Jenna Saucedo Herrera

San Antonio Economic Development Foundation President and CEO Jenna Herrera-Saucedo said the chase to land new companies is more competitive than ever.
CARLOS JAVIER SANCHEZ | SABJ

While Czech Republic-based OKIN Business Process Services’ decision to establish its U.S. headquarters in San Antonio is expected to create more than 1,400 new jobs at Brooks, how local leaders recruited the company and the reason its owners picked the Alamo City are expected to prove more impactful in the long term.

OKIN’s endorsement represents a critical win for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, which played a key role in recruiting the company and which has placed a greater premium on pursuing corporate headquarters.

“Through our international outreach, we were connected to them through a site selector,” San Antonio EDF President and CEO Jenna Saucedo-Herrerasaid. “As economic development organizations have gotten more competitive, we are going directly to CEOs and to site selectors, and we are training them to come directly to us.”

Saucedo-Herrera believes OKIN’s decision will have a ripple effect.

“As these highly sophisticated groups are selecting San Antonio, other people take notice,” she said.

Michal Jelinek, majority owner of OKIN BPS, said the company sought fast-growing cities that could meet certain criteria, including talent, and narrowed the search to a select group, including San Antonio.

“We had two rounds of visits for us to see infrastructural capabilities and educational systems,” Jelinek told me. “From there, we had a short list of three locations.”

In the end, San Antonio was competing with cities in North Carolina and Oklahoma. Jelinek said OKIN was swayed by the resources and diversity San Antonio had to offer, as well as the collaboration displayed by its economic and political leaders — locally and at the state level.

“OKIN was looking for a community that was ready in terms of the fundamentals — infrastructure and, more critically, talent,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “The collaboration was critical to them.”

San Antonio also had to offer a real estate plan that would meet OKIN’s short- and long-term needs.

“Because of the real estate requirements, we had to be creative,” Saucedo-Herrera said.

Jelinek believes OKIN will begin to establish a presence in San Antonio before the end of the year. He said the new U.S. headquarters could eventually generate 1,500 or more jobs over the next three years.

“The magnitude and scale, and the fact that this is a headquarters for a company that clearly has a global grip, is pretty huge,” Nirenberg said. “This continues to build the momentum.”

Article originally published here: Behind the Deal: How SA landed Czech company’s US headquarters