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Ten Site Consultants Who Know the South Best


By Mike Randle


Bob Leak and Bob Goforth


Bob Goforth and Bob Leak have been professional economic developers and friends for a combined total of more than 80 years. Leak spent his early career with state government in North and South Carolina directing those state's economic development programs for more than 20 years and was President of the Research Triangle Park for several years. Goforth was also with the North Carolina office for a number of years.


It was during that time that Leak and Goforth created the North Carolina Basic Economic Development Course at UNC in Chapel Hill. Goforth later joined J.E. Sirrine Company in Greenville, S.C., where he led the site selection department of what was then the world's largest engineering company.


Leak and Goforth joined forces in 1995 to create their economic development consulting practice, which is very much alive today. The pair have found optimum sites for some outstanding firms that have located in the South, including Texas Instruments' $3 billion semiconductor facility that was announced three years ago in Richardson, Tex. Goforth and Leak have also assisted many other companies with sites in the South, most notably Z.F. Lemforter, a truck parts manufacturer in Newton, N.C., and C&F Foods in Raleigh.


Mark Sweeney and Ed McCallum


Here's another pair joined at the hip. Mark Sweeney and Ed McCallum operate McCallum-Sweeney Consulting (MSC) in Greenville, S.C. They have assisted the likes of Nissan, Comcast, Tower Automotive, Michelin, Kasle Steel, Dollar General, Vought/Alenia and Oreck, among many others, with projects in the South since 2000.


MSC continues to provide site certification to economic development groups in the South. Sweeney and McCallum have certified several megasites for TVA, two in Mississippi that were chosen by Toyota (Tupelo) and SeverCorr (Columbus).


Jim Bruce


Bruce is the President of Business Facility Planning Consultants, LLC (BFPC), a site management consulting firm located in the Atlanta area. Jim does location consulting for a variety of industries, but like many consultants in the South, he specializes in the automotive sector.


Some of Bruce's current and former clients include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bridgestone-Firestone, Volvo Truck, Toyota and Citicorp/Citibank.


Buzz Canup


Canup, who just recently left Austin, Tex.-based Angelou Economics to again operate his own site consulting practice, has assisted in the location of six data centers in the South recently. Buzz also was part of a team comprised of several engineering companies to perform an assessment of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina for six counties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The team's study included an analysis of the pre-Katrina economy, economic development, population and growth patterns, damage and interruption caused by the hurricane as well as re-population of the region and economic recovery.


Canup has helped land many other projects in the South, including headquarter relocations and he did work for Nissan during its site search for an auto assembly plant that is now operating in Canton, Miss.


Michael Mullis


Michael Mullis started J.M. Mullis, Inc., is the late 1970s to provide professional project location specialist services to companies looking to expand or relocate throughout the world. But, most of Mullis' projects he's assisted have been here in the South, many in Tennessee.


Mullis has assisted companies in site selection here in the South such as Toyota, Tower Automotive, Johnson Controls, UGN, Harley Davidson, FedEx, Norandal and Quebecor. Mullis operates out of Memphis, Tenn.


Mark Williams


Mark Williams is the president of Strategic Development Group (SDG), a business consulting firm located in Columbia, S.C. Mark previously served as Chief Development Officer for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


Like every other site consultant on this list, much of Williams' work has resulted in deals done in the South. Some of those include Bridgestone in four Southern states, BMW in South Carolina, ASMO in North Carolina and Texas, Koyo in South Carolina and Tennessee and Commercial Metals in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas.


Hartley Powell


Powell is a site selection consultant (National Practice Leader) with industry giant KPMG. He operates out of the company's Charlotte campus in its Strategic Relocation and Expansion Services division.


Hartley is a frequent speaker on the economic development trail and has worked on numerous projects in the South, most notably on Kia's recent automotive assembly plant project that ended up in West Point, Ga. 


Michael Reid


Michael Reid is a commercial real estate broker with Binswanger in Atlanta. Binswanger is one of the largest brokers of available industrial buildings in the South, even though it is headquartered in Pennsylvania.


Reid has been involved in many corporate and industrial deals in the region, a few of which include Auto2auto and the Home Shopping Network in Tennessee. Even though Reid works out of Atlanta, Tennessee apparently is a state he has focused on.


Robert Pittman and Bob Price


Robert Pittman and Bob Price are both Senior Principals with CH2MHill/Lockwood Greene in Atlanta. Pittman has over 20 years experience in business location and economic development consulting and is a widely published author and frequent speaker in the field of economic development.


Price has over 25 years experience in locating manufacturing plants, headquarters, back office deals, research facilities, distribution centers and energy projects.


Betty McIntosh


Ms. McIntosh brings over 20 years of experience in assisting major U.S. and international clients in making strategic decisions related to relocation and expansion. She has represented clients in automotive, consumer, industrial products, pharmaceuticals and the retail sectors.


She has assisted companies with locations in the South such as Honda, Siemens, Hyundai, Benteler and Home Depot. Betty has recently earned significant success with some major projects in Alabama.

Tennessee Valley Authority 


Marion, AR

 Opelika, AL

Winston-Salem, NC

Northeast Tennessee Valley

 Old Dominion Electric Cooperative

Tupelo, MS

Mid America Industrial Park 

Aiken, SC

 New Braunfels, TX

Martinsville-Henry County, VA 

Alabama Development Office 

Little Rock, AR

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway

The Memphis Region

Roanoke, VA


Entergy Louisiana 

North Carolina

South Carolina

Tunica County, MS

Columbus, MS


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