BRAC among top 10 economic development groups

Three South Louisiana economic development organizations were named among the nation’s best, according to a new report by Site Selection Magazine.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance in Lake Charles were named among the nation’s top 10 economic development organizations. And IBM’s service center in downtown Baton Rouge was named as one of the top economic development projects of the year.

The performance of those organizations helped put Louisiana fourth on Site Selection’s list of the Top 10 competitive states, behind Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

This was the fifth year in a row BRAC made the Site Selection list, the only other five-time consecutive winner organizations are the Greater Houston Partnership and World Business Chicago.

“The Capital Region is experiencing an economic development boom,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC’s president and chief executive officer.

Knapp said the national recognition is a testament to its team, regional partners from the nine Baton Rouge-area parishes, counterparts at the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and the chamber’s investors.

Site Selection does not assign rankings inside its top 10 list. Organizations named to that list were chosen because of their new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. Last year, BRAC worked on 15 projects that resulted in company relocations or expansions inside the Baton Rouge area. Those projects secured 2,167 jobs, $112.5 million in additional annual payroll and $4.4 billion in capital investment, Knapp said.

Cameron Art, an IBM vice president, told Site Selection that Baton Rouge’s talent was the biggest incentive for setting up the center, which is set to open in April 2015. “They’re redirecting their economic development towards people, and not plants and assets,” Art said.