Douglas van den Berghe (PhD) is the CEO and founder of Investment Consulting Associates – ICA headquartered in Amsterdam and Boston with partner offices around the world and founder of two web based FDI advisory products: www.locationselector.com (powered by the Economist Intelligence Unit – EIU) and www.ICAincentives.com (currently named: www.IncentivesMonitor.com). He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Erasmus University Rotterdam – Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and was previously a Director at Ernst & Young and Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD. As a management and strategy consultant, he has assisted many corporate clients in successfully implementing their global investment strategies, their location selection, as well as optimizing their global supply chains across the world. Some of his corporate clients include Shell, Philips, Electrolux, HB Fuller, Appvion, John Deere, Johnson Controls, Knowles, Appnovation Technologies, and ING.
He is considered one of the leading global experts on FDI, location strategy and offshore strategies, investment incentives, SEZs, and how to develop FDI policies for economic development and increase competitiveness. He has been an advisor to numerous governments, free zones, and investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and various organizations including UNCTAD, UNDP, World Bank, USAID, OECD, US State Department and the EU. Douglas has also guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Rotterdam School of Management, Nijenrode University and published in several academic journals such as the International Business Review, Transnational Corporations, and Business Strategy Review. He has worked in many countries including EU-27, Central America, Albania, Australia, China, Ghana, India, Jordan, Iraq, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Turkey. In addition, he has the following sector expertise: electronics, consumer products, financial services, automotive, oil and gas, chemicals, and IT.
Douglas is currently advising multiple countries in emerging and frontier markets on their investment and incentives policies and free zones. Douglas recently led major projects to build the capacity of countries and regions to attract FDI. He is also the founder of the FDI Academy Training Program of ICA: FDIexecutive™ that has successfully been rolled out in numerous countries. Douglas is also a guest speaker at numerous conferences around the world including UNCTAD World Forum for Investment, Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference, World Forum for FDI, CAIPA Investment Forum, World Free Zone Convention and many local conferences.
Chris Steele has over twenty-five (25) years of business, economic development, and location strategy experience. His background in a small city planning firm, a Big-Four consulting services firm (Ernst & Young LLP), and a world-class engineering and supply chain company (TranSystems Corporation) allow him to provide his clients with an unusually broad perspective on how place affects business success.
Chris earned his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University, his masters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began his career in urban planning and location strategy as a land use planner in New Jersey. Chris gained a significant background in land use planning, real estate development, environmental preservation, and affordable housing which he has subsequently used as a foundation for advising his corporate and public sector clients.
His later experience in diverse industries, service areas, and countries has given him the ability to build networks that cover a wide variety of client needs. He has worked on projects as high-profile as Boeing’s selection of Chicago for its Headquarters, a strategy for pharmaceutical production in Singapore and Malaysia, and as everyday as a food processing expansion in rural West Virginia. He has also led several major economic and community development projects, including a thorough evaluation and the State of Maine’s incentive and R&D investment programs, economic and community development plans for Edmonton, Alberta; Elkhart, IN; Waterloo, Ontario; Roanoke, VA; and Columbus, OH. He has also helped entities like the Jordan Investment Commission, Fort Saskatchewan (Alberta) Economic Development, and the Elkhart EDC successfully implement more effective economic development and investment attraction programs. His strengths as a coach, councilor, and mentor allow his clients to make the most of the plans he co-develops with them.
Mr. Steele has written on location strategy and real estate topics for Area Development, Business Expansion Journal, Site Selection Online Insider, and the Journal of Corporate Real Estate, and served as an editor for Ernst & Young’s United States Investment Monitor. He is an active member of the Industrial Asset Management Council, the International Economic Development Council, a frequent presenter at CoreNet’s global summits, and is on the Massachusetts Chapter of NAIOP’s Program and Growth Committees. Mr. Steele has also been a past presenter at the annual summits of the Economic Development Association of British Columbia and the Economic Development Association of Canada.
Prior to establishing CWS Consulting Group (now ICA), Mr. Steele served as the Line of Business President – Real Estate for TranSystems Corporation. He also served as the Director for Location Advisory Services at ADP Mintax, and was an integral part of the Ernst & Young Real Estate Advisory Services practice for over eleven (11) years.
Zoë Harries is Business Development, Marketing & Project Director at ICA. Her responsibilities include marketing ICA’s services, brand management, business development, project management and organising and providing seminars and trainings. Zoë offers her combined FDI and marketing expertise to support clients with marketing their investment location through (digital) marketing, PR and social media strategies. Clients include governments and free zones across the globe.
Born in South Africa, Zoë lives with her family in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Also a qualified yoga instructor, she is dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and her yoga mat travels around the globe with her. Zoë is passionate about promoting global sustainable economic development through mindful entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and empowerment.
Zoë holds a BSc. International Business Administration and Economics from HES School of Business and Economics, Amsterdam University of Applied Studies (The Netherlands). Countries worked in/for include: Netherlands, United States, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Mexico, South Africa, Cayman Islands, Uruguay, Bangladesh, Panama, Qatar, Iraq, Curaçao and St. Lucia.
Key focus of the expertise of Laurens concerns the development and implementation of FDI promotion & attraction strategies, competitiveness strategies, trade promotion plans, incentives regimes, and economic development policies for IPAs, EDOs, TPOs, and Free Zones/SEZs as well as support on corporate site/location selection and incentives practices. Laurens also provides trainings to support staff with capacity building and skills development.
Among its corporate engagements, Laurens has worked on a site selection project for a US Fortune Global 500 company, thereby supporting the implementation of a new real estate business model. As a project leader, he organised site visits with local teams, evaluated potential real estate portfolios and presented a shortlist to the client throughout a wide range of US states. Other corporate experience concerns optimising location, real estate, and incentives strategies as well as negotiating their incentive potential – both in Europe and in other parts of the world.
Apart from supporting corporate clients, Laurens has advised numerous governments, authorities, IPAs, EDOs, and Free Zone/SEZ authorities in Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as various international/multilateral organizations, including COMEC/OIC, UNCTAD, UN-ESCAP, World FZO, World Bank/IFC and OECD. This includes investment promotion & attraction strategies, trade promotion strategies, organizational development & setting-up IPAs, policy advocacy & aftercare strategies, policy & performance review, incentive frameworks, incentive harmonization, incentive cost-benefit analyses, agricultural FDI and agricultural market institutions/intervention, the role of International Financial Centers (IFCs), outward FDI, marketing strategies, linkages promotion strategies, intelligence & knowledge services, cluster development, 4th Industrial Revolution, and sustainability.
Laurens is specialized in supporting the establishment of new Free Zones as well as the expansion of existing Free Zones. He has developed the Free Zones Life Cycle based on which various services are offered. Free Zone-related expertise includes feasibility studies/master plans, competiveness positioning, economic impact assessment, improving Free Zone services & incentives proposition, marketing strategies, conducting capacity building for Free Zone staff, setting-up Free Zone organizations, and developing handbooks/though leadership on best practices.
Recently, as part of collaboration between ICA and Dubai-based World Free Zones Organization (World FZO), Laurens supported with the establishment of World FZO’s Knowledge Unit, thereby developing Free Zone thought leadership & intelligence and contributing to the world’s most comprehensive knowledge base on Free Zone practices. Laurens also developed a software tool which allows to rank, evaluate, and benchmark the competitiveness of Free Zones.
Laurens has worked in many countries including the EU-28, the Channel Islands, the Middle East & North Africa (Jordan, Oman, Tunisia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates), Caucasus & Central Asia (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan), East Asia (Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, and Indonesia), Central & Latin America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Uruguay), Sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda), and the United States.
Collin Perciballi is the Economic Development Advisor for Investment Consulting Associates (ICA). Collin’s first experience with Economic Development took place at the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, where he helped found and direct the Escarosa Business Continuity Initiative. The Initiative was designed to be a roundtable of public and private entities working to improve the business resiliency of the Escarosa area.
Prior to working at ICA, Mr. Perciballi worked for FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance. In that role, he managed the Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), a business incubator designed to support start-up companies achieve success by offering coaching, mentorship, and low overhead costs. Subsequently, Collin increased the occupancy of the CIE while also creating new procedures to improve its operational efficiency and design.
He holds an MBA from the University of Bologna Business School and an MA from the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus TEMA Programme, which analyses the history and development of European territories through a multi-disciplinary approach. As a result, he has obtained an international perspective with language skills in English, Italian, and French.
Olivia is an Analyst at ICA, focusing on economic and business development as well as corporate site location services. Prior to ICA, Olivia worked in export development strategy for the State of Massachusetts as well as Strategic Marketing for two separate Sports Media companies in the United States and Spain, respectively. During her time at the Massachusetts State House, Olivia developed a strategic plan for Massachusetts to strengthen its partnerships abroad and increase the state’s international competitiveness. While interning in Barcelona, Spain for a sports media startup, Olivia worked as a Digital Marketing Intern, expanding the fanbase and subscribership of the company to include more North American users while establishing a brand and presence in the United States.
Richard K. Greene has consulted with corporations for over 20 years and is known for creative and innovative solutions. As a senior manager with Ernst & Young, he defined expansion strategy and workforce assessments for companies entering new markets in the Americas, Asia and Europe. For companies seeking to reduce operational costs, his work has brought additional value in re-engineering and consolidation. For communities trying to reinvent themselves in the face of economic change, he has shown how industry needs can be met through workforce capabilities and other regional competitive advantages. Richard has worked in numerous industries including airlines, financial services, green manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, semiconductors, telecommunications and white goods and with a variety of corporate activities including call centers, data centers, distribution centers, headquarters, manufacturing plants and shared service centers.
Charles Krakoff, Senior Associate with Investment Consulting Associates, is founder and Managing Partner of Koios Associates – www.koiosllc.com – a U.S. firm specialized in investment and trade in emerging and frontier markets. He has over 25 years of experience helping companies develop and implement strategies to enter, expand, invest, raise capital, and source in emerging markets worldwide, and helping governments and government agencies develop and implement strategies to attract foreign investment and increase exports, as well as on organizational restructuring, change management, and capacity development programs. He is an expert in development of industrial and techno-parks, special economic zones and free trade zones, and has advised both governments and developers on strategy, feasibility assessments, environmental impacts, contracting, and management. A thought leader in economics and business in emerging economies, Charles writes the Emerging Markets Outlook blog – www.emergingmarketsoutlook.com – and is a frequent contributor to the Seeking Alpha investment blog (www.seekingalpha.com), and he was named one of the top experts and opinion leaders in the 2011 Who’s Who of Wall Street and the U.S. Economy.
Charles started his international business career advising U.S. and European multinationals on market entry and expansion, sourcing, and investment in emerging economies in Asia and the Middle East. Before starting his own firm, Charles headed a pan-African financial and strategic advisory unit for Standard Corporate & Merchant Bank, South Africa, and was a Senior Associate with Abt Associates, a U.S. research and consulting firm, advising on privatization and PPP policies, strategies, and transactions in developing and transition economies in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. He also served as Senior Advisor to a $120-million private equity firm focused on Southern Africa, and co-founded a pan-African online business information company. Charles worked for six years as a consultant to the World Bank Group in the areas of business environment reform, investment and export development, and development of special economic zones. He was also a senior officer with the Botswana Development Corporation, a development financial institution providing equity and debt financing to industrial and infrastructure investment projects. He has advised numerous companies on cross-border investments and acquisitions, and has industry experience in ICT, agribusiness, consumer products, textiles and apparel, transport, mining, media, and financial services.
A recognized expert in international trade, Charles served as Chief of the Office for Africa of the International Trade Centre (WTO/UNCTAD), the technical assistance arm of the World Trade Organization. He has also advised numerous regional trade blocs, including the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Economic Community of West African States, and the Southern African Development Community, on regional integration, trade expansion, and direct investment.
Henry has made a major contribution to expanding our knowledge of FDI, competitiveness, and investment promotion. His landmark publications are widely considered the most authoritative guides on how to attract FDI. They include “A Framework for Investment Promotion” (published by UNCTAD) and “Handbook for Investment Promotion” (published by Columbia University). Henry’s PhD was published by Palgrave titled “Bargaining with Multinationals” and examined how governments and MNCs negotiate over incentives.
He has advised over 100 investment promotion organisations in over 60 countries on how to attract FDI. He has also advised many of the world’s largest companies on their site selection. Henry is an investment promotion expert to the Vale Columbia University Center on Sustainable Development, UNCTAD and the World Bank.
In the area of incentives, Henry has a PhD examining FDI and incenitves and he had led many consulting projects in the area of incenitves, including a very high profile study for the Northern Ireland Department of Trade and Industry (leading to the decision to lower corporate tax in NI), best practices studies of incentives for the Welsh Assembly and many conference presentations and workshops on incentives and FDI. While at PwC, Henry also lead a study for Scottish Enterprise benchmarking Scotland against competitors to secure a major re-investment project. While at PwC, he also led a study for Scottish Enterprise to develop a Financial Services FDI Strategy for Scotland and Henry developed the concept of a financial services value chain which was used successfully by Scottish Enterprise to attract new FDI projects.
Henry co-founded some of the most recognised businesses in the field of FDI, including fDi Intelligence, OCO Consulting, and WAVTEQ. Henry was the original patent holder of the fDi Markets and fDi Benchmark databases, now part of the Financial Times Ltd, and developer of www.IncentivesMonitor.com and www.fdimarkets.com.
Franz Obenaus, Senior Associate with Investment Consulting Associates, was born in 1957 in Vienna. After studying Industrial Plastic Technology, Franz joined Philips Electronics as Development Engineer. In the following years, Franz changed from being Head of Automation, Head of Quality and Head of Technology Development to Industrial Leader for Europe and Asia. In the early 90’s he built up an industrial base in Hungary and Ukraine. In 1994, he built up a factory organization in Penang, Malaysia. From 2000 until 2013, Franz was COO and senior General Manager of Knowles in China where he was responsible for setting up an industrial organization in Beijing. Additionally, he set up technical organizations in Korea and Taiwan in 2006. From 2013 onwards, Franz has been Consultant for industrial set ups in the Far East.