All Ready Here Inaugural Site Selectors Conference: Executive Summary

The Long Beach Economic Partnership was honored to host the inaugural All Ready Here Site Selectors Conference in partnership with the City of Long Beach, Office of Mayor Rex Richardson, and Visit Long Beach California. For many, this was the first time hearing the term “site selector” and the process proved educational on both sides of the equation. 

A jam-packed agenda gave the site selectors a unique opportunity to hear about the experience of locating a business in Long Beach from some of the key industry leaders and members of the business community. They cited the benefits of the region, and how the city plays a role in enhancing and supporting business growth and retention. While Long Beach is known for its prime geographic location between Los Angeles and Orange counties, with a long history in aerospace and aviation, and home to one of the nation’s largest seaports, for many of our visitors, it was their first time hearing directly from those engaged in these industries and learning about the advantages of living and working in Long Beach.

The three-day conference kicked off with a welcome reception at local seafood restaurant, Roe, in the Belmont Shore district just off the marina. Bringing together the five site selectors, three of whom came from outside of California, Vice Mayor Cindy Allen was there to greet them. Additional remarks were made by Bo Martinez of Long Beach Office of Economic Development, as well as Leah Goold-Haws, President/CEO of the Long Beach Economic Partnership (LBEP). Guests included Councilwoman Meagan Kerr, and many of the session speakers, key sponsors, and partners. 

Day two started with a welcome breakfast hosted by the Port of Long Beach. Port COO Dr. Noel Hacegaba spoke readily about the critical role the Port of Long Beach plays in goods movement across the country. He also emphasized the effort toward zero emissions and the impressive progress made under the current port leadership. Dr. Hacegaba went into further detail pointing out the historic federal investment into port infrastructure, the newly launched rail facility construction project, and the forthcoming Pier Wind project. Rounding out the session were speakers Seiji Steimetz of CSULB Office of Economic Research, who discussed the local assets and attributes of the city, and Stephen Cheung of LAEDC, who provided comments regarding larger regional assets and the economic impact of the county. Speaker Weston LaBar elaborated upon these comments, giving his personal take on the supply chain and logistics industry, why he chose to locate in Long Beach, and the success he’s enjoyed with supply chain tech companies such as Cargo-Matic, among others. 

The port session concluded with a tour of the port and Joel Perler providing commentary from the vessel as the boat moved along the port corridor. 

From there, the group boarded a shuttle and headed off to the outer space companies, collectively known as Space Beach. The site selectors and officials were able to tour Vast Space, a relatively recent Long Beach addition, that develops artificial gravity space stations for commercial use. After viewing the inner workings of this amazing facility, the group moved on to Rocket Lab, another groundbreaking company, manufacturing spacecraft components for satellites for missions around Earth, to the Moon and Mars. While at Rocket Lab, the group enjoyed lunch during a panel discussion on how Long Beach is building talent pipelines and career pathways to meet employer demand, including within the outer space industries. 

Speakers included Carrie Wiley and Elijah Sims of Long Beach Unified School District; Melissa Infusino, head of Workforce Development at Long Beach City College; and Chris Reese of Cal State University Long Beach Office of University Relations; followed by Alisa Munoz of Pacific Gateway Workforce Innovation Network. Providing additional comments was Councilwoman Meagan Kerr, who spoke passionately as a Long Beach native about the standard of education she and her family have enjoyed and her ongoing support as a councilmember to make certain such opportunities continue to be made available to all Long Beach residents. The panel showcased the collaboration and partnership between educational institutions and the underlying commitment to local students and workers, as evidenced by the Long Beach Promise, a formal and historic commitment that provides residents with access to educational pathways and employment opportunities. 

The next session took the group to the Shoreline Gateway Tower, an exceptional example of Long Beach real estate development and currently standing as the city’s tallest building. The Shoreline Gateway Tower is the brainchild of current LBEP chair and Sustainable Cities LLC, CEO, Ryan Altoon. From the expansive penthouse suite, the group was able to take in nearly 360-degree views of the Long Beach waterfront as they enjoyed local cuisine from Ubuntu and heard from a diverse mix of speakers talking about economic development and investment opportunities in the city. From Goodman & Associates Jim Cottrell to Sunstone Management CEO John Keisler, the conversation delved into the evolution of investment opportunities in Long Beach including the recently launched Long Beach Accelerator and the burgeoning tech startup community, alongside the Sunstone-led Long Beach Venture Capital fund and planned startup ecosystem. Emilien Marchand of Wisk Aero, an autonomous EVtol (electric vehicle take-off and landing – think “flying drone taxis”) spoke of the innovation the company is pursuing as a subsidiary of Boeing and being a continuance of Long Beach avionics. The conversation closed with remarks from Truong Huynh, General Superintendent of Development Services. Truong spoke at length about the city’s commitment to business and the expediency of its offices in responding to the needs of business and industry. 

And of course, no trip to Long Beach would be complete without a visit to the historic Queen Mary. The group made its way over for the final session of the day hosted in one of the beautiful ballrooms on the vessel, a perfect setting for a discussion on Long Beach tourism and entertainment, coastal development, and the upcoming 2028 Olympic Games. The session kicked off with greetings from Steve Goodling, President and CEO of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, who has led the Long Beach Convention Center to be named “Best Convention Center in the Far West” for six years running. 

Steve’s remarks were followed by Christopher Koontz, City Planner, speaking of the historical opportunities currently available along the Long Beach coastline, a rarity in California. His remarks also provided insights as to how the city is preparing for the unprecedented number of Olympic Games headed to Long Beach in 2028. His comments were followed by fellow city official, Eric Lopez, Director of Public Works, who further underscored the commitment of city officials to respond to both community and business needs alike, expanding on the theme of Long Beach being a proactive city, as evidenced by last year’s Most Business Friendly City Award by the LAEDC.

The Queen Mary session continued with an overview from the Downtown Long Beach Association President, Austin Metoyer, describing the ongoing evolution of the downtown corridor. As the conversation turned towards the topic of arts and culture, Ron Nelson, Executive Director of the Long Beach Museum of Art, described the city’s commitment to art and its reputation as an artistic community. This was followed by comments from the Design District leader  Tanya Raukko of InterTrend Communications, a global marketing firm that also hosts several art-related events each year including Art Renzi and the Pow Wow mural projects. 

Day two of the conference wrapped up in celebratory fashion as the group immediately moved to the main ballroom where a combination of All Ready Here guests joined Grand Prix Long Beach invitees for the Annual Grand Prix kickoff event. Music, food, and fanfare were the closing act to a busy but informative evening. 

And finally, the much anticipated All Ready Here Breakfast session was held on the third day of the event at the Long Beach Westin. Introductory remarks by Emily Jameson, Market Executive for L.A./Southbay of Bank of America, were followed by a welcome from Leah Goold-Haws and introductions by Bo Martinez. Next, Mayor Rex Richardson called the group of site selectors to the stage including Seth Martindale, Senior Managing Director, Americas Consulting, Location Incentives, CBRE; Larry Gigerich, Executive Managing Director, Ginovus; Christopher D. Lloyd, Sr. VP & Director, Infrastructure & Economic Development, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC; Kim L. Moore, Executive Managing Director, Newmark; and John Rocca, Managing Director, JLL Consulting, Los Angeles.

As the panel took their places, Mayor Richardson didn’t shy away from asking the questions top of mind for most – how does Long Beach position itself for business attraction and growth? The conversation flowed easily from there with the gathered site selectors comfortably interjecting their opinions and suggestions to the audience. 

Noted comments included the need to “tell the Long Beach story” and underscore the city’s willingness to hear directly from businesses, and a commitment to work to meet those needs, prioritizing the examples of a business-friendly environment from permitting and entitlements to access and accommodations. The selectors admitted that the state of California struggles in the landscape of business attraction, but Long Beach’s industry, talent, and lifestyle were all unique benefits that could stand out in a tough market. 

The group further saw an opportunity in the upcoming 2028 Olympic Games and highlighted the rare moment to host guests from around the world, not only in the city but on screens and in households in numerous countries. 

Once again, the geographic location and proximity to multiple transportation thoroughfares from freeways to airports and rail to seaports, added to the unique appeal of the city. The city’s pro-housing stance and collaboration across multiple educational partners to create a local skilled workforce were also seen as noteworthy mentions. 

Countering the positive comments were an acknowledgment of limited industrial space to continue growing the area’s manufacturing and the ongoing and heavy competition from other states with more room and cost savings. 

Overall, the group reiterated their positive experience in the city and the approachable nature of the leaders and businesses in Long Beach. The Grand Prix as a feature of the conference was also mentioned as a one-of-a-kind asset and the panel ended with the recommendation to continue the economic and workforce development goals underway. 

As part of the protocol for site selector visits, the group convened afterwards for a private discussion with city officials, Mayor Richardson, LBEP, and the selectors. This provided a more intimate setting for all to weigh in on the pros and cons of the event overall and discuss plans for future convenings. 

The Long Beach Economic Partnership was honored to lead this important event and sees great potential to activate the feedback in ways that continue to elevate the profile of the city and expand opportunities for Long Beach residents.


Providing Access, Opportunity, and Impact for the Long Beach Business Community