The Importance of International and Site Selector Relations


December 20, 2022
By Joe Affsprung, Global Business Development Manager

The CRDA’s success, and the economic development success of South Carolina in general, is made possible by collaboration with partner organizations.  One of our most valuable partners in our mission is the South Carolina Department of Commerce.  This state agency provides us with many opportunities to network with site selection decision-makers and market our region to international representatives.

Recently, I had the chance to participate in two such opportunities in Atlanta organized by the Department of Commerce.  The first was a lunch with a wide array of site selection consultants.  When companies are looking for a new location for their operations, they will frequently hire these consultants to conduct the search.  Maintaining relationships and dialogue with these consultants is beneficial to stay abreast of the market trends they are seeing and their thoughts on how Charleston can be more competitive. We can keep the consultants informed of recent developments in our community, so we stay “top of mind”.  Over the years South Carolina, and Charleston in particular, have developed a reputation among many site selectors as strong, reliable markets, where economic development is performed by competent, trustworthy professionals.  Regular events like the one SCDOC hosted are vital in maintaining the relationships, which generate this stellar reputation.  My talks with site selectors there assured me of Charleston’s continued business recruitment strength.

In the same week, the Department of Commerce also hosted a reception for the Consuls General of about two dozen nations.  My conversations with these officials and their staff were fascinating and supported much of what we’ve been seeing in the papers for a while now. The US, and the Southeast in particular, are growing increasingly attractive relative to some of the other large markets in Asia.  Other nations want to find ways for their industrial competencies, in areas from aircraft to rare earth minerals, to enter our market and integrate with our industrial ecosystems.  It was also nice to hear that Charleston has enchanted those who have visited, though it came as no surprise.

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