By: Jami Grindatto
President & CEO, Sandoval Economic Alliance
Economic development is a “game of hurry and wait” – you have to pounce on opportunities when companies decide to move and grow (that’s the hurry), yet most companies entertaining growth realize that it is not trivial to commit to capital investments and adding jobs to the payroll (that’s the wait). And most opportunities we seek out don’t materialize as a result of these companies going cold and choosing to wait. It is extremely rewarding when a company finally commits to step up and trust our community to support their move and growth with services like incentive and tax credit support, workforce recruitment, and financing and commercial real estate selection. Our job is to help them mitigate the risks and costs during their critical move.
Another lesson we recently learned is that economic development is a “game of anticipation.” We are tasked to know as much as we can from existing businesses, and we have deployed an “early warning system.”
Sprint is a good example of a business that has been confidentially discussing the possibility of renewing their lease, moving to another building in the Albuquerque area, or closing their doors as part of a national consolidation project.
Sandoval Economic Alliance engaged early with the brokers and property management, and steered several companies looking for a new location to them. We’ve been able to quietly show the building since November to prospects. Since, several site relocation consultants visited the building as a result of our outreach efforts – this includes working with our peer organizations like Albuquerque Economic Development and the NM Partnership who had additional prospects interested in this location.
Our goal is to be prepared when companies leave, fill the building as soon as possible, and give our citizens opportunities for jobs sooner than later. It is always painful for our families that are affected by layoffs, and I view our work to a certain extent as a trust and service to these families.
In addition, we have worked with the Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) to direct companies we know are hiring to their Rapid Response team working with Sprint employees. We’ve had several inquiries from employers who wanted to reach out to Sprint employees – we referred them to the DWS team and Sprint leadership directly.
The collaboration of multiple organizations to support affected employees and their families is necessary to successfully transition the workforce into new jobs. We can’t do this alone, and are fortunate with a willing community of organizations who spring into action – that’s what makes our economic alliance special and able to deliver beyond job creation services.
We are very proud of being part of a great community in Sandoval County and Rio Rancho that rallies in support of businesses. Being business-friendly not only benefits new businesses moving here, but existing businesses and their employees that have to live through exciting growth or painful transitions. That’s what I believe makes a community business strong.