We make many decisions in our lives, but the decision to construct a new facility is one of our most important. It makes statements about our desire to tailor space directly to our needs. It dedicates place to one particular use. And it sets a pace, for an organization or for a household, that will endure for generations.

Our choice to construct is so important that nobody takes it lightly. Other investments can be made, shifted and reversed, but our choice of location, and what is built upon it, is here to stay.

We make such important and irreversible decisions knowing that it is unlikely others will value our investment to the same degree we do. We often value the whole, the land and the building upon it, at a much higher rate than the sum of its parts.

Given this unique confluence of location, construction and personal attachment to that combination, I am awed and gratified by those highlighted in this edition who have dedicated themselves to our region.

All these entrepreneurs have relocated here, or are in the business of helping others locate here. At each juncture, these entities had an opportunity to go elsewhere, but chose here.

For those of us who have enjoyed making our lives and living here, we do not doubt their decisions. This region has so much to offer families and households, in raw natural beauty, in access to recreation, in our proximity to a major metropolitan city and another country, and in our enjoyment of Lake Champlain. We live here, at least in part, for those reasons.

A corporation chooses to locates here because of our local economy but also because it affords them easy access to a border across which more goods and services are traded bilaterally than any other border in the world, and, increasingly, an airport that provides quick travel to other states and maybe soon to other countries. Laketransportation is less important than it may have been two centuries ago but the networks established then endure today.

This unique combination of physical investment and space then acts as a testament to the decisions we have all made. They are also an indicator of the value our enterprises place on our local workforce. They invest here as an investment in us.

This is especially true now that organizations realize they can go anywhere, and are indeed often enticed to go elsewhere. To stay here tells us just how much they value this place and these employees.

Place and people are even more important in this COVID-19 era. Given its crossroads between two national COVID epicenters, New York City and Montreal, our infection rate in March of last year was growing exponentially. But we are a cooperative region that understands our responsibility to each other, and we succeeded in pushing the infection’s spread to low levels compared to what soon emerged across the country. This sense of “we are in this together and we stand by each other” is surely another element that makes construction investment attractive.

There are other attributes, beside inexpensive land, affordable construction costs and an excellent transportation network, that makes our region attractive. Rouses Point, Lake Placid, and the City of Plattsburgh are able to offer exceedingly low electricity rates for a power source that is 100% renewable. Increasingly, enlightened businesses value going green and protecting our environment, and find it attractive to locate in a region that shares their values, not only in word but also in deed.

Indeed, there are few regions that can offer $0.019 per kwh power located in a pristine environment that lacks the pollution, congestion and challenges other regions face. It is just a matter of time before major enterprises recognize our combination of competitive advantage and green values they can enjoy here.

For those of you interested in following the trail blazed by those highlighted in this edition, you need look no further than the great location and green energy offered by Rouses Point at the former Pfizer and Wyeth facilities. Likewise, the City of Plattsburgh has inexpensive green energy for offer on the Saranac River near the Northway. Both these locations have much to offer, but both also offer inexpensive power that is fueling the information- and
technology-driven modern economy.

It is amazing the combination of location amenities that this region offers. Worldleading power, when combined with everything else, makes this a world-beating location. You and I know that, but don’t tell anybody else. Well, actually, you can tell a few people. But please don’t tell too many! We’re not a boastful region.

Dr. Colin Read is a professor of economics and finance at SUNY Plattsburgh’s School of Business & Economics.