Years ago, Louisiana found itself on the losing end of too many job-creating, multi-million-dollar project location decisions. “We love Louisiana’s workforce and incentives structure; it’s just that your site is not ready for development,” was a common phrase heard over and over by the top brass in Louisiana’s economic development department. With the sting of project losses still fresh in mind, and driven by a desire to win, Louisiana went to work to address its lack of development-ready sites. Initially funded by a small grant, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) was able to create and implement a strategic site inventory and certified sites program to identify and prepare a robust inventory of development-ready sites. Since 2012, CSRS has worked with LED to identify across Louisiana more than 400 sites with desirable development attributes. Over 80 of the 400 sites have either detailed site due diligence work completed or due diligence in progress.
Unknowns cannot be quantified and therefore cannot be calculated. Today’s site selection decisions involve many complex variables, each of which has a calculated impact on the ultimate site location decision. Identifying each of these variables and then performing detailed due diligence eliminates the unknowns and gives site selectors the confidence they need to choose Louisiana. Louisiana’s certified sites program was designed to address all of the rigorous site selection criteria routinely encountered in highly technical, data-driven site selection exercises.
Identifying and eliminating risks are both critical to winning projects. Knowing every site weakness and implementing a successful mitigation plan to overcome vulnerabilities is essential to leveling the playing field and securing a winning decision from a competitive prospect. LED’s site certification process aims to develop specific mitigation plans to deal with each site weakness discovered during the detailed due diligence phase. Site development investment plans are developed for each site, which enables LED and our communities to plan site-specific risk mitigation strategies in preparation for a competitive project.
Typically, winning a project is not the result of blind luck. Winning is a habit and is most often the result of the tireless effort put into preparation and readiness. LED, through its Certified Site Program, supports every Louisiana community’s effort to identify and prepare sites to host major economic development projects. Once a site is selected for participation in the program, LED provides financial and technical support needed to complete all the required detailed site due diligence. After the due diligence is completed, a third-party engineering firm performs an exhaustive and objective review of the entire site package. The result is a development-ready site poised to compete and win the next economic driver project.
Certified sites afford our communities a distinct marketing advantage. Communities with an inventory of certified sites demonstrate their commitment to preparedness and economic growth. In today’s highly competitive economic development market, differentiation is a key factor to winning. Site Certification allows our communities to distinguish themselves from the crowd—to differentiate from the rest and capitalize on a unique advantage.
Taylor Gravois is a licensed Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor with 16 years of experience in performing site selection, site due diligence, and land development project delivery for both large and small facilities, economic development, and infrastructure projects. He works with local governments, private developers, large corporations, and economic development organizations in support of developing site infrastructure and development projects. Mr. Gravois possesses an in-depth understanding of the engineering processes associated with land development and applies this knowledge to every project endeavor for maximum results.
Mr. Gravois has a broad array of experience from overseeing surveys of raw land, detailed design, construction administration, contract closeout, to every phase of planning and design in between. With significant development, engineering, land surveying, and project management experience and expertise, he is uniquely qualified to understand and meet each client’s needs.Contact