CWS Consulting Group LLC is a Location Strategies firm headed by Christopher Steele, an 18+ year veteran of site selection projects throughout the United States and around the world.
Christopher Steele, President
Chris brings over 20 years of business and urban planning experience to the art and science of real estate, economic development and location strategy. His background in a small city planning firm, a Big-Four consulting firm (Ernst & Young), and a world-class logistics and transportation consulting firm (TranSystems) has resulted in a unique perspective on how the concept of place impacts business and community success. Moreover, his experience in these disparate industries and service areas has given him the ability to build networks across service areas that anticipate a wide variety of client needs.
Chris has assisted major clients in national and international demographic, labor, and real estate trends review and analysis. He has also developed business models which measure the effects of labor, space, infrastructure and other business pressures that influence clients’ needs for key real estate, workforce, and location decisions. He has worked on projects as high-profile as Boeing’s selection of Chicago for its Headquarters, and as everyday as a food processing expansion in rural West Virginia.
Chris has written for Area Development, Business Expansion Journal and Site Selection Online Insider, and served as an editor for Ernst & Young's United States Investment Monitor. Chris also writes a monthly column for Cargo Business News on real estate trends, strategy, and planning for logistics and beneficial cargo owners. He is an active member of the Industrial Asset Management Council, a frequent presenter at CoreNet’s global summits and is on the Massachusetts Chapter of CoreNet’s Education Committee. He also serves as a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts at both Boston and Dartmouth, teaching Real Estate & Economic Development and Regional Economic Development in the College of Management.
Mr. Steele holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with specific concentrations in land use planning and real estate development.
Chris may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 314-6527.
Jessica Eckhardt, Senior Analyst
CWS Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of Jessica Eckhardt to our location strategy and economic development team. Jessica has over nine years of experience in transportation design and planning, environmental consulting, and real estate consulting services. She is skilled in GIS analysis, drafting and graphic design and will be heading CWS Consulting Group’s entry into geographic information systems.
Previously, Jessica supported supply chain and site selection mapping and analysis at TranSystems. Previous projects include the Massachusetts Bicycle Plan Update 2008, Jacksonville Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) study, Kansas City rail mapping, and I-90 connector redesign field work. She is the only person with the distinction of bike commuting to work down one of I-90 connector highway ramps. Jessica also previously served as CAD/GIS specialist at Environmental Resources Management. Other previous clients include Shores Atlantic, Atlas Copco, Ashcroft Terminal, Freightcar America, First Industrial Realty Trust, The Schonbraun McCann Group (an FTI Company), and IDS Real Estate Group.
Her personal interests include ultracycling, bicycle planning and mapping, urban development, and animal rescue. Jessica’s professional goal with CWS Consulting Group is to incorporate her GIS and graphic skills to grow the firm while trying to make a difference in her local community. Her personal goal is to compete in Race Across America (traveling over 3,000 miles by bike) and raise money and awareness for abused animals.
Jessica may be reached at email@example.com or (617) 395-6688.
Richard K. Greene, Economic Development Specialist
Richard K. Greene has consulted with corporations for 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 rebduce 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. In the renewable industry for the past 10 years, Richard has assessed markets, positioned companies and secured funding for the development of new products and projects. Advising on economic and workforce development, business attraction, and market positioning, branding and promotion, he has consulted with governments worldwide.
With E&Y, Richard was part of the executive team that developed Innovation R&D Incubators to increase innovation within the firm. He served as a client-serving expatriate in Europe for three years. Richard is the published author of many articles and has delivered speeches in North America, Europe and Asia. He received his BA from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Richard may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (917) 607-3658.
Patricia Clary, Senior Associate
Patricia Clary brings over 10 years of location and economic development consulting experience first with Ernst & Young (working with Chris Steele), then JCG International, and now with CWS Consulting Group. She has spearheaded projects for leading corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, Intel, AlliedSignal, Analog Devices, IBM, Trammel Crow, and Eaton. Patricia provided advice on business attraction strategies, product development/adaptation, operational improvement, competitor marketing best practices, and lead generation for economic development groups in France, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, in addition to many US locations.
Beyond her location and economic development consulting experience, Patricia has worked on a number of unique projects, including:
Patricia has also held a number of volunteer leadership and board positions at public and private schools in New York City. Most recently, she coordinated an annual funding campaign and served as a parent representative on a New York City Public School Leadership Team.
Patricia earned her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University in New York and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Patricia may be reached at email@example.com or (917) 602-6251.
Charles McSwain has over thirty years leadership experience in all aspects of regional economic development including land use planning, real estate development, regional marketing vision development focusing on jobs, site development for communities and site selection for industry. McSwain has lead strategic initiatives through the detail of program implementation with great success for a variety of clients: Fortune 250 corporations, regional metro chambers of commerce, and public sector assignments.
During the past 20 years Charles McSwain has focused on transportation as a specialty while working in real estate and regional development for CSX Corporation. Applying leadership for the benefit of shareholders, customers and communities, McSwain located more than $300 million per year in new traffic and millions of new jobs in partnership with other economic development professionals.
In the process McSwain led cutting edge thinking on the evolution of rail use as part of the United States transportation platform with multiple presentations at the Transportation Research Board (a unit of the National Academies), Journal of Commerce, NAIOP, IAMC, National Association of Regional Councils, IEDC and others. A thought leader in the development of Integrated Logistics Centers, he championed the use of highly efficient rail/truck/marine transport centers at key port and major market locations to increase the use of sustainable transportation while minimizing the impact of freight traffic on urban areas.
McSwain has a BA in Economics and MBA studies at the University of South Florida with additional studies at the Royal Institute of Town and Country Planning, York University, England. Certified in Corporate Real Estate, Certified in Industrial Real Estate, and is Certified in Industrial Development (1980). As the first member and holding all offices including Chairman in the Industrial Asset Management Council, he demonstrates his drive to create an effective forum for progress in building a better America and creating a competitive balance for industry and employment.
Mr. Litvin, a Certified Economic Community Developer since 1988, has over 30 years experience in his profession. He has been a faculty member for the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and at Virginia Tech’s Economic Development Institute. Mr. Litvin was also elected by his peers to be President of the Virginia Economic Developer’s Association.
Stuart has represented cities, counties and regional public/private economic development entities. This has included the Mayor’s Office in New York City and Select Greater Philadelphia, which included an eleven county/three state area. He has served on three Workforce Development Boards and several Employers’ Advisory Boards. He was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Blue Ridge Economic Development Advisory Council and by the Mayor of New York to the New York City Loft Board.
Mr. Litvin was an early member of the Select Greater Philadelphia team, where he helped to structure the partnership itself and was instrumental in the early success of the organization. In this role, he was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with the professional economic developers in the eleven-county region that includes five counties in eastern Pennsylvania, five counties in south New Jersey, and one county in northern Delaware. He coordinated all requests for information sent to each of the eleven county economic development entities and established a protocol for prospect handling for responses and visitations.
Stuart is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Southern Economic Development Council, the Urban Land Institute, CoreNet Global, National Association of Industrial & Office Properties, and was a member of the Industrial Asset Management Council.
George has more than 34 years of experience in community planning and urban design, economic development and transportation planning.
George was the Client Manager and Program Manager for the feasibility, design and construction of a new deep water Port in Nova Scotia (Melford International Terminal Inc.) which will serve as a “Hub Port” serving vessels of 12,000+ TEUs creating a new North American Gateway for International shipping and will change container logistics for the region, especially for rail and short sea shipping.
George was the Project Manager for the assessment of the Vermont Western Rail Corridor for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. This project is providing specific funding and Public Private Partnership (3P) information to the state for implementing several of its key projects including the Omya Spur Project. The project had a strong Stakeholder process which is aiding the state in implementing its project’s action items.
George currently serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee for the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES) the oldest engineering society in the United States. He led separate sessions for American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE/BSCES) on Environmental Streamlining which included panels from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island and the Federal highway Administration (FHWA).
He has instructed courses in NEPA EIS/EA Compliance at Northeastern and Brown Universities and been guest speaker on NEPA topics at the Universities of Maine and Rhode Island. He is formerly Chief of Planning of the Rhode Island Department of Economic Development, Division of Job Development & Training, and former Chief of Preliminary Engineering and Environment for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and for 23 years was a consultant working in every mode of transportation.
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