Posts by: Economic Development

FNA Group to Relocate OEM Industries Division Operations to Pleasant Prairie, WI

FNA Group Inc., a manufacturer of pressure washers for home and industrial markets, announced plans to relocate a part of its OEM Industries Division operations to a new facility in the LakeView Corporate Park in the Village of Pleasant Prairie, WI.

FNA Group

FNA Group (photo –

The company will be investing $3 million into the project to establish the manufacturing, distribution and R&D operations for the division in a 176,000-square-foot industrial facility.

The project will create 100 direct new full-time jobs in in Pleasant Prairie and Kenosha County, in addition to providing more seasonal employment opportunities.

Elk Grove Village, IL-based FNA Group chose the location in Pleasant Prairie after a site selection process in which they considered sites in several states.

Governor Scott Walker said in a release announcing the job-creation project that FNA’s decision to locate its newest facility in Wisconsin after a multi-state search for a site for the facility speaks volumes about the state’s pro-business climate and outstanding workforce.

FNA Group Founder, CEO and President Gus Alexander said this move allows them to free up manufacturing space they desperately need at the company’s existing facility in Arkansas where their OEM Industries Division operations are currently located.

In order to secure the project, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has authorized FNA Group Inc. to receive up to $700,000 in state tax credits. The exact amount in credits the company will receive over the next three years is tied to their job creation plans.

WEDC worked on this project in partnership with other state agencies, educational institutions and business groups. The Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) is providing the company a $1 million loan sourced from a combination of revolving loan funds.

Workforce recruitment and training support will be provided by the WI Department of Workforce Development and regional workforce partners. Apart from KABA, other local partners involved in the project include the Kenosha County Job Center and Gateway Technical College.

WEDC Secretary and CEO Reed Hall said in the release that this project is a great example of the importance of developing strong partnerships with it comes to economic development. Hall added that the State, Kenosha County, the technical college and other partners are working together to ensure that FNA has a long and successful future in Wisconsin.

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said they have a strong team that works together with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Walker and his administration to create a climate in which businesses are relocating to and expanding in, and they are thriving.

Wine and Beer Recycling Operation to Create 27 Jobs in Mullins, SC

Quality Farms, an innovative company that specializes in recycling wine and beer waste into fuel-grade ethanol and livestock feed, announced plans to establish a new facility in Mullins, SC.

Quality Farms

Quality Farms (photo –

The Dayton, OH-based company’s process captures 90 percent of beverage manufacturers’ unusable product that would otherwise end up in landfills.

It does this by converting expired and waste beer, wine and spirits into 100 percent environmentally sustainable ethanol.

The cost of the ethanol produced is significantly lower compared to the traditional method of producing ethanol from corn. Since Quality Farms’ process does not require fermentation, it also eliminates the environmental concerns that arise when ethanol is produced from corn.

The feedstock is a byproduct of the ethanol production. Quality Farms also recycles the packaging and containers the waste beverage is packed into, enabling beverage companies to achieve zero waste.

Their operations in Ohio have so far resulted in the processing of more than 12.4 million pounds of product that would have ended up in landfills.

The company is now expanding into the Southeast with the new facility in Marion County, SC. Quality Farms plans to invest $1.9 million to establish operations in the 294,243-square-foot building in Mullins.

This is a leased space the business intends to share with another company. Quality Farms expects to create 27 direct new jobs in Mullins and Marion County.

Quality Farms President Richard Grow said in a release announcing the project that they investigated several locations in the Southeast for their expansion. Grow added that they chose to locate in Mullins because of the “energy and excitement of the economic development director in Marion County.”

Marion County secured the project with the help of a package of incentives that includes a South Carolina economic development grant of $75,000. This will be provided through the Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant program to reimburse the company’s costs for real property improvements.

SC Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in the release that South Carolina’s recycling and agribusiness industries are growth sectors, and this is a company that is at the intersection of both. Sec. Hitt added that South Carolina has all the ingredients for small businesses to be successful, and he looks forward to watching Quality Farms thrive in the state.

Marion County Council Chairman Buddy Collins said they are excited that Quality Farms has decided to expand their company in Marion County. Collins added that not only is Quality Farms bringing a new industry to the County, but also offers opportunities for future growth and expansion of other new businesses.

Nevada Native Nations Lands Act to Spur Tribal Economic Development

Congress is moving towards approving the Nevada Native Nations Lands Act to spur tribal economic development for six northern Nevada tribes.

Farming in the Pyramid  Lake Indian Reservation,, NV

Farming in the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation,, NV (public domain photo –

The legislation (H.R. 2455 and S.2480) will allow for the transfer of nearly 45,000 acres of federal land into trust for six tribes.

This land held in trust for the tribes will allow them to build housing and create opportunities for economic development while preserving cultural heritage and traditions and existing rights-of-way.

H.R. 2455 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02). The companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Senator Harry Reid.

The House just approved an amended version of Congressman Amodei’s bill to bring it in line with the Senate version. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has already cleared S.2480, and the passage of the House bill now makes it more likely that the bill will be taken up for consideration by the full Senate.

After the House passed the bill, U.S. Senator for Nevada Dean Heller issued a statement noting that the transfer of this land puts power back into the hands of the local tribes and their communities. “They are the ones best suited to make decisions on economic development and job creation,” said Sen. Heller.

The tribes that will benefit from this bill are the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, the Shoshone Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley, the Summit Lake Paiute, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the Ft. McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

In a statement issued at the time when the bill was introduced in the House, Congressman Amodei said that these are all cases where local control and economic self-determination are preferable to Washington-centric management by a federal agency.

Sen. Reid likewise said in a statement while introducing S.2480 in the Senate that land is the lifeblood of Native Americans and this bill provides space for housing, economic development, traditional uses and cultural protection.

Apart from the lands held in trust for these tribes, the bill also helps support Elko economic development by providing to Elko County 275 acres of federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The City of Elko will be using this land for developing a motocross park.

Christopher Chung to Lead Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Missouri Partnership CEO Christopher Chung has been picked to lead the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina as its new CEO.


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The EDPNC was launched as a non-profit corporation to oversee North Carolina economic development functions previously under the purview of the NC Department of Commerce.

This includes business and job recruitment and retention, tourism, international trade, film and sports business development.

Interim CEO Richard Lindenmuth has been heading up the EDPNC since its startup and guided the Partnership through its official launch earlier this year in October.

Lindenmuth will continue to serve as a consultant to the EDPNC for special projects such as broadband expansion in rural North Carolina and analysis of Big Data for development opportunities.

Christopher Chung, 38, is an Ohio native experienced in international economic development. He helped launch the Missouri Partnership in 2007 with a mission of recruiting new business, and led the organization into what has been recognized and awarded as one of the best economic development programs in the country.

Under his leadership, the Missouri Partnership has announced 78 new corporate operations with more than 10,000 jobs and $1 billion in capital investments since 2010. This includes major projects by IBM, Yangfeng USA and roofing manufacturer GAF.

Before that, Chung managed some $80 million in deal-closing incentives and other economic development funds in Ohio to attract, retain and expand business in the Buckeye State.

Chung completed his education from 1994-1998 at Ohio State University, and holds a degree in economics and Japanese. He completed his post-graduate course work in public policy in 2007, also at Ohio State.

Chung has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2011.

In a release introducing the new EDPNC CEO, Governor Pat McCrory said that “It is North Carolina’s good fortune to have Chris Chung take on leadership of a mission so critical to our future.”

The Governor added that Chris is widely respected in the industry and experienced using the public-private approach, and he has proven he can create jobs and opportunities.

Christoper Chung likewise responded that he is delighted and honored to join North Carolina’s campaign for economic growth, particularly at this pivotal time in the state’s approach to job creation and development.

EDPNC Board Chair John Lassiter, who is president of Carolina Legal Staffing, said that Chris Chung is unique in that he has expertise in launching and leading a statewide economic development startup, and in managing a large incentive budget.

Lassiter added that Chung is well-connected in the industry and particularly good at nurturing collaboration between many players.

NC Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker, whose office continues to retain responsibility over decisions on state incentives for job creation, said she is thrilled that Chris is going to be working for North Carolina. Sec. Decker added that the Partnership is off to a strong start and is working closely with them to bring in new jobs.

Atlanta Shells Out $1.5M Economic Development Incentives to secure Worldpay HQ Relocation

Worldpay, one of the world’s leading payments processing companies, announced a relocation of its U.S. headquarters to the City of Atlanta, GA.


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The relocation of the company’s U.S. headquarters from its current location in Sandy Springs, GA will bring 1,266 new jobs to Atlanta.

The total economic impact of the relocation is expected to be about $424.6 million, and Worldpay will generate an estimated $3.4 million in new taxes annually for the City.

The Atlanta City Council approved a resolution authorizing the City of Atlanta Economic Development Authority Invest Atlanta to make a $1.5 million grant to Worldpay. This grant is being provided to Worldpay through the Invest Atlanta Economic Opportunity Fund.

Worldpay US CEO Tony Catalfano said in a release announcing the relocation that the support and partnership with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta City Council has grown beyond economic incentives into a vigilant focus on showcasing Atlanta as a global payments capital.

The company’s relocation from the suburbs north of Atlanta into the City does mean a lot for Atlanta and Georgia’s FinTech sector. For starters, Catalfano also chairs the Georgia-based American Transaction Processors Coalition.

So the fact that Worldpay chose ‘Transaction Alley’ over Silicon Valley presents Atlanta and Georgia an opportunity to attract more companies in this sector.

Atlanta is already home to more than 40,000 payment processing jobs. Annual FinTech company revenues in Georgia exceed $34 billion, and 70 percent of all payments processed in the U.S. annually run through Georgia.

Catalfano added that as the leaders in modern money, Worldpay wants to help accelerate Georgia’s FinTech industry by attracting developers of next-generation mobile applications and point-of-sale solutions that integrate payments.

Worldpay’s site selection process was led by consulting firm Honour, in cooperation with global property services firm DTZ. Invest Atlanta worked to secure this project in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Power and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Apart from the $1.5 million in Atlanta economic development incentives, Worldpay’s relocation project is also eligible for state incentives under the Job Tax Credit and Quality Jobs Tax Credit programs.

Mayor Reed said he is delighted that an industry leader like Worldpay has chosen to relocate its U.S. headquarters and more than a thousand well-paid jobs to the City of Atlanta.

Brian P. McGowan, executive vice president and COO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, thanked partners at the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Invest Atlanta for their efforts to bring new jobs and investment to the region.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said they are proud of the strength of the payment processing industry in Georgia, and added that Worldpay’s decision to grow in the state speaks to their belief that Georgia is the right place for them to remain competitive for years to come.

Illinois To Invest $1M to Establish Route 66 Electric Vehicle Corridor

Governor Pat Quinn announced a $1 million investment for establishing a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations along Route 66 through Illinois.

Route 66, Illinois

Route 66, Illinois (photo – IvoShandor/wikipedia)

The State, local governments and private sector entities including automobile companies have teamed up to create a partnership called the Illinois Route 66 Electric Corridor.

This partnership will install a network of high-power EV charging stations connecting communities along the 300-mile section of Route 66 in Illinois that stretches from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River in the Metro East area.

Once the seven EV changing stations have been installed at cities along the route by summer 2015, the network will make it possible for electric vehicle owners to drive between Chicago and St. Louis, both key urban markets for electric vehicles.

Installation of the EV charging stations has already begun, with the cities of Carlinville, Dwight, Edwardsville, Lincoln, Normal, Plainfield, Pontiac and Springfield as part of the network.

Apart from these cities and the state support, the project is also backed by auto manufacturers including Nissan, BMW and Mitsubishi.

Technical assistance for project planning was provided by the University of California – Davis. UC Davis is one of the world’s leading universities for research and development on sustainable transportation.

In a release announcing the state’s investment in the project, Gov. Quinn said that this project exemplifies Illinois’ place as the Midwest’s innovation capital with cutting-edge business practices that create jobs and encourage sustainability.

Dan Irvin, general manager of Corporate Communications, Mitsubishi Motors North America, said that the State’s Route 66 EV corridor is consistent with MMNA’s desire to affect a broader acceptance of EVs through user-friendly infrastructure.

Irvin added that it is their belief that projects like this will help Illinois maximize the possibilities of electric vehicles.

Gustavo Collantes, assistant director for Energy, Environment and the Economy at the UC Davis Policy Institute, said that Illinois has one of the better combinations of price and carbon-emissions per kwh of electricity. Collantes said that this infrastructure has the clear potential to save drivers money while delivering environmental benefits to Illinois and the nation.

Adam Pollet, director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) which handles Illinois economic development efforts and programs, said that residents and visitors alike will soon be able to enjoy the sites, attractions and mystique of the state’s Historic Route 66 with easy access to charging stations for their electric vehicles.

Montana Budget Proposal Prioritizes Tribal Economic Development

Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s 2017 biennium budget proposal that was released last week lays out priorities for making investments in jobs, infrastructure and education, among other things. A full section in it is devoted to tribal economic development in Montana’s Indian Country.

Indian reservations in Montana

Indian reservations in Montana (public domain photo by

One of the key proposals in the budget proposal that boosts tribal economic development is the creation of the new Native American Gap Financing Revolving Loan Program.

The budget also provides enhanced or continued support for existing programs such as the Montana Indian Language Preservation Program and the Tribal College Non-Beneficiary Assistance Program.

Another $1.6 million in funding has been included in the base budget in order to make the Indian Country Economic Development Program permanent. The ICED program has been successful in providing Native American-owned businesses access to capital, and helps support job growth and workforce development, Native American entrepreneurialism and private business development.

The Native American Gap Financing Revolving Loan Program is being created with $500,000 of state special revenue in initial funding to establish the new program.

It will support tribal member-owned businesses that do not have access to commercial loans and are unable to put up sufficient collateral and equity. The program will support businesses by providing a cash deposit to the lender to offset the collateral requirements and initiate the loan.

These and other strategies and action items have been developed based on community, regional and tribal college meetings held over the last two years where the state administration, agencies and staff worked closely with each of the tribal nations in Montana.

The meetings drew active participation from tribal leaders, the business community, and economic development and educational leaders. The strategies and programs developed through these meetings are helping achieve economic growth and sustainability, create jobs in Montana’s Indian Country, and reinforce the workforce pipeline.

In a release announcing the budget, Gov. Bullock portrayed the focus on Indian Country programs as a part of overall statewide Montana economic development.

“We can’t have statewide economic prosperity without economic prosperity for the tribal nations in Montana,” said Gov. Bullock.

The Governor said that’s why he is committed to funding programs that create jobs, improve the success rate of Native American businesses, address chronic issues of access to capital and support the efforts of tribal colleges in all the reservations to educate Native and non-Native students.

Mount Airy, NC Considering Incentives for Two Economic Development Projects

The City of Mount Airy, NC has scheduled a public hearing to consider economic development incentives for two projects that could bring a total of 90 new jobs to the city.

Mount Airy, NC

Mount Airy, NC (photo – jmd41280/flickr)

One of the projects is an expansion of an existing manufacturing facility in Mount Airy by a company identified only under the name of Project INK.

Project INK plans to invest $2.65 million and create 14 new jobs over the next two years. The Mount Airy economic development package of incentives for this project adds up to nearly $50,000, tied to the company’s job creation and investment plans.

The Surry County Board of County Commissioners has already approved similar incentives for Project INK at their last meeting.

Another rather more interesting project that will be brought up at the Mt. Airy public hearing is called Project Boston. This company, whose identity is also being kept a secret, is planning a fast expansion of its workforce at an existing facility in Mount Airy. The company is planning on creating 75 new jobs in three months.

Earlier this month, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners approved the City’s share of incentives for the project – $900 for each qualified job created, up to a total of $67,500. Furthermore, the resolution authorized the City to apply for North Carolina economic development incentives for the project under the One NC grant program.

Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, said at the Mt Airy public hearing that the incentives would help the company create jobs, and the average salary for the new jobs being created is roughly close to the average salary in Surry County.

Surry County was supposed to approve incentives for Project Boston, but the County Board of Commissioners then failed to approve the resolution to offer $750 per job created over concerns about the lack of investment.

So the City is now bringing the proposal back up at the next hearing. They plan to seek comments at the public hearing on offering Project Boston additional incentives, on top of the $67,500 already approved, to make up for the lack of county support. If Mount Airy approves this additional amount, the City would be paying the company up to $1,650 per job created.

Magpul To Complete Relocation in First Quarter 2015

Magpul Industries, which earlier this year decided to relocate its operations in Colorado to Texas and Wyoming, has now announced that it will be closing all existing Colorado facilities during the first quarter of 2015.


Magpul (photo –

Magpul’s new corporate headquarters is now located in Austin, TX, and their manufacturing and distribution center in Cheyenne, WY is set to open in Jan 2015.

The company had around 200 employees in Erie, CO when they decided to relocate after the state passed legislation banning the sale of firearms magazines with more than 15 rounds.

Most of the jobs are being moved to Cheyenne, WY. The headquarters operations have been functioning for most of this year at a temporary facility in Lakeway, TX. Their top leadership has since moved into the permanent new headquarters at 8226 Bee Caves Road in Austin.

This corporate relocation to Texas was accomplished with support from Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

The manufacturing and distribution operations relocation to Wyoming was likewise achieved with support from Governor Matt Mead, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS. The latter is a non-profit economic development organization that provides assistance to businesses in other states relocating to Wyoming.

Laramie County, WY was initially awarded a $13 million grant to help the county support the Magpul relocation. This award has since been reduced to $8.3 million because they no longer need to construct a build-to-suit facility for Magpul’s operations.

Instead, the company has moved into an existing 135,000-square-foot building in the Cheyenne Business Parkway. This building fulfills the company’s short-term as well as long-term needs, so they don’t have to move twice – first to a temporary facility and then to the permanent one that was to be constructed.

The availability of the former JELD-WEN facility has also enabled Magpul to move up its timeline by more than a year, occupy the building right away and undertake an expansion with a 50,000-square-foot addition that will be completed next month.

Magpul Industries Director of Product Management and Marketing Duane Liptak said in a release that these new facilities in Texas and Wyoming immediately enhance and expand the company’s business operations.

As far as Colorado is concerned, Magpul will open a single administrative location that will support the relocation process for now and later on be converted into a regional support office.

Qualified New Business Venture Certification Enables Wisconsin Food Startup to Attract Investments

Wisconsin food startup Omega Foods LLC has been certified by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation as a Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV).

Omega Foods

Omega Foods (photo –

Using innovative technologies, this Two Rivers, WI-based startup is creating its own brand of healthy functional foods enriched with high levels of Omega-3 (fish oil).

Their first product – a pasta sauce, is already on grocery shelves.

Omega Foods is also developing Omega-3 enriched peanut butter, cooking and salad oils, ice cream, and frozen yogurt, among other things. They are also about to launch their own line of pure Omega-3 liquid fish oil.

The QNBV designation makes it far easier for this innovative food startup to attract investors. This designation allows investors in the company to claim a 25 percent tax credit on the amount they invest.

Investments in Omega Foods are eligible to receive a total of $300,000 in tax credits. Fueled by these investments, the company’s plans to expand its product line are expected to create as many as 34 new jobs.

Omega Foods CEO Andy Konopacki said in a release that they have developed unique technology which enables them to load up mainstream, center-aisle food products typically found in any supermarket with 100-300 milligram per serving of EPA/DHA Omega-3 and still produce great-tasting premium foods without any fishy taste whatsoever.

The company has also been able to reduce the amount of Omega-6 in the oils used in processed foods. Too much Omega-6 is one of the things responsible for causing obesity and poor health.

The Qualified New Business Venture program helps Wisconsin startups and early-stage companies like Omega Foods secure new investment and accelerates their potential for job creation and growth in the state.

Early stage businesses that are developing innovative products, services or processes may seek QNBV certification from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Once certified, investments in these QNBVs by qualified venture capital funds, angel investors and angel investment networks are eligible to receive a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the amount of their equity investment.

QNBVs must be headquartered in Wisconsin and have fewer than 100 employees, of whom at least 51 percent are required to be based in the state.  The company must have been in operation for 10 consecutive years or less, and must not have already received aggregate private equity investments in cash of more than $10 million.

Furthermore, the company must offer significant potential for increasing jobs or capital investment in Wisconsin.

QNBVs may be approved to receive up to $8 million in cash equity investment that is eligible for receiving tax credits (of up to $2 million for investors). There is no limit on the amount of tax credits investors can claim through investments in separate and multiple businesses.

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