Shirar O'Connor

Shirar has been in economic development, specializing in direct investment and foreign direct investment for nearly 29 years, working on both sides of the desk, for government agencies and as a consultant. Her expertise is in providing government-to-business, economic development services in public relations and marketing.   

Kara Hordlow Smith

Kara is an international economic development specialist.  She has worked in international economic and business development across Europe, the Middle East, and North America throughout her 25-year career-- both within economic development organizations, and alongside local governments, private industry, and non-profit partnerships.

Sandy Pratt

Sandy has been in economic development for 31 years working at local, regional and state levels. Her expertise is in global business attraction, business retention and expansion, strategy, and economic development support services in marketing and public relations. Sandy is knowledgeable in numerous industry sectors including aerospace, defense, corporate services, energy, bioscience, healthcare, advanced manufacturing,



“Shirar and the Underpinned team are some of the most experienced and successful economic development professionals you’ll find anywhere.  Their understanding of foreign direct investment and global commerce, combined with their marketing and public relations expertise, make them a powerful resource for any economic development organization.”

Don Pierson

Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development

“I have had the pleasure of being both a colleague and client to Shirar O’Connor.  She and her team at Underpinned are seasoned economic development professionals who can provide valuable support to destinations in need of marketing and communication expertise. Underpinned operates effortlessly in both the U.S. and international markets. Shirar’s acumen and experience in investment promotion run deep and I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

Gordon Innes

Bloomberg Associates Economic Development

"The Underpinned team supports the Thailand Board of Investment's New York Office with marketing and public relations activities. We are very pleased with the professionalism of the team, their responsiveness and the collaborative way in which they work."

Vorawan Norasucha 

Director, Thailand Board of Investment, New York Office


Contact Us

Phone (US) +1 646-496-7668   |   EU +31 6 2141 5644