Economic Development

As site selectors, Quest knows firsthand what companies are looking for in a community. Our economic development services leverage this expertise and experience to assist you in preparing for the challenges of attracting and retaining capital investment and employment opportunities. We help you better position your properties and community to win projects.

Who We Help

  • Economic Development Organizations
  • States and Communities
  • Utility Providers
  • Transportation Companies
  • Private Landowners and Developers

Our core offering of economic development consulting services includes site readiness to improve a property’s competitiveness for projects, site certification to designate that a property meets or exceeds specific development criteria, and other specialized services that align with project attraction.

Problems We Help Solve

  • Lack of site inventory
  • Unable to fully complete RFIs
  • Early elimination from projects
  • Stakeholders don’t understand economic development
  • Unsure how to best market your properties and community
  • Lack of partner engagement
  • Not having detailed union data
  • Inability to effectively demonstrate workforce characteristics
  • And other challenges your community faces…

Economic development consulting is more than collecting information and putting it in a pretty report. We ask tough questions to understand the challenges you are facing, and we work together to create a plan that is unique to your community. Our team has worked in economic development and been on your side of the table, so we understand your perspective and make plans that meet you where you are with the resources you have. We take great care to give you specific, actionable recommendations for realistic growth.

Explore Our Service Offerings


Knowing the details of your property is the most effective way to avoid elimination during a site selection project. Site readiness is the process of documenting a property’s characteristics then developing and executing plans to better position the property for development. While responding to inquiries quickly and with detailed site information was once a competitive advantage, it is now a requirement to compete.

A strategic approach to site readiness ensures that there is a balance between the technical details of a site and how it is marketed. A site can have all the technical information documented, but if the information is not conveyed to prospects in a manner that is easy to understand and interpret, the property may still be eliminated. Alternatively, flashy marketing materials will not compensate for a property with numerous technical deficiencies. Quest brings both technical and marketing expertise and resources to help you achieve the optimal balance.

The educational aspect is another key component of our site readiness programs. As site selectors, we know what companies are seeking and bring that perspective to you. We help educate you and your leadership on the site selection process and how to better compete. Our site readiness services provide feedback that goes beyond just site details and includes guidance on improving RFI responses, optimizing site visits, and enhancing marketing materials. Additionally, collecting information during the site readiness process helps educate you on the specific property being evaluated so you are able to effectively communicate the details of your site to prospects.

Economic developers often ask how their community can stay in the funnel longer. Quest’s site readiness services enhance your competitiveness by preparing you to respond to projects more quickly and thoroughly, increasing your understanding of a site’s strengths and weaknesses, and providing a roadmap for future improvements. We take a comprehensive and realistic approach to site readiness that is designed to help you win projects.

Ways We Can Help With Site Readiness

Our site identification services identify potential locations for future industrial development. Utilizing our extensive site development experience and GIS capabilities, we conduct in-depth analysis to find new sites that will grow your property portfolio. Having more sites increases your opportunities, and more opportunities gives you a better chance to win projects.

If you are trying to determine a potential property’s validity or have an existing site that is underperforming, our quick assess services help you understand the key strengths and weaknesses before significant amounts of time, effort, and money are spent on developing the property. This high-level, in-person review of a property, including both technical and marketing details, quickly gives you information and recommendations to make informed decisions on the site’s future.

To provide a prioritization of properties and identify gaps in your overall portfolio, our portfolio assessment services offer an unbiased high-level review of your existing industrial sites. This process, which includes boots on the ground analysis, ensures that resources are being directed towards viable sites with the highest probability of yielding an impactful return on investment.

Our site evaluation services are designed to enhance the readiness of specific properties for industrial development from both a technical and marketing standpoint. A deeper dive than our quick assess, during site evaluation we conduct a detailed review and site visit to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a property and create an action plan to better position the site for success.

Our site certification stamp of approval indicates a property has met specific criteria for industrial development. With stringent requirements and detailed analysis, a certification from Quest ensures that your property will compete for projects.

One size doesn’t fit all – so while the above services are those most frequently requested, that’s not all we do. We are able to customize our site readiness service offerings to ensure you get the expert guidance you need to make your properties more competitive for projects.

Effectively marketing your properties is key to success in economic development – if nobody knows about your sites, you’re not in the game. We leverage our site selection expertise to make sure your marketing materials both get you noticed and strategically communicate your site information. Whether you need customized materials, such as a map set or a site flyer, our in-house designers can work with your brand standards (or lack thereof) to create materials to gain the attention your site deserves. Need a critique of your existing materials? We do that too.


Site certification is a stamp of approval indicating that a property meets or exceeds specific criteria for industrial development. The certification process entails documenting comprehensive property information – including, but not limited to, site characteristics, transportation and utility infrastructure, environmental due diligence, etc. In the process of gathering these details, potential risks and development constraints are identified.
While there is no national site certification standard, a strong certification program will review the information and document the findings in a usable way. Gathering details on a site can be time consuming and costly – something prospects look to avoid while identifying multiple locations. Completing the work upfront expedites the process for a company to get up and running – saving them time and money. Ultimately, the goal of site certification programs is to prepare industrial sites to win projects.

Site Certification originated in the late 1990s with programs launched in New York and Pennsylvania. When the site selection firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting* was formed in 2000, Ed McCallum and Mark Sweeney recognized the importance and value of sites proactively prepared for industrial users and established their site certification practice. In 2004, McCallum Sweeney began working with the Tennessee Valley Authority to develop and implement a Mega Site Certification Program focused on preparing properties of 1,000+ acres for automotive OEMs. Based on the success of this program, site certification exploded in popularity. Many states, utilities, and rail providers created certification programs to help prepare the sites and communities within their jurisdiction. After McCallum Sweeney closed in 2018, Quest acquired the existing programs and adapted site certification to reflect evolving market conditions and provide enhanced product offerings. To date, over 200 properties have been certified across the country by either McCallum Sweeney Consulting or Quest, and billions of investment dollars have been announced on these sites.

*In June 2018, Quest acquired the economic development consulting practice of McCallum Sweeney Consulting, including certified sites.

Site certification reduces the cost and timeline for end users. While the process takes both time and resources, site certification provides communities with detailed information to share both proactively (marketing) and reactively (responding to RFIs). Advance preparation allows you to gain a deep understanding of the property and its technical details. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a certified site, you can understand where development assistance may be needed. At the end of the day, site certification decreases risk and uncertainty around a property and can be an incentive that allows a business to get up and running more quickly.

Quest’s level of detail and intense review sets us apart. Since there is no national standard, the quality of a site certification is dependent upon the program criteria and thoroughness of analysis. Our programs are designed based on the real-world requirements of our corporate site selection clients and set the gold standard in site certification programs.

"The certification process certainly has made us very aware of why having a site certified is so valuable. Just having all of this done ahead of time is immensely valuable to a company looking to locate a new facility. It has provided us with an enormous amount of information about the site that just looks like any other farm field!"


In addition to our site readiness and site certification services (link to pages), we provide a variety of additional services that are available individually or to supplement those offerings. Our resources and tools are flexible to help you prepare to compete and win projects.

Since workforce is a key factor in site selection decisions, you need the labor and demographics data that companies are seeking. We leverage our site selection expertise and subscription databases to provide a report that reflects the most up-to-date information available – either for the general community or within the drive-time surrounding a specific site. Quest equips you with information that enables you to market your workforce, as well as to respond quickly and comprehensively with customized labor data.

We provide our site selection clients with detailed information on union offices and elections through our proprietary union database – which is now available to you. Leveraging this database enables you to proactively position your site and community and respond to specific inquiries about unionization. For more information, visit our union data page.

Knowing where to start or where to focus your resources can be overwhelming. A highly customized, data-backed strategic plan is a valuable tool to guide your efforts towards measurable goals. Utilizing specific recommendations, Quest can provide your team with an actionable roadmap to lead you to economic development success.

First impressions are often lasting impressions. We will visit your community and give our third-party perspective on how your community appears through our site selector lens. We’ll provide you with a summary of our findings and specific recommendations on how to better position yourself for future projects.

Our Report Cards provide specific feedback on the team’s performance with completing RFIs and/or conducting a site visit. In addition to an evaluation of how you did, we also provide recommendations on how to better position yourself for future projects.

Maps play a critical role in conveying technical information during site selection projects. We have the GIS software and expertise to provide a professional and consistent map set with your branding to be used in proactive marketing and RFP responses. Our maps help you make a strong first impression.

Our team is available to speak at events on topics pertaining to site selection and economic development. We tailor our presentations to fit your specific interests and audience needs. To request a speaker or participation at your next event, contact our team via our contact form.

Do you need our help with something else that’s not on this list? We are able to customize our service offerings to ensure you get the expert guidance you need to make your communities prosper. Contact us today to talk through your current challenges to strategize a plan.