Posts by: Economic Development

Iowa EDA Approves Incentives to Create, Retain 1105 Jobs

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board announced incentives for five companies to aid in their expansion and jobs creation plans.

Jobs for Iowa

Jobs for Iowa (photo –

The incentives awarded will help these companies create 928 new jobs and retain 177 existing jobs, along with $43 million in new capital investments on projects in Iowa.

By far the biggest project of the lot is the expansion project of Ames, IA-based software company WebFilings, which is creating 700 new jobs over the next five years and constructing a new 60,000-square-foot building in the Iowa State University Research Park to house the expanded workforce.

WebFilings will spend $15.5 million on the construction, which is part of the $73 million expansion plan. In return, the IEDA has approved $5 million in state incentives, including a $2.5 million interest-free loan and another $2.5 million as a forgivable loan.

The City of Ames has additionally approved local incentives in the form of a 10-year property tax abatement for the Webfilings project.

Another company undertaking an expansion is Lewis Machine & Tool Co., a GSA-approved federal contractor which is making a $3.6 million capital investment for an expansion of their facility in the Southwest Davenport Industrial Park. The project will create 163 new jobs. The company is getting $500,000 in incentives for making the investment, and for 55 incented jobs.

Ankeny, IA-based Lauridsen Group, Inc. and its various subsidiaries that manufacture protein products at more than 40 facilities is adding office space connected to its existing corporate office. LGI is getting $320,000 in incentives for investing $4.1 million and creating 40 new jobs.

Sheet metal fabrication maker TriState Quality Metals, which serves customers in eastern Iowa and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, is relocating and expanding in Dubuque. The company is getting tax benefits as an incentive for investing $3.7 million and creating 10 new jobs, although only job is incented.

Sioux City, IA-based Bomgaars, a family-owned company which operates a chain of stores providing supplies to customers in six states, is undertaking an expansion of its distribution center and corporate office.

The project is expected to create 15 new jobs and help retain 177 jobs, out of which 49 are incented. Bomgaars and the project’s developer Confluent Enterprises are getting incentives under Iowa’s Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit (TJWTC) and Enterprise Zone programs.

RIT Roundtable On Growing Video Game Development

On Oct 22, 2013, the New York Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship will hold a fact-finding session at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Growing computer and video game development in New York

Photo –

The aim of the roundtable is to “gather information for the development of policy on growing computer and video game development in New York.”

This is the second session on this topic being held by New York State Senator Martin Golden, who chairs the select committee. The first one was held on September 20 at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn.

The second session is being held Upstate at RIT because the university has well-known game design and development programs. Not to mention the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC), which works with students to commercialize ideas.

According to Golden, the goal of these sessions is to collect information that will enable policy-making to create jobs that provide employment for graduates with media and game development skills. RIT alone churns out around 100 graduates in this field every year, and most of them have to look elsewhere for jobs.

The roundtable is being held with the hope of gathering input from entrepreneurs, interactive entertainment leaders and legislators on attracting and supporting this industry in the state.

The morning session panels will be overseen by Golden, along with Bob Herz, director of the select committee; and by Professor Andrew Phelps, who is MAGIC Director and founder of RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media.

Panelists on the morning include, among others, Stephane Morichere-Matte, Microsoft Games; Robert H. Fritzinger, SUNY Fredonia Business Technology Incubator; and Kenny Johnson, Zephyr Games.

The afternoon session’s panelists include, among others, Scott Nicholson, School of Information Studies at Syracuse University; Rami Katz, Excell Partners; and Lee Sheldon, Games and Simulation Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Scott Nicholson said their hope for the event was that the resources Upstate New York offers will be considered in any plan aimed at attracting gaming companies to the state.

The roundtable is open to the public, and can also be seen live on the website.

Ithaca Gun Company Announces Manufacturing Facility in Horry County, SC

Upper Sandusky, Ohio-based gun manufacturer Ithaca Gun Company announced that it will establish a new manufacturing facility in the Myrtle Beach area in Horry County, South Carolina.

Ithaca Gun Company

Ithaca Gun Company (photo – MBRED)

Ithaca will invest $6.7 million on the project to build a 20,000-square-foot facility in the Cool Springs Business Park near Aynor, SC.

The site is adjacent to the new headquarters of PTR Industries, which recently relocated from Bristol, Connecticut to Horry County, bringing 145 new jobs along with it.

The Ithaca project will likewise create 120 high-skilled jobs, but that’s only one part of the deal.  David Dlubak, the company’s owner, is also the owner of Dlubak Glass.

Dlubak Glass is one of the largest glass and e-waste recycling companies in the U.S., with six facilities spread across Texas, Arizona Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The company by itself processes around 70 percent of the nation’s recyclable automotive glass.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed with Horry County, the 20,000-square-foot space in the Cool Springs Business Park will be divided into two parts. One will be used by Ithaca Gun Co., and the other half will be a glass and e-waste recycling facility for Dlubak Glass.

As per a statement put out by the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development (MBRED), site selection factors which helped Horry County land this project include the quality and quantity of the labor force, South Carolina’s pro-2nd Amendment culture, the Myrtle Beach area’s quality of life, and proximity to technical education institutions.

MBRED is supporting the project with a performance grant. Local incentives being offered by Horry County include the site in the Cool Springs Business Park at no cost, and a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for 20 years.

Mark Lazarus, chairman of the Horry County Council, said this was a great day for economic development in Horry County, and added that he was proud to be part of the team that helped in recruiting a great American company such as the Ithaca Gun Co. to the community.

Ithaca Gun Company COO Mike Farrell said they are delighted to be part of the Myrtle Beach area’s growing firearms manufacturing sector.

After PTR and Ithaca, Horry County and South Carolina now have a chance to land another gun manufacturer because New Britain, CT-based Stag Arms is also considering a relocation, and Horry County is among the main contenders.

3D-Imaging Company Photon-X Relocates HQ to Osceola County, FL

Huntsville, Alabama-based 3D-Imaging technology company Photon-X, Inc. announced a relocation of their corporate headquarters to Osceola County, Florida.

Photon-X relocation announcement in Kissimmee, FL

Photon-X relocation announcement in Kissimmee, FL (photo –

The announcement was made by Gov. Rick Scott and Photon-X CEO Blair Barbour. accompanied by other state and local officials.

The company will invest $900,000 for relocating to a county-owned building in the Osceola Heritage Park near Kissimmee.

Photon-X, which currently has 20 employees, expects to create 110 jobs in Osceola with average annual wages of around $62,000. This is more than double the county’s prevailing average annual wages.

Frank Attkisson, chairman of the Osceola County Commission, said they were thrilled not just by the number of jobs, but also by the type of jobs Photon-X is creating. He said these types of high-paying jobs help set the bar for future economic development in the county.

Photon-X has signed a five-year lease for the building, which was one of the main incentives offered by the county. The 6,300-square-foot building is being provided to the company was formerly occupied by Experience Kissimmee, the convention and visitors bureau for the area.

Photon-X will pay a nominal rent of $1 per year for the first three years, after which the annual rent will go up to more than $44,370. Including the waived rent and tax rebates, Photon-X has been approved for incentives totaling around $770,000.

Until the announcement was made in Kissimmee, the company was identified in county documents only as “Project Ideas.”

Photon-X CEO and founder Blair Barbour said that a while back, they had initiated a strategy for commercializing the company’s technology for deployment in multiple industries. He said that one part of that strategy was the launch of a comprehensive search for the most strategic location for the business.

The answer, said Barbour, was Central Florida. He noted that Metro Orlando EDC and Osceola County officials got together to identify the right location, and helped link the company to the region’s deep talent base.

Gov. Scott said the relocation was great news for Florida, and added that the state’s unmatched quality of life and pro-business climate make it the best place in the nation to raise a family, work and live.

Photon-X designs electro-optical systems, photonics, sensors, and does 3D image processing for commercial as well as military applications.

DigitalGlobe Selects Avaya Building in Westminster, CO for Relocation

Longmont, Colorado-based satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) is re-relocating its headquarters to a leased facility in Westminster, CO.

Avaya Building in Westminster, CO

Rendering of Avaya Building in Westminster, CO (photo –

In early September, DigitalGlobe had announced they had entered into a non-binding letter of intent for building a new 400,000-square-foot headquarters in Broomfield, CO capable of housing 1,300 employees.

The project required the company to invest around $75-80 million. However, in mid-September, DigitalGlobe received an unsolicited offer to lease space in a 482,000-square-foot building in Westminster from telecommunications company Avaya Inc.

The building is an iconic architectural landmark with a huge satellite dish-shaped glass atrium in front.

After doing due diligence and comparing the relative benefits of locating their headquarters to this building vs. building a new one in Broomfield, DigitalGlobe has now signed a 15-year lease for the Avaya building.

In a statement explaining why they chose to change their relocation decision in favor of Westminster, the company said it would be less disruptive to their operations and for employees.

The building already has a lot of the security and infrastructure features they need, and will not require as big an investment as they would have had to make in Broomfield.

Jeffrey R. Tarr, president and CEO of DigitalGlobe, said they regret the disappointment caused by their decision to the cities associated with their previous relocation announcement. He said they could not have anticipated this change, and were pleased with the benefits the Westminster facility is offering.

Before finalizing Broomfield, DigitalGlobe had conducted a comprehensive site selection process in which they looked at around 150 sites in Metro Denver, in addition to the possibility of expanding in Longmont itself.

They also considered relocating the headquarters to Herndon, Virginia, which was the headquarters of GeoEye Inc. – a rival satellite imagery company that merged with DigitalGlobe in Jan 2013.

The good news for DigitalGlobe and Colorado is that the relocation remains within the state. This means the state incentives offered by Colorado to assist DigitalGlobe with the move and subsequent job creation are still on the table.

Earlier this year, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $4.4 million in tax rebates for DigitalGlobe, tied to the company’s plans of creating 505 new jobs after the relocation.

In order to receive the incentives, DigitalGlobe must create at least 435 new jobs in Colorado. They already have more than 830 employees spread four sites in Colorado, and over 1,300 nationwide.

Broomfield had offered additional local incentives, and so had Westminster when it was one of the contenders for the original site selection process which went in favor of Broomfield.

Project Pop-Up Attracts Businesses to Delaware Downtowns

Alan B. Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), attended the grand openings this week of three businesses that were among those selected to receive rent-free retail space under Project Pop-Up 2013.

Project Pop-Up Delaware

Project Pop-Up Delaware (photo –

Project Pop-Up is joint effort by Downtown Delaware and DEDO to provide rent-free retail space in downtowns across Delaware to selected businesses for three months during the holiday season.

The aim of the program is to fill up vacant properties in downtowns during the holiday season, while encouraging entrepreneurs to transition into a long-term lease at the end of the three month period.

The program was first launched last year, and helped three businesses establish operations in vacant properties.

Two of the three – The First & Little baby boutique in Middletown, and Little Posies Photography in Milford, have signed long-term leases to continue their business in the same property beyond the free three-month period.

This year, Project Pop-Up is helping five businesses in four towns with free retail space for three months. The five businesses are – Computers Fixed Today in Dover; 302Fitness and Milton Wellness Center in Milton; Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga in Milford; and Royal Treatments in Smyrna.

All five have signed leases that will ensure the properties continue to be occupied starting next year, after the three month no-rent period from Oct-Dec 2013.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell said Project Pop-Up demonstrates why small businesses are big drivers of the Delaware economy. He said the program’s success underscores the fact that there are entrepreneurs who want a shot at starting and growing their business, and there are downtown communities that have a home for them.

DEDO Director Levin they were proud to offer Project Pop-Up as an incentive to these entrepreneurs, while noting that it was the business owners who took the leap, for which they should be applauded. He said it was great to see the infusion of fresh faces and ideas and new businesses into some of the most historic downtowns in Delaware.

Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware, said these towns are not just getting new businesses. They are getting devoted business owners who are in it for the long-haul.

Take the H.E.L.M Round Two Finalists

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released the names of the twenty finalists of this year’s Take the H.E.L.M. (Hire + Expand in Lower Manhattan) competition.

Take the H.E.L.M.

Take the H.E.L.M. (photo –

Take the H.E.L.M. was launched last year to encourage innovative companies and startups in the creative and technology sectors to set up offices or expand in Lower Manhattan.

The 20 finalists were picked from a group of more than 300 applicants. They will now compete to win one of the four grand prizes of $250,000 each, to be provided as rental assistance for moving into Lower Manhattan.

The twenty finalists, divided into four categories, are:-

Creative – Blueprint Health; HWKN (Hollwich Kushner)/Architizer; Observer Media, LLC; SHoP Architects; and WeWork Companies, Inc.

Technology – Enigma; Splash; SumAll Inc; and Uber NYC

Domestic (New to New York) – 4.0 Schools; Dinner Lab Inc.; Fabricating Partners, Inc.; Startup Institute; and Vidcaster Inc.

International – inspire-A-crowd; NEVERBLAND; Sisense; Talent Garden; and Zwift International Pty Ltd

Four out of these finalists (one from each category) will be picked as winners eligible for $250,000 in relocation assistance. Four more runners-up will additionally get $50,000 each, and the remaining 12 finalists are all guaranteed $10,000 each to help them set up operations in Lower Manhattan.

All 20 will be asked to attend two days of programming in Lower Manhattan, at the end of which they will make their pitch to the selection committee chaired by former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. The awards ceremony for the winners will be held on Nov 21, 2013.

Mr. Levitt said the competition was all about the future. He said it was about the future of Lower Manhattan and its ongoing transformation, and the technology, creative and international companies that will soon call it home.

Take the H.E.L.M. is sponsored by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. HUD. The program is administered by HR&A Advisors.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the competition has proven to be a catalyst for driving business to Lower Manhattan, and the second iteration will look to build upon its success.

Last year’s five winners (Grapeshot, Booker, Paperless Post, The Flatiron School, and STELLAService) have all signed leases taking up office space in Lower Manhattan, as have eight of the remaining 14 finalists.

Illinois Joins GE’s Get Skills to Work Coalition

Exactly one year after GE (NYSE:GE) and the Manufacturing Institute launched the Get Skills to Work (GSTW) Coalition to train military veterans for advanced manufacturing jobs, the State of Illinois announced that it is the first state in the nation to join the coalition.

Get Skills to Work

Get Skills to Work (photo –

As a statewide initiative under this coalition, Illinois will team up with participating community colleges and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association to train recently returned veterans and locate employers looking to hire them.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said the program would help the state’s returning service members pick up the skills they need for getting back into the workforce.

Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Transportation, said advanced manufacturing has an undeniably important role in the U.S. economy, and it was necessary to ensure that today’s workforce will be able to meet tomorrow’s demands so as to maintain the nation’s competitive edge.

Stokes said veterans embody characteristics that make for great employees. He said veterans have integrity, leadership experience and they are results-oriented. Stokes added that the statewide partnership with Illinois was a major milestone on the program’s first anniversary.

As a part of the statewide coalition’s efforts, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will work with industry partners and participating educational institutions to support veterans in their transition from the military to a career in advanced manufacturing.

Get Skills to Work was launched on Oct 15, 2012, to be managed by the Manufacturing Institute, and supported through grants and in-kind contributions by founding industry members GE, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The initial commitments were aimed at helping 15,000 veterans translate their military experience into corresponding opportunities in advanced manufacturing while picking up the technical skills required for their new career in the fast-growing sector.

At that time, the coalition said they were seeking additional partners to meet their goal of assisting 100,000 veterans by 2015. In May 2013, GSTW announced that 190 new manufacturers had signed up to assist their work and hire veterans.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is also now a part of the coalition, as is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation.

There are more than 1.9 million unemployed veterans nationwide, and the 600,000 open jobs in the manufacturing sector will have a key role in helping these veterans rejoin the workforce.

Chicago Launches Open Source Data Dictionary

As part of an effort to improve city services through data-driven decision making within government, the City of Chicago, Illinois has launched a “Data Dictionary” that provides access to all the data collected by different city departments.

Open government

Open government (photo –

The Data Dictionary portal, the first of its kind in the country, will have 177 databases included for now.

The databases being made available include, among others, the Chicago Budget System (CBS); Capital Project Management (CPM); and Community Development Grant Application (CDGA).

The portal also includes business functions such as Business and Economic Development; Health and Human Services; Infrastructure and Public Works; and Buildings, Housing and Property.

These business functions are categories that help users navigate to data dictionary entries. The public will be able to search for and find relevant data using simple queries.

The project is being handled by the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT), with work done for DOIT by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago research center, supported by a $300,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

DOIT Commissioner Brenna Berman said they are now able to provide another level of transparency for data collected by the city, and provide greater context for the data released on the city’s data portal.

Chicago’s data portal now has more than 400 datasets and has garnered 2.5 million views. One of the datasets is the employee database, which lists the name, position and salary of every single employee of the City of Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a transparent and open administration makes it easier for governments to be held accountable by residents, and also serves as a platform for innovative tools that improve the lives of residents.

Mayor Emanuel said that the vibrant tech and startup community in Chicago would leverage this wealth of open data for creating tools that improve the quality of services provided to residents and foster more public engagement of the City government.

DOIT and the City of Chicago have made the Data Dictionary project open source, which means it can be used by other cities, states, and public or private organizations to track metadata for their databases and create their own web-based data dictionary.

You can get the files required on Chicago’s GitHub.

Great Lakes Cheese to Invest $100M in Manchester, TN

Hiram, Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese announced plans to establish their first manufacturing facility in the Southeast in the Manchester Industrial Park in Manchester, Tennessee.

Great Lakes Cheese

Great Lakes Cheese (photo –

Great Lakes Cheese will invest $100 million to build the 330,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

The project will create 204 new and direct jobs in Coffee County over the next four years.

This will the ninth facility operated by Great Lakes Cheese, and its fourth super plant. Apart from its headquarters in Hiram and the proposed facility in Manchester, the company has seven other existing facilities including one in Utah, two in New York and four more in Wisconsin.

Craig Filkouski, vice president of Operations for Great Lakes Cheese, said that strategically placed manufacturing facilities were essential for serving customers’ evolving needs and for providing opportunities for future growth.

TN Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said the state’s ideal location, logistical advantages and first-class infrastructure lets companies such as Great Lakes Cheese be confident about the decision to open new facilities that will yield a high return on their investment.

Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman said the project will have a positive impact creating employment opportunities and retail growth for Coffee County and the City of Manchester.

Mayor Norman said the aldermen were in agreement with everything that was asked of the City, and thanked the Coffee County Industrial Board for the long hours of efforts and work done to recruit Great Lakes Cheese.

Bill Comer, chairman of the Coffee County Industrial Board, said the recruitment had been a cooperative effort between the Industrial Board, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and the Coffee County Commission, along with state support provided by the Tennessee ECD.

All these organizations working together were able to meet the company’s fast schedule for approvals and breaking ground on the project by the end of the year.

The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Coffee County Commission have both approved local matching funds for a state infrastructure grant for the project, which had previously been identified only as Project Wallace.

Comer added he was extremely excited that the Manchester Industrial Park had been selected as the site of the new plant by Great Lakes Cheese, and said the project would be a great first occupant for the park and would provide high quality jobs for residents in the area.

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