By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
On Friday afternoon, the MetroHartford Alliance created an opportunity to not only share information about our growth and evolution, but to gain insight from a global leader in site selection.
David Hickey, Managing Director at Hickey & Associates, participated in a discussion and Q&A about site selection and economic development—specifically related to Hartford.
WHAT IS A SITE SELECTOR?
Hickey helped define the role of a site selector by explaining how they use data and analysis as well as site visits to help clients navigate real estate and determine the best places to locate.
According to Hickey, the process involves a deep understanding of the client’s culture and scope—and workforce is a huge driver. “Workforce, including recruitment and retention,” Hickey underscored. “Clients are looking for talent and they are focus on the skills and people they need today as well as tomorrow.”
Infrastructure is a key aspect, too. Hickey said clients are asking: Does government support businesses? Are processes in place?
In terms of on-site visits, he noted that all parts of the community play an important role, which is where community leaders can provide support “Clients engage through communities helping sell the region,” he noted. “It’s critical—it’s vital to the process.”
TELLING HARTFORD’S STORY
Hickey noted that Hartford should continue marketing and telling our story, focusing on our core strengths in insurance and aerospace as well as talent and opportunity.
“Tell don’t change the story,” he underscored. “Continue pushing. Continue the work that has been done. Continue to focus on the fact that Hartford is the insurance capital of the world—while highlighting other regional assets.”
GLOBAL INNOVATION IN HARTFORD
Hartford has already shown it’s a viable site to locate global business. One recent example Hickey pointed out is global technology company Infosys, which decided to build a technology and innovation hub in Hartford.
Hickey & Associates’ research shows that Hartford’s global innovation hub ranks #32 globally and #15 in the United States, putting Hartford on the map, competing with cities like Boston, New York City, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C.
“You can see innovation happening in front of you in Hartford,” Hickey said, noting the city’s strong startup culture.
“Insurance and technology startups are here,” he said. “You don’t need to go to Boston or New York City, you can stay and really be part of something. What’s coming out of Hartford right now will literally change the world.”