Site Selectors Guild 2017 Fall Forum Recap

The 2017 Site Selectors Guild Fall Forum took place in Seattle, Washington on September 26 and 27. The conference brought together economic developers and site selection consultants from around the globe to the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The two-day conference packed-in informative content to maximize the takeaways for conference attendees without a lot of time away from their day-to-day work.

Governor Jay Inslee opened the conference with compelling remarks regarding economic development and site selection in the state of Washington.


A corporate panel of representatives from businesses located in Seattle kicked off the conference. The panel of experts included:

  • David Allen, Principal, McKinstry
  • John Caldwell, Vice President, Delta
  • Dan Spaulding, Chief People Officer, Zillow Group
  • Yosuke Takigawa, Executive Vice President, Seattle Engineering Center, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America
  • Samantha Turner, Senior Real Estate Manager, Weyerhaeuser Company

The panel discussion focused on energy and infrastructure, talent and workforce, technology and automation, cultural considerations in international business and site selection.

At the heart of the Fall Forum are the breakout sessions helmed by Guild members.  This event’s breakouts featured trending topics in site selection and economic development and were structured as conversations surrounding key issues.  Each session featured 4-5 site selection consultants presenting and discussing five key takeaways on each topic, followed by open question and answer with the attendees. The five breakout session topics included:

  1. The site selection process and examples of economic development best practices from consultant projects—distribution & logistics focus
  2. The site selection process and examples of economic development best practices from consultant projects—manufacturing focus
  3. How to win projects form consultants: “Dos and don’ts” of proposal submissions
  4. Incentives and how to position your responses for best results
  5. Availability and development of skilled workers

The final session of the conference was a new format for the Fall Forum known as “Table Talk.”  Conference attendees had the opportunity to speak with many of the site selection consultants in small roundtable discussions, which allowed for more personalized conversations. Consultants rotated around the room to speak with each table to allow maximum interaction between conference attendees and SSG members.  The Table Talk session received extremely positive feedback from the conference attendees, and we are planning to incorporate a similar format into future conferences.

We are consistently impressed by how many talented and passionate economic development professionals are working hard to improve their communities.  Thank you for doing what you do!  

For more information on our upcoming conferences, please visit our events website: