The Ginovus Journey – Celebrating 15 Years
n late 2001, after helping to successfully grow and sell a healthcare software firm, RealMed Corporation, Larry Gigerich found himself evaluating what he wanted to do next in life. Prior to RealMed, he had built a solid reputation in economic development with the City of Indianapolis, State of Indiana, Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation and Indianapolis and Central Indiana Technology Task Force. Larry took a few months to think about what was next and realized that he really missed economic development, but wanted to work on the corporate side of it.
“I was confident that there was a need in the market for expertise; someone to bring a laser focused effort to ensure the positive outcome of a project through data analysis, and carefully crafted incentive agreements.”
–Larry Gigerich, Executive Managing Director for Ginovus
At the time, Larry and his wife, Katie, had 2 year old triplets at home. Katie had left her job as the Assistant Admissions Director at Butler University to care for their young children. There was certainly a lot of personal risk when Larry was evaluating the decision to start his own firm. Larry met with approximately 25 different companies that had used a professional services firm to help guide them through the site selection and economic development incentive process. He continued to hear from companies that they did not feel as if they had entered into a true partnership with the professional services firm that had assisted them with their project. In early 2002, with the full support of Katie, Larry Gigerich concluded that it was the right time and place to bring more sophisticated and in-depth guidance to companies looking to expand or open new facilities. Ginovus was born and launched into a space that had not really seen this level of partnership, data analysis and incentive management services before.
The original mission of Ginovus was to provide detailed analysis of data that is critical to corporate decision makers to position them to make informed location decisions about where to invest money and human capital. The mission hasn’t changed much since the inception of Ginovus, but the awareness of our experience and results has throughout the world. Our clients now know we’ve provided site selection, location modeling and economic development incentive services for 15 years and delivered significant value to them. They count on the lessons we’ve learned in the process of growing. Things like; there is no amount of incentives that can overcome a poor marketplace, thoroughly evaluating the data required to making good location decisions, providing realistic project assumptions to governmental entities, and hire good people first and the professionalism will take care of itself. Our experience is what gives Ginovus the ability to evaluate the data and provide the best counsel possible to corporate decision makers. We help our client see the full picture so they can get to the right place.
Launching Ginovus was no simple task, though. Ginovus had to build a robust project management system to effectively lead projects and oversee all facets of the incentive process for the long haul. In the beginning, there was not a truly refined process for most companies to successfully go through the site selection and incentive process. The process had to be developed, along with the challenge of communicating the importance of them. “We were not just talking about the value of our services, we were building an awareness of the company, our partnership approach and the outcomes we would deliver to our clients. Most companies didn’t know anything about the industry or this type of professional service.” said Larry Gigerich, Founder and Executive Managing Director for Ginovus. Like any new business, there were trials and errors in the marketing process. We had to work through what was and was not working to get our message out.
Larry worked alone for most of the first year before hiring on his first employee at Ginovus; a trusted past employee with solid project management experience who had worked with Larry at RealMed and the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation where Larry had been President and CEO. The company continued to grow incrementally and as it approached it six year anniversary, the right team was in place to dramatically grow the sophistication of the practice and serve its clients. Gerald Frazier was one of those early key cornerstones of Ginovus. After serving successfully as a training grant administrator at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Gerald joined Ginovus in the midst of “incentive compliance season” for clients. At this time, a great deal of the Ginovus work had been done in the Midwestern and Southeastern states of the United States. Gerald had been approached at the founding of another site selection firm just a few days before he received the call from Larry Gigerich about joining Ginovus. He was most impressed with Larry’s drive for excellence in the industry, track record in economic development and his commitment to family. Within a few days, Gerald made the leap from the state to Ginovus.
In step with the Ginovus spirit, Gerald was out visiting clients on day two; this time on the other side of the table. Ginovus was only working on projects in two regions in the U.S., but Gerald knew an international scope was the ultimate objective. “It seemed intense stepping in when I did. But in hindsight, it was pretty easy. We had a limited number of states outside of Indiana that we were doing incentive compliance work in for clients. Now we work in nearly all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. We are constantly in ‘compliance season’ and continually working to be in front of legal and policy changes and requirements for all of the different locations we have projects” said Gerald Frazier, Principal for Ginovus.
The drive to bring and grow the level of sophistication in the site selection and economic development incentive industry sector over the years has been built on the development of a strong foundation. Leslie Wagner, Senior Principal, who joined Ginovus in 2006 said, “The ability to attract and grow quality clients has been dependent on the professionalism and internal enhancements Ginovus has been able to develop in its people and its systems.” On-going support for professional development and the ability to connect with outside organizations helps to continue to advance the Ginovus team. “We take developing our people and keeping on top of changes in the industry very seriously” says Leslie. Gerald agreed stating that “we’ve been able to take on many multi-state projects for national-level clients and numerous Fortune 500 projects in our small boutique atmosphere, due to the agility, innovative ideas, and forward thinking of our team members.” Our team members have sat on both sides of the table, working in industry sectors such as; real estate, economic development, accounting, law and workforce development. The Ginovus team has worked in non-profit organizations, for private and public companies, government and as entrepreneurs themselves. Building this team and our systems with thoughtful intention is perhaps one of the greatest strengths Larry has given to Ginovus.
“The people I work with, the culture, and the work-life balance is set on the executive level and because of that we have all been empowered.”
-Leslie Wagner, Senior Principal for Ginovus
With the recent move into a cutting-edge, energy-filled new workspace, Ginovus expects to continue to be a global leader in its industry well into the future. Ginovus has served over 260 clients in support of 360 projects during its first 15 years. The firm continues to add significant value by providing an important service that nets real tangible results for its clients. Larry believes that the marketplace will see more and more companies looking to hire firms like Ginovus to guide them through the site selection and economic development incentive process in the future, to ensure that third party analysis is completed before a site selection decision is made. Additionally, governmental entities will continue to require additional data or information on projects. In the age of growing transparency requirements, economic development agencies will need to show its return of investment on the incentives it provides in support of projects. Ginovus has in place the systems and people to provide this information and guide its’ clients through the many years of economic development incentive compliance.
Ginovus has been fortunate to have the leadership, ethics, experience, results and professionalism to be told time and again by clients and economic development officials that the firm always brings forward high quality of projects, accurate information and a collaborative approach to the process. Ginovus has earned the respect from the people sitting on all sides of the table and that speaks volumes about its’ team members and their approach to serving clients. The relationships that have been built, the testimonials Ginovus clients share with their peers, and the volume of repeat business that has been earned is a direct result of highly-skilled team at Ginovus, their support of one another, and the value each of team member holds in his or her client relationships.
“At the end of the day, you’ve have to do the right thing. The long-term investment in our clients’ success pays dividends for everyone.”
-Larry Gigerich, Executive Managing Director for Ginovus