Stephen Moret: Landing Amazon HQ2 and lessons for Louisiana

    Tax incentives often steal the headlines when major economic development deals are announced, yet the subsidies offered to Amazon played only a small role in Virginia landing the HQ2 project, the largest private-sector economic development deal in U.S. history.

    No question, the tax breaks and incentives mattered, but—says Stephen Moret, the president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership who spearheaded Virginia’s pursuit efforts and negotiated the final contract with Amazon—what sealed the deal for the commonwealth was: 1) the concentration of its tech workforce in northern Virginia, 2) a commitment to spend more than $1 billion in higher education technology programs and workforce training, 3) population diversity in suburban Washington, D.C., and 4) the region’s quality of life, including museums, smart streets and walking and bike trails.

    Moret, who previously served as secretary of Louisiana Economic Development as well as heading the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, was in Baton Rouge Friday morning to speak at Coffee and Conversation, an exclusive forum for Business Report Insiders. The moderated conversation focused on how Virginia, under Moret’s direction, landed the Amazon HQ2 project and what lessons might Baton Rouge and Louisiana learn from that as it moves forward to diversify its respective economies.

    Read the entire story and see a video of the talk here (Insider subscription required). For information on becoming an Insider, click here.

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