Job Creation

Dallas County, Texas Considers Tax Incentives For Frito-Lay Distribution Center Project

At its next meeting, the Dallas County Commissioners Court will consider a tax abatement request for a high-tech automated distribution center project by Frito-Lay.

Frito-Lay

Frito-Lay (photo – Dane Unknoen/wikimedia)

Supported by a Dallas County tax abatement and possible City of Dallas economic development incentives, the company will upgrade an existing 120,000-square-foot distribution facility with both physical improvements and new state-of-the-art supply chain and logistics equipment.

The projected investment will increase the site’s assessed valuation by $45 million from its current figure of $19 million, and full-time employment will also increase by 80, adding to the existing 150 jobs at the facility.

Due to the high-tech nature of the facility and the specialized skills that will be needed, the average salary of these employees will be $48,000, which is substantially higher than the $30,000 that many distribution center employees typically receive.

The upgraded facility will help support a manufacturing operation that Frito-Lay has in Irving, TX and will also handle inventory currently stored in Oklahoma and Fort Worth.

Frito-Lay is the convenient foods division of Pepsico, which is one of the largest employers in the Dallas area with approximately 1,000 employees. The upgraded distribution center in Dallas will only be the seventh such highly-automated facility that Pepsico has created nationally, and it will be the largest that it has yet built so far. Pepsico/Frito-Lay selected Dallas for this project over a number of other sites outside the state.

In order to secure the project, the County is proposing a ten-year, 60 percent abatement on business personal property. This would result in the County annually foregoing about $67,100 in business personal property tax revenue that does not presently exist. Even after factoring in the abatement, the county will still receive about $42,300 in new revenue.

Under the County’s tax abatement policy, expansion projects are eligible for consideration if they, within three years, can increase the County’s tax base by at least $2.5 million and create at least 50 new full-time jobs. As the Frito-Lay project is expected to create at least 80 new full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and increase the County’s tax base by $45 million, it is easily eligible for consideration.

Frito-Lay Inc. was formed in 1961 through the merger of The Frito Company and the H.W. Lay & Company. In 1965, PepsiCo acquired Frito-Lay, and it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo, with its headquarters located in Purchase, NY. In fact, Frito-Lay North America is now a $13 billion convenient foods business, making PepisoCo the world’s largest snack food company with a global presence.

Korean Manufacturer to Set Up Cryogenic Insulation Facility in Louisiana

Dongsung FineTec Co. Ltd. Has announced plans to establish a cryogenic insulation manufacturing facility at the Port of Lake Charles’ Industrial Park East in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Dongsung FineTec

Dongsung FineTec (photo – dsfinetec.co.kr)

The company will make a $5 million capital investment into the project, which will be their first manufacturing facility in the U.S.

Dongsung FineTec expects to create 250 direct new jobs at the facility. These will be jobs with an average annual salary of $40,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 492 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 742 new jobs for Calcasieu Parish and surrounding areas. The project also is expected to generate an additional 20 construction jobs.

Seoul, South Korea-based Dongsung FineTec provides specialized high-performance insulation to liquefied natural gas plants and other industrial sites around the world. Its cryogenic insulation panels are designed to keep liquefied natural gas cold at minus-163 degrees Celsius to facilitate storage and transport. The company is the world’s largest maker of cryogenic insulation for the LNG industry.

The company will lease an 11-acre site at the Port of Lake Charles’ Industrial Park East. This is the site of the former Spartech plastics compounding plant. The 59,000-square-foot building will be renovated by Dongsung FineTec for its specialized insulation production.

Senior Vice President James Choi of Dongsung FineTec Co. Ltd said in a release that they are very excited to be expanding their activities to the U.S. “The help and assistance of the Port of Lake Charles has been central to our decision,” added Choi.

Governor Jindal said in the release that following several multibillion-dollar investment announcements in Southwest Louisiana, this project represents the next tier of success, and that “major investments by support industries that will help the LNG industry reach its full potential here.”

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach likewise added that “The LNG facilities planned for our region will not only generate jobs for the area, they will also stimulate additional investment in the region.”

LED began discussing a potential project with the company in February 2015. The incentive package offered to secure the project includes access to LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

David Conner, vice president of economic development and international services for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, noted that the company’s choice to locate in Southwest Louisiana proves again that the region can compete with any area of the world for major manufacturing projects.

Auburn Gets Equifax Global IT Talent Center With 150 Jobs

Credit reporting agency Equifax announced the opening of a new information technology talent center with Auburn University to help address the company’s growing global information technology needs.

Equifax

Equifax (photo – equifax.com)

Equifax will invest millions of dollars into the project. The Auburn talent center located at the main terminal building of the Auburn University Regional Airport will initially be staffed with 40-45 full-time positions, with the Auburn economic development benefits from the project growing to up to 150 jobs in the next two to three years.

Employees at the center will focus on developing automation and global platform services for Equifax operations around the world. The opening of the Auburn center, along with a sister facility to be announced in Western Europe, will help provide the talent needed as well as give Auburn IT students and graduates highly attractive job opportunities.

Dave Webb, Equifax’s Chief Information Officer, said in a release that “This new high-tech facility is a creative solution that combines Auburn University’s growing reputation as an information technology hub and Equifax’s increasing demand for superior IT talent.”

Dignitaries at the opening at the Auburn University Regional Airport included Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Auburn University President Jay Gogue, Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr.

Governor Robert Bentley said in the release that the Auburn Equifax Center is an important investment in the state and in Auburn University. “With Auburn University’s growing high tech programs and the dedicated workforce in Lee County, the Auburn Equifax Center will be a successful facility for years to come,” added Gov. Bentley.

Equifax said it teamed with Auburn University in part because of the school’s growing IT pedigree. Auburn University is ranked as a Carnegie Foundation University with high research activity and excellent programs in business, software development, and engineering degrees.

Auburn University President Jay Gogue added that “Our objective is to develop our students to become the top talent entering the workforce. The investment by world-class companies like Equifax is validation of our direction and efforts.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax (NYSE: EFX) operates or has investments in 19 countries and is a member of S&P 500 Index. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company generates 158 billion credit score updates per month and 60,000 updates per second for consumers to help them in their daily lives to buy houses, cars, finance educations, secure credit cards, purchase appliances and more.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Economic Development Agencies Secure MMI ES Expansion

Advanced material technology company MMI Engineered Solutions Inc. (MMI ES) announced plans for an expansion of its manufacturing facility in the City of Saline, MI.

Saline, Michigan

Saline, Michigan (photo – Dwight Burdette/wikimedia)

Supported by Ann Arbor SPARK, the City of Saline, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the company is investing $5.6 million to add 50,000 square feet to its existing 80,000-square-foot facility in Saline.

The expansion will add space for distribution, injection molding, assembly and tooling. MMI ES will create 47 new jobs, adding to the existing 100 employees who already work at the facility.

MMI ES specializes in the design, tooling and molding of solutions using advanced composites and engineered resins. Their engineering lab and manufacturing facility in Saline supports OEM product design and manufacturing engineers in diverse industries including transportation, defense, food processing, alternative energy and medical devices.

Headquartered in Saline, MMI ES also has a sales office in Troy, MI and a facility in Monterey, Mexico. Michigan won this project over competition for it from the Mexico site.

MMI ES President and Owner Doug Callahan said in a release that the expansion of their Saline headquarters is a key strategic move for MMI ES. “I was born and raised in Michigan and I am proud that I am able to promote economic growth in the state,” added Callahan.

Non-profit Ann Arbor economic development organization Ann Arbor SPARK helped MMI ES with the process of working with MEDC to secure key incentives and support. This includes a $150,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant, and additional local incentives from the City of Saline in the form of a property tax abatment. MMI ES is also getting more than $78,000 in Skilled Trades Training Funds to support its talent needs.

Ann Arbor SPARK President and CEO Paul Krutko said in the release that MMI ES is a great example of a company that’s been able to grow, long-term, in this region, and is choosing to continue to invest and create jobs here.

“The Ann Arbor region is an ideal location to find skilled trades and technical talent, and as a manufacturing hub, provides ample opportunities to businesses like MMI ES to also find new customers and partners,” added Krutko.

City of Saline Mayor Brian Marl likewise noted that “MMI-es is a great Saline company and the City of Saline remains committed to assisting them as they grow and expand in our region.”

Apart from the state assistance for MMI ES, the Michigan Economic Development Corp also announced MSF approval of a $500,000 Michigan Business Development grant for custom factory automation systems manufacturer Hanson Systems LLC (dba Eagle Technologies Group).

The company is investing $6 million for establishing a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in St. Joseph Township, MI. The Township is additionally providing local incentives for the project in the form of tax abatements.

InComm Investment Adds to #ReUpGA Fintech Atlanta Economic Development Campaign

Payments and transactions technology company InComm announced an expansion of its downtown Atlanta headquarters and other investment projects in metro Atlanta.

InComm

InComm (photo – incomm.com)

Announced as part of a metro Atlanta economic development campaign called “#ReUpGA,” the company plans to make an investment of $20 million to support the growth of its downtown Atlanta headquarters, development of a new data center in Suwanee, and expansion of its current Peachtree Corners call center.

These expansions will enable InComm to create more than 275 new jobs in the region in the coming year. This includes 125 new associates as part of its expansion of its existing Atlanta headquarters, along with 100 new associates at its existing Peachtree Corners call center facility, twenty new associates at the new Suwannee data center facility, and 30 new associates at its existing Alpharetta data center facility.

InComm chose metro Atlanta and Georgia for these expansions following a site selection process that considered several states outside of Georgia.

InComm Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Scott Meyerhoff said in a release that the state of Georgia and several local governments, including the City of Atlanta, have demonstrated their commitment to keeping them in the region by creating a favorable economic environment to develop talent through their internship program and university partnerships with Georgia Tech, Georgia State, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State.

That is why, said Meyerhoff, “we gladly Re-Up our commitment to Georgia’s future today.”

The InComm announcement was made as part of the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) “#ReUpGA” campaign, which is a collaborative economic development initiative among “Transaction Alley” fintech companies to grow Georgia’s workforce, resources and reputation.

The payment processing industry, which is based largely in Georgia, supports over $4.4 trillion in credit and gift card transactions that occur annually in the U.S. Transaction Alley companies are ground zero for this industry, managing more than 70 percent of all U.S. financial transactions, totaling 85 billion swipes annually. Georgia payment processing companies directly employ nearly 40,000 workers.

Governor Nathan Deal said in the release that “InComm’s decision to continue investing and creating jobs in metro Atlanta speaks to our status as a hub for the financial technology industry.”

“InComm has taken advantage of these resources to build its business and become the industry leader it is today,” added Atlanta Mayor Kasim. ”InComm is part of the Atlanta community, and we look forward to growing and prospering together.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) worked with Invest Atlanta, the metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Power on this project. The Georgia Department of Labor is furthermore providing hiring assistance to InComm.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in a release that ‘Along with the culture of collaboration that exists between businesses, state government, academic institutions and local partners, it is clear that Georgia is the place for companies in the FinTech industry to thrive.”

Premier Research’s North Carolina Expansion to Create 260 Jobs For Durham and RTP

Contract research organization Premier Research announced plans to create a new operations center in Durham, NC.

The company’s expansion in the Research Triangle Park will generate an investment of $4.1 million and create 260 new jobs over the next five years.

North Carolina

North Carolina (photo – Joelk75/flickr)

The company already has 62 employees at its existing Durham facility, part of a global workforce of 1,000 employees in 50 countries. The new facility will be staffed by project managers, clinical monitors, data managers and others who will support customers throughout North America.

Salaries for these new jobs will vary by position, but will average $73,296, well above the prevailing average wage of $66,599 in Durham County.

Founded in 1989, Philadelphia, PA-based Premier Research serves the clinical development needs of the biotech and specialty pharmaceutical sector.

Dr. Ludo Reynders, Premier Research CEO, said in a release that “Access to first-rate talent, the ability to work with highly innovative companies, and superb higher education resources drew us to Research Triangle Park, and the area continues to impress us as a great place to do business.”

Governor Pat McCrory added that “I’m proud this growing company has chosen North Carolina’s Research Triangle for its new operations hub.”

In order to secure the project, North Carolina has offered the company incentives under the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. Under its JDIG, Premier Research is eligible to receive up to $2.58 million in annual installments over 12 years. The JDIG is contingent upon the company being approved to receive Durham economic development incentives.

State law requires 25 percent of the JDIG award amount to be directed to the state’s Industrial Development Fund’s Utility Account to be used for economic infrastructure projects in less prosperous counties in the state. In this case, the JDIG award for Premier Research’s expansion could provide as much as $86,000 in new funds for the Utility Account.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III noted that North Carolina is the birthplace and undisputed leader of the contract research industry with over 130 companies like Premier Research operating in the state.

“They are here because of our global accessibility, moderate costs and outstanding life science workforce,” said Secretary Skvarla.

Apart from NC Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) and Durham County, the Premier Research project was facilitated by a host of state and local partners including the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Durham Workforce Development Board, the North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and Durham Technical Community College, among others.

Ford Announces $1.3B Investment With 2000 New Jobs in Louisville, Kentucky

Ford Motor Company has announced that it will invest $1.3 billion in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, KY to support the launch of the all-new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty truck.

Ford Kentucky Truck Plant

Ford Kentucky Truck Plant (photo – ford.com)

The investment will be used for an all-new body shop, facility upgrades and retooling to build the new aluminum-bodied Super Duty truck at Kentucky Truck Plant.

As a result of this investment and expansion, Ford expects to create 2,000 new jobs at the Kentucky Truck Plant.

This is by far Ford’s largest contribution to Louisville economic development in recent years. Ford announced an $80 million investment last year in Louisville to meet growing customer demand for Super Duty trucks, and another $129 million to support Lincoln MKC production at Louisville Assembly Plant.

The company’s total investment in the city of Louisville and the commonwealth of Kentucky adds up to more than $1.5 billion in the last two years alone.

Ford first began manufacturing vehicles in Kentucky in 1913, at which time the company started off with just 11 employees. The Kentucky Truck Plant, which opened in 1969, now covers six million square feet and provides employment to nearly 4,400 people.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said in a release that this tremendous investment and commitment to new job creation reconfirms the strength of a more than century-long relationship between Kentucky and Ford Motor Company.

“We wholeheartedly appreciate Ford’s continued confidence in the commonwealth’s work force and pro-business environment, and we look forward to expanding our relationship in the future,” added Gov. Beshear.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, added that “Through this investment, we are continuing to show our commitment to Kentucky and the city of Louisville, as well as bringing to customers industry-leading trucks to help them take care of business and earn a living.”

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department, likewise noted that “Adding new jobs and more investment at Kentucky Truck Plant not only secures a solid foundation for our UAW members, but also strengthens the communities in which they live, work and play.”

This new investment and the company’s job creation plans in Louisville are a result of Ford’s recently ratified agreement with United Auto Workers (UAW). As part of the agreement, Ford has committed to investing $9 billion in its U.S. plants and expects to create or secure 8,500 hourly U.S. jobs in communities across Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York and Ohio.

Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer, said in a release that “This agreement enables us to further strengthen our business and continue investing in manufacturing in the U.S.”

Shell Makes Final Investment Decision on $717M Expansion in Louisiana

Shell Chemical LP has made its final investment decision on developing a new $717 million linear alpha olefins manufacturing unit at the company’s Ascension Parish complex in Louisiana.

Shell Geismar

Photo – shell.com

The project will create 20 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $104,000, plus benefits, while retaining 650 existing jobs at Shell Geismar.

Louisiana Economic Development further estimates that the project will result in 93 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 110 new jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding areas. Not to mention the 1,000 construction jobs that will be created at peak building activity.

The Ascension Parish project will be the fourth alpha olefins unit at Shell Chemical’s Geismar plant, which has been in operation since 1967. The new unit will be constructed within the 800-acre Shell Geismar site, a stand-alone chemicals manufacturing plant operated by Shell Chemical LP which is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge.

Alpha olefins are chemicals that are used to produce a variety of consumer and industrial products including plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents. Shell’s new linear alpha olefins unit will generate 425 kilotons per year, making Shell Geismar the largest alpha olefins production site in the world.

Shell Geismar General Manager Rhoman Hardy said in a release that this expansion project is great news for Shell’s Geismar site and the region. “Shell remains a vital economic engine in this region, and a good corporate neighbor for years to come,” added Hardy.

Graham van’t Hoff, Executive Vice President for Royal Dutch Shell plc’s global Chemicals business, noted that “We have strong technology, advantaged ethylene feedstock from nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, and operational flexibility to allow us to respond to market conditions.”

Governor Bobby Jindal likewise said in the release that “This $717 million project reflects the best of our efforts to make Louisiana’s business climate one of the best in the country and around the globe.”

In order to secure the project, the state offered a competitive incentive package that includes workforce development support through LED FastStart. The company is also expected to utilize Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Ascension Economic Development Corp President and CEO Mike Eades noted that they know that Shell Chemical had several choices as to where to site this new project. “We are grateful for its ongoing faith in the Geismar site and the employees there,” added Eades.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp added that BRAC has worked closely with Shell over the years and the company continues to serve as a good corporate citizen, employing more than 700 within the region.

Wyoming $2.93M Economic Development Grant For Tungsten Relocation to Laramie

The Board of Directors of the Wyoming Business Council has recommended approval of a grant for the city of Laramie, WY to support efforts to assist the Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts relocation project.

Wyoming Business Council

Wyoming Business Council (photo – wyomingbusiness.org)

Earlier this year in August, the San Diego, CA-based armament parts producing company had announced plans to inshore its China-based production of tungsten fragments and penetrators to Laramie.

The $2,935,924 Wyoming economic development grant request was made by the City of Laramie for the construction of a manufacturing building to house this project.

The grant is being provided under the Business Ready Community Program administered by the Wyoming Business Council, which is the state’s economic development arm.

The Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program provides money for publicly-owned infrastructure projects such as buildings, roads and sewers that serve the needs of businesses and promote economic development within Wyoming communities.

Tungsten Heavy Powder has committed to creating 25 jobs when it opens, and doubling its workforce in the following five years. However, CEO Joe Sery anticipates exceeding both those totals.

“Since we announced our plan to open a facility in the U.S. we’ve had more customers coming forward.” said Sery in a release announcing the grant award.

Wyoming Business Council CEO Shawn Reese noted that they have been working with this particular business for almost a year. Wyoming was one of five states on the shortlist when Sery was considering relocating the armament parts production plant. State economic development officials flew to San Diego to meet in person with Sery, in the process making Wyoming his top choice for the project. State and local economic development officials subsequently hosted Sery on tours of Wyoming in May and August.

Thirteen Wyoming communities proposed sites and buildings for consideration, before Laramie was selected for the project. The university town’s diversity and intellectual culture apparently served as a strong selling point.

At that time, the company said it would work with the Business Council and Laramie Chamber Business Alliance for building an approximately 10,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility in the Laramie River Business Park II.

The grant the city applied for is to build a 15,500-square-foot facility. Reese noted that local and state taxes generated by the project, combined with the lease and eventual sale of the building, will exceed the grant money.

Illinois Approves EDGE Tax Credits For Three Projects With $27M in Investments

The Illinois Department of Commerce announced that three companies have been approved to receive the state’s recently reinstated EDGE tax credits.

IL EDGE tax credits

IL EDGE tax credits (photo – illinois.gov)

Supported by the Illinois economic development tax credits, the three projects are expected to create a combined total of 87 net new jobs and $27 million in capital investments.

The three companies are Fabrik Industries, Inc.; Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.; and Taurus Die Casting LLC. All three were considering moving operations to another state, but chose to stay and grow in Illinois, due in part to the competitive incentive packages.

McHenry, IL-based Fabrik Industries, Inc. is a full service custom injection molding manufacturer of thermoplastics. The company will make capital investments of $5 million, including expansion to a new facility and the purchase of equipment. The expansion and relocation includes the creation of 25 new jobs, adding to the company’s 264 existing full-time jobs.

Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., which creates flavors and fragrances for food, beverage, cosmetics, household products and personal care items, is planning a $10 million expansion of its existing Northbrook, IL manufacturing and R&D facilities. The company already has 179 employees at this location, and is adding another 25 new full-time jobs.

Rockford, IL-based Taurus Die Casting LLC is an Italian manufacturer of high precision zinc die casted parts. The company is making a $6.4 million investment on a 44,000-square-foot production facility in Rockford, its first location in the U.S. The expansion will enable the creation of 37 full-time jobs, adding to the company’s existing operations in Italy and Tunisia which employ 268 people.

EDGE tax credits had been suspended for new projects at the beginning of the fiscal year, but were reinstated by Gov. Rauner after compromises were reached with the Illinois Legislature over several pieces of legislation.

To ensure a more fiscally-responsible approach to EDGE agreements, companies approved to receive Illinois EDGE tax credits will now receive credit only for the actual net new jobs created under the EDGE agreement, and not for retained jobs.

Also, tax credits can only be obtained now for jobs created above a baseline of all existing employees located within the state, rather than just the baseline of employees located at the specific project location. The program no longer supports “Special EDGE” agreements, and prohibits more than one tax credit on the same facility. All EDGE agreements are valid for a period of 10 years.

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