By: Jami Grindatto
President & CEO, Sandoval Economic Alliance
As you’ve probably heard, New Mexico did not make the shortlist for GE’s HQ relocation. I’d like to take this opportunity to share what we learned. Before I go into detail, there are a few things you need to understand about our mission, and our goals as an organization.
Sandoval Economic Alliance was established in 2014 to support job creation, and to provide opportunities, and enhance the quality of life in Rio Rancho and Sandoval County. We use digital marketing methods in addition to conventional marketing to recruit companies and attempt to attract them with information about available commercial real estate, state and local incentives, financing mechanisms and quality of life factors.
When the State of Connecticut changed its tax policy earlier this year to the detriment of their business community, we generated a marketing campaign to attract Connecticut companies to our positive business climate in New Mexico. New Mexico had just passed a new incentive package including the extension of Single Sales Factor formula to regional and national headquarters. GE responded to us by requesting a proposal from our alliance. They made their displeasure about the new Connecticut tax law known publicly, and many states and even countries have submitted proposals including Texas, Georgia, Florida, and Indiana.
Sandoval Economic Alliance generates many quality proposals for companies of all types and sizes each month, and GE’s proposal was one of many – this does not require extra effort, and we’ve received great support from the NM Economic Development Department and our Congressional delegation with letters of support to bolster our case. Even though large corporations may represent a long shot for New Mexico, we all remember that Intel and HP were willing to start new operations in our beautiful state as a result of the bold efforts of government leaders, economic developers, and local businesses.
This proposal rallied community support, which is crucial in economic development. Having your state and its people advocating for New Mexico as a great place to live and a great place to work is invaluable when trying to attract new companies to our area. As a result of this project, we have established new relationships at the highest levels at GE, who may consider other operations for New Mexico in the future. After all, GE ran a manufacturing operation in Albuquerque for over 30 years before consolidating during the Great Recession – they now know we want them back.
Economic development is a business of ‘hurry and wait’ and after all the greatest efforts, the ‘no’ answers still outnumber the ‘yes’ answers by a wide margin. But don’t get discouraged by the low odds – we’re in this to win for the long-term, and “we don’t win if we don’t get on the field.” You will continue to see us market our community aggressively and strategically target small and large companies alike for recruitment.