Posts by: Economic Development

DoD OEA Offers Funding for Dealing With Defense Spending Cuts

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is offering a federal funding opportunity (FFO) to assist communities impacted by cuts in DoD spending.


DoD OEA (photo –

The FFO, published in the latest Federal Register Notice, says applicants can seek funding from the DoD OEA for economic diversification and community planning assistance as a response to cancellations or reductions in DoD spending.

Applications will be evaluated by OEA in coordination with Commerce and other federal agencies invited by the OEA. Approved respondents will then be invited to complete a full e-grant application.

The grant will cover 90 percent of the cost of the project, with the applicant required to come up with the remaining 10 percent as a local match from non-federal funding sources.

Eligibility criteria for this FFO include a publicly announced DoD spending cutback which has resulted in a loss of at least:-

2,500 direct jobs within a metropolitan statistical area;

1,000 direct jobs in a labor market outside of an MSA; or

One percent of the total civilian jobs in the local labor market.

States, counties, municipalities and other sub-divisions of state and local government can apply, but only one governmental entity in each region will be awarded funding, so an application will likely require a significant level of cooperation between state and regional agencies.

The FFO notice also lists the activities this funding can be used for, including:-

Staffing and administrative costs of outreach to workers, businesses and community interests;

Mapping regional supply chains for defense-related industry clusters;

Collection and analysis of economic data for identifying regional advantages;

Preparation of diversification plans that will reduce dependency on defense spending;

Projects that facilitate workforce training and adjustment;

Plans for reusing and development of existing defense facilities;

The OEA, which was established in 1961, is DoD’s main field organization supporting local and state governments’ response to defense program changes. OEA is based in Arlington, Virginia and has a regional office in Sacramento, California.

OEA has assisted communities in all fifty states in developing strategies for adjusting to base closures, realignments, defense cutbacks and incompatibilities between local development and military operations.

Read the full DoD OEA FFO – Download (pdf)

NYCEDC Launches $90M Game-Changer Investment Competition

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has launched the Neighborhood Game-Changer Investment Competition, seeking proposals for projects that will catalyze long-term economic growth in five specific areas in the City that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

NYC Sandy Recovery

NYC Sandy Recovery (photo –

The selected respondents in each area will receive up to $18 million in Community Development Block Grants for their project.

This competition is one of the components of an overall $1.77 billion CDBG funding plan for economic recovery efforts in New York City that was approved under federal disaster relief.

The five “Impact Areas” in question are Southern Manhattan, the east and south shores of Staten Island, the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront, South Queens and Southern Brooklyn.

The floodwaters had a severe impact on the more than 18,000 businesses in these areas that together have more than 200,000 employees. Many incurred damage and were forced to close down temporarily, while others never reopened afterwards.

Some of these neighborhoods were already facing economic difficulties, and the glut in vacated properties and decrease in demand for services caused by people moving out could reverse all the revitalization in the past few years without immediate investment.

The NYCEDC’s Request for Proposals (RFP) therefore provides the following goals for proposed projects on private property in the Impact Areas:-

- Attract new private investments for capital-intensive projects benefiting Impact Areas;

- Generate economic activity by improving accessibility, increasing demand for goods and services, and expanding the customer base for local businesses;

- Support small business and create jobs for low income residents; and

- Complement existing community goals and City programs that anchor industry clusters.

Respondents will be selected based on the project’s economic impact and job creation potential, the project’s feasibility, and the implementing team’s qualifications.

NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky said this competition will be playing a critical role as the City continues to assist New York City neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

See the full Game-Changer Competition RFP – Download (pdf – registration required).

Illinois Launches Corporate-Startup Connection Initiatives

The State of Illinois has launched a pilot program to connect the state’s innovative startups with major corporations, and the organizers of the Chicago Innovation Awards stepped up with a similar initiative for the Chicago area.

The Innovators Connection Chicago

The Innovators Connection Chicago (photo –

The Illinois Corporate/Start-Up Challenge will be managed by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC), with assistance from the Illinois Innovation Council.

The pilot begins with four major corporations (Molex, Allstate, Motorola Mobility and Walgreens) that have agreed to be a part of the program.

Each of these four companies is designating a senior executive as a “Chief Start-up Officer” who will be the liaison between the company and the start-up and tech community. The corporations will work with select startups from Illinois for four to six months, providing them with business and partnership opportunities, in addition to mentoring.

ISTC President and CEO Mark Harris said they were thrilled to be working with these corporate leaders in helping them engage more systematically with emerging enterprises and local entrepreneurs.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said that the state had one of the largest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies in the nation, and better connecting corporate leaders to entrepreneurs would foster more innovation and help drive economic growth.

Molex also announced another similar initiative today in partnership with the Chicago Innovation Awards. This one, called the “Innovators Connection,” aims to build bridges and linkages between innovative small businesses and the biggest corporations in the Chicago area.

Apart from Molex, the inaugural list of corporate participants in this initiative includes Dell, UPS and Medline, among others.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the spirit of innovation is thriving in Chicago, and both small and big businesses can grow faster through interaction and cooperation. He said the Innovators Connection would foster this interaction and help create economic opportunity and jobs for Chicago and its residents.

Luke Tanen, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Awards and a part of the new Innovators Connection team, said their concept was straightforward.

Tanen said the large companies would express their desired needs in terms of products and services, technologies, categories and industries that would provide them with value. Innovators Connection would then match them up with relevant Chicago-area startups.

Time Warner Cable Selects Buffalo, NY for East Coast Call Center

Time Warner Cable has selected Buffalo, New York as the location for a new state-of-the-art multi-million dollar call center on the East Coast.

Buffalo Niagara relocation guide

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The project will create 150 new jobs over the next five years, with the new hires joining the company’s existing 150 employees in Buffalo who will be moving into a 47,000-square-foot space in the Compass East development.

The project effectively creates and retains 300 jobs in Buffalo that could otherwise have gone to an out-of-state location.

TWC has 1,000 employees in western New York, and an overall total of 10,000 employees all over the state.

The project was secured through a concerted effort by state and local officials. Empire State Development Corp. is offering TWC $3.1 million in state tax breaks, while the Erie County IDA is all set to approve sales tax exemptions worth around $400,000 for a $10 million planned renovation of the Compass East Development.

Compass East offers 160,000 square feet of space on an eight-acre site that formerly housed the Sheehan Hospital. The hospital was shut down after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, and the McGuire Development Company acquired it for $2 million as the sole bidder.

McGuire now wants to undertake renovations on the project, but it would have been difficult without TMC becoming one of Compass East’s major tenants and the resultant sales tax breaks from the IDA.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and New York State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy also pitched in to help sway TWC. Sen. Schumer met with TWC CEO Glenn A. Britt and talked up the benefits the company would get by choosing to stay in Buffalo and add a call center.

Ken Fitzpatrick, east region president for Time Warner Cable Business Class, said that Buffalo was a natural choice for the expansion. He said they already have a strong employee team in Buffalo, and a terrific local workforce as TWC adds another 150 jobs.

PTR Industries Announces Relocation to Horry County, SC

Bristol, Connecticut-based rifle maker PTR Industries announced that it was relocating its corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations to the Myrtle Beach area in Horry County, South Carolina.

PTR Industries

PTR Industries (photo –

The project involves an investment of $8 million by PTR, and will create 145 new jobs with average annual wages of at least $19.39 per hour.

PTR will need to maintain these jobs at the wages mentioned at least until 2025 as part of the Horry County resolution offering a favorable lease agreement for the new 58,000-square-foot PTR facility near Aynor.

Some of the jobs, including management personnel, will go to existing employees relocating from Connecticut. The company had previously announced it would relocate out of the state after Connecticut approved its gun-control resolution, and was being actively courted by many other states.

PTR’s two preferred locations were Texas and the Myrtle Beach area. They held a vote, and employees voted in favor of a move to South Carolina. Texas would have been able to offer a much bigger package of incentives, but the company never got to the stage of talking specifics with Texas officials.

The employees apparently preferred a coastal location with an affordable cost of living which wouldn’t be too big a change from their current lives in Bristol.

Company officials were also swayed in favor of South Carolina by a resolution approved by the SC legislature recognizing the importance of the firearms industry and encouraging out-of-state manufacturers to relocate to the Palmetto State.

Apart from the lease, PTR is also getting workforce training through the SC Works Coastal Center in Conway. The SC Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits for PTR. Details about these and other incentives offered have not been disclosed.

PTR issued a statement which says the company’s projected annual economic impact on the Horry County economy will top $20 million.

Josh Fiorini, president and CEO of PTR Industries, said PTR was excited to write the next chapter for the company in South Carolina, and thanked the leadership in Horry County and South Carolina for their commitment to industry and creating jobs for the area.

Brad Lofton, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., said PTR’s announcement will hopefully send a signal to the rest of the nation that the Myrtle Beach area and South Carolina is pro-business and eagerly welcomes new manufacturing jobs.

South Carolina and Texas are also locked in a tussle over Stag Arms, another Connecticut-based gun manufacturing company which still hasn’t decided whether it will relocate. Stag Arms CEO Mark Malkowski is visiting South Carolina on Thursday, and plans to tour the Myrtle Beach area.

Inalfa Roof Systems to Open Manufacturing Plant in Georgia

Dutch company Inalfa Roof Systems, which makes vehicle roofing systems, will set up a new manufacturing plant in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Inalfa Roof Systems

Inalfa Roof Systems (photo –

Inalfa will invest $17.1 million for the project, which will create 300 new jobs.

The company’s client list is a Who’s Who list of the automobile industry that includes everyone from Ford, GM and Chrysler to BMW, Volvo and Hyundai Kia.

Inalfa, which is headquartered in Venray in The Netherlands, already has a significant presence in Michigan, with 950 employees spread around between Auburn Hills, Grand Blanc and Warren.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley recently led a delegation to The Netherlands, where they met with Inalfa executives at their headquarters and pitched Michigan for the company’s expansion plans.

However, Inalfa has been looking for a location in the South for four years, and finally ended the site selection process in Cherokee County. It will be the first business to be located in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park, just off I-75 and close enough to Atlanta as well as all the major automotive companies in the Southeast.

Danny Colaris, vice president of North American Operations for Inalfa, said that the local and state economic development teams and Georgia Power had all been very helpful in introducing the company to the strategic location and the advantages for a business in Georgia.

The new plant should be operational by Jan 2014, and the company expects to complete hiring for all the new jobs by mid-2015.

Marshall Day, chairman of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, said the investment and jobs being created would have a significant impact on Cherokee as well as the northwest Atlanta region.

The Cherokee Office of Economic Development partnered with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) to secure the project.

GDEcD Chairman Chris Cummiskey said that commitments made by top-notch businesses such as Inalfa will help other investors understand how the state can help them achieve success in the U.S. market.

Inalfa Roof Systems has around 3,000 employees worldwide, and this plant will be their fourth facility in the U.S. and fifth in North America. They already have three plants in Michigan and one in Mexico. The company has many more facilities across the world, including in South Korea, Slovakia, China, Japan and Brazil.

Walgreens Adding 200 Solar Installations in Six States

Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) is adding solar installations at another 200 of its stores across six states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Solar panels at Walgreens store

Solar panels at Walgreens store (photo –

This expansion brings Walgreens’ total count of solar-powered stores to 350.

The 200 new installations will have a combined annual capacity of 13.5 million kilowatt hours, equivalent to offsetting the yearly Co2 emissions of 1,400 homes.

The solar installations for Walgreens are being handled by Chicago, IL-based solar company SoCore Energy. A couple of months back, the company had announced that the Walgreens store in Evanston, IL will be an LEED Platinum certified outlet with more than 850 rooftop panels producing solar power.

While the panels will be installed on Walgreens property and the power will be used by them, it is SoCore that will own and operate the installations. This model has been used by the two Illinois companies since 2011, when they first tested it for 53 stores in Ohio.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel commended both companies for the innovative partnership and their strong commitment to renewable energy. He said the two companies were demonstrating that environmentally friendly business is good business and that greening of cities provides real economic opportunities related to new technologies.

Menno Enters, Walgreens director of energy and sustainability, said that taking care of the environment was another way for the company to help people in the communities they serve to get well and live well. He added that Walgreens will continue to strive to be a leader in sustainability and create a happier and healthy environment for customers and the community.

Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development, added that since they operate more than 8,000 stores, they believed this sustainable energy technology implementation would have a significant positive impact on the environment.

Walgreens is the nation’s largest drug store chain and generated sales last year worth $72 billion.

Walgreens is also one of the companies which have accepted the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, under which the company has committed to a chainwide 20 percent energy reduction by 2020.

President Obama to Announce National Plan for Reducing Carbon Pollution

On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at 1:35 p.m., President Obama will give a speech at Georgetown University in which he plans to lay out a vision for what he calls a national plan for reducing carbon pollution and combating the impacts of climate change.

The announcement was made by the White House in a youtube video released during the weekend.

In the video, the President says he’ll lay out “a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.”

Coal fired power plant

Coal fired power plant (photo –

The main focus of the plan will be on new EPA regulations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by power plants that use fossil fuels.

Power plants are responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S. Coal power still accounts for 42 percent of electricity production, and utilities buy in excess of 90 percent of all the coal mined across the U.S.

States such as New York and Massachusetts that are a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) already have mandatory market-based cap and trade systems in place, and might actually get EPA credits for emission reductions already achieved. For other states, capping the emissions of their coal plants or shutting down the plants would mean a hike in electricity prices.

The second part of the plan dealing with the impacts of climate change reportedly includes taking steps to make coastal communities more resilient (see New York’s resiliency plan), and an initiative by the Department of Agriculture to set up climate adaption hubs to help the farming sector deal with climate change.

In the video, the President also emphasized the economic benefits of tackling climate change. He said “We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them. We’ll need engineers to devise new sources of energy, and businesses to make and sell them.”

These new initiatives would have to come into effect through executive orders issued by the President without Congressional approval. They would have to be implemented by the EPA under authorization provided to the agency in the Clean Air Act (Section 111d).

This section authorizes the EPA to develop regulations for categories of sources that cause or are significant contributors to air pollution endangering public health and welfare. If the EPA issues a new federal standards and guidelines for a new polluting source under this section, individual states are then required to set their own standards and come up with a system for ensuring compliance.

TruHome to Add Operations Center and 400 Jobs in Lenexa, KS

TruHome Solutions, LLC, which provides mortgage services to credit unions, announced that it will be adding a separate operations center near its headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas.

TruHome Solutions

TruHome Solutions (photo –

The company plans to invest around $10 million for the expansion over the next five years, and will be creating at least 412 new jobs.

They already have 240 employees at their headquarters, and plan to add another 136 to this count. The remaining new jobs will be added to the operations center, which will have 276 employees.

The average annual wages for these new jobs is $50,000, plus benefits.

TruHome provides mortgage services to 80 credit unions, and expects to increase this to 200 credit unions in the near future, and diversify into the traditional banking sector.

The new operations center will house all of the company’s operations including loan origination, processing, underwriting and operations assistance. The current headquarters will continue to house the executive management and a few key divisions such as legal and compliance.

The location for the new center on Legler Road in Lenexa was chosen mainly because of its proximity to the headquarters, along with ample space for parking and future expansions.

TruHome President Keith Varney said that since they now have the new location and space to expand, thy were looking forward to more aggressive hiring to fulfill the growing demand for mortgage services.

The Kansas Department of Commerce has approved state workforce training incentives for TruHome under the “Promoting Employment Across Kansas” program.

These PEAK incentives will help the company create more jobs since they will be able to retain 95 percent of the state income tax withholding for the new jobs created for at least five years. The exact amount and period of PEAK incentives offered to TruHome was not disclosed.

Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said he was excited to see TruHome expanding in the state and adding new jobs. Blake Schreck, president of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce, said they were honored that Truhome had chosen Lenexa for the new facility, and appreciated their commitment to the community.

Truhome Solutions, LLC began operations as a multi-owned credit union service organization (CUSO) in 2005 in Lenexa. TruHome offers mortgage services in all 50 states, and their partner clients have a combined membership in excess of 1.3 million and assets totaling more than $11 billion.

Honda SC Kicks Off 2014 Pioneer Production

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was on hand for the production startup event for the 2014 Pioneer multi-utility vehicle at the Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) plant in Timmonsville, SC.

Honda Pioneer at the HSC Timmonsville plant

Honda Pioneer at the HSC Timmonsville plant (photo –

HSC also confirmed that it is investing $27 million on the project, and has added 65 new jobs for side-by-side production, which the company is doing for the first time.

The original announcement of this expansion project was made back in Nov 2012, when the company rolled out its 2.5 millionth ATV.

The 2014 Pioneer was designed and engineered by Honda R&D in the U.S.

Brian Newman, president of HSC, said they were celebrating a new South Carolina-made vehicle powered by the pride and passion of Honda associates committed to exceeding the expectations of Honda Powersports buyers.

HSC began producing ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) in July 1998 with a $30 million investment and 200 associates in what was then a 200,000-square-foot facility. It has now grown into a $308 million investment in a 535,000-square-foot facility with 650 associates.

The plant has produced nine different ATV models over the years, in addition to seven kinds of engines since engine production was added in 2000.

As part of the plant’s 15th anniversary celebrations, HSC also announced that it is donating $100,000 to Francis Marion University for the creation of a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Program, which is set to begin next spring.

Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University, said they were grateful for HSC’s support of the university’s Industrial Engineering program. He added that HSC had been very a supportive corporate friend and partner over the years, and this latest gift was another example of their commitment to the Pee Dee area and Francis Marion.

Gov. Nikki Haley said they were excited about Honda creating more jobs in Timmonsville and bringing a $27 million investment opportunity to the state, and added that when a world-class company such as Honda expands its Pee Dee area footprint, it shows that South Carolina is a great place for doing business.

Honda has 14 manufacturing plants in the U.S. producing everything from automobiles and engines to ATVs and lawn-mowers. The Timmonsville plant is one of Florence County’s largest manufacturing employers and produces Honda ATVs for the North American and export markets. The plant is also the exclusive production site for all of the company’s utility models.

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