Business Retention and Growth Conference

June 14-16, 2022
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The Business Retention + Growth Conference is a unique event designed for economic development and business retention executive.


Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) and Blane, Canada are planning a business retention conference for June 14-16 in Columbus, OH. The conference is a live event, in concert with the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) and Labor Management Institute (LMI) conference. As a result, we will have joint sessions as well as BRAG Track sessions. There will be a virtual option available for those unable to travel to Columbus, OH.

The beauty of the joint conference is our BRAG registrants will have access to all of the top-notch speakers in the plenary sessions, plus any workshops, not just BRAG Track workshops.

The Synchronist Users’ Forum will be held on Monday, June 13th as a separate event.

Why Attend?

Business Retention is at the foundation of every good economic development program. The BRAG conference is your opportunity to polish your skills, look into the future, Q&A with experts, and network with the best professionals in the business. This is an event dedicated to the practice its professionals.

Event Details

Conference Hotel
Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel
50 N. 3rd Street
Columbus, OH 43215, US

Book Online

BRAG Conference Agenda

Mon, June 13 (Synchronist Users' Forum)
11:30 – 12:00 Welcome
12:00 – 12:45 Box Lunch
12:45-4:30 Forum
The Synchronist Users’ Forum is the annual gathering of Synchronist Users to network, share best practices, explore recent updates and new features, and plan for the future. *Synchronist Users Only
Tues, June 14
9:00 – 10:15 BRAG Working with Elected Officials and Partners
10:15 – 10:45 Networking Break
10:45-12:00 Welcome Keynotes: Kenny McDonald, CEO, One Columbus
12:00 – 1:00 Networking Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch Keynote
2:00 – 2:30 Networking Break
2:30 – 3:45 Thinking Livable Place: Working with Main Street
3:45 – 5:30 BRAG Round Tables | 4 topics of 25 minutes each
1) Workforce
2)Supply Chain
3) Gaining Access
4) New to BR|E
5) Women in BR|E
5:30 – 6:15 BRAG Social Networking: Lounge – Dutch Treat
6:30 – 8:00 Welcome Reception


Wed, June 15
8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast
9:00-10:15 BRAG Supply Chain: What I need to Know
10:15 – 10:45 Networking Break
10:45- 12:00 BRAG What the Future Holds for Commercial Real Estate
12:00 – 1:00 Networking Lunch
1:00 – 2:30 Federal Partners Panel & Keynote: Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics
2:30 – 3:00 Networking Break
3:00 – 4:15 BRAG Using Data to Tell Your Stories: Existing Business, Organization, Community
4:15 – 5:15 Site Selection Panel
Thurs, June 16
8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast

Off-Site Learning Lab:

  • BRAG Why Plant/Facility Tours Matter (plant tour)
  • How to prep for a BR|E Interview
  • 5 additional off-site tour options available
12:30 – 1:30 Networking Lunch: Intel Picked Columbus: Ripple Effects
1:30 – 2:30 Caught the Whale – Intel Selects Columbus – Now What?
2:30 – 3:00 Networking Break
3:00 – 4:15 Future of Work Keynote


Who Should Attend?

Conference participants include the full range of individuals involved in the existing business program, direct and indirect users of the software. Experience ranges from months to many years.

  • BR|E program managers
  • Management team members
  • Interview teams
  • Software administrators
  • Research directors


Representing: Economic Development • Chamber of Commerce • Workforce Development • Local government • Public utilities • State government

Learn from the successes of peers, as well as from their mistakes.

    BRAG Track Session Topics

    BRAG Working with Elected Officials and Partners

    There is an art to working with partners near and far. One community has had an exceptional run in their long-standing partnerships and received national attention. Leadership will discuss the good, the bad and the struggles of creating and sustaining healthy working relationships.

    Thinking Livable Place: Working with Main Street

    Primary sector gets the majority of the attention in business retention. With COVID we learned the real importance of main street and service sector support jobs that build the critical infrastructure needed for a livable community. They became part of the support effort on keeping communities healthy. What is happening on Main Street and what does the future look like.

    BRAG Supply Chain: What I Need to Know
    Persistent problems with supply that emerged with the pandemic are forcing dramatic changes in supply relationship impacting everyone and stressing business relationships. Global and national trade constraints are driving ever higher inland freight rates. We will be updating on the latest.

    BRAG What the Future Holds for Commercial Real Estate

    The changing landscape for commercial real estate is already impacting local economic development. National benchmark data shows impacts of 30% Office, 45% Production, and 40% Warehouse/Distribution. Our panel of Real Estate Brokers will give us an update from their perspectives.

    BRAG Using Data to Tell Your Stories: Existing Business, Organization, Community

    A core role of business retention is to understand what is going on behind the walls. Data is captured though the executive interview process. Applying the results within the organization is just step 1. Creatively used, the data we collect can be used to tell the story of our business community, our organization, and our community to multiple audience who want to know. Furthermore, your data can be used to influence outside organizations and the decisions they make. 

    How to prep for a BR|E Interview

    The executive interview is an excellent opportunity to look behind the curtain. Routinely asking for a facility tour is a top BR|E best practice. We will discuss why tours are invaluable and what you should be thinking and talking about during a facility tour. Plus, we will look at pre-meeting prep. What you need to know before you walk in the client’s door.

    Synchronist Suite® Annual Users’ Forum

    The Synchronist® Users’ Forum (Pre-conference) is the annual gathering of the Synchronist community. This year, the Forum will separate technical discussions on the Synchronist software, how-to discussions, what-if scenarios, and future developments from the general business retention content to follow in the public conference. At the Forum, users will also network other users and discuss on-going research projects. Then, joining the larger business conference will allow cross-referencing with others to learn about broader business retention and business growth issues.

    Synchronist UsersForum

    Register Today!

    The Synchronist Users’ Forum  will be held in Columbus, Ohio on
    Monday, June 13, 2022.
    Starting at $250* per attendee

    *For Synchronist Forum Only

    Questions? Email:

    Why go it alone? Synchronist is different because of community.

    We are a community of users working together to advance individually.

    This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. We are beginning to get some traction surrounding BR|E and the resources shared by other users will be most helpful!!


    Thank you for a great User’s Forum! It truly was the best industry meeting I’ve attended in term of content and relevance.

    CS, CA

    Charlie told me it would be like drinking from a fire hose. He was right. The Forum was fast paced and excellent. This gives me the big picture. I can see how the individual interviews fit in.

    EL, TX

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