Gray Swoope Lights Up March Luncheon
Friday, April 1, 2016
March 2016 Luncheon Program Summary
by Kevin Shea
The GEDA March meeting featured a program from President & CEO of VisionFirst Advisors Gray Swoope. Gray’s talk was titled “30 Years, Three States and Three Lessons.” VisionFirst provides Location Advisory Services, but does more in the areas of Economic Development Strategy and Results Driven Marketing and Communications Strategies. Swoope stated that “in the period that Einstein was active as a professor, one of his students came to him and said: ‘The questions of this year's exam are the same as last years!’ ‘True,’ Einstein said, ‘but this year all answers are different.’”
Swoope mentioned that Risk Mitigation is critical in today’s world, including Business Climate (local and state), Property, Finding, Attracting and Retaining Talent, Incentive Package and Reputational Risk. There is a lot of pushback regarding incentives, but a persuasive argument is to provide incentives that match the level of jobs and investment. Georgia ought to be proud of its AAA bond-rating; not many states have it. What is your track-record? We need to be cognizant of this.
Business development is still essential, even in an age where much is computerized and communicated digitally and socially; we need to build and develop relationships with consultants and business executives. Gray recommended following the “bear strategy” of making yourself, and your organization, “bigger than you are.” If you meet a bear in the woods, by holding something large and waving your hands, you’ll make yourself bigger than you are and scare away the bear.
Lastly, Gray, as a proud papa, was privileged to caddy for his daughter in the Sanderson Farms Golf Championship Tournament; he asked for advice and received the following succinct rules:
1) Show up
2) Keep up
3) Shut up
Thank you, Gray Swoope, for a great, GEDA program! Come back soon and often.
Thank you, Jennifer Nelson, Public Service Assistant Faculty Member, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, and the Economic Development Certification program at UGA for sponsoring the March GEDA luncheon. We’d also like thank the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Global Commerce Deputy Commissioner Tom Croteau, and for sponsoring our speaker, Gray Swoope.