Forbes Magazine: Maine’s Pine Tree Zone Program Off To A Fast Start

Michael Hickey, president of Hickey & Associates, a site selection firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, confirmed
that Maine’s marketing efforts are working. “I think Maine is more and more on the radar screen for site selectors,” he said. forbes_logo

“Public incentives that help reduce the cost of doing business, and that include a commitment by the company
to create new jobs, are a key part of economic development. More companies are looking to small towns and
cities for relocation provided the demographics and the infrastructure are there.

” The certified Pine Tree Zone companies include one that develops health assessment software, another that provides financial services, another that stores materials for the paper industry and one that provides sales-consulting services for high-tech companies.

Back to the USA: Rising Stars

The sleeper theme in this country is rural America.

According to Michael Hickey, president of Hickey & Associates, a site selection consultant based in Minneapolis, small towns with a population of around 300,000 (outside the MSA for a city) are attractive for several reasons.

They are sleeper communities because first, they have a very solid work and worth ethic. They also usually have an available labor source. And no matter where you are, they usually have a good community college to help train and develop people in conjunction with the company.

He notes that to attract companies, however, rural areas must have bandwidth. Toward that end, Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota has introduced Rural Renaissance, abill in the U.S. Senate to help small town America rebuild its Main Streets and lure companies back.

Hickey’s favorite regions for rural business regeneration are the upper Midwest and Southeast.