Andrea Schruijer is the executive director for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA). Before joining the VLCDA, Andrea was senior vice president for the Albany- Dougherty County Economic Development Commission. Andrea’s primary responsibilities were business retention and expansion, operations and development of industrial parks.

Andrea also spent ten years with The Ritz-Carlton Company LLC, serving in different roles. Andrea completed several levels of training including: The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Course, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mastering Sales and Presentations and customer service training. Andrea was part of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award Team and Sales Team of the Year and she was nominated for Leader of the Year.

Andrea has been a long standing member of Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and served as GEDA’s chair for the Special Awards Committee. Andrea was appointed to the GEDA Board of Directors and is currently serving a three year term. Andrea is an alumnus of Leadership Lowndes and is currently participating in the program Leadership Georgia.

Andrea received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University.

Tracye McDanielTracye McDaniel is the President and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation, Inc., an independently funded and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is dedicated to economic development, business recruitment, and job creation in the State of Texas. Texas Economic Development Corporation operates the TexasOne™ Program which coordinates efforts with the Office of the Governor for strategic marketing and lead generation activities.

Formerly with Choose New Jersey, Inc., Tracye led global promotion, lead generation and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Garden State and is part of the state’s award-winning economic development organization: The New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA). Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, the Partnership serves as the starting point for all initiatives, policies and efforts related to growing New Jersey’s economy and creating quality, sustainable jobs. In 2007, Tracye served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), Houston, TX, regarded as a top global location for business.

Tracye holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Tracye was also named by NJBIZ among New Jersey’s 2014 Best 50 Women in Business, as well as the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Business. Tracye was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to both the Council on Innovation and the New Jersey Military installation Growth and Development Task Force during her time in New Jersey.

Tracye is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and is a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow, a program of American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).

Christopher Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as chief executive officer. As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC performs a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports, and film promotion. Chris has a staff of more than 60 professionals and an annual operating budget of $19 million and is focused on advancing the economic interests of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 10 million residents.

Prior to joining EDPNC, in 2007 Chris served the Missouri Partnership as the public-private, non-profit corporation’s first chief executive officer. In addition to leading the organization through its initial start-up phase, Chris directed the Partnership’s efforts to market Missouri for new business investment and recruit new corporate operations. During his tenure, the Missouri Partnership helped to recruit major facility investments by IBM, CertainTeed, Yanfeng Automotive Systems, Blue Buffalo Pet Foods, KWS Saat AG, and Aviation Technical Services. Chris also previously served as Manager of the State of Ohio’s Office of Business Development, managing an $80 million annual incentives budget and leading Ohio’s front-line sales force dedicated to attracting new business investment and job creation to the state. Prior to that, Chris held various positions in corporate site selection and special projects management, assisting companies considering Ohio for new facilities.

Chris was dubbed a “rising star” last year by Development Counsellors International, which named him among the industry’s “Top 40 Under 40.” In addition, Chris serves as a board of director for the International Economic Development Council and the North Carolina Economic Developers Association.

Chris holds a degree in economics and Japanese from The Ohio State University, where he also completed significant post-graduate course work towards a Master of Arts in public policy and Management from the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Dan FosterDan Foster heads the incentives practice of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Global Corporate Services as a Managing Director. Dan has over 20 years of experience managing corporate site selection engagements, business incentives projects and economic development consulting assignments.  Dan’s experience and expertise includes domestic and international site selection and location analysis, economic incentives research and acquisition, target industry analysis, program development and demonstrating the economic and fiscal impacts of a wide variety of projects to both corporations and governments.

Prior to joining Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Dan was a director in Duff and Phelp’s Business Incentives Group, based in Detroit. Dan has also previously served as a senior manager and regional practice leader with the credit and incentives practice at Deloitte & Touche and as a senior manager for business incentives services at Ernst & Young LLP.  In addition to Dan’s core expertise, he has significant experience in advising clients in other areas, including manufacturing rationalization and consolidation, relocation feasibility, strategic cost reduction, large capital investment program management, commercial and industrial site evaluation and due diligence methods, detailed labor market/workforce analysis and public sector economic development strategies.

Dan has spoken on a variety of economic development topics at the Tax Executive Institute; New Mexico Governor’s Summit on Economic Development; Expansion Management’s Roundtable in the Rockies; and at various local economic development organizations and Chambers of Commerce.  Dan has also provided expert testimony to the Michigan Senate and House Joint Select Committee on Economic Growth.

Dan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Hope College and a Master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Gray SwoopeA recognized leader in economic development, Gray Swoope leads the VisionFirst Advisors, LLC team, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer.  After a successful 30 year career managing state, regional, and local economic development organizations, Gray helped launch the VisionFirst economic development consulting practice in March 2015.  The firm, a wholly owned subsidiary of Butler Snow LLP, works with a diverse base of private and public sector clients focusing on ways to gain a competitive edge. Current client work includes location advisory services, designing high performance organizations, business development planning and result driven marketing and communications strategies.

Gray is known for building highly effective teams noted for their ability to devise and implement strategic plans with positive results.  He most recently 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 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.

Prior to his tenure in Florida, Gray served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority under then Governor and current VisionFirst Advisors board of director’s chairman, Haley Barbour.  During his tenure at the Mississippi Development Authority, Gray played a vital role in recruiting companies such as Toyota, PACCAR, GE Aviation and SeverCorr (now Steel Dynamics) to the state, resulting in a refocus of the state’s efforts to aggressively support business recruitment, 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 enhance economic development performance, thus laying the groundwork for significant new investment and expansion opportunities.  Throughout his service at the MDA, Gray created a team that was recognized as one of the most responsive state economic development organizations in the nation.

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

Seth MartindaleSeth Martindale is a Managing Director with the Economic Incentives Group (EIG) within CBRE Consulting. He has extensive experience in location analysis analyses and economic incentive negotiations engagements. Seth currently helps clients like Microsoft, Kawasaki, Bank of America, Visa, Pepsi Bottling Group and Walt Disney Corporation by acquiring the most advantageous incentives offer through the creation of negotiating leverage utilizing a variety of proven techniques.

Seth has extensive experience working on multiple different location analysis and incentive negotiation engagements which have varied widely in size, function, and scope. His combination of skills and experience, blended with an MBA concentrated in strategy and leadership provides a unique and very beneficial skill set to clients.

Seth currently works as an engagement manager on multiple location analysis and incentive negotiation projects. Additionally, he provides financial support in the analysis and evaluation of incentive offers from state and local jurisdictions led by other engagement managers.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Claremont McKenna College, and a Master of Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in Strategy and Leadership. Seth is also a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in the state of California.

PaulHamptonAs managing director, Paul Hampton specializes in conducting analysis and developing strategy for target industry identification, economic cluster analysis, feasibility studies, market studies and economic impact analysis at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Paul is skilled in integrating advanced analysis techniques into the decision-making process to help develop and validate recommendations. He has worked with numerous governmental entities, private developers and economic development organizations of various sizes to help them identify key assets and develop strategy to promote economic growth.

Prior to joining Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Global Corporate Services, Paul was an economic development consultant at Vierbicher Associates for three years, where he helped the firm grow its practice in industrial/business park development and market studies for the retail and office sectors. Other past experience includes a research position with the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development.

Paul has led projects throughout Wisconsin, including the development of an industry recruitment strategy for Douglas County and the City of Superior, office development strategy for a gateway development in the City of Madison, feasibility and operations planning for an advanced manufacturing focused business incubator in Dane County and a business recruitment plan for a business park in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, equipped with a municipal fiber optic network.

Paul has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning/Economic Development from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication from the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Thomas PearsonTom Pearson is an executive vice president in the industrial division and a member of the Supply Chain Real Estate Advisors Team, SIOR in the Dallas-Fort Worth office of Colliers International. Tom’s industrial specialization includes land, building, leasing and investment sales. Tom’s extensive experience in almost every area of industrial real estate has enabled him to bring significant value to numerous Fortune 500 companies, as well as developers and institutional owners. Tom has played a key role in handling the national relocation of the distribution center for a Fortune 100 company in addition to selling major properties for some of the largest corporations in the United States.

Prior to joining Colliers in 2006, Tom worked at Cushman & Wakefield as a senior director. While there, Tom was a member of the capital markets and industrial group, where his experience of industrial real estate secured the sale of over 7,600 acres of land. During Tom’s 35-year real estate career, he was also the executive vice president at The Fults Companies and vice president at Joe Foster Company.

Tom has served as director and chairman of the board of governors for the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors, is a former president of SIOR’s North Texas Chapter, a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and a member of the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR).

Tom received his Bachelor of Science in business from Louisiana Tech University and his Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University.

Tim FeemsterTim Feemster has over 35 years of experience with a variety of hands-on problem solving situations in site selection, logistics, supply chain, real estate, transportation, distribution, lean six-sigma process improvement and marketing. Tim is quoted frequently in the industry press and makes over 20 presentations a year to professional organizations. Tim has been with Foremost Quality Logistics for over 20 years, and is recognized as a thought leader in logistics and real estate.

Before forming Foremost Quality Logistics, Tim was a senior manager in three manufacturing companies, a general manager, a consultant, an executive in two third party logistics providers, most recently over 13 years with Menlo Worldwide Logistics and a Practice Group Leader for two real estate companies. Tim has been responsible for building construction management, transportation & warehouse operations, real estate site selection, strategic planning, lease management, marketing, inventory planning and deployment, lean systems & quality management, economic development strategy consulting and private fleet management.

Tim is passionate about Hire our Heros, Upgrade Soldiers and speaks a little French. Tim is an active member in the Warehouse Education and Research Council (, where he is a past president; Council Supply Chain Management Professionals (, Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) and International Economic Development Council.

Tim holds a Master of Business Administration in marketing from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

Margaret GrissomMargaret Grissom is a principal of Peake Consulting, and brings over 27 years of experience in corporate location knowledge, incentive analysis, negotiation/compliance and economic development expertise to the table.  Margaret’s first-hand knowledge of industry trends, as well as public and public-private sector economic development provides her with creative, credible market intelligence to assist companies, communities and states in developing strategic solutions. Margaret’s hands-on experience in site location translates into an effective product and program development improvement. Margaret is an advisor who has the ability to quickly establish trust and rapport, knows how to achieve win-win situations and determines quickly what is most important to her clients and their business.

Margaret is experienced in real estate markets and previously developed industrial parks in her community. She has assisted clients in automotive, consumer markets, and industrial products including Alkermes Pharmaceutical, Avon Products, Inc., YUM! Brands Inc., Stride Rite, Dana Corporation, Daimler Chrysler, Porsche, Magna Corporation and Kobe Steel Company

Previously, Margaret served as President & CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority and Vice President of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership.  In both positions, Margaret established new organizational performance standards and evaluations with clear, concise, measurable goals to enhance the skills and expertise of staff. In her role as President & CEO, Margaret established successful new and existing industry programs resulting in millions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs. Margaret was also formerly with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and even owned a resort.

Margaret is a nationally-recognized contributor for publications, such as the Site Selection Magazine and Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives.  She is a popular speaker at Roundtable in the Rockies and to the Association of Biomedical Financial Officers.  Margaret is a Fellow Member of IAMC, currently serving as Program Development Committee Co-chair; and formerly on the Associate Advisory Council.

Margaret received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Louisville and graduated from University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. Margaret was also Assistant Dean, Research Project Advisor and instructor.