Written by Jeff Budish
This past Thursday, MNCAR hosted its seventh annual Expo at the Depot Renaissance Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The program portion of the event consisted of a four person panel and was moderated by Pat Mascia of Duke Realty. The panel consisted of John Schwartz, Project Manager for Matsuura Machinery Corp; David Wright, US Bank; Todd Boye, FedEx; and David Griggs, Greater MSP. The panel was asked to talk about why they, and their peers, like doing business in Minnesota. Below is a paraphrase of some of the questions and responses:
Why is your company located in Minnesota or why?
Both Matsuura and FedEx focused on the Twin Cities’ logistical efficiency. Mr. Boye mentioned that Fed Ex sees less transportation interruptions here than they do in the southern part of the country, even through the tough Minnesota winters.
Furthermore, all of the panelists mentioned the labor force; where they can draw on the best talent. Echoed by the other panelists, Todd Boye mentioned Fed Ex’s concerns of finding job-line specific employees. For example, truck drivers are extremely difficult positions for him to fill.
What are the weaknesses that Minnesota has?
Similarly, there was a common response among the entire panel: taxation. However, they did note that the cost to do business is lower than in Chicago.
Another interesting response came from John Schwartz. He mentioned the lack of support for Asian culture (many of his employees are Japanese). For example, Japanese students attend school on the weekends and they had trouble finding schools that offered weekend classes for his employees’ children.
Suggestions for Senator Dayton?
Once again, they commented on how taxation needs to be more business friendly. Not necessary substantial changes, just enough to make Minnesota competitive.
How do you decide on your real estate, specifically?
Mr. Wright mentioned that US Bank real estate decisions are business-line specific and they are in constant motion. He said they are lucky if they can plan 3-5 months out.
Any advice for real estate professionals?
Matsuura – “Do what you say, and say what you do.”
Fed Ex – “Know the decision maker and walk the building before you show it to us.”
US Bank – “Be a good listener. Don’t act like you can solve our problems before you know exactly what the problems are.”
Greater MSP – “Use us whenever you have a chance to bring companies to the Twin Cities. We have marketing and research freely available to help you tell our story.”
Posted at: 1:14 pm on October 30th, 2013