The Peach State’s tourism industry is thriving

The Peach State’s tourism industry is thriving

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Florida has the beaches, Pennsylvania has the Pocono Mountains, and California has the movie studios. Looking for a place where you can experience all three attractions and still get a taste of southern hospitality? The Peach State is your best bet and the tourism statistics prove it. Georgia welcomed more than 111 million international and domestic visitors in 2018, a record-breaking year for the state’s tourism industry, Gov. Brian Kemp and economic development leaders announced in January during the annual Tourism, Hospitality and Arts day at the Georgia State Capitol.

Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development, calculated that visitors spent close to $40 billion in communities throughout the state and supported 478,000 jobs. The billions in tourism-related expenditures generated $3.4 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“As visitors continue to discover Georgia’s unexpected destinations that range from the North Georgia Mountains to Cumberland Island, our economy continues to grow, new jobs are created, and our communities thrive,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Without the jobs created by the tourism industry, Georgia’s unemployment rate would be 10%, nearly twice as high as the record-low average, Explore Georgia said in a press release. 

The announcement follows Georgia’s consecutive recognition as the best state to do business by different business publications, solidifying the Peach State’s live, work and play attraction. “The tourism, hospitality, and arts industries are constantly propelling our state’s places, culture, stories, and people to the forefront – showing the world why Georgia is the best place to vacation, live, and do business,” Wilson said. 

To learn more, visit:

Exploregeorgia.com

Spotlight On: Christopher Lam, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Spotlight On: Christopher Lam, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Charlotte’s growth continues to attract a gamut of industries and talent into the region. As a result, the legal needs of businesses are evolving along with the diversification of the local economy, expanding the opportunities for legal professionals in the Queen City. Charlotte’s cost of living and sophisticated legal services rival the likes of New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Partner Christopher Lam told Invest: Charlotte. The business diversity is driving the need for expertise in compliance and data privacy. Additionally, there is a great emphasis to provide access to justice to all residents via pro bono legal services or by committing financial resources to community agencies in the region, Lam said. 

Q: How has the legal landscape changed with so much economic growth in the region?

A: From a legal perspective, a lot of firms from outside North Carolina decided to set up an office here, and not all of those have remained. According to American Lawyer, however, there are 59 law firms with a Charlotte office that are not headquartered here. This remains a very popular place to be for lawyers and that’s because of the way our business community has diversified.

We are known as a banking and financial services hub, and while this is still a key part of our economy, we are so much more than that, with energy, manufacturing, fintech and other sectors emerging. That diversification is good for us as lawyers too, as it better equips us to weather a potential downturn. For example, our firm has experts in multiple practice areas and industries, which allows us to serve clients with those needs and protects us against a downturn in one or two particular sectors.

Q: How have the legal needs of companies evolved as new technologies and developments emerge?

A: The core legal needs for businesses have largely remained the same – corporate, employment, litigation, real estate. But with new regulations, there is a greater need for expertise in compliance, specifically in data privacy, and particularly with new regulations such as GDPR and CCPA going into effect. That impacts almost every company. At Bradley, we have two of only a handful of lawyers in the country who are board-certified privacy lawyers, and we have an additional deep bench of lawyers who are CIPP-US certified. We have been well-positioned to help companies navigate these new regulations. 

Q: How do you think the private sector and public officials must work together to keep growth sustainable?

A: Charlotte has a proud legacy of business leadership in issues of community development and public policy. Our business leaders have long been champions of these initiatives and we certainly think we at Bradley are a part of that effort. It is important as corporate citizens that we recognize that the better we make our community as a whole, the better it is for everyone.

Q: How does the Charlotte legal market compare with other markets such as Chicago or New York?

A: Those cities are larger and more diverse and sometimes those legal markets can seem more attractive, whether it be a higher salary or more opportunities. In Charlotte, however, because of the diversity of the business community, we have sophisticated legal services here to rival the likes of New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. We also have a cost of living that is more advantageous, meaning lawyers can have great opportunities with a lower cost of living. That’s the best of both worlds.

Q: What are the main challenges facing the Charlotte market today?

A: Most of the 5,500 lawyers in Mecklenburg County are not working in big firms or representing large companies. And there are thousands of residents in the broader Charlotte community who have legal needs but cannot afford legal services. As current president of the Mecklenburg County Bar, my time spent working with groups like the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy has emphasized that the greatest challenge for lawyers here is our responsibility to ensure there is access to justice for all. We have a professional obligation to do so. We can do this in a couple primary ways – providing pro bono legal services ourselves or committing our financial resources to the agencies doing the heavy lifting every day. That issue is not unique to Charlotte, but as lawyers we have a particular responsibility to help ensure there is access to justice. I am very proud to say our lawyers at Bradley live into that. As but one example, we have a partnership with the Bank of America legal department through which we work with Safe Alliance to represent clients who need domestic violence protective orders. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.bradley.com/

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — In the last few years, Gaston County, located an hour away from the Queen City, has greatly benefited from the activity happening in Mecklenburg County. As a result, Gaston County, home to cities like Gastonia and Mount Holly, is experiencing growth in its residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Its proximity to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and available land make it a suitable place for businesses and new residents to settle in and still tap into the energy of nearby Charlotte. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, city of Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough talk about how their perspective cities are adapting to the growth, changes in infrastructure, and their vision for their cities moving forward. 

 

What areas are witnessing growth in your cities?

 

Walker E. Reid: Residential is growing in the southeast part of the city. It is an area we invested in a while back in hopes of developing it. As we speak, 411 single-family homes are being built within Nolen Farm. Also, we are going to bolster the zone’s water infrastructure and improve the sewage system. Eastridge Mall is in the process of being revitalized as well. For this project, some investors are willing to inject between $100 million and $150 million. It will include apartments and an aquatic center. We are working on the details of traffic patterns in and out of the mall. We are also working with the Transportation Commission to get the Silverline light rail into Gaston County.

 

Bryan Hough: We are one of the closest cities to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our proximity to the airport provides an opportunity for travelers and professionals to see Mount Holly and take an interest in the city. They’ll see that we have a small town atmosphere but can take advantage of a large place like Charlotte and the amenities they provide. The exposure the airport provides is good for job growth and opportunities for commercial growth. For 2020, we expect to see more investment coming to Mount Holly. We are going to see additional growth in both residential and commercial. We also plan to expand the greenway system. Our arts community has been blossoming and we expect it to continue to grow. 

Walker E. Reid

How is the local infrastructure dealing with the region’s growth?

 

Reid: The county was traditionally and primarily focused on the textile industry. When those businesses and jobs were lost, we had to adapt to find our next business niche, which turned out to be infrastructure. Now, we sell water to municipalities in Gaston County as well as in Clover, South Carolina. We also provide water, sewage and electricity services. The Gastonia Technology Park is a great testament to our diversification efforts. Businesses from all over the world have come to Gaston County to capitalize on this park. It has 24-hour uninterrupted power. We have a qualified workforce, training facilities and the infrastructure to assist new businesses looking to set up shop in Gastonia.

 

Hough: “Mount Holly, located in Gaston County, is home to 16,000 residents. In the past year, we have seen a lot of investor interest and development in Mount Holly. Investors in the manufacturing and distribution sectors are interested in development opportunities. We have a new hotel being built on the edge of our city, off of Interstate 85, which is connected to Charlotte, and is 10 minutes away from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our economic development department created a strategic vision plan based on significant economic input that highlights the attributes of Mount Holly, and provides investment information for businesses that want to bring their operations to the area. We work with the Gaston County Economic Development Commission to attract and retain large commercial companies. We want to make investment information accessible to investors.  

Bryan Hough

As mayor, where do you see your city heading in the future?

 

Reid: We have set some very aggressive goals related to our infrastructure, healthy communities, good government, economic vitality, our community identity, and for the safety of our community. In the coming years, we will continue to build on our momentum of growth and entrepreneurship. We also must continue to bring everyone to the table because we are a diverse city. One other goal that I would like to see the city work toward is for more diversity and inclusion. I want to put more emphasis on getting our residents from different cultures and different age groups involved in our city’s future – to build a sense of belonging and bring everyone together. Let’s hear more and different voices. I want the city of Gastonia to become the best city we can possibly be. Considering we are between Charlotte and Atlanta, we have a lot to offer.

 

Hough: Quality of life has been a key focus for the city. We want to be connected to the Catawba River via a greenway system that we are developing. We will have around 9 miles of greenway development near the river and 200 acres have been preserved for eco-tourism, such as canoeing and kayaking. We will have a bridge near the Dutchman’s Creek greenway area that will help with development near the river. The greenway system will stretch from I-85 to Highway 16 once it is completed. Mount Holly is home to very active residents who like to swim, bike and kayak. We want to connect with nature, which is part of our logo. That is our niche in the Charlotte Metro Area.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.cityofgastonia.com/

https://www.mtholly.us/

Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020   — The Queen City closed out the decade as one of the hottest markets in the nation, especially in the southeast. Millennials, Fortune 500 companies, and even a new soccer team want to be fully established in Charlotte and tap into its growth. And while the region offers a robust, tech- and financial services-savvy workforce, and is steadily diversifying its economy, a new report puts Charlotte in the middle of the pack for best cities for jobs in 2020. However, local market leaders across industries say job opportunities will remain sustainable for 2020, especially in the technology, law, and real estate sectors.

 

A new report by WalletHub puts Charlotte at No. 104 on its ranking of “2020’s Best Cities for Jobs.” The personal finance website compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 31 indicators of job-market strength, such as employment growth and monthly average starting salary. Scottsdale, Arizona, took the top spot, and Detroit, Michigan, came in last at No. 182. Other major North Carolina metros received mixed reviews, with Raleigh cracking the Top 50 at No. 48, and Fayetteville listed before Detroit at No. 181. Though the report listed Charlotte as middle of the pack for jobs compared to other cities, the technology, law and real estate sectors will continue to provide opportunities for the region’s workforce, local leaders say.  

 

Charlotte is quickly becoming a tech town, as evidenced by the different tech-based companies that relocated to the region in the latter half of the last decade. “In the Charlotte market, the technology talent pool is growing at a rapid pace, largely driven by companies like Red Ventures, LendingTree, and AvidXchange,” JLL Market Director Chase Monroe told Invest: Charlotte. “There has been a need for high-tech talent. Locally, there has been investment in the school system to drive technological education.” Charlotte’s banking legacy, coupled with the fintech that is coming out of the banking system, is also fueling the technology sector and driving talent to the Queen City, Monroe said. “Those factors have allowed Charlotte to be a top recruiter for multiple tech-based opportunities across industries. Recruiting and retention of talent has been a huge factor in the Charlotte Metro Area.” 

 

Similarly, the legal sector has evolved with the growth of the city and has a positive outlook heading into the new decade. “I don’t see anything but good things for the legal profession here,” Poyner Spruill Partner Tate Ogburn told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has grown for the two decades that I have lived here, and I don’t see that dramatically changing.” The legal needs of companies evolve with the economic diversification and growth of the region, which creates opportunities for legal professionals, he said. “It is still a place where people want to be and there are more opportunities with new and more sophisticated companies coming in for the legal sector to continue growing. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of new clients and people, and different types of work as well,” Ogburn said. 

 

Real estate and development provide investor confidence and opportunities for the workforce as Charlotte continues to grow. “I’ve been at this for 40 years and the real estate market in Charlotte is the strongest, most robust I’ve ever seen,” Northwood CEO Ned Curran told Invest: Charlotte. He highlighted the growth of the residential, industrial and commercial sectors. “Residential leads the way. It has not slowed like in other cities. Distribution and manufacturing continue to grow, and we have a unique distribution hub of state highways and rail networks associated with the airport. The office sector has trailed a little, but in recent years it has been catching up, which is a reflection of job growth,” he said. Curran expects the growth to continue during an election year and beyond while expressing confidence in the region and its economic diversification, which will allow the region to be better prepared in the event of an economic downturn, he said. “We will continue to grow across all sectors. We continue to diversify our economy, which only gives us greater strength. When there is a downturn in the economy, not everybody suffers. Some have disadvantages, some have advantages, but we are all components of an economic system and with our great diversity, we will be able to weather it better.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: 

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-for-jobs/2173/#methodology

https://www.us.jll.com/en/locations/southeast/carolinas

https://www.poynerspruill.com/

https://www.northwoodoffice.com/

 

Georgia Wraps Up Decade as Top State for business

Georgia Wraps Up Decade as Top State for business

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020Development and growth in Atlanta remain strong as the decade comes to an end, and the economic activity and favorable business climate characteristic of Atlanta looks just as peachy for the entire state of Georgia. In November, Georgia was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the top state for business for a record-breaking seventh year in a row. Similarly, Area Development Magazine also named Georgia as the top state for business for the sixth-consecutive year. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said continuing to foster a thriving business climate has been a major part of his vision for the state since assuming office in January 2019. “From Day One of my administration, we have been laser-focused on creating opportunities for hardworking Georgians in every corner of the state,” Kemp  announced at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Georgia in November . “Our efforts to cut burdensome regulations, continue developing a world-class workforce, and market all regions of the Peach State through the formation of a Rural Strike Team have not gone unnoticed, and this announcement affirms that.” 

 

The state’s workforce training program, Georgia Quick Start, was also recognized as one of the best in the nation. The state reported around 29,000 new jobs were created for fiscal year 2019. According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, 2.5 million residents are expected to move to the region by the year 2040, bringing the total population to 8 million. 

 

Heading into the new decade, technology will be a key area of growth for the region and state. The Metro Atlanta Chamber identified bioscience, financial technology, supply chain and Internet of Things as economic segments poised for growth. Additionally, Georgia’s logistics hub legacy is one of the state’s main competitive advantages. Logistics hubs like the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connect businesses to their customers with ease. The workforce training programs, and logistic hubs, coupled with the state’s pro-business policies make Georgia a frontrunner for companies looking to relocate. 

“The nation’s leading site consultants see opportunity for growth across our state. Our top-ranked workforce development initiatives – combined with a conservative, pro-business policy approach, world-class higher education system, and a logistics network that puts the global economy within arm’s reach – make Georgia a top competitor for investment from businesses large and small – across the country and around the world,” Kemp said. 

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.metroatlantachamber.com 

https://www.georgia.org https://atlantaregional.org/

Charlotte drops out of the Top 5 in US for tech jobs

Charlotte drops out of the Top 5 in US for tech jobs

By: Felipe Rivas

In 2019, the Queen City nurtured a culture of tech company headquarter relocations with giants such as LendingTree and Honeywell settling into the region. Despite recognized names establishing in the area, the Charlotte Metro Area slipped from the top spot for tech jobs, according to CompTIA’s annual report. The world’s leading tech association ranked Charlotte No. 6 on its “Tech Town Index” for 2019, dropping from last year’s No. 1 spot. Though Charlotte ranked out of the Top 5 cities for tech jobs in the nation, the report and local education leaders say there is an exciting energy in the region as it relates to technology that they will continue to develop and invest in.

CompTIA cites long-term job growth as “one of the reasons the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro just missed the Top 5.” According to the report, in 2018 “the area showed signs of an 11 percent job growth over the next five years” but as the end of 2019 nears, the growth projection sits at 9 percent. However, the report says that when it comes to the technology industry, Charlotte is “still putting its money where its mouth is.” 

In the past 12 months, more than 52,000 tech jobs were posted, the majority of those positions being for developers, software engineers, and data analysts, the report states. As such, local educational leaders say institutions need to capitalize on the energy, diversification, and growth of the local technology industry. “What is going on with fintech, healthcare, and energy is exciting here,” said Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo to Invest: Charlotte. “The most exciting part is the growth of the technology sector. We want to be at the forefront of working with those businesses.” As an institution focused on liberal arts, Queens University of Charlotte is meshing tech skills, such as coding and data analytics, with its liberal arts curriculum. “We are actually training students with hybrid skills,” Lugo said. “We want to be in a position to have retained that general education of the liberal arts, but to look at pedagogy and the curriculum to empower our folks to understand coding and data analytics, to look at this whole 21st century and technology in a more robust way.”

Similarly, Catawba College is also upgrading its curriculum to account for the growth of the region’s technology industry. “We’re launching a master’s in data analytics, as well as a minor in data analytics to accompany almost any other major,” said President Brien Lewis to Invest: Charlotte. “We’re trying to take advantage of what’s in our region.” Going forward, the Charlotte Metro Area has the opportunity to continue to distinguish itself as a tech town. “The opportunities are to be cutting-edge in specific areas, such as data analytics,” Lewis said. “It’s a matter of capitalizing and investing further in what’s already in Charlotte to create an environment where people know we’re a leader in that area.” 

For 2020, As the Queen City continues to grow and attract companies and new residents, factors such as access to banks and capital, a diverse and growing talent pool, access to a robust logistics and distribution infrastructure, and a cost of living that is lower than the national average will prove advantageous for the local economy and those wishing to tap into its technology sector. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://www.queens.edu; https://catawba.edu/

ATLNext Targets New Heights

By Sara Warden

 

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 For the 21st consecutive year, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport was named the world’s busiest airport this month. With passenger traffic of over 107 million in 2018, the airport continues to serve as a major economic driver of the city. Capital Analytics took a closer look at the characteristics that make the airport the world’s transport hub.

ATL is the state of Georgia’s largest employer, generating 63,000 direct on-site jobs and creating an estimated $34.8 billion economic impact for Metro Atlanta – or almost 7% of total state GDP. The 47,000-acre Hartsfield-Jackson facility has 263 concessions, 193 gates, seven concourses, five runways and the tallest control tower in North America, coming in at 121m.

“It’s a complex operation,” Airport General Manager John Selden told How Stuff Works. “One little piece going astray can cause massive chain-reaction ramifications. To keep the complexity of this operation running smoothly, it takes a village.”

But to keep operations running smoothly, the airport must constantly keep up with growing passenger numbers through more and more expansions. “As you look at passenger flow over time, it’s always trying to eliminate the bottleneck,” Tom Nissalke, the airport’s assistant general manager of planning told How Stuff Works. “Sometimes, when you fix one bottleneck then it’s another bottleneck somewhere else.” 

In 2016, the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport unveiled ATLNext, a $6 billion capital investment in the continuous expansion of existing infrastructure. By 2022, a total of $1.9 billion is to be invested in the modernization of the central passenger terminal, which will include aesthetic renovations that involve landscaping and lighting, as well as the extension of Concourse T to add five new gates and the addition of 10 new gates to Concourse G.

To accommodate growing air traffic, $1.3 billion will be invested in airfield upgrades that include a sixth runway, slated to be completed by 2034. Investments in auxiliary services such as parking and a mixed-use hotel and office space development are also planned. Air cargo facility upgrades will come in at around $200 million.

“The infrastructure has to keep up with the growth,” Selden said to Reporter Newspapers. “We cannot turn into [New York’s secondary airport] LaGuardia. My goal and my team’s goal is to do everything we can to work with everybody that we need to [in order to] ensure that Hartsfield-Jackson is not a limiting factor on the growth of the Atlanta region.”

The investment is a joint venture between the public and private sector. A consortium of three companies – CH2M Hill (since acquired by Jacobs), RohadFox and Parsons Transportation Group – won the contract to carry out the ambitious expansion. Overall, PPPs are an innovative idea in airport projects, but could be the future, allowing the public sector to free up funds for other priorities. “I think we’ll see other examples where other companies get involved. And gradually, familiarity builds, and it won’t seem outlandish at some later date when the subject of the whole airport comes up,” said Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

http://next.atl.com/

https://reason.org/

http://www.rohadfox.com/

http://www.jacobs.com/ 

https://www.parsonsgroup.co.uk/

Mixing Work and Play in an Innovative Way

April 2018 — Started in 1999 as a graduate thesis and initiated in 2008 with walking trails, the Atlanta BeltLine has come a long way from what it was once envisioned to be. The recent developments of office buildings, retail and residential space along and around the BeltLine have created an environment where residents have everything they need within walking distance. It is the ideal mix of work and play and continues to grow as a current real estate hotspot in Atlanta.

In fact, in December 2017, a $750 million mixed-use project was unveiled for the continued expansion of the BeltLine. The plans include two 12-story office buildings, one hotel, 700 residential units and 200,000 square feet of retail space. The BeltLine also hired a new CEO, Brian McGowan, to continue the project.

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership was formed to raise philanthropic dollars to supplement the BeltLine’s efforts. The Opening the Corridor campaign, which began in 2017, helped fund the recent purchase of the Southside Trail as an interim connection. The $25.8 million project will connect the East and West sides of Atlanta for the first time in history.

Focus: Atlanta spoke with a number of city leaders in both the real estate and transportation sectors to get their insights on the mixed-use developments quickly sprouting up along the BeltLine. Here’s what they said:

Brian McGowan, CEO, Atlanta BeltLine

“The BeltLine is currently refocusing itself. We are 12 years into the project, and it is time to reflect on where we have come from and reevaluate the direction we are heading. The BeltLine is about people at the end of the day. Our focus is function over form.”  

 

Jim Irwin, President, New City Properties

“Offices along the BeltLine allow people to create more alignment between their work life and their personal priorities. Whether it’s commuting to work by bicycle or walking across the BeltLine to meet a friend for lunch at Ponce City Market, this project gives people an opportunity to work in a place that they truly enjoy.”

Chris Faussemagne, Principal, Westbridge Partners

“There are a lot of suburban submarkets that are creating their own central business districts. They are creating their own communities, jobs and places to live. That has been a great thing for the city because it relieves congestion. The BeltLine is also creating a lot of connectivity and alternatives to work and play.”

Matt Bronfman, CEO, Jamestown Properties

The BeltLine is like our beachfront property at this point. We need to make sure that the people developing on the BeltLine do things that are worthy in the long term. We need to get tougher on the development community to do interesting projects because that is how you get appreciation. The entire BeltLine will be completed sooner than people realize, and those neighborhoods will be made much better. Neighborhoods attracting young talent will be the most successful, and those are along the BeltLine.”

Scott Cannon, Executive Vice President, Skanska

“The Atlanta BeltLine Development is focused on getting people outdoors and being green. It’s about changing the way people live, work and play in the city. Skanska has a unique project that we are working on with architect Lord Aeck Sargent: the Atlanta BeltLine Urban Farm Shed. It is a 500-square-foot off-grid storage and work shed featuring a photovoltaic energy and storage system, composting toilet, and the use of salvaged and locally milled wood products.”

Greg Hare, Managing Partner, Ogletree Deakins

“Some of the critics of the Atlanta BeltLine have called it nothing but a glorified sidewalk. However, that big wide sidewalk creates better connectivity between neighborhoods, as well as tremendous economic development, because it’s a popular place to be. Developers are now putting a lot of money into parts of Atlanta that have not seen investment in decades.”

Chris Clark, President and CEO, Georgia Chamber

“We need to attract young professionals. We need to create the cool factor, which is why things like the BeltLine are important. We can offer great amenities and quality of life.”

To find out more about our interviewees above, visit their websites at:

Atlanta BeltLine: https://beltline.org
Westbridge Partners: http://www.westbridgepartners.net
New City Properties: http://www.newcity-properties.com
Skanska: https://www.skanska.com
Jamestown Properties: https://www.jamestownlp.com
Georgia Chamber: https://www.gachamber.com
Ogletree Deakins: https://ogletree.com

Flight position

How Miami International Airport is expanding to better serve the city 

Emilio Gonzalez Director & CEO – Miami-Dade Aviation Department

 

How will the increased investment in infrastructure lead to sustainable development of the economy?

Each daily international passenger fight at Miami International Airport (MIA) generates $33 million annually in business revenue, making international air service one of the biggest drivers of economic development locally and one of our community’s greatest assets. Our infrastructure improvements are focused squarely on international air service expansion. On the heels of successful north and south terminal redevelopment projects, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) is continuing to renovate MIA’s central terminal six of the Concourse E-Satellite’s nine gate areas and its second and third foor lobbies were upgraded and re-opened in 2016. MIA’s Terminal Optimization Program is a 10-year capital improvement plan for MIA’s Central Terminal, which began in 2015. Phase I of the TOP includes pre-construction work that began in 2016 to completely replace the baggage screening systems in MIA’s south and central terminals. The project, partially funded by a $101-million grant from the Transportation Security Administration, will double the systems’ current screening speed by installing the latest in Explosives Detection Screening (EDS) technology. MIA is also partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to renovate and re-open the Concourse E international arrivals facility by the summer of 2017. In another innovative approach by MIA, the redesigned facility will be one of the frst in the country to screen passengers primarily via self-service technologies such as Global Entry, Automated Passport Control kiosks, and the Mobile Passport Control app.

What is your strategy to continue expanding into new markets for both passengers and cargo?

MIA is continuing its reinvention from being the Gateway of the Americas to a truly global gateway. Three of 2016’s new carriers are European-based, and two more European airlines have announced Miami launches in 2017. MDAD fortified its existing global business ties and established new ones in 2016 by investing in mission trips to strategic locations around the world. MDAD representatives traveled to Dublin, Ireland in June to participate in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, the world’s largest gathering of airline leaders. MIA was one of only a handful of airports in the world invited to attend the event, which drew more than 1,000 delegates. During the three-day gathering, I led an MIA team that met with high-level executives.