Two Mikes Talk Jobs
Michael Siegel asks Michael Hecht for details on GNO, Inc.’s new Professional Jobs Plan
Michael J. Siegel, SIOR, is president and director of office leasing at Corporate Realty, Inc., a full-service commercial real estate agency based in New Orleans.
Michael Hecht is president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development agency for Southeast Louisiana.
Michael J. Siegel: What was the impetus to create the Professional Jobs Plan?
Michael Hecht: One of the greatest needs in Greater New Orleans is for more professional office jobs. To illustrate this, consider that 25% of Tulane graduates stay after graduation, but 40% would stay if they could find a job. There is a lot of upside to be mined for the region! The good news is that New Orleans has a very strong business case for office jobs: low costs, great culture, a diverse workforce and excellent support organizations. We just have to get the word out! And that is what the Professional Jobs Plan is going to do: target companies in specific industries, and market to them to open offices and create jobs in our region. The timing is especially auspicious now because, post-COVID-19, professionals are leaving bigger, denser cities and seeking second-tier markets like New Orleans.
MJS: Why do you feel this is so important? GNO, Inc., services 10 parishes and is involved in recruiting from many industries for our entire region. This includes distribution centers, petrochemical companies along the river and potential office tenants in all of the parishes you service. What is different about this endeavor?
MH: The key to a healthy economy is diversification — COVID-19 has made that point emphatically. So, industrial jobs are important, but so are office jobs. We want to get to the point where every citizen has the chance to get a job that best fits their interests and talents and lets them support the family. This requires job diversity. The difference about the Professional Jobs Plan is that it is the first time we are specifically targeting companies and jobs for our commercial office buildings, for example those on Poydras Street, Causeway Boulevard, and in more suburban locations like Northpark in Covington. This targeting — more site specific and use specific than industry specific — is novel.
MJS: What will this plan mean for the region?
MH: The Professional Jobs Plan will help form the foundation upon which people build careers and support families. It will mean more people shopping at stores, eating at restaurants, living in apartments and homes, sending kids to schools, and paying taxes in our community. Everyone will benefit.
MJS: What is GNO, Inc.’s strategy and timeline, and how will you implement this plan?
MH: Our strategy is to target three verticals: software and video games; shared services; and regional headquarters. We will follow an intentional process that starts with research, then goes to marketing, then tours and selling. After we close deals, we will assist with helping to recruit talent, and then anything else companies need to be successful.
MJS: What are the primary attributes of New Orleans that you believe will make us, and has made us, so attractive to office relocation?
MH: Our costs are much lower than cities with comparable amenities and name-brand, and our incentives, like the 25% software incentive, are some of the best in America. Our culture is loved around the world. The diversity of our workforce is attractive. And, finally, I would put the support that we give our companies — from our higher education institutions, to our nonprofits — against anyone in the country. Like I tell people, New Orleans is San Francisco at half the cost with nicer people and even better food.
You can learn more about GNO, Inc’s Professional Jobs Plan in Corporate Realty’s Greater New Orleans Annual Office Market Report. Visit Corp-realty.com/reports to download your free copy. To learn more about GNO, Inc., visit GNOInc.org.