Greg Lindsay's Blog

January 25, 2010  |  permalink

The End Of Another Company Town.

NCR Corporation, formerly National Cash Register (“The Cash”) has pulled its headquarters out of Dayton, Ohio after more than a century of patronage and noblesse oblige by the company’s founders. The New York Times reports this morning that the company’s decision has stunned and gutted the Rust Belt city, which may lose more than a thousand jobs, along with a piece of its identity. The reason?

[CEO Bill] Nuti said last week that Ohio had been given a fair chance — or, perhaps, fair warning. He also noted that the NCR of today has 22,000 employees around the world, and that by the time of the break-up announcement it had more employees in Georgia than the 1,200 it had in Ohio.

As a result, Mr. Nuti said, the practicality of Dayton demanded a hard look. Transportation costs were high, and flights to and from the airport often required “multiple hops” for customers and employees. And attracting top talent was a struggle, he said. “We had a very difficult time recruiting people to live and work in Dayton.”

True, downtown Dayton is profoundly challenged. And true, its main airport simply cannot match Atlanta’s vast offering of nonstop flights.

And, of course, there were incentives.

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

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