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How to get in a career...

Hceux

Cyburbian
Messages
1,028
Points
22
...that involves helping a commercial/industrial company to locate their new building in a community.

What kind of education is expected in this kind of career path? Is GIS a required?

If you are/were doing something like then, please share your experience and thoughts
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
There's a couple ways into this field. With industrial or office businesses, about a third of the major decisions are aided by a small group of site consultants. Bob Ady is the "father" of the field, and is still practicing. Colliers, Deloite/Tuiche, NCS, Anderson, Ady International and a handful of others are the big players, but there are dozens of smaller ones. Many of them attend the International Economic Development Council's annual conference. I usually make it a point to go out to dinner with a few of them. The conference will be held in St. Louis next year, and if you go, you are welcome to join us. The bad news is that these are people with extensive experience in real estate, economic development, and accounting. You can't simply start out in the field after graduation.

Many retailers have site selection divisions. I worked in one for a short time, just as I was finishing my masters. It was not a pleasant experience. Ostensibly, I was hired because of the research I had done on the use of GIS in retail site selection. I never even saw a real GIS there. My job was to fly out to the site, drive around the neighborhood to get a feel for it, case the competition, take pictures and fly home. Back at the office I would mark up a site plan, put dots on a paper map to indicate the site and competition, and plug some numbers into a spreadsheet. Then I filled in the blanks on a four-page site report. If I make this sound the sort of boring, routine work that requires no thought, I'm probably not painting a dismal enough picture. A bachelor's degree is all that is required, but a masters helps.

I went back to economic development. Now I work to market the community. I am in an organization that has been developing its own 560-acre business park. I get to work with businesses who are looking for locations, trying to convince them to come here. Today I met with developers looking to redevelopa property as a shopping plaza. I will work with them on the design, facilitate the permits, and help them to recruit stores. I have also developed six acres of commercial ground nearby. There are a few entry level jobs in economic development, but it is also a field that is easy to move into from planning.

I guess what I am suggesting, is maybe you want to check out economic development. Planners (especially those who understand business) make very good economic developers. Here's another perk - while planners usually end up in the basement, the economic developers usually get the corner office. Mine has a fireplace.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
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7,414
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34
Cardinal said:
Here's another perk - while planners usually end up in the basement, the economic developers usually get the corner office. Mine has a fireplace.
Fireplace!?! I'm jealous! :)

I've thought about going into economic development a little later on, too. I have a friend that used his GIS degree to get into a major company doing location analysis. He has since moved up the payscale substantially and is an assistant director for their location analysis (he also had a minor in business admin). Some GIS skills might help you get your foot in the door.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Suburb Repairman said:
Fireplace!?! I'm jealous! :)
Beautiful. 1.5" by 10.5" flat brick in an arts & crafts style, seven feet tall, with an oak mantle, and a 5-foot long bronze plaque inset in it. Built-in oak bookshelves on either side of it. I want to get a rocking chair for the corner.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I'll suggest a couple of companies to contact and to look at.

first property - does power centre type developments, main client is walmart and home depot. http://www.firstpro.com

CB Ellis - not sure who they represent, but I see their signs everywhere when I'm in Ontario. http://www.cbre.com/default.htm

Most people don't mind a quick interview/discussion with you, but keep it quick and to the point.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
Every once in a while I will see an ad for a "Land Use Specialist" or something along those lines in the paper. Sometimes it is a residential or commercial developer looking for someone to do the legwork - reviewing codes, having initial meetings with staff, etc.

If you really want to get a head start there are always cell phone companies looking for people to do this kind of work. Check out hotjobs and type Zoning as a keyword. You will get a lot of hits.
 
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