2024 June Luncheon & Town Hall


Investors and key community leaders and partners: PLEASE JOIN US FOR an important update and engaging discussions regarding key priorities for regional economic development. This program will begin with a luncheon with national site readiness experts as keynote panelists:


Mr. James Blair is the Founder and Managing Director of Navigator Consulting, a specialized consulting firm providing project management and site selection services to international companies looking to set up or expand manufacturing operations in North America. Since 2014 Navigator Consulting has helped locate 25 clients, announcing 5,600 jobs and $2.4 billion in capital investment.Navigator provides classic site selection consulting, as well as FDI and strategic planning consulting for U.S. EDO’s. Blair collaborates with Berlin-based TerraLogis in performing site selection for European clients, and with El Paso-based PlazaSource to provide site assessment and site certification services to communities and developers.

During 25 years in site selection for the State of Georgia, Blair worked with over 175 companies whose U.S. subsidiaries currently employ more than 20,000 people. Client companies included global names like Porsche (Germany), UCB (Belgium), Randstad (Netherlands) and Saint Gobain (France), as well as mid-sized companies like Glock (Austria), Hansgrohe (Germany), JCB (UK) and Terma (Denmark).

Blair began his career at Georgia Economic Development in 1987 as Executive Director of the state’s European Office in Brussels as the primary contact for European companies with existing U.S. business operations. He also served as Chairman of the Council of American States in Europe, the official organization representing 18 full-time U.S. state offices in Europe. Blair was a regular presenter at prestigious U.S. investment conferences organized, for example, by “Capital” magazine (Germany), KBC Bank (Belgium), the German Chambers of Commerce (Germany), the Paris Chamber (France), the Department of Trade and Industry (United Kingdom) and Confindustia (Italy).

From 2010-2012 Blair was Director for International Projects the State of Georgia, coordinating the business recruitment efforts for Georgia’s FDI offices in Europe, Japan, Korea and China, and leading a specialized team of international project managers.

Before working with the State of Georgia, Blair was a Vice President at Bank of America in Atlanta from 1983-1987. He provided international corporate clients with a wide range of financial services, including account management, credit and cash management.

Prior to founding Navigator Consulting, Blair was Executive Director of GACC Site Selection at the German American Chamber of Commerce (Atlanta). From 2012-2014 he and his team helped locate 8 companies, announcing capital investment of $100 million and 800 jobs.

Since 2017, Blair has been recognized by Swiss Global Enterprise as a “U.S. Site Selection Expert”. He serves on the Board of the Belgian-American Chamber of the South (BACoS) and Berlin-based Transatlantic Business & Investment Council (TBIC).

He serves on the Emory University Advisory Board for German Language Study, a volunteer role helping to promote the study of German throughout the Southeastern U.S. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious “Officer of the National Order of Merit” medal by the French government in recognition of his service in promoting French-American business and cultural relations.

Blair has spoken at numerous Economic Development conferences in his role as a site selection professional, including events organized by Consultant Connect, the Upstate Alliance, the Georgia Economic Development Association (GEDA), the Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC), the National Rural Economic Development Association (NREDA), the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC).

Blair received his international MBA in 1983 from the University of South Carolina with a specialization in Finance and Marketing. He speaks German and French, and conversational Dutch as well.


Tony Ramirez- B.C.I. GLOBAL    

Tony Ramirez is a site selection and economic development professional with a background in supply chain management, multimodal logistics, and real estate. Tony serves as a director with B.C.I Global, a global site selection, location advisory,and supply chain strategy firm headquartered in The Netherlands.

He is also a co-founder at PlazaSource, LLC, the top agency for helping cities becom more competitive with their Go-to-Market strategy and execution. Named one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect in 2021, and a Woody and Gayle Hunt Aspen Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Tony Ramirez is considered a top expert in building city economies. Ramirez is also an instructor with the International Economic Development Council, I.E.D.C., based in Washington D.C.

He has served as vice-president of the local economic development organization in the El Paso, Texas region prior to his current role at BCI Global. Ramirez led business recruitment
execution and attracted the most robust capital investment and job growth in the history of the multinational region, with over $1.48B in investment and the creation of over 20,000 jobs during
his tenure.

In previous roles, Mr. Ramirez spent over a decade successfully optimizing supply chains and designed multimodal logistics solutions while with a top Fortune 200 company in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Ramirez was also recognized as a top Go-to-Market Influencer in the best selling book, “MOVE: The 4-Question Go-to-Market Framework”, Sangram Vajre, Bryan Brown. 2021, V1. Tony holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from New Mexico State University – GO AGGIES! and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Following the luncheon, we will continue into our Town Hall breakout discussions program to offer feedback, insight and guidance to the AREA Board as we set our implementation plan for the following 12 months. 

We highly encourage you to join us for the full program, but for any unable to attend the lunch due to schedule or cost restrictions, an option to arrive at 1 p.m. for discussions only is available.


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