Visit with Bob Ady

September 16, 2011



This is the second revelation meeting which I had through the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) that I mentioned in a previous post here.  Bob Ady is President of Ady International Company  and is a site selector.   He came here as part of the Ady-Voltage team that is working with MCEDC on a marketing program.  As part of this MCEDC hosted a meeting with stakeholders to help them get first impressions of Marshall County.  The stakeholders at the meeting seemed pretty positive about Marshall County, but it was interesting reading some of the written feedback, which was a little more mixed. After the stakeholder meeting, Jennifer Laurent, MCEDC Executive Director, and Janet Ady, President of Ady-Voltage, went on site visits to existing businesses.  I was to take Bob on a tour of the county looking at the properties that we had available.

Jennifer had prepared a list of properties from our data base for Bob to review.  He first reviewed them on paper with me and eliminated ¾ of them just based on their age, interior clear height and other criteria.  He said most of them might be adequate for that “one-in-one-hundred inquiry looking for something specific”, but in general they would not interest anyone from outside the area.

From there we took our road tour.  We looked at sites around Plymouth including PIDCO properties and Vanco Development properties such as the Tech Farm.  We went to Culver and looked at the sites in their industrial zone.  We did the same for Argos, Bourbon, Bremen and LaPaz.  Of those Bob only found interest in three sites and of those, the PIDCO site was the only one that had true potential.

The reasons for eliminating the other sites were things that I suspected, but it was interesting to hear from an outside perspective:

  1. The property was not actually for sale, i.e. it didn’t have an asking price set and in some cases there were contingencies to a sale.
  2. The property was ill defined, i.e. the only map available was a Google Earth representation or worse, just a Google Map with a “pin” for the location.
  3. The utilities were not available or unclear as to capacity.
  4. The data base information was incomplete or suspect.

In our tour we drove by other properties that Bob and I discussed that weren’t on the list.  The resounding question was, “Why?”   Why hadn’t the appropriate municipality approached those property owners about pursuing proper zoning?  Why hadn’t infrastructure been extended to those areas to encourage growth?  Why were we settling for attempting to market substandard properties (for some of the reasons listed above) when we could be working to create better opportunities.  (More competition might also motivate the existing sellers.)

I look forward to seeing how our new marketing program is fleshed out, but it was painfully obvious after that day that one of our problems is a lack of marketable product…

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