Top 10 Quotes 2006/2007
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1. "There's no sense in taking powder home, boys. Let's shoot it."
Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on March 10, 2006. Mere days before Kia chose West Point, Ga. for its first U.S. assembly plant, Higgins led an effort to lure Kia to a site between Columbus and Starkville, Miss. Reports that a $900-million-plus incentive package had been arranged from various governments, including the feds, were unconfirmed by the state of Mississippi. Furthermore, Leland Speed, then the director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said that Higgins didn't have the authority to offer the incentive package to Kia. One Atlanta Journal Constitution writer wrote that the package was a "pig in a poke." But we loved Higgins' delightful description of the efforts he and others made to gain the Kia plant. We can say quite confidently that Higgins wasn't the only person behind the large incentive package. Almost two years ago, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi claimed that "Kia is the next automaker to call the Southern Auto Corridor home" and that Mississippi would get it.
2. "The future lies in making sure that our challenges are resolved in a positive way, so that Greater New Orleans can emerge as a highly desirable business destination. We are optimistic about the future prosperity of this region and the great opportunity here. It's simply a question of where, when and how much."
Mark Drennen, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO Inc.), the New Orleans' region's primary economic development agency. Drennen made his comments in the Summer 2006 edition.
3. "Getting an economist from the Northeast to teach us about economic development here in the South is like getting someone from Wyoming to teach us about surfing."
Michael C. Randle, publisher of Southern Business & Development in the Fall 2006 edition.
4. "In summary, that's 55 percent coming from existing industry and 45 percent coming from new corporate announcements. Eighty-percent of all new jobs come from existing industry? That's a fable when it comes to economic development in the South and it's been that way every year since we've published this ranking."
A statement we made in the Spring 2006 edition of the SB&D 100 challenging the popular notion that 80 percent of all new jobs created in this country and in the South in particular, come from existing corporate and industrial expansions. We do not believe that is true, especially here in the South. But it is a common belief, but one that's wrong. Economists who make that claim have their numbers and we have our numbers. Let's just say, they don't jive. We have tracked every significant job-generating project announced in the South since 1992 and new jobs from existing industry expansions average about 60 percent of all new jobs announced, not 80 percent.
5. The state of Alabama continues its remarkable climb from Southern economic obscurity 15 years ago to worldwide economic development prominence today. Small states in the South don't turn 400-point years. In fact, it's rare when small states in the South earn 300-point-plus years. But that total is now old hat for the Heart of Dixie. Alabama has topped that threshold three-years-running now. For the fourth-straight year, Alabama has earned "State of the Year" honors. Since we began this ranking in 1993, no Southern state has won State of the Year four times and Alabama has done it in four years-in-a-row. Wow!
The state summary comments on Alabama that we publish every year on each state in the South in our 15-year-old ranking called the SB&D 100. The 2007 "100" ranking comes out again in June. Will Alabama earn a fifth-ring for the thumb? We'll see.
6. “The U.S. is still the largest exporting nation in the world. We face a greater demand for importing as well as exporting,” Ellis explained. “With container traffic growing 10 percent a year and hundreds of new takers being turned out each year at shipyards around the world, it’s only a matter of time before bottlenecks re-emerge. These bottlenecks have strong potential to slow growth from low-cost products from Asia and to wipe out sourcing from China.”
Aaron Ellis, communications director for the American Association of Ports Authorities, a quote published in the Spring 2006 edition.
7. "With McColl and many others, there's a sense, by damn it, you are going to take notice of us (the South) and understand we are a force of power. People might still make assumptions about the South, but they better not make them anymore. The South will buy them out."
Dan Morrill, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, speaking about Hugh McColl, then retired CEO of Bank of America, which is headquartered in Charlotte and about how the South as progressed economically over the last 30 years. Morrill's comments were published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
8. One of my favorite people to quote is the late American music composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993). Zappa once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." That statement applies to the South and the U.S. when it comes to economics.
Michael C. Randle was making the analogy in the Summer 2006 edition that you cannot compare the U.S. economy's performance with the South's economic performance.
9. "We're going to reform South Carolina's economy or die trying ... I like the first option better."
What we like about South Carolina Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is his ability to "get it." What we mean by that is that politics and economic development are forever entwined and not all politicians "get it" when it comes to reaching across party lines in an effort to increase prosperity in their states. Harrell is constantly introducing and pushing new legislation to make South Carolina more pro-business and to help create higher paying jobs. Harrell's quote can be found in this edition.
10. So, Google officials, we're glad you chose a site in Western North Carolina in the winter quarter to set up shop here in the South. But when you start the search for your next project in the region, take it from me: at some point we will know your intentions prior to you wanting anyone else to know your intentions. That's our job.
A comment made in this edition's Southbound column. Go to www.SB-D.com for more information.