Site Selectors Guild Awards Program

Guild Economic Development Awards

Recognizing outstanding work in economic development, the Site Selectors Guild awards program is open to economic development organizations and their partners and communities. Our “Projects with a Purpose” and the “Community Innovation: Building a Better Business Climate” awards recognize exemplary initiatives addressing social and environmental issues and building healthier environments for business.

A panel of Guild members select winners based on Guild-developed criteria. Winners receive complimentary registration to the Annual Conference and are recognized during the event.

Read more details on the award categories and criteria below.

Economic Development Awards Nomination Form

Projects with a Purpose


This award honors individuals or organizations (including but not limited to EDOs/IPAs, non-profits, corporations and utilities) who/which have successfully implemented location selection projects that go above and beyond job creation to address social and/or environmental issues within a community. Recipients are helping to tackle the most challenging problems by reducing inequality or promoting a healthier environment.


There must be some elements of a traditional site selection project, i.e., job creation or retention, new investment, and competing locations for the project to qualify. (In other words, a company that decides to start recycling at an existing facility would not be eligible.). The project must have been completed or substantially completed within the last 18 months (July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023).


While the awards are in no way limited to the examples below, we’ve listed some of the types of projects that could qualify for inspiration:

  • Company that chooses to clean up a brownfield and not only relocates there but also builds a park on the property.
  • EDO proactively assembles a site and incentive package in an economically disadvantaged area and, as a result, lands a major job creation project.
  • Company locates in a depressed area that does not currently offer the labor skill sets the company needs, but the company will be teaming with the local technical schools to provide a pipeline of talent for the company and job opportunities for local residents.
  • Manufacturing company plans and builds a new operation that achieves carbon neutral status through innovative partnerships with local utilities.
  • Company uses traditional criteria to choose its location but then works closely with local workforce groups to heavily leverage veterans’ placement offices, apprenticeship programs for disadvantaged youths, and second chance candidates to staff its new facility.

Community Innovation: Building a Better Business Climate


This award recognizes a unique initiative, public policy program or legislative action that was created and successfully implemented in support of economic development and building a healthier environment for business on a local, state/province or national level. The award is open to individuals and/or organizations, including but not limited to EDOs/IPAs, non-profits, utilities, public officials or private sector leaders.


The initiative must be truly innovative, a first of its kind or a unique way to support economic development. Simply passing a new incentive program or lowering taxes does not qualify unless truly innovative.

The new initiative, public policy program or legislative action must have been implemented within the last 18 months (July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023).


While the awards are in no way limited to the examples below, we’ve listed some of the types of initiatives/actions that could qualify for inspiration:

  • County Council passes resolution enabling/requiring high school to fully integrate curriculum with tech school.
  • Community creates a learning institution for skills set development, e.g. a vocational high school; a community college.
  • Neighboring communities pool incentive resources in support of a potential project, with both communities pledging to deliver incentives regardless of which of the two communities is chosen, just to keep it in the region.
  • EDO or nonprofit launches a unique talent attraction program – providing innovative incentives or programs to attract a certain skill set or type of individual to fill a talent gap.


Can I submit for more than one award, or submit more than one entry for the same category?
Yes, as long as you meet the requirements outlined in the award descriptions above.

Can a person/organization self-nominate?
Absolutely! A nominee can either self-nominate (and we encourage this!) or be nominated by a third party.

Is there a cost to submit?

If my project or initiative doesn’t fit within the examples listed, can I still submit?
Yes, and we highly encourage it. The examples listed are simply meant to help generate ideas.

When is the call for entries deadline?
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

When will winners be announced?
Winners will be notified at least four weeks prior to the start of the 2024 Annual Conference.

How many winners will be chosen?
One winner will be chosen per category.

When will the winners be officially announced?
We will officially announce and recognize winners during the Guild’s Annual Conference in Nashville, TN, April 3-5, 2024.

Who selects the winners?
A selection committee of Site Selectors Guild members will select the winners.

How are the winners chosen?
After we receive the nominations, the selection committee will independently review and rank each contender. We will compile all rankings and use an averaging system to determine the winner.

What is required of those who are selected?
Winners are required to send us a logo to use for marketing purposes. In addition, we’d love for the winners to attend Annual Conference, in Nashville, TN, April 3-5, 2024, (complimentary registration), to be recognized there.

What does complimentary registration to Annual Conference for winners include?
Award recipients will have the Annual Conference registration fee waived but will remain responsible for all additional conference attendance expenses including, but not limited to, travel, accommodations, and any pre-conference activities. Each recipient will be responsible for making his/her own travel arrangements. This year’s Guild Awards fee waiver applies only to the 2024 Guild Annual Conference and is not transferable nor can it be applied towards a future conference or other Guild event.

Previous Award Winners

2023 Award Winners:

  • Projects with a Purpose:  PartnerTulsa led the transformation a 120-acre site into the Peoria-Mohawk Business Park, a hub of opportunity for generations to come in the historically disinvested North Tulsa. Seeking to build a foundation for sustained economic growth in the community, $10 million was invested in addressing site readiness and infrastructure enhancements and a $43 million Tax Increment Funding (TIF) District was established to promote homeownership and neighborhood rehabilitation in the area surrounding the business park.
  • Community Innovation:  The Florida High Tech Corridor led development of Cenfluence, a cluster initiative to growth regional industry networks that diversify Central Florida beyond tourism. Cenfluence provides free support to 100+ cluster member companies and is one of only 20 North American cluster management organizations recognized by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform for fueling high tech industry growth.

2022 Award Winners:

  • Projects with a Purpose: Project Phoenix
    This project fit the criteria of a site selection project with job retention, capital investment and competitive environment but definitely delivered a more important benefit of returning important health and emergency care services to this community. The reopening of this hospital brought high paying jobs back to the community along with creating a healthier and safer community and improving the Quality of Life for all residents and visitors. Studies have shown that recruiting new physicians to a community has the equivalent economic impact of $2M per new doctor. This project is unique and perfectly represented the purpose and mission of this award.
  • Community Innovation: Rung for Women
    Rung recruits women, with a focus on women of color, and eliminates barriers keeping women from advancing in their careers including coaching, childcare, healthcare, mental health counseling, financial education and access to healthy living resources. Rung enrolls two cohorts a year totally 200 women in the 10 month program. This programbegan prior to COVID and the increased impact of COVID on women has only elevated the importance of this program. This is truly a unique program and the fact that it was in place prior to COVID demonstrates a community improving the opportunities for their residents that became an imperative need in the last two years. This community is a step ahead on the recovery focusing on the piece of the population that was exponentially impacted by the pandemic.

2021 Inaugural Award Winners:

  • Projects with a Purpose: In July of 2019, Diageo North America selected Lebanon, Kentucky as the home for their new $130 million state-of-the-art bourbon distillery. At the groundbreaking, local energy supplier Inter-County Energy Cooperative with support from Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives began discussions with the global beverage company about the potential of powering this new facility with green energy. Diageo announced in June of 2020 that their new distillery would be all-electric and carbon-neutral, making it one of the largest green energy projects in North America.
  • Community Innovation: For years, the Erie metropolitan area was the largest in the United States not served by a community college. Led by the community coalition Empower Erie, the Erie County Council approved the development of a community college for the county in June 2017. In August 2020, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania formally approved the Erie Community College – the first new community college in Pennsylvania since 1993. Operations will begin in September 2021. This project seeks to increase workforce preparedness and improve financial access to high-quality education for the Erie community.

Featured Contact

Carrie Kelly

[email protected]