Interview with Mark Williams, President of Strategic Development Group, Inc.

Q: How did you get started in this business? 

Prior to starting Strategic Development Group’s site location and incentive negotiation business in 1999, I worked at the South Carolina Department of Commerce completing this service as the Commerce’s Chief Development Officer.  In this position, I directed the South Carolina’s industrial recruiting program and including management of offices in Tokyo and Frankfurt. In 1999 the Governor of South Carolina awarded me the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in South Carolina, for the profound industrial recruiting success that occurred during my tenure as Chief Development Officer.

Opening the doors at Strategic Development Group then gave me the opportunity to help our firm’s clients take advantage of an ideal mix of our public and private sector site location and negotiation experience through identification of the most ideal locations and facilities throughout North America. Leading a site selection and incentive negotiation consulting firm gives me the opportunity to interact with executive decision makers, continuously learn about our clients’ business models and market conditions, and create success stories for our clients.

Q: Can you describe your customers / what type of customers do you have?

Our customers are companies that need to locate industrial, distribution and headquarters facilities in North America. The majority of our customers are manufacturers in the automotive, chemical, steel and metal, and nutraceutical industries; however, our expertise in site selection is not limited to any particular industrial sector. We are capable working with clients with capital investment projects from $10 million to $1 billion US Dollars. Our clients include multinational companies such as Bridgestone, BMW, BP Chemical and Commercial Metals Company.

Q: What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?

Ultimately, our clients desire to work Strategic Development Group because of our ability to find site location solutions and create profound value through the incentive negotiation process.  We understand the technical challenges of the site location process as well as the intricacies of negotiating land costs, electricity and rail rates, and tax incentives. In all aspects of the business, Strategic Development Group operates under principles of ethical practice while delivering expert and value generating advice.

Our clients consistently retain Strategic Development Group for multiple site selection and incentive negotiation projects—A testament to our continued value and service

Q: Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?

Our company offers a unique perspective obtained from our prior work with public economic development groups, public and private corporations, utility companies, developers, and construction contractors. Through Strategic Development Group’s nuanced understanding of these industries and entities, we are able to provide a specialty product that is unique to our industry.  Our projects are Principal led, ensuring the highest level of expertise is dedicated to every project.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?

Networking with the next generation of corporate decision makers is an everyday activity at Strategic Development Group. As our current and future clients’ site location needs change, so must we.

Within the next year, we intend to expand our site selection and incentive negotiation work into new industrial markets in North America, including Mexico. To facilitate this growth, we are adding capacity to our professional consulting team to meet new demand. In the next 5 to 10 years we expect to develop industrial niches in expanding markets and continue to develop our site selection and incentive negotiation client base.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams
Strategic Development Group
1201 Hampton St., Suite 2
Columbia, SC 29201
Tel: +1 803 748 1207