Site Selectors Guild Excellence in Economic Development Award go

Tracey Bosman -Managing Director BLS & Co., Mel Baxter -BGCDA President, Cedric King -BGCDA Chairman

The team at the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority have been awarded the 2017 Excellence in Economic Development Award from the prestigious Site Selectors Guild at their 2017 Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona.

For Economic Developers like Mel Baxter and John Scott, CEcD, who work to bring new jobs and investment into their communities, Site Selectors are at the core of what they do.  Site Selectors help companies decide on the best possible location for a new operation or expansion.  Every year, members of the Site Selectors Guild play an integral role in where billions of dollars are invested by growing companies.

As such, the Excellence in Economic Development Award is considered one of the highest honors in the Economic Development profession because recipients are nominated and selected entirely by Site Selectors.  The award is judged on four characteristics; two of which are flexibility and creativity in adapting to the needs of the prospect.

More than Incentives

Businesses make decisions based on what will generate the most return and a site location decision is no different.  Site Selectors help prospects navigate the myriad of factors that determine a company’s ability to succeed in an area and ultimately, the site that has the best business climate and opportunities for growth is the winner.

In addition to having a strong local workforce and access to all major modes of transportation in Glynn County, Mel Baxter believes Georgia also has a competitive advantage in how Economic Developers work together at the State and local level.  Baxter stated “Wylly Harrison from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Charles Stallworth from Georgia Power made all the difference with Project USA.  We could call on them at any time for questions or feedback.  The process was seamless, almost like we’re all part of the same organization – which is the way economic development should be.  Location decision are not always based on incentives.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson

“Congratulations to our friends at the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority – we are thrilled to see one of our own recognized for their hard work and commitment with an Excellence in Economic Development Award,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson.

“Our economic development successes are based on strong partnerships, and it’s because of partners like the team in Brunswick-Glynn County that we are able to offer companies a seamless experience at the state and local level.”


About the Project

A major location decision for a company can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months, and this project, code named Project USA had been in the works for over 12 months when a major hurdle presented itself that would have brought the project to a complete stop.

Tracey Bosman and Michelle Comerford, from Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., a site selection consulting firm based in Chicago, worked closely with the prospect throughout the process and in the final stages, site engineers revealed that the site in Glynn County would require an additional $2 million to meet the prospect’s needs.  Project USA’s building plans call for an additional four feet of dirt for the foundation to accommodate dock-high doors for loading product on and off trucks

With the help of Charles Ezelle from Thomas & Hutton Engineering, the staff at the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority came up with a workable solution overnight – simply dig a larger retention pond and use the excess dirt for the foundation.

Mel Baxter, President of the Development Authority said “Dave Smith (former BGCDA staff member) was absolutely essential in our ability to quickly adapt to the prospect’s needs.  Dave is well known for solving complex problems and his intense determination made all the difference.  Glynn County really owes him a debt of gratitude.”

Glynn County is Ready for Economic Development

The site under consideration is known as the Gateways Industrial Park and is located near Exit 42 on Interstate 95.  The site is certified as being “Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (G.R.A.D. Certified)” by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  Receiving the G.R.A.D. Certification means that a site has had as much of the preliminary site work done as possible; including Phase I Engineering, Wetland Delineations, Endangered Species Report, and much more.  G.R.A.D Certified sites can easily save six months of work for a new business which is why they’re so attractive.

According to John Scott, CEcD, the Project Manager at the Development Authority, the importance of being ready to accommodate new and growing businesses cannot be understated.  Scott stated that “being able to serve a prospect is entirely about being prepared before your site is ever even considered.  We had been working on this site for well over a year before Project USA made their first visit.  The prospect was tired from traveling to sites all around the Southeast U.S. and because we were prepared, I could confidently talk about why the Gateways Industrial Park was their best choice.”

About Dave Smith

Long time Glynn County resident, Dave Smith worked as the Plant Manager at Pinova Inc. (formerly Hercules Chemical) before starting a new career in Economic Development at the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority.  Dave has contributed tremendously to Glynn County and has served on numerous boards, including the Glynn County School Board.

About The Site Selectors Guild

Deciding on a location for expansion or a new project is a major decision for a company and making the best decision could mean the difference between success and failure.  To make sure the best possible site is selected, companies regularly hire Site Selection Consultants to help with the process.


“The Site Selectors Guild is a professional association comprised of the world’s most respected site selection consultants. The mission of The Site Selectors Guild is to advance the profession of international corporate site selection by promoting the profession and providing education, networking and other services to those involved in the industry.

All members of The Site Selectors Guild have been nominated and approved by their industry peers. As the first and only group of its kind, the Site Selectors Guild brings together a dynamic network of site selectors from around the world, combining their talent and expertise to create an invaluable resource, unmatched in its quality, for both corporations seeking site selection assistance and economic development organizations.”

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For more about the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority, visit