P3 Connect 2014 Conference Wrap UpAugust 04, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
Last week, I attended the P3 Connect 2014, the National Conference for Public-Private Partnerships. And I learned that the P3 concept is finally “getting comfortable in its own skin” in the United States.
My team and I observed participants from all diverse viewpoints – financial, design-construction, facility management – all getting a lot more comfortable about how the P3 model in the United States will be different.
And here’s the punch line. Leaders in these roles are seeing that it’s not about real estate, it’s not about development, and it’s not about funding. It’s about leveraging an operational model that creates sustainable revenue.
We are finally seeing movement on all levels: federal, state, local. And it’s happening within Higher Ed and even some in social infrastructure.
Christopher Lloyd, who is the Senior Vice President of Infrastructure and Economic Development at McGuireWoods Consulting, gave one presentation that really stood out. The presentation had some great punch lines related to “political” perceptions:
- Traditionally, there has been resistance from the left. They didn’t like P3 because they perceived that it put people out of work. But as they saw projects like the Miami-Dade airport, the numbers actually show that it actually helped increase employment in that region.
- There has also been resistance on the right. They perceived that things were being taken away from Americans, and they didn’t want to foreign owners of American assets. But the right is beginning to see that P3 is really about investors who are looking for longer returns.
- And finally, people on the financial side have really gotten comfortable with the potential for returns, and are becoming a more active part of the discussion (ex: Bostonia Partners, Ziegler Capital). Key players are contributing, and that’s led to more creativity and a willingness to participate in performance finance around wind and solar projects, water infrastructure and reclamation projects.
How this connects to our practice…
Our coaching practice is fundamentally built about connection. And authentic connections are created through collaboration and creativity between diverse disciplines. And it takes an ability to focus on the users of a project – NOT the needs of the project/scope delivery teams.
During P3 Connect, I really see that everybody has gotten more sophisticated about not just selling their own agenda. They’re seeing how these projects will impact the region, quality of life, and employment growth.