Guild Scholarships

Robert M. Ady Professional Development Scholarships

The Site Selectors Guild recognizes that some economic organizations have limited resources and are not otherwise able to enjoy all of the educational benefits and networking opportunities that attendance at a Guild Annual Conference can provide. The Robert M. Ady Professional Development Scholarships award five deserving economic developers with complimentary registration* to an upcoming Guild Annual Conference.

To be eligible for an Ady Scholarship an applicant must:

  1. Be a full-time employee of a credible economic development organization
  2. Be the sole employee of that organization to apply for an Ady Scholarship in a given year
  3. Have never before attended a Site Selectors Guild Annual Conference or Fall Forum and be employed by an organization that has never sent an attendee to a Guild conference or Fall Forum
Scholarship Applications will Open January 27, 2021
Application Deadline: Midnight on March 15, 2021

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Selection Criteria

Each year, the Ady Scholarship Review Committee selects five recipients whom they believe are most likely to leverage the opportunity to attend a Guild Conference. They will seek candidates who are eager to learn and plan to apply the skills and knowledge gained to benefit their careers, their organizations and their communities. New economic development professionals and/or employees of newly formed economic development organizations are encouraged to apply.

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  1. The candidate and/or their organization’s demonstration of financial need
  2. The degree to which the candidate and/or their organization interacts with, or desires to engage with site selection professionals
  3. Whether the applicant is a member of an underrepresented group and/or serves communities that have been historically underrepresented in economic development
  4. The applicant’s accomplishments in economic development.

See recipients of the 2020 scholarships here.

Expectations of Ady Scholarship Recipients

If selected for an Ady Scholarship, applicants must promptly confirm their ability to attend the Guild Annual Conference in Orlando, June 10-12, 2021. They are expected to be present for the duration of the conference, taking fullest advantage of conference-related activities.

They must be willing to be featured in any pre-or post-conference promotions, as requested, and to attend a follow-up interview with Review Committee members to discuss their experiences and to share what they have learned.


About Robert M. Ady

Robert M. (Bob) Ady enjoyed a long and fruitful career helping companies select the optimal locations for their offices, manufacturing facilities and other operations. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University.

Bob worked for U.S. Gypsum for a short while before joining Fantus Consulting, widely considered to be the progenitor of the site selection profession. Starting as an entry level analyst, he rose to the leader of the organization, becoming President of what was then PHH Fantus in 1988. At that time, Bob had led more site selection projects than any other individual. During his tenure with Fantus, Bob was credited with helping transform the fledgling site selection field into a viable and influential profession. After he retired from Fantus, he served as co-founder and co-managing director of World Business Chicago, a 10-county, bi-state regional economic development organization from 1997 to 2000. In 2000, Bob founded Ady International Company where he worked alongside his daughter, Janet Ady, a Madison, Wis.-based economic development consultant, until his passing in 2012.

Bob was a champion of both economic developers and site selectors. Over the course of his career, he coached countless aspiring professionals, many of whom are in leadership positions today throughout the industry. One of his longtime goals was to build an organization specifically for site selectors to network with one another to advance the industry in a unified way. In 2010, as the capstone of his career, Bob formed the Site Selectors Guild, which, a decade later, remains the only association of the world’s foremost site selection consultants. Today the Guild counts among its members more than fifty site selectors and location advisors from around the globe. Always forward thinking, Bob wanted the Guild to be welcoming to a diverse and inclusive audience of economic development professionals. It is with that in mind that the Bob Ady Professional Development Scholarship Program has been developed in his honor.


*Disclaimer: Ady Scholarship recipients 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 Ady Scholarship fee waiver applies only to the 2021 Guild Annual Conference to be held in Orlando, Florida June 10-12, 2021, and is not transferable nor can it be applied towards a future conference or other Guild event.






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