Posts by: Economic Development

Mitsui Kinzoku To Manufacture Emissions-Control Catalysts in Frankfort, KY

Mitsui Kinzoku Catalysts America Inc., will establish a new facility in Frankfort, Kentucky to manufacture and sell automobile catalysts in the United States.

Mitsui Kinzoku

Mitsui Kinzoku (photo –

The project requires Mitsui to invest $19.5 million, and will create 50 new and full-time jobs.

Mitsui Kinzoku will be manufacturing and selling catalytic converters for both motorcycles and automobiles.

Catalytic converters are used to control harmful exhaust emissions in motor vehicles by breaking the emissions down into harmless substances.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the State welcomed Mitsui Kinzoku and embraces their dedication to responsibility and innovation. He added that this was a company that makes it a policy to conserve energy and preserve the environment while developing next-generation products.

Mitsui Kinzoku Catalysts America was established late last month as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan-based Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd.

Until now, Mitsui Kinzoku had focused its expansion efforts on developing economies, but stable automobile production output in North America and growing demand for its emissions control technology led the company to take the decision to establish a local production and sales unit.

One of Kentucky’s two overseas economic development offices is in Tokyo, the other one being in Hamburg, Germany. The work done by the Tokyo office to cultivate relationships with new and existing businesses has led to more than 150 Japanese-owned companies establishing operations in Kentucky. Together, these companies have more than 37,000 employees.

Mitsui Kinzoku joins Kentucky’s thriving automobile industry, which includes more than 450 motor vehicle-related facilities that together employ more than 80,000 workers.

In order to secure the project, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) approved Mitsui Kinzoku for $500,000 in incentives under the Kentucky Business Investment program. This is a performance-based incentive which allows the company to retain a part of its investment through wage assessments and corporate income tax credits.

Frankfort Mayor William May said that Mitsui Kinzoku’s decision to select Frankfort for its operations was a welcome addition to the area. He said it proves that Frankfort is capable of providing the skilled workforce new companies seek for their operations.

Mitsui Kinzoku is leasing an existing building for its facility in Frankfort, and expects to be operational by July 2015.

Unipharma Relocates from Venezuela to Tamarac, FL

Caracas, Venezuela-based multinational pharmaceutical company Unipharma announced that it will relocate its operations to Tamarac, Florida as a new U.S. company registered under the name of Unipharma, LLC.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance

Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (photo –

The relocation project requires the company to invest $50 million by 2015 to establish operations in its new headquarters in a 135,000-square-foot facility.

The company purchased the property for $10 million, and is spending another $12 million on construction and renovations.

Manufacturing equipment will cost them $23 million, and R&D expenses will add up to $4 million by 2015. Another $1 million is being spent on office furnishings and computers.

The project will create 100 new jobs with average annual wages of $49,555, which is 115 percent of the prevailing annual average wage in Broward County.

The City of Tamarac and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance worked with the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development, Enterprise Florida and Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to secure the project, identified until now in official documents under the codename of “Project Monodose.”

Apart from the Greater Fort Lauderdale location, the company also looked at sites in Madrid, Spain; Bogota, Colombia; and Atlanta, Georgia. Florida faced serious competition from Georgia, which offered Unipharma a more strategic location, lower business costs and less EPA regulations to worry about.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) also offered Unipharma participation in the new Life Science Technology Park (formerly Fort McPherson). Unipharma was also offered free hours and collaboration at Georgia Tech to help the company develop new drugs.

However, Florida’s life sciences cluster proved more appealing, along with the $500,000 in Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refunds offered as incentives. The City of Tamarac and Broward County will each chip in with $50,000 of the QTI tax refunds, with the State of Florida picking up the rest of the tab.

Unipharma CEO Reinaldo Santa Marta said they were happy to begin another chapter in the company’s history with the new manufacturing site in Broward County. He said the facility would not only provide jobs for the local community, but also support the growing life sciences industry in Florida.

Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco said that the City was a perfect match for Unipharma with the infrastructure and facilities, skilled workforce and quality of life critical for meeting the company’s goal of becoming an industry leader.

Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said they were pleased that Unipharma is locating its international headquarters in Tamarac, and added that the company would be an important part of the region’s growing and strong life sciences cluster.

Video Game Distributor Selects Indianapolis for Warehouse Facility

Irvine, California-based Solutions 2 GO, LLC, a value-added distributor for video game products, announced that it has chosen Indianapolis, Indiana for a new warehousing and distribution center facility.

Solutions 2 GO office

Solutions 2 GO office (photo –

The company will invest $3.3 million for leasing the 196,000 square-foot property and purchasing equipment.

The project will create 40 new jobs by 2016. Solutions 2 GO already has more than 100 employees, and has started hiring to fill position at the new facility.

The company is deploying warehouse management software at the Indianapolis distribution center that will enable it to remotely monitor and direct operations from its Orange County headquarters in California.

Keith Richards, chief financial officer of Solutions 2 GO, said they chose Indiana for the distribution center because of the first-rate transportation network.

Solutions 2 GO offers unique packaging and special promotions for video gaming industry giants such as Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, Take 2 Interactive, Sega and Activision Blizzard, and then distributes the products to customers such as Target, Walmart and Kmart.

Richards said they can hit the road or the skies in record time, leading to a higher quality of service for customers.

The Solutions 2 GO distribution center is within a day’s drive from 20 large metropolitan markets. Indiana is linked to the rest of the country through 11,000 miles across eight interstates, in addition to 4,000 miles of active railway tracks, four international airports and three ports.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Solutions 2 GO is another great company that has capitalized on Indy’s proven leadership in the logistics and distribution industry.

Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce, said that Indiana, as the Crossroads of America, is a state that works for the logistics sector. He said that distributors searching for a centralized location can take advantage of the state’s transportation network and gain access to more than 80 percent of the country’s population within a day’s drive.

In order to secure the project, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Solutions 2 GO, LLC tax credits worth up to $200,000, and another $17,000 in training grants linked to the company’s job creation commitments. The tax credits are also performance-based.

The City of Indianapolis is providing additional support for the project at the request of Develop Indy, which is the Indy Chamber’s business unit.

Michigan Plans Strategy For Building UAS Cluster

The FAA has narrowed down the list of potential test sites for integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with the National Airspace System (NAS) down to 25 locations. By the end of the year, they will choose six of these 25 sites as pilot test sites.

Michigan's proposed UAS test site

Michigan’s proposed UAS test site (photo –

The proposals for each of these sites have been submitted by large public-private consortiums representing one or more states. One of these 25 sites that made the first cut is the Michigan Advanced Aerial System Consortium (MIAASC).

Most of the consortiums are focused on activities required to lobby the FAA and develop plans to provide the infrastructure required in case they are selected by the FAA as one of the six test sites.

The MIAASC Test Center, on the other hand, is a plan for a full-service testing facility offering a turnkey solution for companies involved in UAS development and operation.

Getting designation as one of the FAA test sites is only one of several objectives MIAASC is working on. Their main objective is to develop an integrated UAS cluster with a strong business model.

They aim to establish a supply chain network and develop unique platforms and applications for the UAS industry. MIAASC is also promoting R&D partnerships with educational institutions, in order to develop infrastructure and provide a talent pool across the test-site locations in Michigan.

Speaking of which, Michigan’s proposal is centered around Alpena County Regional Airport and the Combat Readiness Training Command, one of only four such CRTCs in the United States.

Alpena also has Grayling Army Airfield, and is one of the few test site proposals offering direct access to large areas of fresh water. Around 30 percent of the total of more than 20,000 square miles of airspace that MIAASC is offering for UAS testing is over fresh water.

MIAASC is led by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), along with other government and military partners including Alpena County, CRTC, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan National Guard.

MIAASC associate partners from academia include the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Kettering University, Northwestern Michigan College, and Alpena Community College, among others.

Industry organizations that are a part of the consortium include the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association, AUVSI Great Lakes Chapter, Aetos Group and the Unmanned Aerial System Center of Excellence (AUSCE).

MIAASC was formally launched earlier this month in Alpena at an event that attracted more than 100 industry suppliers, economic development agencies and other interested stakeholders.

MIAASC has also scheduled a Michigan UAS Conference in October to showcase future technology, commercial and civil UAS applications in fields such as energy, law enforcement and agriculture, and UAS business opportunities in Michigan.

The event agenda also includes panels to discuss the impending UAS integration into the NAS, how the FAA plans to meet its 2015 deadline and progress on the development of regulations.

Association of University Research Parks International Conference

The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) International Conference is scheduled to be held Sept 24-27, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

AURP Conference - Inventing the Future

Photo –

The theme for this year’s AURP Conference is “Inventing the Future,” and it will be hosted by the University City Science Center, which is commemorating its 50th anniversary.

The event will educate attendees on how to drive economic growth and job creation in their community, and empower attending teams with new ideas, trends and best practices to attract companies, grow university research parks and improve communities.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge will be one of the plenary session speakers. Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been invited.

Robert D. Atkinson, author of “Innovation Economics” and president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, will be speaking on “Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage.”

LEED APs Cassie Branum and Jeff Williams of architecture and design firm Perkins+Will will speak about the “Evolution of Research Communities: Planning for the Future.” They will present case studies to examine research community models and highlight factors that contribute to success.

Also on the list of speakers are leaders of research parks from all over the U.S. and the world, including Magnus Lundin, CEO of Swedish Incubators & Science Parks (SISP); Mason Ailstock, vice president for Business Development at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park; and Denis Gauvreau, commercial manager for Research Park & Industry Collaboration-Economic Development at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

One of the highlights of the agenda for the event is the full-day pre-conference “Research Parks 101” workshop. This workshop, designed for those new to research parks, will enable attendees to learn from university research park experts as they share success stories and the lessons they learnt along the way.

AURP CEO Eileen Walker said that if you are planning or redeveloping a research park, you should consider attending the Research Parks 101 workshop. She said it would be an in-depth experience designed to cover the basics and allow attendees to learn from highly successful research park directors.

Other pre-conference events include a leadership roundtable on innovation financing, and a learning lab on URP2B (university research park to business) that focuses on branding and setting up the sale.

What: Association of University Research Parks (AURP) International Conference

When: Sept 24-27, 2013

Where: Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Feldmeier Equipment Building New Facility in Little Falls, NY

Stainless steel storage tank manufacturer Feldmeier Equipment, Inc. broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in Little falls, New York.

Feldmeier Equipment

Feldmeier Equipment (photo –

The 50,000-square-foot facility in Herkimer County’s Riverside Industrial Park will require an investment of $8 million.

This project, along with an equipment and machinery upgrade at the company’s existing facilities in Syracuse and Little Falls, will result in the creation of up to 80 new jobs.

Since the company chose Little Falls for the expansion, the project has additionally resulted in the retention of 300 existing jobs in the State. The company’s 190 jobs in Little Falls were at risk of being relocated to one of the other competing sites.

Feldmeier has five existing facilities in New York, Alabama, Nevada and Iowa. The company was considering sites in Nevada and Iowa, in addition to the Herkimer County location, for the expansion.

Robert H. Feldmeier, Jr., president of Feldmeier Equipment, Inc., said they were excited about staying and expanding in Little Falls, and appreciated the hard work of local and state officials to keep the company from relocating. He said they had a long history as a family-run business in Upstate New York, and were committed to keeping it that way.

Empire State Development helped secure the project with state incentives including a $200,000 capital grant and Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits worth $550,000.

The company is also receiving local incentives from the Herkimer County IDA in the form of sales and use tax exemptions for construction and equipment purchase, a mortgage recording tax exemption, and property tax abatements. A 10-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement that allows for an abatement of two-thirds of the new project’s taxes during the first five years and one-third of the taxes during years six through ten.

Mark Feane, executive director of the Herkimer County IDA, said the project was good news for the Mohawk Valley, and thanked ESD and the State for helping bring the project to fruition. He said they were fortunate that the Feldmeier family decided to expand in Little Falls, since other states were also in consideration.

Little Falls Mayor Robert J. Peters, Sr. said the project would attract more economic development and businesses to the industrial park.

NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that the new facility and added investments by Feldmeier are not only supporting the creation and retention of almost 400 jobs, but are also furthering the company’s commitment to the State and industries such as yogurt producers and breweries.

Feldmeier managed to retain its employees and grow in the last five years, aided by orders for giant steel tanks placed by Chobani, FAGE and others in New York’s fast-growing Greek Yogurt cluster.

Agenda Overview – 2013 NADO Annual Training Conference

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Annual Training Conference (ATC) is scheduled to be held August 24-27, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

NADO Annual Training Conference

NADO Annual Training Conference (photo –

More than 650 development professionals will attend the NADO ATC, looking to take advantage of the networking opportunities, share solutions for challenges and learn new approaches.

Participants will attend workshops, learning labs, presentations by leading experts, and a full slate of breakout sessions.

The agenda for Saturday, Aug 24 includes a learning lab on embracing technology as a management tool, and another one on what the Health Care Reform Act means for RDOs.

Another learning lab on Saturday provides a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy primer, exploring the latest thinking in economic development and how it guides development of a CEDS.

A fourth learning lab on how a high-impact CEDS can be developed using publicly available and free data tools will be conducted by NADO Economic Development Director Brian Kelsey and Lia Bolden, data dissemination specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau.

The agenda for Sunday includes a session on how to prepare for an audit, and a workshop on the roles and responsibilities of policy officials serving on regional council boards or their Economic Development District. Another learning lab will highlight tools and suggestions to help policy officials communicate with different audiences, including those challenging the services and programs of the EDD.

There will be a session on how EDDs can incorporate disaster resiliency plans into their CEDS. Another one looks at the increasing trend of economic development as a statewide collaborative effort among regional councils and EDDs. Around 15 states are already engaged in planning or executing plans for a statewide CEDS initiative, many of which are funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The plenary session on Monday, Aug 26 will focus on “Regional Resilience in Action,” followed by four concurrent sessions, including one on engaging staff in changing times and another one on federal-local partnerships for implementing place-based economic development. The other two focus on building resilient communities and regional council accountability.

The post-lunch agenda includes more concurrent sessions on topics such as building partnerships with academia, federal disaster recovery and resilience resources, transit programs to make jobs accessible, building enduring regional partnerships, and broadening economic development to include non-traditional sectors such as arts and culture, artisanal foods and beverages, green products, creative enterprises, etc.

The agenda for Tuesday, August 27 includes a plenary session on folding new strategies into economic development, followed by concurrent sessions on international leadership, rural wealth creation, and cloud-based project management and information exchange.

Other sessions scheduled for Tuesday include presentations by two regions that are redeveloping better and stronger after disasters, a session on regional council strategies for handling boom and bust economies, case studies in downtown redevelopment, and innovative approaches for strengthening small businesses.

What: NADO Annual Training Conference

When: Aug 24-27, 2013

Where: Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, California

Falls Stamping & Welding Co. To Open New Facility in Pulaski, VA

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Falls Stamping & Welding Co. announced plans to set up a new operation in the Town of Pulaski, Virginia.

Town of Pulaski, VA

Town of Pulaski, VA (photo –

Falls is a metal stamping supplier for trucking and automotive clients and for the military, and is expanding because the company landed a major new contract to supply metal sub-assemblies for the Volvo plant in Dublin, OH.

Falls Stamping & Welding Co. is investing $5.7 million to renovate and equip the facility, and is expected to create 112 new jobs.

The project will be housed in the former Renfro textile plant that made socks until it was shuttered in 2003 and laid off 370 workers. The brick building has been vacant since then.

Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell said the transformation of a former textile plant into a modern stamping and welding facility furthers their strategy of redevelopment.

Aside from the Pulaski site in Virginia and the company’s headquarters in Ohio, locations in North Carolina and Tennessee were also in consideration for the project.

Lane Witte, vice president of Sales, Falls Stamping & Welding Company, said the company’s initial intent was to establish the facility somewhere in North Carolina in order to be closer to their customer base. He said they ultimately chose Pulaski for several reasons, including the fact that it is just a few miles from a major customer and provides easy access to the Interstate 81-77 corridor.

Witte added that the deciding factor was the quick response and support provided for the project from all levels of the government. He said the City, County and State quickly put together an attractive package and provided networking assistance, including introductions to potential suppliers and customers.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked to secure the project along with the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, Pulaski County and the Town of Pulaski. Virginia Gov. McDonnell has approved a $175,000 Governor’s Opportunity Fund grant for Falls Stamping & Welding Co.

The company is additionally eligible to receive incentives under the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, and will be provided funding and support for recruitment and workforce training from the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, said this was an exciting project with the potential to attract additional suppliers to the cluster in Pulaski County.

MAS Call Center Expansion in Syracuse Creates 80 Jobs

Medical Answering Services, LLC announced an expansion of its operations in Syracuse, New York.

Medical Answering Services

Medical Answering Services (photo –

MAS operates a Medicaid transportation call center in Syracuse, which is also the company’s headquarters.

The expansion will add 80 new customer service and management jobs. Half of the new employees required have already been hired, and the rest of the positions will be filled within a month.

The expansion brings the total number of employees at the MAS headquarters to 250. The company began operations in 2002, using a web-based system to help local governments identify fraudulent Medicaid claims.

In its first year, MAS managed to bring down Medicaid transportation costs by 11 percent per enrollee. Their work, such as getting patients bus passes as an alternative to private transportation, has resulted in savings worth millions of dollars for state and county governments through reductions in non-emergency transportation costs for Medicaid enrollees.

Onondaga County gave the company its first break, and MAS has stayed put in Syracuse even after it started getting multi-million dollar contracts from the state and dozens of counties.

This latest expansion was required because they need the additional staff to fulfill a new $3 million per year contract to provide service for 24 counties in Upstate New York.

Russ Maxwell, President of Medical Answering Services, LLC said they were proud to announce the jobs and continue their grown in Central New York. He thanked Gov. Cuomo, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, State Senator David J. Valesky and other state and local officials for making the expansion possible.

Governor Cuomo said this was a company that helped reduce an average $1 million per month in Medicaid expenses, and it has done so by creating jobs and training New Yorkers. He said combining cost savings with job growth was a great way to move New York’s economy forward.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney said the announcement was great news for the county. She said MAS could have chosen to expand anywhere, and the County appreciates that the company chose to bring the new jobs to Syracuse.

Senator Valesky, who chairs the New York Senate Economic Development and Small Business Committee, said that Central New York needed more of this kind of business model that improves services while reducing costs.

Arizona’s Bid for the Cherenkov Telescope Array Project

Arizona is gearing up to secure the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a huge multi-million dollar astronomy project being undertaken by a global consortium involving 1,000 members from 27 countries, most of which are European nations.

Cherenkov Telescope Array

Cherenkov Telescope Array (photo –

CTA will be the biggest gamma-ray observatory in the world, with two arrays of telescopes, one each in the southern and northern hemispheres, that will cover the entire sky and help scientists study the origin of cosmic rays and investigate black holes, dark matter and other issues involving astronomy and astrophysics.

The intense competition among countries seeking to host the arrays in both hemispheres has been narrowed down to a handful of sites.

Arizona and Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain are the only two locations still in contention for the northern hemisphere array after Mexico was eliminated. Sites in China and India had already been eliminated previously.

In the southern hemisphere, sites in Argentina, Chile and Namibia are still in contention.

Jeffrey C. Hall, director of the Lowell Observatory, is handling the project on behalf of Arizona. He has already been to a CTA site development meeting held in Germany last year, and reported that the CTA committee was “highly political” and inclined to favor Tenerife.

Hall said he was still optimistic considering the superlative quality of the two northern Arizona sites the state is offering. Hall also said he was seeking state support for the project, which may be provided by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Hall will be going to Europe again next month to meet with CTA representatives, and the CTA committee handling the site selection process is expected to submit a ranked review of competing sites by the end of the year.

Arizona was in danger of being eliminated from contention last year when the state legislature approved a bill (HB 2757) that legalized electronic billboards on state highways, with no buffer zones provided to protect observatories from the light pollution.

After protests from all the observatories and the rest of the astronomy and optics industries in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill and forced a new compromise bill that safeguards observatories with buffer zones, and places limits on the level of illumination. The billboards must also be turned off at 11 p.m.

The astronomy industry in Arizona supports more than 3,000 jobs, and the veto protected an economic investment of more than $1.2 billion. The CTA project, assuming Arizona gets it, would add another $130 million in investment, along with $10 million in annual operational spending and 30 high-paying full-time jobs in Flagstaff. Three other astronomy projects in the works may bring an additional $170 million in investment for Arizona.

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