Posts by: Economic Development

Lawrence County, AL Gets Steel Tube and Pipe Manufacturing Plant

IT-TRI LLC is planning to build a new steel tubing and pipe manufacturing plant in the Mallard Fox West Industrial Park in Trinity, Alabama.

Mallard Fox West Industrial Park, AL

Mallard Fox West Industrial Park, AL (photo –

The $68 million project will create 100 new jobs in Lawrence County between now and 2016.

The company expects to break ground on the project this fall, and will begin operations by the end of next year.

IT-TRI President Rick Werner explained that because of growing demand for pipes in the South, they had started looking at sites in the Southeast for locating the new plant.

He also mentioned that their site selection process favored Alabama because of the presence of raw material suppliers U.S. Steel in Birmingham, AL and Nucor Steel in Decatur, AL.

Werner said the ease of dealing with the State of Alabama and the Industrial Development Board of Lawrence County further helped solidify their decision to purchase 75 acres in Lawrence County’s Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex.

He said that working with local county officials and the IDB ensured that all their anticipated needs were met, and added that they looked forward to recruiting employees from the local talent pool and training them with assistance from Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) Program.

Tony Stockton, executive director of the Lawrence County IDB, said the promise of 100 jobs was exciting, and added that the entire county would benefit from IT-TRI’s decision to establish their facility in the county.

Stockton also singled out Representative Ken Johnson and Senator Paul Bussman for their dedication to the county’s economic development and their leadership in recruiting IT-TRI to Mallard Fox West.

This $68 million project and the creation of 100 new jobs provides Lawrence County at least some relief from the announcement last month of the closure of a paper mill in Courtland, AL. International Paper is laying off 1,100 employees at the plant in stages, with full closure expected by the first quarter of 2014.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said they were committed at the state and local levels to attracting more jobs to Lawrence County and for all of Alabama.

Gov. Bentley added that he appreciated IT-TRI’s investment in Lawrence County, and wants people to know that efforts to recruit more jobs will continue until everyone who needs a job is able to find one.

Study – Kansas PEAK Program Had $7.5B Impact on State Economy

The Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University has released the results of an economic impact analysis study of the Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK) program.

Kansas Dept. of Commerce

Kansas Dept. of Commerce (photo –

PEAK is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Participating companies are allowed to retain 95 percent of payroll withholding tax for jobs that are eligible under the program.

Participants are required to create at least five jobs in non-metropolitan counties, and at least ten jobs in metropolitan counties.

According to the study, PEAK has had a $7.59 billion economic impact on Kansas. This includes:-

– $4,895,832,476 in direct economic impact;

– $1,453,674,532 in indirect impact in the form of additional business spending; and

– $1,244,331,450 in induced impact such as change in household spending.

Every dollar spent through PEAK helps the Kansas economy grow by $960. As of April 2013, the program had created 4,725 direct jobs and another 6,350 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of 11,075 jobs.

A survey conducted as part of the study shows a high rate of satisfaction among participants. A full 90 percent of respondents reported satisfaction with the program.

An overwhelming 97 percent of all respondents said they recommend PEAK to out-of-state business owners.

Among the companies that have relocated to Kansas and received PEAK incentives, 93 percent said they would recommend that other employers they know outside the state should relocate to Kansas.

Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said in a statement that he was thrilled this program had been so beneficial to the state economy, and said they would keep working hard for ensuring that taxpayers in Kansas get the best value out of PEAK and other programs.

This FHSU study comes on the heels of a state audit that was critical of the PEAK program. The audit said that PEAK, which was approved by the Kansas Legislature in 2009, had created 5,200 jobs and provided $21 million in tax incentives through December 2012.

Withholding tax incentives had grown from $2.7 million in 2010 to around $12.5 million in 2012. The audit found that PEAK had handed out $7.5 million in tax incentives for in-state expansions in FY 2013, exceeding the legislative cap of $6 million.

The audit also noted that the Missouri Quality Jobs program could reduce the value of PEAK in enticing companies to Kansas. Secondly, the audit also points out that changes in the state’s individual income tax rates have reduced the benefits that participants get from PEAK tax incentives.

GE Opens Collaborative Facility in Cary, NC

GE Energy Management (NYSE: GE) opened a new office in the Town of Cary, North Carolina where experts from diverse GE businesses will come together under a single roof in a collaborative workspace environment.

Town of Cary, NC

Town of Cary, NC (photo –

The Cary office will serve as a field office for different GE businesses including Digital Energy, Oil & Gas, and Power & Water.

It will also be used as an NPI (new product introduction) design center for GE’s Intelligent Platforms business.

Apart from co-locating GE’s engineering, product management and other critical functions under the same roof, the Cary office has also been designated as the global headquarters for GE’s Power Equipment and Power Component divisions.

Stuart Thompson, general manager of Power Equipment, GE’s Industrial Solutions business, said the office brings together employees from three different GE Energy Management businesses (Digital Energy, Intelligent Platforms, and Industrial Solutions) under one roof, and will enable them to work together on projects across a spectrum of industries.

The new office is located just a few miles from GE’s Mebane manufacturing facility, and will streamline the company’s product development and production processes for the electrical distribution products that are made at this plant.

The Mebane plant produces everything from electrical vehicle charging stations to power panels, lighting panels, motor control equipment and switchgear.

GE invested $1.7 million for this project, which is also aimed at strengthening their regional presence in North Carolina.

Norm Sowards, general manager of Power Components, GE’s Industrial Solutions business, said that GE’s investment in a team of experienced and highly trained personnel including product managers and engineers for the Cary branch has greatly strengthened the company’s presence in the North Carolina region.

Sowards added that apart from solidifying their leadership of the region, the Cary office will also help GE tap into the state’s vast talent pool of college students and graduates in future as the company looks to add qualified personnel.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said it was always exciting to see existing businesses reinvest and expand in the state. He said that GE recognizes North Carolina’s great quality of life and educated workforce, and the new office strengthens GE’s presence in the Raleigh-Durham region and in the entire state.

Unequal Technologies Opens New PA HQ, Insources Manufacturing

Unequal Technologies, a company which develops and makes protection gear for military and sports applications, announced an expansion of its operations in Pennsylvania.

Unequal Technologies opening with CEO Rob Vito and NFL MVP Kurt Warner

Unequal Technologies opening with CEO Rob Vito and NFL MVP Kurt Warner (photo – Unequal Technologies)

The company has relocated its headquarters in Pennsylvania from Chester County to a new facility in Glen Mills, about 20 miles from Philadelphia.

They are also bringing back manufacturing operations currently based in Mexico to Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said they were excited that Unequal has chosen to stay within the commonwealth. He said the company was not only expanding its operations, but also bringing outsourced jobs back to the Keystone State.

The expansion project will create 104 new high-paying jobs and retain 24 existing jobs.

They anticipate hiring another 200 employees over the next three years as the company consolidates all its operations from product development to inventory, shipping, sales and marketing at the new headquarters.

Unequal Technologies will invest $6.3 million for equipment, infrastructure upgrades and employee training.

The company was launched as a startup in Pennsylvania in 2008, and develops, produces and sells proprietary technology applications that help prevent injury and pain. The technology was initially developed for the military, and soon adopted for other applications such as law enforcement and sports.

Unequal Technologies now has patents for military and athletic gear that helps prevent reduce blunt- force trauma generated by sports and military impacts.

During the grand opening of the new headquarters, Unequal also announced that NFL and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, who was present for the ribbon cutting, as their new company spokesperson. Last month, the NFL gave their approval for the use of Unequal thigh pads.

Unequal CEO Rob Vito said that Pennsylvania would always be the company’s home. The project was coordinated by economic development professionals from the Governor’s Action Team (GAT).

In order to secure the project, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has offered Unequal an attractive package of incentives that includes:-

– $260,000 as a Pennsylvania First Program grant;

– $104,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits;

– $41,400 Guaranteed Free Training grant; and

– 10-year $400,000 loan from the Machine and Equipment Loan Fund.

Roding Technology To Establish North American HQ in Greenville, SC

Roding Technology North America LLC announced that it will establish its North American headquarters and R&D operations at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville County, South Carolina.


CU-ICAR (photo –

Roding Technology North America LLC is a subsidiary of Roding, Germany-based Roding Automobile GmbH.

The company, which has around 300 employees in Germany, makes lightweight carbon fiber applications for the automotive industry. They also produce the Roding R1 super sports car with the same lightweight carbon fiber chassis and a powerful BMW six-cylinder turbo engine.

The new operations established at CU-ICAR allows the company to work more closely with BMW, in addition to existing automotive clients such as Thyssen Krupp and Siemens, and other automotive racing organizations.

North America CEO for Roding Technology Richard Smith, who is a former Clemson football star, pushed for the company’s operations to be located in South Carolina, and specifically in Greenville.

Smith said the strategic expansion would help them meet growing demand for the company’s manufacturing capabilities and carbon fiber technologies that are being sought out by automobile, marine industry and aerospace companies.

The investment to be made for setting up the company’s operations at CU-ICAR was not disclosed, and the project is expected to create five new jobs.

However, Greenville and South Carolina will have a leg up on the competition when the company decides to expand further in North America.  The establishment of their North American headquarters is the first step of an expansion plan that may ultimately lead to a manufacturing facility in the Southeast.

Dr. Bob Taylor, chairman of Greenville County Council and a board member of the Greenville Area Development Corp., said they were pleased at Roding Technology’s decision to choose Greenville for their expansion, and added that the Roding operations at CU-ICAR will expand the region’s critical mass as an automotive technology destination.

Suzanne Dickerson, international business development director for CU-ICAR, said CU-ICAR was an economic development hub and a research campus. Dickerson added that Roding Technology’s choice of their campus for the company’s U.S. operations further enhances CU-ICAR’s reputation while providing an ideal platform for the growing company.

Siemens Canada To Supply Turbines for Grand Renewable Wind Project

Siemens Canada announced that it has received an order for 67 wind turbines for the Grand Renewable Wind Project in the County of Haldimand in southern Ontario.

Siemens wind turbines

Siemens wind turbines (photo –

The Grand Renewable Wind Project is part of the Grand Renewable Energy Park, a joint venture between Samsung Renewable Energy, Inc. and Pattern Energy Group LP to produce 100 MW of solar power and 150 MW of wind power.

The 161-foot blades for the 67 SWT-2.3-101 turbines that Siemens has to deliver and commission will be manufactured at a Siemens facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario.

This facility has 275 employees and is already producing at near full capacity. As part of a commitment to Ontario’s green energy economy, Siemens will source steel and towers for the turbines from Essar in Sault Ste. Marie and from CS Wind in Windsor.

Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli said this project was part of their commitment towards building a modern, reliable and clean electricity system while supporting good renewable energy sector jobs.

Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development, said they were proud to be using turbines that were made in Ontario by Siemens. He said this was one of four wind projects they are building with locally-made turbines. He said these projects were bringing many benefits to the Province, including tax revenue, new jobs, clean power and economic stimulus.

Ki-Jung Kim, executive vice president for Samsung C&T, said the company believes that renewable energy was an important part of protecting the air we breathe and eliminating dependence on dirty coal production. He added they were pleased with investments made so far that are helping create more than 9,000 jobs across Ontario in communities that were hit hard by the recession.

This project comes under the Green Energy Investment Agreement (GEIA) between the Government of Ontario and Samsung C&T.

As per the agreement, Samsung and its partners have committed to investing $5 billion CAD for developing 1,369 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in Ontario by 2016.

If successfully implemented, GEIA will create the world’s largest wind and solar power cluster.¬†Projects undertaken under GEIA are already adding enough renewable energy capacity each year to power 260,000 homes.

Samsung’s partnerships under this agreement with Siemens, CS Wind, SMA and Canadian Solar are expected to create 900 new jobs at these providers’ facilities, and the projects undertaken are expected to create 9,000 high-skilled jobs overall in Ontario.

LM Wind Power Announces Job Creation in ND, AR

Denmark-based wind turbine blade manufacturer LM Wind Power announced that it would be creating hundreds of new jobs at the company’s existing U.S. facilities in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Little Rock, Arkansas.

LM Wind Power turbine blades

LM Wind Power turbine blades offer protection from lighting strikes (photo –

Due to increased volumes in orders placed by their key customers in the U.S. market, the company has doubled its U.S. staff from 350 in April 2013 to 700 in August.

Now they plan to hire more employees, and will employ a total of around 1,200 employees in the U.S. by 2014.

By the end of this year, the Grand Forks facility in North Dakota will have around 570 employees, while the Little Rock facility will have more than 400 employees.

LM Wind Power additionally plans to create another 250 U.S. jobs in 2014. After that, the two U.S. plants will be among the biggest of the company’s 14 blade manufacturing facilities across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

LM Wind Power credits the rising demand and their hiring spree to the extension by Congress of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Bill Burga Jr., head of US Operations for LM Wind Power, said they were pleased to see the market picking up again after a period of low activity caused by uncertainty surrounding the PTC.

Burga said that with the political framework in place, their clients were winning more business once again, and LM Wind Power was ready to serve their demands, adding hundreds of new jobs in the process.

The PTC, set to expire on Dec 31, 2012, was extended for one year with a new deadline of Dec 31, 2013. As per the amended law, eligible projects must be underway by this deadline to qualify for the tax break.

If the PTC is not re-extended by Congress in the next two months, the industry will once again face a boom and bust cycle as energy producers rush to get their projects started before the end of the year, followed by a lean period next year.

LM Wind Power has an active presence in 11 countries. Apart from their manufacturing facilities in Grand Forks and Little Rock, the company also has U.S. service hubs in Texas and Illinois.

Starting from 1978, LM Wind Power has produced around 160,000 blades. This adds up to about 63 GW installed wind power capacity that reduces 103 million tons of Co2 emissions each year.

Colgate-Palmolive Selects Greenwood, SC for $196M Manufacturing Facility

Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE: CL) announced that it would establish a manufacturing facility to make liquid soap and deodorant in Greenwood County, South Carolina.

Guardian Building in Hodges, SC

Guardian Building in Hodges, SC (photo –

The $196 million project in Hodges, SC involves retrofitting and equipping a vacant 525,000-square-foot building that was previously occupied by Guardian Building Products.

Colgate-Palmolive will create 300 new jobs at the facility, with hiring to be conducted in partnership with ReadySC.

This is Colgate-Palmolive’s first manufacturing plant in South Carolina, and it is the largest ever first-phase investment in Greenwood County.

The economic development project was known as Project Sun in county documents to keep the company’s name a secret during the site selection process.

Last month, Colgate-Palmolive freed the county from their confidentiality agreement, and its name was made public as the company looking to set up a $200 million facility with 300 new jobs. Greenwood County has approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) arrangement for the project.

Mark Allison, chairman of the Greenwood County Council, said the announcement was an exciting win for the county, and a testament to the low cost of doing business, skilled workforce, and the pro-business climate.

One of the factors that helped tilt the scales in favor of Greenwood was the availability of the Guardian Building, which is ideal for Colgate-Palmolive and will reduce the time and costs required for the project.

Dan Martins, chairman of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, said the announcement showed how critical qualified sites and existing buildings are for a community.

Martins said that without an existing building suitable for the project, Colgate-Palmolive would not have been able to be operational within the time needed to start production.

Mike Corbo, vice president, Global Supply Chain, Colgate-Palmolive, said they were pleased with the opportunity for locating their new operations in South Carolina.

Corbo also cited the existing building as one of the main factors, noting that it was perfect for their needs. He also mentioned the talented workforce and the excellent market access the location offered.

Corbo thanked Greenwood County, the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development, and the state Department of Commerce.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a Governor’s Closing Fund grant for Colgate-Palmolive, along with job development credits.

South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said the new Colgate-Palmolive jobs will aid Greenwood County’s communities remain sustainable for years to come.

Redman, Walmart Announce Toy Manufacturing Plant in Rogers, AR

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Redman & Associates and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced that Redman is establishing a toy manufacturing and distribution facility in Rogers, AR.

Redman & Associates

Redman & Associates (photo –

Redman will make 6V battery-powered ride on toys at this facility exclusively for Walmart.

The $6.5 million project will create 74 new jobs with average hourly wages of $18.

Mel Redman, founder and CEO of Redman & Associates, said they were extremely proud at being able to manufacture in Arkansas, and were looking forward to creating good-paying jobs.

The facility will be located in an existing 275,000-square-foot building, with production expected to begin early next year.

The ride on toys made will feature Disney and Marvel characters. Redman is licensed by Marvel to produce toys bearing Marvel characters, and produces Disney toys for Walmart through a licensing arrangement that Walmart has with Disney.

Redman’s battery powered ride on toy cars and Monster TRAX ride-on that can be driven by children are currently made in China. After Walmart announced that it would increase its purchase of U.S. made goods by $50 billion over the next ten years, Redman had been in talks with the state and Walmart to bring their manufacturing back to the U.S.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said that Americans want to buy goods that are made in America, and more Americans would be able to do so because of Redman’s decision to bring these jobs to the U.S. and Walmart’s commitment towards restoring U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The project and the arrangement with Walmart was put on the fast track as a result of Walmart’s U.S. manufacturing summit that was held on August 22, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.

Bill Simon, president and CEO for Walmart U.S., said this announcement was an example of what can happen when industry leaders, the government and companies work together for making production possible again in the U.S.

Simon said the agreement was a direct result of conversations that were held at the U.S. manufacturing summit. He said it reinforces their belief that American manufacturing can be revitalized and the middle class rebuilt with good-paying jobs that allow employees to become a part of the American dream once again.

California Governor Signs Bill Expanding iHub Innovation Network

On Oct 4, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to codify and expand the state’s iHub innovation network that creates economic opportunities for startups.

California Innovation Hub - iHub

California Innovation Hub – iHub (photo –

AB 250 was introduced by Assemblymember Chris Holden from Pasadena.

It was approved by the State Assembly and Senate in late August, and sent to the Governor for his signature on Sept 9, 2013.

AB 250 officially creates the California Innovation Hub (iHub) Program housed under the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz).

The bill also creates an iHub Accelerator Fund to allow private sector funding for the program.

California already has a network of 12 iHubs that cover economic sectors ranging from agriculture to life science, medical technology and bio-mass.

These iHubs operate under a cooperative agreement between Go-Biz and partners in the geographic region in question, including local governments, economic development authorities, financial institutions, incubators, angel and VC investors, public universities, community colleges and research institutions.

Assemblymember Holden explained that they want to put California into a position to incubate and cultivate young companies developing new technologies for promoting conservation and other public policy goals.

Holden said that establishing the iHub Accelerator Fund encourages innovation by allowing California to compete for grant funding from the private sector, foundations, and from the federal government.

In 2013 alone, California’s iHubs have received $1.3 million in federal funding. This includes a $1 million grant to create an AgTech Innovation Center in the Sacramento area to help ranchers and farmers grow their business.

The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership in Palm Springs, CA got $200,000 for developing a strategy to enhance the region’s capacity for attracting manufacturing investments and increasing export sales.

China Lake Technologies got $100,000 for developing a strategy for creating jobs in the Kern County region’s bio-products sector.

GO-Biz Director Kish Rajan and other state officials will be in Riverside on Oct 8, 2013 for the “Innovation Hub Announcement and Expo.”

Rajan said in a statement that California was already home to the largest state sponsored innovation hub network in the U.S., and the announcement being made will bring in new partners and resources to the initiative and further California’s status as a global leader in innovation.

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