A Franklin resident who was well known for helping companies organize political action to get approval for development projects has died.
Mike Saint died suddenly on Sept. 4.
Saint was the CEO of Saint Consulting, which claims to be the world’s largest and most experienced consulting firm working in land use politics. The firm uses the local political process to help real estate developers win approval for projects — or stop approvals for competitors.
According to a 2008 Venture Nashville profile, Saint’s company worked on projects for big box stores, wind energy projects, health care facilities, landfills and mining operations. In Williamson County, the firm helped Tractor Supply secure necessary zoning changes for its Brentwood headquarters.
“My strategy is to be the biggest, best, most successful land-use political consultancy in the world and to gather global and large national clients in various industries that need local permitting for their new real estate projects," Saint told Venture Nashville in 2008.
In 2009, Saint co-wrote a book called NIMBY Wars offering insight from his decades of experience working on land-use conflicts. In a review in the Financial Times, correspondent Jonathan Birchall called the book a handbook for winning local land-use battles.
“These are the kind of people you call in when it turns out that the local community does not want your new hospital or cellphone tower. Or if you want to stop Wal-Mart opening near your profitable grocery store,” Birchall wrote in the review.
According to the Venture Nashville profile, Saint Consulting had been involved with 1,400 land use campaigns since 1983 — many of them controversial at the local level. However, the company boasted that it had an extremely high rate of success.
More recently, Saint founded the tech company Anquiro, which provided companies with early information about real estate moves that competitors were making. That information gave clients more time to respond to a potential competitor.
Saint earned an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, where he was later a guest lecturer. He was also a guest lecturer at the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University.
Saint was also on a number of nonprofit boards including the Nashville Opera, the George Street Playhouse, the Urban Land Institute and the Owen Alumni Board.