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Because our economic development experience is deep, and our perspective is broad, Greenfield is often asked to evaluate specific situations that are related to our primary economic development focus. We are always excited to use what we know to think outside the box and take on an unusual issue or task.
Below are some examples of Greenfield’s approach to the Strategy, Art and Science of some Special Projects we have completed:
Issue: During a downturn in the economy, ElectriCities wanted to better predict its future electric demand to facilitate its supply option plans.
Recommendation: Greenfield was asked to implement a Load Growth Study. There is no substitute for going directly to the customers to ask them what they expect to need. Based on Robin’s Cogentrix industrial energy use experience, and Mary’s local existing industry involvement, we canvassed all of ElectriCities customers over a certain size. Not only did we ask them about their production outlook and technical usage questions, but we also asked them about any customer service issues and what was most needed from their electric supplier. As an objective third party, and yet also knowledgeable interviewers, Greenfield was able to obtain sensitive and insightful information for ElectriCities. Our results provided the utility with a clear roadmap for future supply planning and customer service.
Issue: Fort Jackson, the largest US Army training facility, and Fort McEntire, an adjacent and supporting SC Air National Guard facility, are located on the eastern edge of a fast growing Columbia, SC. The military is very concerned about protecting sensitive buffer areas along its boundaries from incompatible land uses.
Recommendation: After a land use study recommended agricultural development as a proactive method of buffer area protection, Greenfield, as part of a project team, was chosen to provide recommendations on how to implement this agricultural development effort. Greenfield was chosen because of our previous marketing experience in all areas that are included in the vertical integration of the agricultural sector, and also because Mary’s involvement in the business of her family farm. After canvassing local stakeholders, researching existing local efforts, and researching other national efforts, we were quickly able to pinpoint the gaps and issues that the Columbia area must address to promote appropriate land uses around the bases. We understand why the regulatory issues in the food industry will hinder small farmers from supplying the needs of large institutional demand without aggregation assistance. We know what crops can, and will not, grow in the local soils. Consequently, we recommended a focus on timber growth and more vertical integration of the wood products segment of agriculture as the short term priority, while the issues of food supply development are addressed.
Issue: The Greenville, NC metro area has a reputation as a high wage location skewed by five dominant employers. However, the local anecdotal accounts reflected wages that were extremely reasonable for all other employers, and the local unemployment rate was higher than the state averages. Greenfield was hired to uncover the facts—what does the regional wage structure look like if the wage data of these five major employers (with their high skill levels and employee longevity) is not included in the calculations? Local economic development recruiters needed data for prospects that would assist in marketing the City and better predict wages for a new employer.
Recommendation: Greenfield collected data related to commuting patterns within the labor shed, skills of the unemployed and how they translate to various industry sectors, target sector labor profiles and how they relate to the existing labor skills, wages and availability, and the impact of nearby exiting military and bilingual labor force entrants. Based on this research, we created key marketing messages, related to workforce, for the metro area in general, and each of its target industry sectors. Our research did, indeed, reflect the upward wage pressure impact of these dominant employers, and provide a useful tool to help recruit other employers to Greenville and Pitt County.