Why Not Us?

In the National Contest to win Amazon’s New Distribution Center – Along with its 50,000 Jobs – Greater Miami can Make a Compelling Argument

By Mark Trowbridge

April 2018

The growing excitement around the potential expansion and location of Amazon’s HQ2 in South Florida is both palpable and exciting. Yes, making the top 20 of any open, national competition this compelling, this transformative, and this energizing is cause for celebration. 

But the biggest prize is still to be won. And even though second-round site visits are already underway with the 20 finalists, there is still plenty of time to improve our stock and elevate our standing.  To be candid, I am obsessed with this project, constantly looking for small nuggets that could give Miami the decisive edge. Sure, Jeff Bezos is a Miamian, but we need a ticket even more golden to win! 

I agree with much of the discussion that there are inherent challenges in any corporate bid as there are no perfect matches in life or business. In fact, the eternal optimist in me believes it is the areas of challenge in our plan that provide the greatest opportunities for all of us. 

We can talk openly about transportation woes or workforce needs or even the fact that we are struggling with sea level rise and climate change on our peninsula. But, we also need to celebrate and elevate our most stellar attributes – our diversity, our can-do attitude that is the ethos of an immigrant community, our galvanizing spirit and desire to win, and our entrepreneurial vitality and youth.  

A company like Amazon is looking for a community that meets their business needs as much as their desire to forever alter the landscape of their new home base. 

Let’s stop the naysaying and hand-wringing that doesn’t do us any good. Let’s focus on how together we will transform this community together through job creation, wage growth, solutions-based problem solving, and the best minds working together every single day to address our long-standing challenges.   

We will be buoyed by the corporate social-responsibility attitude and investment of a game-changing corporate partner like Amazon that will no doubt inspire other local companies to invest, as well. 

In the coming weeks and months, the world will watch and the nation will shake their head in affirmation of Miami and our ability to shine the bright light of success on our business community.  We have to believe we can win. We have to know we will. 

And, when Jeff Bezos opens the envelope and says Miami, I hope the celebration is as heralded and embraced as the arrival of David Beckham and MLS Soccer.  It certainly needs to be! 

To that end, I simply ask, why not us? 

Mark Trowbridge is the president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce