Thursday, 31 December 2015 17:47

Michael Hecht's Greater New Orleans Inc.'s economic development 2015 recap

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hecht 2While much of the attention by many in New Orleans has been focused upon pros and cons of Civil War monuments removals, crime in the street, water outages, bad streets, race and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, there are other voices out there who are claiming there is something happenning in the city and the region that should be noted.

Here is a year-in-review by Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc.

2015 was a special year at GNO, Inc.  Working with our many local, regional and state partners, we:
  • Enjoyed a record number of business development wins, worth nearly 3,500 total jobs, and $2.5B of investment, including Elmer Candy, the retention of a 160-year old company; EuroChem, a Russian multinational; Viking River Cruises, from Norway; TriWest Healthcare Alliance, serving veterans; and inXile Entertainment, an industry-leading tech company
  • Recruited two key new conferences:  Collision, the fastest growing tech conference in the world; and the championships of Major League Gaming, the fastest growing sport in the world
  • Restarted direct air service to Central and South America, with Copa Airlines now flying nonstop to Panama City, and then to over 70 destinations beyond
  • Helped drive key policy wins, including reauthorization of the Angel Investor Tax Credit at the local level; and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, passage of Trade Promotion Authority, funding for the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base at Belle Chasse, and funding for the Economic Development Administration at the Federal level
  • Were named “Most Effective Statewide Career Awareness and Exploration Initiative” for our World of Workprogram by Louisiana Department of Education
  • Announced the new RES/CON conference, to be held March 1-3, which aims to be the “Davos of Resiliency” -  establishing New Orleans as the global leader on environmental management
  • Led the regional communications effort to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, including hosting a TEDxNewOrleans conference, and driving over 650 media pieces in national and international outlets
Finally,  GNO, Inc. was named a Top 20 Economic Development Organization in the USA by Site Selection magazine.....
2016 is going to be a very important year for Greater New Orleans.  On one hand, we have more economic momentum than in decades, and have a clear opportunity to continue to build upon the wins from 2015.  On the other hand, 2016 will present some real challenges:  low oil prices, the state budget deficit, and reauthorization of National Flood Insurance are amongst the factors that will require us to manage proactively and with a clear vision of the future.
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