Cindy Symons-Milroy

Cindy Symons-Milroy Cindy Symons-Milroy has over 27 years of experience in economic development and holds two professional designations; an Ec.D. from the Economic Developers Association of Canada and a CEcD from the International Economic Development Council.  Cindy’s work experience covers a broad range of business support including investment attraction, business retention and expansion, labor force development, real estate, airport operations, entrepreneurial development, finance and organization management.

Cindy has spent the last 15 years of her career as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Oshawa, a mid-size city on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario.  Well known for its automotive excellence, since she has been in this role, the City’s economy has diversified beyond automotive manufacturing and today includes significant investment in new post-secondary institutions that have resulted in the development of high tech growth sectors that are driving the new economy.

Cindy grew up in an entrepreneurial environment and knows first-hand the challenges that businesses face.  This is part of what contributes to the success of her efforts in attracting and maintaining investment in the City.  Her drive to succeed comes from the desire to make a difference in her community.

Cindy’s favorite quote is “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.”

Betty 2Betty McIntosh is a senior managing director at Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Consulting Group. Betty has over 20 years’ experience in assisting major U.S. and international clients in making strategic decisions related to expansion.  Betty has represented clients in many different fields, including automotive, consumer markets, industrial products, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and steel to name a few. Betty has conducted site selections and assisted in developing financial strategies for numerous clients, including Hyundai, DaimlerChrysler, Mobis, Ford Motor, Benteler Automotive and more.  Betty obtains tax and operational savings for various types of projects through her strong relationships, tax knowledge and negotiation skills.

Prior to be promoted to managing director of the business incentives practice of  Cushman & Wakefield, Betty was a director of the location incentives group. Betty was also a partner of the state and local tax team at KPMG, LLC.

Betty is nationally recognized as an expert on economic development issues and has been quoted in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Tax Management and CFO Magazine. Betty is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives. Betty is a Certified Public Accountant and serves on the board of directors and is a member of the executive committee for the Georgia Foreign Trade Zone Association.

Betty received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Masters in Taxation from the University of Memphis.

Brian Hilson

Brian HilsonBrian Hilson is President and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) and is responsible for all areas of the BBA, including economic development, public policy, communications and other programs designed to grow and diversify the Birmingham regional economy and enhance the quality of life for all citizens.

He has been involved in economic development in Alabama since 1980. Prior to his joining the BBA in 2011, Brian was President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. Previously, he was a Vice President of the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board and has held economic development positions with the Birmingham and Mobile Chambers of Commerce. Over the years he has worked with a wide variety of national and international companies’ economic development projects, such as Lockheed Martin, Toyota, LG Electronics, Sterilite Corp., UPS, Delta Air Lines, Verizon and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

A native of Huntsville, Brian is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, and is active in state and national economic development organizations. He is past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and the Japan-America Society of Alabama, and is the 2015 chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.  He is a recipient of the Rainer Bauer Award from the Alabama Germany Partnership and the Samuel Ullman Award from the Japan-America Society of Alabama.

He currently serves on boards of directors or advisory boards of several additional state and local organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Business Council of Alabama. Having spent his entire career in the economic development profession, Brian is a strong believer that employment opportunities are the best way to make communities better.

Brian and his wife, Windy, have two married children. Carlton is an attorney with Burr & Forman in Birmingham and Abby is a teacher in Arlington, Tenn.

Derith Jarvis

Derith JarvisAs managing partner of Mohr’s Site Selection and Incentive team, Derith oversees all site selection activities for national accounts and one-off transactions in markets across North America. Mohr Partners’ site selection department deliverables include market availability analysis, mergers and acquisitions support, comparable studies, real estate market trend analysis, labor and demographic analyses and GIS mapping to name a few. Derith also personally oversees the process of negotiating economic incentives at all levels of government on behalf of Mohr’s clients. Derith joined Mohr Partners in 2006 as the Director of Research and Site Selection.

Prior to joining Mohr Partners, Derith spent 8 years with Nielsen Media Research, a leading provider of television audience measurement and related services. During his time at Nielsen, his responsibilities included preparation of sample market analyses, including demographic studies, and managing the demographic makeup of assigned Nielsen samples. He was also responsible for implementation of several different research methodologies and overall field operations management for Nielsen’s New York market.

Derith has been a featured speaker at various industry events including Expansion Management’s Roundtable in the South, Consultant Connect, Southern Economic Development Council’s Meet the Consultants, Area Development’s Consultant Forum, Teamwork Louisiana Conference, Kentucky United Economic Development Conference and several other state economic development conferences.

In 2008, Derith was named Mohr Partners’ Mentor of the Year. He also served in the United States Navy for four years and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

Note: For more information or to save your seat for the Workforce Workshop taking place June 24 and 25 in Chicago, click here!

Scott ConnellScott Connell serves as the President of the Sherman Economic Development Corporation in Sherman, Texas and has more than 25 years of experience in economic development. He recently served as Vice President of Economic Development and Senior Vice President of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce since May 2005. In that role, he managed over 4,000 jobs in the Waco area.

Prior to Waco, Scott was the Vice President of Winston-Salem Business Inc. for 7 years in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was involved in attracting 3,900 jobs and $750 million of investment during that time. Scott has also led programs in Kannapolis, NC, Belton and Yoakum, Texas (all start-up organizations) and worked with Victoria, Texas Economic Development Corporation.

Scott and his wife Victoria have a 9-year old son, Paten. They are active in the Waco community where Scott serves as a member of the Vestry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Scott is also an active member of the Waco Rotary Club and serves as chairman of the City of Waco Recycling Advisory Committee.

Scott is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received his Certified Economic Developer certification in 1999.

Susan ArledgeSusan Arledge, SIOR and Global Leader of Cresa’s Site Selection Services, focuses her efforts on providing tenant focused real estate brokerage and site selection services for clients locally, nationally and globally.  As head of Cresa’s Dallas office as well as Cresa’s Global Site Selection team, Susan focuses on finding locations that reduce attrition, increase productivity, improve quality of service and allows clients to remain competitive by finding a labor force that meets their quality standards. A recognized author and frequent speaker on the skills required for site selection, incentive negotiations and tenant representation, Susan was recognized by D CEO Magazine as the ‘Most Read Contributing Editor for 2012 and 2013’ for her real estate blog entries.

Prior to the taking the helm at Cresa Dallas, Susan led Arledge Partners Real Estate Group; was a Senior Vice President with The Swearingen Company, where she was the Top Producer in 1990 and a Top Ten Producer each prior year. Susan was also a Senior Vice President with The Staubach Company for seven years where she earned the distinction of being the Company’s Top Producer and a Top Five Producer.

She served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Cancer Fund, currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and chaired the AHA’s 2011 Go Red for Women Luncheon.

Susan graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She served as a member of the Administrative Board of Highland Park United Methodist Church, Texas Exes Alumni Association and is a graduate of the Leadership Dallas program.

Susan is a former private pilot, a Dallas native and has two children.

Cresa Dallas is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and certified as a HUB by the State of Texas.

Gray Swoope

Gray SwoopeA recognized leader in economic development, Gray Swoope has served both the public and private sectors for more than three decades most recently as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce.  He has held leadership roles for a variety of organizations, as well as managed successful economic development entities.  His management style is described as focused and steadfast when it comes to solving problems and winning competitive projects. Gray is also known for building highly effective teams noted for their ability to devise and implement strategic plans, and to get results.  His expertise is international in scope, with a proven track record of successfully conducting business abroad.

Gray served in Governor Rick Scott’s administration (2011-2015) as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of its principal economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. Under his leadership, Enterprise Florida completed a record fiscal year in 2013-14, and increased competitive projects by 40%, resulting in 73% more new jobs and 95% more capital investment in the state than in 2011.

During Gray’s tenure, Florida announced competitive project wins involving dozens of leading companies including Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Deutsche Bank, Embraer, GE, Hertz, Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Grumman, USAA, United Technology Corporation and Verizon.  Since 2011 and in only 3 years, more than 728,000 private-sector jobs were added in Florida, surpassing Governor Scott’s goal of creating 700,000 private-sector jobs over 7 years.

Prior to his tenure in Florida, Gray served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority under then Governor and current VisionFirst Advisors chairman, Haley Barbour.

During his tenure at the Mississippi Development Authority, Gray persuaded companies such as Toyota, PACCAR, GE Aviation and Severstal to build facilities in the state, resulting in a refocus of the state’s efforts to aggressively support industry retention and expansion.  He also launched the Priority One Program targeting existing businesses, resulting in a measurable increase in jobs saved and/or created.

In addition, Gray worked with the legislature and the state’s private sector partner, Momentum Mississippi, to retool economic development incentives, thus laying the groundwork for significant new investment and expansion opportunities.  Throughout his service at the MDA, Gray created a team that is recognized by site selection consultants and businesses alike as one of the most responsive state economic development teams in the nation.

Gray earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mississippi State University.

*Please note, when we interviewed Gray, he was in his final days at Enterprise Florida. Today, Gray serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of VisionFirst Advisors.

Kathy Mussio

Kathy Mussio Kathy is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Atlas Insight with over 22 years of combined experience as a management, incentive and site selection consultant. She is widely considered an industry expert in the site selection and incentive negotiation business. Her consulting career has focused on securing incentives for various projects as well as helping site selection clients to select optimal locations for expansion projects.

Kathy has conducted successful negotiations for some of the world’s largest corporations. While the majority of Atlas’ clients are companies in the Fortune 500, Kathy has also assisted small to mid-sized companies with projects in various industries. Kathy has an expertise in working on highly complex real estate development projects, including working with New Markets Tax Credits, Brownfield Tax Credits and various other land use entitlements.

Kathy is a reliable opinion source for trade publications and AP stories and has been a frequent guest of state governments to assist with development of strategic plans to attract business investment. Kathy has also written numerous expert articles for regional and national publications.

Before co-founding Atlas Insight, Kathy was a Regional Practice Leader in the Business Location Incentive and Site Selection group at BDO.

Kathy holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from New York University.

Mike Harvey

Mike HarveyMike Harvey joined the Northwest Arkansas Council in August 2011 as its Chief Operating Officer. Mike has 19 years of economic development experience at the local and regional level.

Throughout his career, Mike has successfully built one-stop operations that deliver site selection assistance, existing business services, entrepreneurial support and workforce development solutions to job seekers and employers alike. He has accomplished this with both individual and multiple organizations.

He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, earning a Bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1991, and a Master’s degree in economic development in 1995.

Mike worked at the local level in Alabama as President of the Marshall County Economic Development Council from 1995 to 2001. From there, he moved on to work for and then head up a regional economic development effort in Knoxville, TN from 2001 to 2007. He most recently served as President of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development in Charlottesville, VA from 2007 to August 2001, when he left to join the Council.

His interests include history, economics and meteorology. He also enjoys the ever-growing Northwest Arkansas outdoor, art and local food scene – where he spends most of his free time with the most important ‘person’ in his life – a scruffy 8-year-old terrier mix named Duffy.

Dennis Cuneo

Dennis Cuneo is currently a management consultant and a partner in a national labor law firm. With a wide range of interests and expertise, Dennis has built a successful career solving a variety of business challenges, with a focus on legal challenges, public policy and economic development and human resources/labor relations. In addition to heading his own consulting firm, D.C. Strategic Advisors LLC, Dennis is a Regional Managing Partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP. He serves on the boards of two Fortune 500 companies, a privately held engineering and construction firm, an auto industry think tank and academic institutions. Dennis also serves as an advisor to several high tech companies.

Dennis was formerly a senior vice president of Toyota Motor North America, where he was in charge of accounting, corporate advertising, corporate communications, human resources, investor relations, industry & government relations, information systems, legal, strategic planning and the Latin American research group. Dennis also served as the company’s corporate secretary and chief environmental officer and was its chief spokesperson. Prior to joining Toyota, Dennis was an attorney with Arent Fox and a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dennis currently serves on the Boards of AK Steel Holding Corporation, BorgWarner Inc. and the Center for Automotive Research. Dennis serves on the Board of Loyola University in New Orleans and is a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago’s Physical Sciences Division. Dennis previously served as Chair of the Cincinnati Branch of the Federal Reserve of Cleveland and was a member of the executive committee of the National Association of Manufacturers, where he also chaired the Human Resources Policy Group.

Dennis received a Juris Doctor from the Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans; a Masters of Business Administration from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.