Austin Consulting's blog

Getting Familiar with the New River Valley

By Kyle Johnson and Charles Slife, Location Consultants with Austin Consulting

Location consultants often participate in community familiarization (FAM) tours to be able to learn about local communities, their economies and the opportunities that they offer to prospective businesses. On May 23, 2018, we were invited to visit the New River Valley by Onward New River Valley and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

The geographic area of the New River Valley contains four counties and one independent city located in southwest Virginia, between Roanoke and Wytheville, that is bisected by Interstate 81. During the visit, we learned about available sites and buildings throughout the New River Valley, including the 1,000-acre New River Valley Commerce Park. This information helps Austin understand assets that communities offer and assist clients with unique needs.

Thoughts & Takeaways from the SelectUSA Investment Summit: How proposed changes to U.S. economic policy could impact business decisions to invest in the U.S.

By Brandon Talbert, Austin Consulting

Recently, Austin attended the fourth annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC, where we met with prospective clients interested in expanding business operations in the U.S. This was Austin’s third year attending the Summit, which is the highest profile event organized by SelectUSA, a federal program with a mission of promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. 

The SelectUSA initiative was created under the Obama administration and is housed within the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Summit facilitates networking opportunities between companies interested in investing in the U.S. and state and local economic development organizations, service providers and various Federal Government support agencies.

What Indirect or Hidden Costs are Lurking in Your Location Project?

By Brandon Talbert, Senior Location Consultant, Austin Consulting

When evaluating multiple locations for new industrial facilities, cost is always a component of the analysis, if not the most important aspect of the ultimate decision. Most of our clients seek a location that offers a favorable long-term operating cost environment, while balancing the upfront costs of the project and other important non-cost considerations. However, a true comparative analysis is not always as easy or straightforward as it may seem, and there is significant room for error.

Brownfields: A “Great Deal” or a “Great Deal of Concern”? Part 2

Jonathan Gemmen, Austin Consulting

In Part 1, we discussed high-level considerations to keep in mind when evaluating a brownfield industrial property for your next facility. Now, we weigh some specific upsides and shortcomings of these unique sites.


Brownfields: A “Great Deal” or a “Great Deal of Concern”? Part 1

Jonathan Gemmen, Austin Consulting

Imagine for a moment …

Your plans for adding another facility are coming together. Sales and revenue continue to increase. Your Board of Directors has given the “green light” to move forward. You’ve found the most favorable region for your supply-chain, which also has an ample pool of qualified labor. But you can’t find the specific property within that community on which to build. You are convinced that your operation would thrive in a more urban setting, but each site you’ve seen to-date resemble a cul-de-sac in a cow pasture at the outskirts of town.

Transportation Trends in Manufacturing

From Austin Consulting

Last month, I wrote about supply chain trends that are affecting manufactures. This month, I will focus on the transportation trends that all manufactures must also take into account.

Trends in Transportation:

Supply Chain Trends, Part 1

From Austin Consulting

Manufacturers are facing many trends and challenges these days, including those from both the supply chain and transportation sides of their business. This two-part series will examine these issues, so companies can be better prepared to address them.

Risk Management

Managing risk is a key component to running a sound business. It is also a key component in managing supply chain. Many businesses were affected by the West Coast Ports labor standoff, which is estimated to have cost retailers as much as $7-billion. To manage risk successfully, shippers need to ask themselves a few questions:

Scrutinizing Incentives: Perception vs. Reality

By Brandon Talbert, Senior Consultant with Austin Consulting

Over the past few years, there has been an increased level of scrutiny placed on incentive packages offered by many state and local governments to entice companies to create new jobs and invest capital in their area. A lackluster national economy, increases in government spending, the passage of a major healthcare reform bill, and growing deficits have likely contributed to taxpayer concerns and much of the negative press around some incentive deals. Many companies have been blasted in certain media outlets for negotiating or accepting incentive offers. Needless to say, this can become a public relations nightmare for the incentive recipient, as well as municipal governments and politicians. 

Benefits of Conducting an Early Favorable Area Study

By Jonathan Gemmen, Senior Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

For several decades, corporations have compressed the timeline on which they execute the site selection and construction process. We’ve seen that most firms want to minimize the window between the date when their competitors know of their future expansion and the date when production starts. Every day that the market knows of the proposed expansion, is another day they can prepare for and adjust to the upcoming increase in production capacity.

Water Reliability and Potential Impacts

Brandon Talbert, Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

On January 9, 2014, crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), a chemical agent used in washing coal, reportedly leaked from a storage tank at a chemical storage facility located along the Elk River in Charleston, WV. The spill leaked into the ground before traveling to the adjacent river. The incident occurred about one mile upstream from American Water’s treatment facility along the Elk River, which flows into the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston. When it was determined that the spill had contaminated local drinking water, a “do-not-use” advisory was issued to parts of nine counties, affecting up to 300,000 customers. The ban lasted five days before gradually being lifted.