Fam Tours Showcases Wilmington Area Assets

Familiarization tours enable site selection consultants up-close views of regions and communities, including candid, face-to-face meetings with local industry representatives. Such “Fam Tours” are the recommended way for locations to highlight what makes them unique amid a sea of competing destinations.

 In mid September, The Southeastern Partnership collaborated with Wilmington Business Development, Brunswick County Economic Development Commission and the North Carolina Ports Authority in a three-dayfamtour attended by 11 of the nation’s top location advisors. In addition to an aerial tour of the region’s industrial properties and economic assets, participants heard presentations from leaders of UNC Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College and Brunswick Community College. The three-day event included a panel discussion of the region’s business environmentbylocal executives with Acme Smoked Fish, ADM, Corning, Fortron, Lee Controls and PPD.

 “Therewasgreat value not just in showcasing the region’s economic assets, but also highlighting the collaboration that existsamongour economic development organizations,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development. “These consultants review sites and communities around the country every day, and I think they were genuinely impressed with what they experienced here.”

 J.D. "Butch" Miller, senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis in Raleigh, was among those who attended the tour. He called the existing industry panel discussion one of the most valuable parts of the event. “They all had their own individual reasons for choosing Greater Wilmington as opposed to other places,” Miller said. Another memorable moment involved taking a ride in the control cabin of a container crane. It was the first time Miller had attended aFamTour, but won’t be the last. “The organizers of the event really did it right,” he said. Miller called the diverse collection of about a dozen national consultants and brokers “just the right size.”

 The Fam Tours sponsors included Duke Energy, ECS Carolinas, the NC Biotechnology Center and Wilmington International Airport. Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, also participated, offering a state-level overview to visiting consultants.