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Dayton makes international news in EU magazine

October 1, 2018

A print magazine, Foreign Direct Investment International Alliance Magazine, has featured Dayton on the front cover this month and with a double-truck feature article in the centerfold of the magazine.

The publication, which is distributed across at least 10 European Union countries, bridges the gap between development and site selection. They showcase the most lucrative investment destinations in the U.S. and Canada and share them with the world.

Courtland Holman, the executive director for the Dayton Community Development Corporation, has been working with the editor for the last four years to promote the city and attract foreign investment with companies who can provide jobs for the Dayton marketplace.

“It’s an EU magazine that attracts site selectors and other businesses to locate in city’s across North America, including the U.S. and Canada,” Holman said.

Holman says he works with a short list of people to help him market the community that attracts industrial business primarily, promotes the city and helps get the word out to a world-wide audience.

The executive director says he has watched as the magazine has grown its portfolio to include not only print, but social media, website, and most recently, added an interactive digital platform that is now available on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The digital magazine can now be seen across the entire Microsoft network with the likes of Forbes, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and many more elite magazines.

“Originally targeted for airports, CEOs and CFOs of industrial markets, it’s now spread across the Facebook and Twitter world,” Holman said.

The magazine is also now experimenting with non-traditional platforms like Linked-In and other business-related extensions that can draw a group of fast-moving decision-makers to facilitate opportunities for growth both domestic and foreign.

“Those are targets that I can’t reach,” he said.

Holman’s focus is on steel, plastics, and chemical plants and attempts to reach those in the magazine with sponsorships.

“We let them know how easy it is for them to come to Dayton to develop their business here. Whether it’s the infrastructure they need for industrial business, the reasonably-priced land, or our close proximity to everything,” he said.

Holman also explained it was the city’s ability to court business with a friendly staff that’s fast in the paperwork and makes it clear how much they want them here.

“We want those jobs here,” he said. “We’re not onerous like the city of Houston and we can accommodate them.”

The marketing campaign for the city seems to be working with the opening of two major foreign businesses—Sumiden Wire Company from Japan and Roll-Lift who headquarters in The Netherlands.

“I have another Japanese company that’s interested in coming,” he said. There are also companies from Belgium and Canada, some of which will be going into Gulf Inland Logistics.

“They [Gulf Inland Logistics] have about four businesses that need to open next year,” Holman said so expediency is key. The infrastructure will need to be installed quickly.

Marketing the city has not only brought much-needed jobs, but additional revenue for the city’s coffers.

“If you don’t get the word out, no one knows you even exist,” he said and more importantly to a world that isn’t familiar with a suburb of Houston like Dayton.

The executive director is fixed on who he’s trying to attract to the area.

“I don’t necessarily concentrate my marketing efforts locally because that’s the wrong person I’m trying to attract,” he explained.

He said the type of business he’s looking for is international primarily.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t look at domestic business,” he said. “There are a lot of companies that are expanding and seeking out new locations.”

Others he said are being forced out of their locations because of overbearing regulation and moving to Texas for better opportunities.

“There are other considerations including cost of living, which is small on the scale, but also workman’s comp which is high on the same scale,” he said.

One such company that has been rumored for building off SH 146 is Exxon. The company owns some 860-acres between Mont Belvieu and the new River Ranch development, north of the industrial canal and north of Melody Liska’s property. There’s a 2,000-car parking facility there.

“I’ve heard it through third parties, but to me it’s just hearsay until I can confirm it,” Holman said.

Holman believes that they will eventually build something there, but when that would be is a mystery.

The ad sponsorships in the magazine has increased the interest in the Dayton area. Holman received three phone calls on Thursday alone.

“The uptick is noticeable,” he said. “I’ve had an energy company contact me, BSNF is looking for property, and at three major property purchases in the last month.”

Holman estimated that if each of those land deals go through, the businesses would bring between 200-700 jobs each.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com

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