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GPI in the Press

Business Tribune column: GPI brought 3 new HQs to Greater Portland in 2019

December 19,2019 | By Matt Miller | Business Tribune
This column appeared in the Business Tribune. Matt Miller, Greater Portland Inc's interim president and CEO, writes a monthly column for the local newspaper.

Every company that makes a big impact starts small.

Columbia Sportswear Company began as a family-owned hat company in the 1930s. It now employs more than 7,800 globally and is investing tens of millions of dollars to expand its Washington County headquarters.

Augmented reality headwear maker RealWear moved from the Bay Area to Vancouver in 2017 with eight people. This year, the company secured $80 million in funding and plans to grow its Vancouver headquarters, where it’s on track to end the year with a staff of 100.

When we recruit companies, we don’t know how big they will grow. But we’re optimistic. Our region is exceptional, and continues to attract exceptional firms and entrepreneurs.

This year, Greater Portland Inc (GPI) helped recruit 10 companies to our region across a wide range of industries. Three of these are headquarters offices, and all 10 companies are bringing quality jobs to Greater Portland. These new offices have the potential to grow into something transformative.

Recruitment wins

The three new headquarters we helped recruit to our region this year are: The 10 companies we recruited are anticipated to bring 440 jobs to our region and add nearly $30 million in income to our economy. And half of our 2019 recruitments came from foreign markets. This shows that our efforts to target foreign companies, which tend to pay higher wages and invest more in research and development, are paying off.

We’ve had a successful year at GPI. We’re thankful to our 90-plus public- and private-sector partners who make our marketing and business recruitment work possible.

Our business recruitment strategy

Our business recruitment process is built on a three-pronged, proactive strategy that employs deep company and industry research:

Sales missions: This year, our business development team traveled to 10 markets, from Vancouver B.C. to Hannover, Germany – as well as several domestic markets – to share the Greater Portland story with site selection consultants or companies that may be considering expanding or relocating. We often travel with our regional economic development partners. In the past, the connections made on these types of trips have resulted in company expansions or relocations to our region.

Call campaigns: We use business intelligence software to target specific site selectors or decision-makers at companies in growth mode.

Partner referrals: Referrals are key to connecting with potential business recruits. We cultivate strong relationships with commercial real estate brokers, trade groups and other economic development organizations so that when they hear of a company considering relocation or expansion, they let us know. Referrals go the other way, too: When we hear of a company looking to move or expand to the area, we alert our community partners so they can vie for the opportunity.

Once our business development team connects with a potential company recruit, we work to provide them the information they need to make an informed location decision. The data we provide includes real estate, infrastructure, utilities, business climate, talent, air travel options and information on our region’s quality of life and cultural offerings.

GPI works closely with our communities throughout any recruitment process. Economic development is a team effort, and we partner with more than 25 cities, counties and numerous other institutions to add jobs to Greater Portland.

The GPI team is proud of the work we’ve done with our partners to recruit companies that will thrive in Greater Portland. Any one of these local offices could be a game-changer for our regional economy and for our residents’ economic opportunities.
 

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