Monday, June 15, 2009

Talent Geography: Ohio

Usually, I like the editorials in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I'm of the opinion that the "Pee Dee" is out in front of Northeast Ohio, trying to lead the way. But concerning the NCR relocation from Dayton to Atlanta, the editors miss the mark:

[NCR CEO Bill Nuti] has been quoted praising not just the financial incentives that Georgia officials offered NCR to move its headquarters and also to open a production plant, but also the quality of the state's work force, its training programs and the Atlanta area's attractiveness to prospective employees. He has lauded the international air connections available from Atlanta and Georgia's Hope Scholarship program. His bottom line: Ohio just doesn't measure up.

That slander can't be allowed to stand. Ohio already has a bad enough reputation among site-selection consultants on both coasts, with its outdated rust belt image.

The commentary ends with a more even-handed assessment of Nuti's Ohio critique. But I cringe at the suggestion that the Rust Belt needs a better marketing campaign (see this Mike Madison post) in order to compete with the likes of Georgia. I don't think Ohio could ask for better publicity than this.

We have to stop thinking in terms of state versus state. It's city versus city, worldwide. Dayton or Atlanta for your global HQ? Ohio's wounded pride is misplaced. There isn't a city in the entire state on par with Atlanta. You'd have to travel to Chicago or Toronto before you can find a place in the same league. And even if there was an Ohio city that could compete, state politics forbid such a relocation.

NCR didn't move from Ohio to Georgia. It moved from Dayton to Atlanta.

No comments: