local incentive areas. 
  3. Strengthen your property listings by adding video, 360 imagery, broker flyers, and any industry-specific studies that support your listing. 



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