Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aiming for the Best Possible Future; Mallot Is Dedicated to Furthering Jacksonville and Mentoring Kids

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aiming for the Best Possible Future; Mallot Is Dedicated to Furthering Jacksonville and Mentoring Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE LIGHT

Jerry Mallot has been the executive director of the Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership for more than 12 years. His group is in charge of persuading businesses to come or expand in Jacksonville and bring high-wage jobs to the city.

Q: On a national level, Jacksonville is not as well known as other cities in the Southeast such as Atlanta and Tampa. How do you raise awareness of the city as a possible job destination?

Events like the Super Bowl and the PGA Tour help a lot. We also do target marketing to categories of business where we think we can be successful. We don't want to spend time on categories where we don't think we can be competitive. At one point, for example, we looked seriously at pursuing the semiconductor industry, but in the changing marketplace, most of that went offshore.

Q: In months past, the city government and the media have been very critical of incentives packages granted to companies to locate in Jacksonville. Does that sort of climate hurt job recruitment?

Probably not, because most companies aren't looking at what other cities are saying or doing before they bring their own project. In the case of some past projects, we realized we weren't communicating well with city council members as to why we needed incentives. We've obviously made some real headway because we've had council people supportive of the most recent deals.

Q: Who is Jacksonville's biggest competitors for jobs and what do they have that Jacksonville doesn't?

Charlotte, Nashville, Tampa, and Atlanta are the big ones.

A lot of times it's a real estate issue. A new building that's perfect for the company might become available.

Air service is also important. For Fidelity Investments, for example, Jet Blue deciding to expand to New York and likely to Boston was important. It can also be that the incentives package in another city is much larger. …

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