Job Creation

Wayne County Economic Development Corp, IEDC Bring More Jobs to Osborn Facility in Richmond, Indiana

The Osborn International facility in the Midwest Industrial Park in Richmond, IN is expanding again, but this particular expansion is rather more significant because it involves a relocation of the brand’s parent company’s North American administrative offices.

Richmond, IN

Richmond, IN (photo – y Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious/flickr)

Osborn is the flagship brand of the Jason Finishing Group, a unit of Milwaukee, WI-based headquartered Jason Industries, Inc.

Supported by the City of Richmond, Wayne County, EDC of Wayne County and the Indiana economic development Corporation, Jason Finishing Group is relocating its North American administrative offices from Cleveland, OH to Richmond, IN.

To this end, the company will be constructing and equipping a 7,400-square-foot addition to the existing 180,000-square-foot Osborn International facility in Richmond. They plan to relocate up to 34 jobs to Richmond within this year.

Jason Finishing Group President Dr. Florestan von Boxberg said in a release that Jason Finishing Group has had great success in Richmond, which has led to it becoming the hub of their North American manufacturing presence. Dr. Boxberg added that they are excited to continue growing in the state of Indiana.

In order to secure the project and support the company’s expansion plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Jason Finishing Group up to $475,000 in post-performance tax credits tied to the company’s job creation.

Wayne County has likewise approved additional local incentives requested by the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County.

This is the third major expansion of the Osborn International facility in Richmond since 2009. Osborn, which was founded in 1887, opened the Richmond plant in 2005 and announced subsequent expansions in 2009 and 2011. The facility manufactures wire, polishing buffs and maintenance brushes.

The previous expansion in 2011 was also a relocation, with a product line and the company’s IT Department being consolidated into the Richmond facility. That $4.6 million expansion brought 23 new jobs and was supported through a Wayne County Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) grant of $83,000.

Richmond Mayor Sally Hutton said in the release that they are happy to have Osborn International in the community and even happier that they are again looking to expand and bring additional jobs and investment to their operation in Richmond.

Jason Finishing Group manufactures more than 10,000 standard products and 100,000 custom solutions. The company’s global headquarters is in Burgwald, Germany, and they operate in 14 countries with a global workforce of more than 1,500 employees, including 360 in the U.S., of which 200 are in Indiana.

Palm Beach County, Florida Offers Economic Development Incentives for Regional HQ Project

The Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, FL have approved a large package of economic development incentives for a regional headquarters project.


Otis (photo – sun dazed/flickr)

The company, identified only as Project Diamond, would make a capital investment of $115 million and create 450 new jobs with an average annual wage of $85,000.

According to the impact analysis, the project will have a five-year local economic impact of $662.4 million.

That’s a big project by any standards, and the county staff memo urging approval of incentives for it says that other states under consideration for the project include Georgia and North Carolina.

Project Diamond is mentioned as being a subsidiary and regional managing office project. According to the Palm Beach Post, this company is United Technologies and the subsidiary considering relocating its regional headquarters to Palm Beach County is their Otis Elevators division.

In order to secure the project, a package of State of Florida and Palm Beach economic development incentives has been put together. This includes $2.66 million under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund program with a high-impact sector bonus, and another $4.9 Million from the Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF).

Palm Beach County, for its part, is required to provide part of these amounts as matching funds. To be specific, the County Commissioners voted to adopt a resolution approving $532,000 as the QTI local match and $2,468,000 for the QACF, adding up to $3 million in local incentives.

The Palm Beach County Commissioners have conceptually approved this $3 million in economic development incentives for Project Diamond in the form of an ad valorem tax exemption over ten years.

The company will be required to enter into a formal agreement with the county in order to receive these incentives, and will have to maintain the 450 new jobs in Palm Beach County for at least five years.

The Otis Elevator Company was founded in Yonkers, NY by Elisha Graves Otis, who literally invented and founded the modern elevator industry by himself when he came up with the idea of safety brakes and sold the first safe elevators in 1853. Today, the company is the world’s leading manufacturer and installer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

The Farmington, CT-based Otis Elevator Company now has around 61,000 employees serving customers in almost every country on the planet.

Howard County Economic Development, Maryland DBED Secure Astrum Solar Expansion

Astrum Solar, Inc., a leading full-service residential solar provider in the Eastern United States, announced plans to expand its headquarters in Howard County, MD.

Solar jobs

Solar jobs (photo – codepinkphoenix/flickr)

Supported by the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Astrum Solar plans to triple its footprint in the county.

The company is currently housed in a 14,400-square-foot facility in Annapolis Junction, and plans to add another 28,000 square feet. Astrum Solar also expects to create 240 new jobs as part of the expansion. This will take the total number of employees at the facility to 315 over the next two years.

The company plans to make an investment of approximately $750,000 on the project for upgrades, including leasehold improvements and equipment.

In order to secure the expansion and support the company’s job creation plans, DBED has offered Astrum Solar a $500,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund. HCEDA is separately providing the company local incentives including a $50,000 workforce training grant.

DBED Secretary Mike Gill said in a release announcing the expansion project that Astrum Solar is one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, and added that they are thrilled the company is expanding and adding jobs in Maryland.

HCEDA CEO Lawrence F. Twele said in the release that diversifying their jobs base is a priority at the Howard County Economic Development Authority, and this expansion by Astrum Solar is a great example of the opportunities the energy sector holds.

Twele added that by working closely with their partners at the state level, they can help grow businesses that are environmentally friendly and generate well-paying jobs.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman likewise noted that the expansion of Astrum Solar in Annapolis Junction is a perfect example of the type of economic development they strive for in Howard County.

Astrum Solar Vice President Cory Byzewski said that the company was born and raised in Maryland, and they have been committed since the beginning to helping the state by creating jobs and helping Maryland residents benefit from the environmental and financial benefits of solar power.

Astrum Solar, a part of the Direct Energy family of brands, has been ranked second on Inc. magazine’s annual listing of fastest growing private U.S. companies. Maryland’s solar industry, which employed nearly 3,000 workers last year, is likewise expected to grow fast this year by more than 25 percent.

Amazon Adding 500 Jobs at Lexington County, SC Fulfillment Center

Amazon is adding more jobs to its Lexington County fulfillment center in West Columbia, SC.

Amazon fulfillment

Amazon fulfillment (photo – BCRP/flickr)

Since opening in 2012, the fulfillment center has already brought more than 1,500 jobs to West Columbia and Lexington County.

The 500 new jobs that Amazon is now adding to the facility are for meeting growing customer demand. The employees will pick, pack and ship customer orders.

Governor Nikki Haley said in a release announcing the project that the 500 new jobs this expansion will create is terrific news for the Midlands community, and added that they look forward to watching Amazon continue to grow in South Carolina for many years to come.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt noted that having such a recognized company make repeat expansions in the state is a credit to South Carolina’s positive business climate and workforce.

These 500 new Amazon jobs are the ongoing rewards of a long process undertaken to recruit Amazon to Lexington County that goes back to 2010. Amazon first announced in Dec 2010 that it would establish a $100 million fulfillment center in Lexington County, with plans to create 1,249 new permanent jobs at the facility.

They chose the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park in Lexington County for the one million-square-foot distribution and fulfillment center. The location not only provides easy interstate access, but also proximity to the UPS ground hub located near Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

At that time, the SC Commerce code name for the project during the site selection process was Project ASAP, so named because of the paramount need to meet the company’s needs in a timely fashion. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Lexington County staff got all the required permitting for the project done on a fast track to meet the company’s tight schedule.

Lexington County Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat said in the release that in December 2010, they were thrilled to welcome to Lexington County and to have this caliber of company locate in the county. Jeffcoat added that this new announcement of 500 additional jobs at the facility absolutely affirms the quality of their workforce.

Apart from this Lexington County fulfillment center, Amazon also has another South Carolina fulfillment center in Spartanburg County. This $50 million project was announced in 2012 as a one million-square-foot facility that has also created hundreds of jobs.

Coca Cola Considering Anderson County, SC For Regional HQ Project

The Coca-Cola Company is considering a site in Anderson County, SC as the location for a new regional corporate headquarters.


Coca-Cola (photo – MykReeve/wikipedia)

If Coca Cola does select this site, they plan on investing $13.5 million into the project and expect to create 147 jobs at the facility.

These will be jobs with an average salary of $19.72 an hour, adding up to a new payroll of $5.7 million.

Apart from serving as Coca-Cola’s regional headquarters, the site would also be used as a marketing and distribution facility.

If Coca Cola decides to go ahead with it, the project is likely to receive local and state economic development incentives. At a meeting last week, Anderson economic development officials received approval from the county council to continue putting together key local incentives required for the project to go ahead.

This includes the expansion of the boundaries of the joint county industrial and business park jointly developed with Greenville County, SC. The expansion puts the Coca Cola project, referred to in county documents as ‘Project Upstate,’ into the industrial park. This makes it eligible for state incentives.

The county also approved the execution and delivery of an infrastructure credit agreement that provides a six percent assessment ratio for 30 years, plus credits for the project meant to help offset the cost of sewer and other infrastructure construction.

The property the company is considering currently generates $117 in property taxes. After the project is completed in 2016, it will generate $175,000 in annual property taxes (or $6.4 million over the 30-year agreement period) for the county even after excluding the special source revenue credit. The project’s economic impact on the county is pegged at $12.7 million annually, and at $148 million over a 20-year period.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has its global headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The company and its network of over 250 bottlers have more than 700,000 associates worldwide. This includes a Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated plant for warehousing and distribution that opened a few years ago in Horry County, SC. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s leading beverage brand with a portfolio of more than 3,500 beverages sold in more than 200 countries. The company now has 20 brands that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

Yelp Adding More Jobs in Chicago, Plans to Hire Underemployed Job Seekers

Yelp is expanding again in Chicago, and announced plans to add 100 more jobs over the next 12 to 18 months.

Yelp SCF partnership in Chicago

Yelp-SCF partnership in Chicago (photo –

The announcement was made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman at the official opening of the company’s new Chicago office.

Yelp had announced last year in August that it was opening an office in Chicago, with plans to hire up to 300 people. They signed a lease for 50,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor of the Merchandise Mart.

The location’s proximity to the L makes it ideal for commuters, and provides easy access to lots of local businesses and restaurants. It also puts Yelp in the middle of a flourishing digital technology community at the Merchandise Mart that includes companies like Razorfish and technology and entrepreneurship hubs like 1871 and MATTER.

Now Yelp is adding another 10,000 square feet of space at this office, and plans to hire 100 more people, adding up to a total of 400 jobs in Chicago.

Stoppelman said in a release that they are excited to be a part of the Chicago tech community and help create hundreds of new jobs in the city.

Yelp’s latest expansion is a win not only for Chicago economic development and the vibrant tech and entrepreneurship hub the Merchandise Mart is turning into, but also for community and workforce development in the Chicago area. That’s because Yelp has partnered with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF) to recruit qualified, underemployed job seekers for positions at the Yelp Chicago office.

SCF is a public-private partnership funded by the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and private and corporate foundations. Their mission is to close the workforce skills gap and assist unemployed job-seekers in re-entering the workforce. SCF works with local employers to help them identify and recruit qualified, underemployed job seekers in Chicago and Cook County.

Mayor Emanuel said in the release that by partnering with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Yelp will get the talented workers it wants, and residents in neighborhoods all throughout Chicago will get the job opportunities they need. It is a win-win.

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future President and CEO Marie Trzupek Lynch said that Yelp has demonstrated a commitment to make an impact on the Chicago-area community, and added that they look forward to working with Yelp and supporting their employment needs as they grow their presence in Chicago.

Livingston EDC, BRAC, Louisiana Economic Development Secure Epic Piping Project With Corporate HQ

Turn-key industrial pipe fabrication company Epic Piping has selected Livingston Parish in Louisiana as the location for an advanced pipe fabrication facility and its new corporate headquarters.

Epic Piping

Epic Piping (photo –

Supported by the Livingston Economic Development Council, Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Louisiana Economic Development, the company will invest $45.3 million into the project to build the 200,000-square-foot facility.

This will be a fully air-conditioned workspace with advanced robotic equipment. Use of advanced automation and robotics isn’t stopping Epic Piping from embarking on a major hiring spree, and they expect to create 560 direct new jobs at the facility. These will be jobs with an average annual salary of $56,000, plus benefits.

LED estimates that the project will lead to the creation of another 732 new indirect jobs, adding up to a total of more than 1,200 new jobs for the Capital Region. Not to mention the 385 construction jobs the company expects to create while the facility is being built on a 70-acre site in Livingston Parish.

Coupled with a 350-job manufacturing unit in San Marcos, TX and a 60,000-square-foot facility being developed in Baton Rouge, Epic Piping forecasts that the new Livingston facility will make them the fastest-growing industrial pipe fabrication organization in the world.

Epic Piping President Kent Shepherd said in a release that they are committed to providing quality, high-paying jobs to this region, and added that they would like to thank state and local economic development partners for making this possible.

To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a $1.8 million performance-based Economic Development Award Program grant to offset site infrastructure costs. Epic Piping will also receive workforce development support from LED FastStart, and the company is expected to seek additional incentives under the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Gov. Jindal said in the release that Epic Piping represents an exciting economic development win for Livingston Parish, the Capital Region and the entire state.

Randy Rogers, president and CEO of the Livingston Economic Development Council, likewise noted that Epic Piping’s decision to establish both its corporate headquarters and a major manufacturing facility in Livingston Parish represents new investment and new quality jobs for the people of the parish while reflecting the strength of the business climate in Livingston Parish.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp said that BRAC, LEDC and LED worked very well together in pursuit of this major economic development win for the region, in a textbook example of regional partnership.

ABB to Build New Manufacturing Site With 300 Jobs in Memphis, Tennessee

ABB announced plans to build a new manufacturing site and expand the customer experience center for their Low Voltage Products division near Memphis, Tennessee.


ABB (photo – Roland zh/wikimedia)

The company will invest $30 million into the project, and expects to create 300 jobs as part of the expansion. This includes 200 jobs that will be created initially, and another 100 jobs that will be added over the next five years.

ABB’s Low Voltage Products division in Memphis is a part of the former operations of electrical components maker Thomas & Betts, which was acquired by ABB in 2012 for $3.9 billion.

The combined low voltage product portfolio and enhanced distribution network of the two companies has enabled ABB to double its addressable market in North America to approximately $24 billion.

Including the workforce that came with the acquisitions of Baldor, Thomas & Betts, Ventyx, and PowerOne, ABB’s workforce in the Americas has tripled over the last five years to more than 20,000.

ABB Low Voltage Products Division President Tarak Mehta is quoted in a company release as saying that as part of ABB’s Next Level strategy, they are expanding their offering of low-voltage products in the United States. Mehta added that this investment will boost ABB’s organic growth potential through improved customer focus and a broader portfolio.

The new Memphis facility will assemble products from across ABB’s low-voltage products portfolio, including breakers, switches and power distribution systems, among other things. It will also house R&D and product development.

The expansion of the existing ABB customer experience center in Memphis includes an upgrade of the training suite to accommodate the requirements of the expanding product portfolio.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB Group operates in around 100 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 140,000. ABB’s U.S. headquarters is located in Cary, NC and the company has thousands of employees in the United States working in multiple manufacturing, service and other major facilities.

The Memphis expansion follows a $14 million investment by ABB at an existing facility in Bartlesville, OK. Other recent expansions undertaken by the company in the U.S. include major investments at facilities in New Berlin, WI; Anderson County, SC; Huntersville, NC and South Boston, VA.

It’s not clear whether the company has applied for any state or Memphis economic development incentives or has been offered the same. Neither the City of Memphis nor the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) has issued any statements about ABB’s investment and job creation plans.

Orlando Economic Development Excited About Silver Airways Joining Region’s Aviation Industry

Silver Airways, which is officially planning to open its new maintenance headquarters at Orlando International Airport this month, held a preview event to show off its new headquarters.

Silver Airways MRO facility in Orlando

Silver Airways MRO facility in Orlando (rendering – SIlver Airways)

The project was supported by the City of Orlando, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Enterprise Florida, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation, CareerSource Central Florida, and the Orlando Utilities Commission.

The $4.5 million project will create 80 new jobs and consolidate the company’s operations into a 38,000-square-foot maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Orlando International Airport.

Apart from office space, the facility includes two large aircraft hangars, each capable of housing three to four aircraft. The Orlando City Commission and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority approved a 30-year long-term lease at the airport for Silver Airways.

Including the new jobs being created and consolidation of operations, the facility will employ 200 people from the Orlando area. Orlando is one of Silver Airways’ largest hubs with more than 120 weekly flights. The company employs a total of nearly 700 people across Florida.

In addition to the company’s own investment into the project, the State of Florida is supporting it through a $3.5 million public transportation joint participation agreement from the Florida Department of Transportation to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Silver Airways CEO Sami Teittinen said in a release that they appreciate the support of the Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Transportation for making this project possible.

Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the Aviation Authority Board, said in the release that they welcome the opening of a new maintenance base by Silver Airways at Orlando International Airport, which he said demonstrates a partnership and commitment to growth and future development.

Kruppenbacher added that the airport, as one of Central Florida’s key economic drivers, values its role in the creation of jobs and access to increased air service.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer likewise said they are delighted that Silver Airways has selected the City of Orlando to house its maintenance facility, and added that their central geographic location played a critical factor in this decision by the intra-state airline.

Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, said they are excited to see Silver Airways join the list of companies with a strong presence in the aviation industry in the region.

Weddle added that Silver Airways’ new state-of-the-art MRO facility at Orlando International Airport will bring new jobs in a growing sector of the local economy.

Kentucky Economic Development Programs Turn Asian Carp Into Health Food and 66 Jobs

Blue Shore Fishery LLC, a manufacturer of healthy food products from Asian carp, announced the location of a processing facility in Graves County, KY.

Blue Shore Fishery

Blue Shore Fishery (photo –

Supported by the Kentucky Innovation Network, Graves County Economic Development Corp, and state incentives approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, the company will invest $1.3 million into the project, and expects to create 66 new jobs.

Blue Shore produces innovative health food products from Asian carp based on traditional Asian recipes using high-quality fish and local ingredients with no artificial additives or preservatives.

The company plans to sell its food products to wholesale and retail markets in the U.S., and also export to China.

Dr. Lan Chi Luu and John Crilly, owners of Blue Shore Fishery LLC, won the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development entrepreneur pitch competition in Murray last summer. As the winner in the regional round, they were provided an opportunity to make a pitch to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network.

The Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Murray not only helped them with access to capital, but also with connections for marketing and web development, and export assistance.

In order to encourage their investment and job creation plans in Graves County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved up to $1 million in tax incentives for Blue Shore Fishery through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

Blue Shore plans to catch Asian carp up and down rivers and lakes all over western Kentucky. They will process the carp in what was formerly a 11,000-square-foot catfish processing plant in Graves County.

Governor Steve Beshear welcomed Blue Shore Fishery to Kentucky and said in a release announcing the project that not only will the company be creating 66 jobs and investing $1.3 million, but will also be adding to Kentucky’s overall exports.

Blue Shore Fishery CEO Andre Raghu said in the release that they greatly appreciate all the help they have received from the Graves County Economic Development Corporation and the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Murray State University.

State Senator Stan Humphries said in the release that this announcement is a win-win for western Kentucky and Graves County. Humphries noted that Asian carp is a problem, and Blue Shore Fishery will help deplete the Asian carp population while providing jobs and investment in the region.

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