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Article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 18, 2019
Georgia rolls out a red carpet for them at the Masters Golf Tournament. Kentucky gets them tickets to the Kentucky Derby. Arkansas takes them on a private duck hunt with the governor. Utah recently arranged a private ski trip with an Olympic medalist.
Such is the life of site selectors—consultants who jet around the country helping corporations decide where to build new headquarters, factories or expansion projects, often pitting communities against each other in multistate bidding wars to maximize tax breaks, grants, land deals and other incentives.
As communities across America race to win such marquee projects, these middlemen have quietly become some of the most powerful consultants in corporate America.
There are about 500 site selectors active in the U.S. and a 2017 survey found that 54% of companies plan to outsource part of their next corporate location search, according to consulting firm Development Counsellors International.