Mike Grella

CEO & Founder

     FEATURED ON     

 

     ABOUT     

 
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Mike Grella

CEO & Founder

"Innovation and invention will not wait to accommodate your otherwise busy schedule."

Mike Grella has 26 years of domain expertise and experience in economic development, state, and local tax law, business site selection, and public policy as an attorney and advisor. Mike spent the first 17 years of his career advising hundreds of clients including some of the world’s most recognizable brands at three of the top five global accounting & advisory firms on economic development strategy and expansion transactions.

In March 2012, Mike was recruited by amazon’s legal team to build and lead its global economic development team from the ground up in Seattle. Over seven years the team created public-private partnerships

representing over ten billion dollars of capital investment and over 100,000 new jobs spanning over two dozen U.S. states and 15 countries.

From 2012 -2016 Mike was responsible for the expansion of amazon’s e-commerce logistics and last-mile delivery network collaborating with hundreds of state, regional, and local partners to construct over fifty million square feet of new development.

From 2016 - 2019 Mike spearheaded the economic development function for amazon web services, amazon’s rapidly growing, cloud computing / hyperscale global data center business segment. Mike was responsible for expanding the scope and raising the bar on economic, fiscal, and community impact studies used to communicate the direct, indirect & induced benefits of amazon investments to federal, state, & local policymakers, regulators, and community stakeholders from capitol hill to town hall.


"If you’re looking around corners for the next disruptive technology rather than creating or driving it, consider yourself officially behind the curve today, disrupted tomorrow, and obsolete soon thereafter."

In March 2019 Mike formed Grella Partnership Strategies (GPS), a start-up economic development & public policy advisory firm delivering value to public & private sector organizations & investment funds leveraging cutting-edge data analytics and deep connections in the logistics/e- commerce, data center, and cleantech / sustainable manufacturing industries. For EDO clients GPS plans community red carpet/fam tours, strategic planning studies, market studies, highest & best use assessments, & mock site selection RFPs to prepare communities with the precise data and tools necessary to optimize investment attraction and make curated introductions to desirable end-users & developers.

 

Mike is a frequent contributor and cited in national media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, Fox Business, Buzzfeed, Recode, And Business Journals around the country. He is also a frequent speaker on myriad economic development matters including Sustainable Development; Industry 4.0 & Smart Cities; Best Practices & Trends In Attracting Tech Industry Investments; The Role Of Diversity/Equity/Inclusion In Fortune 500 Site Selection; Innovation In Supply Chain & Logistics; And Demand-Based Workforce/Skills Development. Mike’s speaking appearances include Corenet Global, Utility Economic Development Association, International Economic Development Council, New York   State Economic Development Council, Cornell School Of Public Affairs & Yale Graduate School Of Management.

 

Mike received his undergraduate degree from Villanova University school of business and His Juris Doctor Degree from Hofstra University School Of Law. Mike is admitted to the New York State Bar.

     PRESS     

 

Cox & Friends: Mike Grella's interview with Utah Governor Spencer Cox

After The HQ2 Reversal: 25 Minutes With Mike Grella, Amazon’s Former Director of Economic Development.

     SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS     

 

2/27/2020 - Hudson Valley Construction Industry Council Annual Meeting


Hudson Valley Construction Industry Council Annual Meeting

2/27 & 2/28/2020 • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA Topic: Promoting Community Benefit Criteria in Local Incentive Policy




11/13/2019 - 2019 SIOR Southern Nevada Chapter Annual Luncheon


Society of Industrial and Office Realtors 11/13/2019 • Las Vegas, NV, USA Topic: Economic Development 4.0 https://my.sior.com/siorsouthernnevadachapter/home




11/1/2019 - Public Affairs Roundtable


Public Affairs Roundtable Cornell University Institute for Public Affairs 11/1/2019 • Ithaca, NY, USA Topic: Smart Cities, Economic Development Policy & Strategy https://events.cornell.edu/calendar/month/2019/11




10/29/2019 - 2019 Fall Conference for NYATEP & NYSEDC


New York's Workforce Association 10/29/2019 • Rochester, NY, USA Topic: Next Generation Economic Development https://www.nyatep.org/2019fallconference




10/13/2019 - Annual Conference


International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 10/13/2019 • Indianapolis, IN, USA Topic: Economic Development 4.0 https://www.iedcevents.org/Indy/Keynote_Speakers.html




9/23/2019 - NYCETC 2019 Conference


New York City Employment and Training Coalition 9/23/2019 • New York, NY, USA Topic: Designing a System for the Future of Workers https://nycetc2019conference.splashthat.com/




8/15/2019 - HREDA Summer Regional Update


Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance 8/15/2019 • Chesapeake, VA, USA Topic: Economic Development Policy Update




8/04/2019 - Annual Meeting


Southern Economic Development Council 8/04/2019 • New Orleans, LA, USA Economic Development Brave New World https://www.sedc.org/




7/25/2019 - NGA Summer Meeting


National Governors Association 7/25/2019 • Salt Lake City, UT, USA Economic Development Policy Best Practices https://www.nga.org/about/meetings/




7/16/2019 - The New Economy Symposium


New York State Economic Development Council 7/16/2019 • New York, NY , USA Topic: Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems




6/11/2019 - EDC Utah Board of Advisors Briefing


Economic Development Corporation of Utah 6/11/2019 • Salt Lake City, UT, USA Topic: Q&A on Industry 4.0, Managing externalities of economic growth & expansion




6/6/2019 - Celebration of Excellence in Real Estate


Villanova University 6/6/2019 • Philadelphia, PA, USA Topic: Developments and Innovations in Industrial Real Estate https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/business/centers/realestate/newsevents.html




5/22/2019 - 2019 NYSEDC Annual Conference


New York State Economic Development Council 5/22/2019 • Cooperstown, NY, USA Topic: How do we talk about economic development and incentives in a post Amazon New York? http://www.nysedc.org/event/2019-annual-meeting/




4/29/2019 - 2019 MEDA Annual Conference


Maryland Economic Development Association 4/29/2019 • Cambridge, MD, USA​ Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Matter in Economic Development https://www.medamd.com/event/2019-meda-annual-conference/




4/16/2019 - Tampa-Hillsboro EDC 2019 Mid-Year Report


Tampa-Hillsboro Economic Development Corporation 4/16/2019 • Tampa, FL, USA Topic: Recoding the DNA of Prosperity & the Future of Economic Development https://tampaedc.com/investor_cpt/mid-year_guest-speaker-presentation-recording-the-dna-of-prosperity/




4/4/2019 - 2019 KC SmartPort Annual Industry Briefing


Kansas City Smart Port 4/4/2019 • Kansas City, MO, USA Topic: Flexibility and Innovation in Supply Chain & Economic Development http://kcsmartport.thinkkc.com/industry-briefing




4/2/2019 - Columbus 2020 Leadership Circle Breakfast Briefing


Columbus 2020 4/2/2019 • Columbus, OH, USA Topic: The Impact of Disruptive Technologies on Economic Development




3/28/2019 - Public Policy, Community & Economic Development Update


CoreNet Global - New York City Chapter 3/28/2019 • New York, NY, USA Topic: The Role of Incentives in the Future Growth of New York bit.ly/CoreNetNYCPolicyBriefing




3/7/2019 - 2019 Explore Central Indiana Conference


Indiana Economic Development Association 3/7/2019 • Plainfield, IN, USA Topic: State of Economic Development in Light of HQ2 http://www.ieda.org/event-3194216




2/15/2019 - 2019 Economic Development Symposium


Yale University School of Management 2/15/2019 • New Haven, CT, USA Topic: Learning from Amazon HQ2 http://eds-som.squarespace.com/schedule




1/30/2020 - 2020 NLEP Annual Meeting


Northern Louisiana Economic Partnership 1/30/2020 • Shreveport, LA USA Topic: Inclusive, Resilient Strategies for Growth & Prosperity http://nlep.org/home.aspx




7/23/2021 - MPEDC Hosts Mike Grella on a 3-day Listening Tour


Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation (MPEDC) hosted Mike Grella, former Amazon executive, on a 3-day familiarization and listening tour from July 13-16, 2021. The MPEDC partnered with Grella Partnership Strategies to help structure an economic development-specific strategic plan, provide ongoing project support, and assist with marketing efforts for Mount Pleasant. Mr. Grella met with various community leaders and stakeholders, including elected officials, manufacturing CEOs, education leaders, the city’s department heads and development team, and the Chamber of Commerce and economic development board of directors, to better understand Mount Pleasant’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Mr. Grella also toured four major manufacturing facilities in the city and attended dinners with financial institutions, real estate brokers, and community leaders. Read More: https://mpedc.org/2021/07/23/mpedc-hosts-mike-grella-on-a-3-day-listening-tour/




5/14/2021 - Mike Grella Tours Tyler, Texas with the Tyler Economic Development Council


Former Amazon executive, Mike Grella, spoke with various city leaders on Friday about future big business potential in Tyler. Grella spent a portion of his week traveling around Tyler with the Tyler Economic Development Council seeing what Tyler has to offer. Grella says he walked away from his visit very impressed and that citizens of Tyler should be excited for the future. “I truly believe that over the next couple of years Tyler is going to become one of the worst kept secrets in America in terms of places to invest, live, work, play, grow a business, expand a business and want to raise a family,” said Grella. Read More: https://www.kltv.com/2021/05/14/former-amazon-executive-says-big-industries-tech-companies-could-look-expand-tyler/





     ENDORSEMENTS     

 

I have had the pleasure of knowing Mike for almost ten years.  His work on behalf of a variety of clients is consistently outstanding.  He brings clients tremendous insights into successful strategies in economic development, regulatory affairs, government relations, social responsibility, public-private partnerships, labor issues and emerging energy, among other verticals.  Not just talk, but results.  Mike is equally adept working directly with governors and senators as he is with disruptive entrepreneurs.  Tech, energy, eCommerce, cloud computing, crypto currency, transportation – his industry expertise is broad and deep.  Among his most effective skills are deal-making, focus on shared successes, conflict resolution, brand building and public relations savvy.  And those skills are leveraged along with an appropriate sense of humor and humility. 

- Ben Conwell, Senior Managing Director, Practice Leader, newCommerce Advisory Group

Logistics & Industrial Services

I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Mike for 20 years, both as a colleague and industry peer.  I have witnessed Mike's evolution from a highly respected subject matter expert in economic development incentives, into a visionary executive and business leader with broad and deep expertise.  His experience includes spending the past seven years at industry pioneer Amazon as founder and Director of their Worldwide Economic Development Team, working on economic development initiatives for both the E-Commerce and Cloud businesses, during a period of unprecedented company growth.  Mike’s Amazon experience, combined with over a decade spent as a leader and Director in PwC's Credits & Incentives Practice, has provided Mike with a wisdom, strategic foresight and transactional expertise that is both unparalleled in the industry and is well leveraged in his new venture, focused on “Economic Development 4.0”. His thought leadership and curated advice on the impact of disruptive technologies, workforce development, sustainability initiatives, and social impact as catalysts for economic growth and resiliency, both in the public and private sectors, is well-timed and much-needed.  Forward thinking organizations are prioritizing Environmental, Social and Governance criteria in their everyday business decisions, always considering their impact on customers, constituents, and communities; Mike is the resource companies and governments will be looking to as they plan and navigate their journey through these new and challenging economic, social and technological frontiers.

- Sid Silhan, National Tax Partner, Ernst & Young

Mr. Grella brings a fresh perspective to economic development. Understanding the convergence of economic growth, social equity, technology, innovation and the environment, Grella knows how to align the key drivers to economic growth with real action steps that lead to success. His depth of experience working real projects as an incentives specialist and building Amazon's first economic development practice brings real world experience to an evolving profession in need of disruption

- Larry Williams, CEO, Technology Association of Georgia

I've worked with Mike in a range of capacities for many years, and I've never met anyone else that combines his unique professional background with a sincere passion for global policy, economic development, and taking on new challenges.  Mike has had an insider's seat at the economic development table for decades, from many different angles: industry and consulting, legal and accounting, small and massive projects, and U.S. and global.  Few others share such a unique perspective.

- Madison J. Barnett,  State & Local Tax Counsel  The Coca-Cola Company,

former Of-Counsel, Eversheds-Sutherland LLP

Mike has a unique perspective for communities to hear and understand.  He has been an advisor to some of the best companies in the world, he has worked globally, and he knows the challenges that states and communities face to grow and prosper.  He is part of a small group of people that have advised, implemented, and executed deals around the world.  Mike's insights have been valuable to me as we consider how to grow our region and develop our economy.   

- Kenny McDonald, CEcD, Columbus 2020

I have known Mike Grella personally and professionally for many years. I have found his direct, hands on approach very refreshing and well received, especially in today’s fast moving world.  Decision makers seek well thought out, yet concise, information from which to base their decisions. .. and this is exactly what Mike offers. However, Mike Grella’s biggest asset is his steadfast integrity and honesty, and that is why people want to do business with him.”

- Michael C. Dermody, Chairman and CEO, Dermody Properties

I had the opportunity to work with Mike as he helped to establish a client’s Economic Development department.  He helped grow the function, and worked as part of a team to expand it from U.S.-centric to a group focused on expansion throughout the world.  Mike was responsible for overseeing advisors who he collaborated with on complex economic development transactions and strategy to support his company’s e-commerce and data center expansion.  Mike contributed to significant accomplishments.  He has robust experience in the Economic Development field and enthusiastically drives positive outcomes stemming from public-private partnerships. 

- Jeff Friedman | Partner, Eversheds-Sutherland LLP

Mike Grella knows more about site selection for data centers than anyone I know. He also understands where the industry is going and how site selection is evolving for states, regions, and localities, as well as the companies that interact with them. I regularly call on him for advice, as do economic development leaders across Virginia.

- Stephen Moret, President and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership