Job Creation

Noble Energy Selects Southpointe Business Park in PA for Marcellus Regional HQ

Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced that it has chosen the Southpointe Business Park in Cecil Township, Pennsylvania as the company’s regional headquarters for their Marcellus Shale operations.

Noble Energy Marcellus Shale ma

Noble Energy Marcellus Shale map (photo –

Noble Energy will be the anchor tenant in a new building at the business park near Canonsburg in Washington County, about 17 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The facility expects to add 200 new jobs to the park when it opens next year, and will have the ability to support growth to more than 450 people.

Noble Energy’s Marcellus operations footprint extends over southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. Specifically, their focus is on Pennsylvania’s Washington and Greene Counties, in addition to four counties in West Virginia.

Since 2011, the company has been involved in the Marcellus Shale region through a joint venture with CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX), which is already headquartered at the Southpointe Business Park.

In addition to CONSOL, Southpointe is home to some of the largest natural gas producers, including Chesapeake Energy and Columbia Gas, among others. In total, there are some 60 energy companies and shale-related firms located at Southpointe.

Noble Energy President and COO David Stover said the decision to locate their regional headquarters in Southpointe Business Park reflects the company’s long-term commitment to Pennsylvania and W. Virginia, and the strategic role that Marcellus Shale operations have in the company’s overall growth strategy.

Noble Energy began its Marcellus operations with 12 employees in 2011, and has grown to 147 employees even as their Marcellus production increased by 65 percent in 2013. Overall, the company employs more than 2,300 people and ended 2013 with a year-end market capitalization of $23 billion.

Stover said that over the next five years, they expect Marcellus production to grow at a compound annual rate of 46 percent. He pointed out that a rapidly growing workforce headquartered at the new facility in Southpointe will help the company achieve these goals.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said that Pennsylvania is helping to power the world and companies like Noble Energy are helping power their economy.

Earlier this year, Gov. Corbett put out an “Energy = Jobs” state energy plan to position Pennsylvania as a national leader in energy production, and leverage the energy industry to create jobs.

The energy plan, along with facts about the energy sector and available state resources including energy-focused incentives, can be seen on the Pennsylvania economic development department (DECD) website.

Decatur Tries to Kickstart Sweetwater Project With Bass Pro Incentives

The City of Decatur, Alabama and Genesis USA Development, LLC are taking yet another go at getting the Sweetwater development project started by securing Bass Pro Shops at the location as an anchor retailer.

Sweetwater development in Decatur, AL

Sweetwater development in Decatur, AL (photo –

At a city council meeting on March 17, 2014, there will be a public hearing and the Decatur City Council will vote on whether to approve massive incentives for both Bass Pro and Genesis.

The Decatur economic development and funding agreement (pdf file – scroll down to pg. 44) with Bass Pro Outdoor World includes sales tax rebates to the tune of $31 million for the Bass Pro Shops project, and $14 million in lodging tax rebates for a Bass Pro Hotel.

Bass Pro is required to build a shopping facility covering at least 100,000 square feet and operate it for at least 20 years.

To get the project started, the City is willing to put up an initial contribution of $11 million. This includes half the purchase price of the Phase 1 land (52.65 acres), in addition to construction of a four-lane boulevard, retention reservoir, a temporary road, and part of the construction cost for an overpass.

Decatur is working on getting approvals for state and federal funding for the overpass that will ease the flow of traffic in and out of the location.

The first phase of the Sweetwater development is expected to create around 400 jobs, increasing to an estimated 4,000 over the next 20 years.

The Sweetwater project, located at Interstate 65 and I-565 in a part of Limestone County annexed by Decatur, is planned to be a shopping and tourist destination that will transform Decatur and the surrounding area, drawing shoppers and tourists from North Alabama, North Mississippi and Southern Tennessee.

The original $1.3 billion plan proposed in 2008 on a 540-acre site included over 1.2 million square feet of retail space, restaurants and movie theaters, in addition to an event venue/amphitheater for concerts and shows, a 250-room hotel with a conference center, and more than 800,000 square feet of office and medical space.

This was just the commercial part, and the overall plan was to build a small city, including residential units for 2,500 families, a school, fire station, places of worship, parks, lakes and recreation centers.

It was touted as the gateway to Decatur that would act as a catalyst for more developments in the surrounding 3,000 additional acres that fall within city limits.

A large part of the first phase of this grand project is based on the “Bass Pro Effect,” where Bass Pro’s investment and their presence attracts more retail outlets, restaurants and other developments.

The City and Genesis have therefore been doing this same dance with Bass Pro every few months since 2008, and the project seems to be on for a few months before sputtering to a stop.

The previous occasion when discussions were terminated was in Oct 2013, because Bass Pro refused to commit to a 2014 opening. Bass Pro would be opening the facility in 2016 under the new agreement, assuming that the Decatur City Council signs off on the incentives and Bass Pro accepts the deal.

Peco Foods Poultry Operation to Create 1000 Jobs in Arkansas

Integrated poultry processing and packaging company Peco Foods, Inc. announced plans to launch a new fully integrated poultry facility including a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant in Clay and Randolph Counties in Arkansas.

Peco Foods announcement at Governor's conference room in Arkansas State Capitol

Peco Foods announcement at Governor’s conference room in the Arkansas State Capitol (photo – Association of Arkansas Counties)

The company will invest $165 million into the project and add 1,000 new jobs.

The processing plant and hatchery will be located near Pocahontas in Randolph County, while the feed mill will be in Corning, Clay County.

The announcement was made by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and Mark Hickman, president and CEO of Peco Foods, along with the leadership from Randolph and Clay Counties, and Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).

Hickman said Arkansas is an excellent place to do business, and they are looking forward to providing new jobs and an economic boost to both counties.

Peco Foods has had a presence in Arkansas since 2011, when the company acquired the Townsends Poultry Complex in Batesville. They also have a feed mill in Newark, AR. In Oct 2012, Peco announced an expansion in both Batesville and Newark to add 300 new jobs in addition to their existing 866 employees in the region at that time.

Even before this latest announcement of another integrated poultry facility, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama-based Peco Foods was already the eighth largest poultry producer in the U.S., with enough facilities in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas to process 24 million pounds of poultry every week.

The central location of their facilities ensures fresh delivery of processed poultry within 72 hours anywhere within the continental United States.

Back in 2012, Peco Foods got a $485,000 state grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission grant to help with their expansion, along with $175,000 in local incentives from Independence County. They were also approved for training assistance, a payroll tax credit on the jobs created, and sales tax refunds on construction and equipment purchase.

For the new integrated poultry facility in Randolph and Clay Counties, Peco Foods will now receive an incentives package of at least $4.5 million from the AEDC, plus a grant from the DRA and additional local incentives from Randolph County. The company will again be eligible for training assistance, payroll tax credits and sales tax refunds.

The poultry facility will be established in two phases, starting with a groundbreaking for the feed mill in April, and subsequently the hatchery and processing plant in July.

Ford Moves Truck Production From Mexico to Ohio Assembly Plant

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)  announced that production of the all-new 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks will be moved from Mexico to the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, near Cleveland.

Ford F650

Ford F650 (photo –

The F-650 and F-750 make up the core of Ford’s commercial truck range, and the new model is scheduled to become available in spring 2015.

As part of this significant shift, Ford will be investing $168 million into the Ohio Assembly Plant (OHAP) for retooling to facilitate production of the new medium-duty trucks.

No new jobs were announced as part of this investment, but it’s still going to make Cleveland and Ohio economic development officials happy because OHAP getting production of the new Ford trucks secures the future of the plant and thousands of jobs in the Cleveland area.

The 3.7 million-square-foot Ohio Assembly Plant set on 419 acres has 1,590 hourly workers and 114 salaried employees. The facility opened in 1974, and currently produces the Ford E-Series Van, Wagon and Cutaways.

The E-Series cargo and passenger van production is slated to end later this year because Ford is replacing the E-Series van with the 2015 Ford Transit, production of which will soon begin at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, MO.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, said that shifting production of the F-650 and F-750 trucks to the Ohio Assembly Plant helps secure a solid future for the dedicated workers at this facility.

The production shift from Mexico to Ohio is taking place as a result of a collective bargaining agreement that Ford and the UAW worked out in 2011.

UAW vice president Jimmy Settles, who is also director of the UAW National Ford Department, said they are extremely pleased that the dedicated, highly skilled and motivated UAW members of the Ohio Assembly Plant have been selected for building the next-generation Ford F-650 and F-750.

Prior to this $168 million expansion, the last major expansion at OHAP was in 1998, when Ford added a paint department.

However, Ford has recently announced investments at other plants in Ohio, including a $200 million investment announced in Feb 2013 for an expansion of the Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park, OH that is creating 450 new jobs.

That investment enabled production of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine which was previously being shipped in from a Ford plant in Spain.

Jacksonville Economic Development Trip to London Nets Greencore Expansion

Greencore USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland-based Greencore Group, announced an expansion of its food manufacturing facility.

Jacksonville economic development

Jacksonville economic development (photo –

The global food service company will invest $10 million to add the capability to manufacture frozen “food to go” products at their facility in Jacksonville’s Northside .

Greencore, which already has 259 employees at this plant, will create up to 283 new jobs as a result of this expansion.

The project, which has been in the works under the codename of “Project Oatmeal,” is seeking $296,000 in local incentives from Jacksonville, including a Recapture Enhanced Value grant of $155,000, and support for workforce recruitment and training.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said the expansion is great news for the City, and noted that it was a direct result of targeted business development efforts in London last year. Mayor Brown added that it shows the value of public-private partnerships to promote business opportunities.

This is a reference to a trade mission to London organized by the JAXUSA. The non-profit JAXUSA Partnership provides Northeast Florida and Jacksonville economic development services.

Last year in October, JAXUSA organized an economic development trip to London timed to coincide with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first overseas game at Wembley Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers. Around a dozen city and business leaders accompanied Mayor Brown on the trip to London.

The Jaguars lost that game 42-10, but the economic development team apparently did a lot better, holding meetings with executives from a range of companies including Deutsche Bank and Greencore.

JAXUSA President Jerry Mallot said Greencore’s decision to expand in Jacksonville is great news for the region, and added that it was the first impact from the London mission with the Jaguars, and further evidence of their international success.

Greencore USA CEO Liam McClennon said they are excited about the expansion in Jacksonville, and happy to be able to create hundreds of new jobs for the region.

Greencore Group CEO Patrick Coveney said they have been working since 2011 to build a focused food to go business in the U.S., and the capital investment in Jacksonville is consistent with the company’s long-term approach of developing high-quality manufacturing facilities for meeting the growth needs of their key customers in the U.S.

The publicly-traded Greencore Group PLC (GNC:LSE) has operations in Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S., and has 10,155 employees worldwide. The Jacksonville facility is one of their seven facilities in the United States.

Ohio TCA Provides Tax Credits for Economic Development Projects Impacting 1057 Jobs

The board of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) has approved assistance under the Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC) program for 10 projects that will collectively create 349 jobs and retain another 708 jobs across Ohio.

Ohio Development

Ohio Development (photo –

Together, these projects will be making investments worth $8.7 million, and are expected to add $17.4 million in new payroll.

One of the projects approved for a 45 percent, six-year JCTC is Columbus-based internet marketing provider The company is expanding its operations in Franklin County, as a result of which it will create 50 new full-time jobs, adding $2.8 million to its existing $1.9 million payroll., which is based in Deerfield Township, is likewise undertaking an expansion project that will create 22 new jobs and will add $1.5 million to the company’s existing $3.4 million payroll., Inc. has been approved for a 40 percent, five-year JCTC for this project.

Zipscene, a technology company which helps its clients target their marketing campaigns at specific customers and customer groups, is expanding in Cincinnati and adding 47 new jobs. The new jobs will add another $3.8 million to their existing $1.8 million payroll. The TCA has approved a 45 percent, six-year JCTC for this project.

Liberty Technology and Liberty Casting are getting a 45 percent, five-year JCTC for undertaking a consolidation project in the City of Delaware, OH which is expected to create 52 new jobs, adding $2 million to their existing $6.5 million payroll.

Aurora Plastics is getting a 40 percent, five-year JCTC for an expansion project in the City of Streetsboro, OH which is expected to create 19 new jobs, adding $1.5 million to their existing $3.4 million payroll.

Selman & Company is likewise getting a 40 percent, five-year JCTC for an expansion project in the City of Cleveland, OH which is expected to create 40 new jobs, adding $1.7 million to their existing $4.95 million payroll.

IntelliHARTx, LLC is moving to a new location in the City of Findlay, OH in the process creating 50 new jobs and adding $1.7 million in payroll. The company has been approved for a 405 percent, six-year JCTC.

McFeely’s, a fasteners woodworking tools supplier in the City of Harrison, OH is getting a 35 percent, five-year for adding 14 new jobs and $670,000 in additional payroll.

Venture Packaging, located in the Village of Monroeville, is undertaking an expansion that will create 45 new jobs and add $1.1 million to the company’s existing $12.8 million payroll. This project has been approved for a 40 percent, six-year JCTC.

Lastly, Miba Energy Holding LLC is moving to a new location in the Village of McConnelsville, and the company is getting a 40 percent, six-year JCTC for creating 10 new jobs and adding $705,000 in new payroll.

These projects seeking state assistance are submitted to the TCA for review by regional economic development agencies in Ohio and by JobsOhio, a private non-profit organization that promotes Ohio economic development and job creation.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Helps Evonik Stay in VA

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Evonik Industries will maintain its manufacturing operations in the City of Hopewell, VA and will invest $15 million for a Business and Innovation Center in Chesterfield County.

Essen, Germany-based Evonik is one of the world’s leading companies in the specialty chemicals field, and is active in more than 100 countries.

Virginia was competing for this project against other locations in

Evonik Industries

Evonik Industries

New Jersey and Indiana, so the company’s decision to stay put in Virginia not only creates 50 new jobs, but also helps retain 130 existing ones.

Gov. McAuliffe said Evonik’s decision to stay in Virginia is a win-win for the Greater Richmond region and for the state.

The Governor added that Evonik’s creation of 50 new jobs and expansion of its R&D facilities in Chesterfield County is a testament to Virginia’s ability to attract growing and innovative companies, and will contribute to the long-term economic sustainability of the community.

Dr. Reinhold Brand, senior vice president and general manager of Evonik’s Consumer Specialties business unit in North America, was effusive in his praise of Virginia as a business destination.

Dr. Brand said Virginia is very business-friendly, the region has a highly-educated workforce, and it’s possible to attract talent from all over the world to work and live in the state. Dr. Brand also mentioned it was very easy to work with the Governor and his economic development team.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked to secure this project in partnership with the Greater Richmond Partnership and Chesterfield County. The company has been approved for a $500,000 grant under the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.

The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity will additionally provide funding and services to assist Evonik with recruitment and training.

Jim Holland, chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, said they are extremely pleased that a world leader in the manufacturing and development of specialty chemicals such as Evonik has chosen to locate their Business and Innovation Center in Chesterfield County.

Evonik has production plants in 24 countries, and its workforce of more than 33,000 employees around the world includes 2,500 R&D staff at more than 35 locations around the world.

Holland added that R&D is one of their target growth markets, and this announcement certainly fits into their economic base.

Louisiana Economic Development Secures PSW Project With Production Tax Credits

Phoenix-based systems and software engineering services firm Performance Software Corp. (PSW) will establish a new software development center in New Orleans.

LED Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive

Photo –

The software development project will create 58 new full-time jobs with average annual wages of $75,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the project will support the creation of another 59 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of 117 new jobs.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said this was a significant win for Louisiana, bringing valuable technology expertise to the state while creating exciting new career opportunities for Louisiana families.

PSW specializes in partnering with customers in the defense and aerospace sectors. However, the New Orleans center, which is its seventh U.S. location, will focus on developing the company’s business in the energy and healthcare sectors.

Performance Software Corp. CEO Timothy A. Bigelow said that expanding outside of Phoenix with regional offices helps the company grow its talent base.

Bigelow said they have successfully opened these regional offices in other states, and find that bringing jobs to high technology centers is a win-win – It expands the employment base of the local high-tech economy, and gives Performance Software access to the best talent from the local engineering colleges.

LED began negotiations with PSW about this project in Aug 2013. In order to secure the project, Louisiana is offering PSW a 25 percent refundable tax credit for eligible production expenditures under the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive.

In addition to the 25 percent tax credit for qualified production expenses, this program also offers a 35 percent tax credit on payroll for in-state labor in Louisiana. There is no cap and no minimum requirement.

PSW will also get recruitment and training support from LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said New Orleans is establishing itself as a hub for talent, creative minds and fresh ideas.

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., which is the New Orleans economic development organization, said GNO was pleased to have played a leading role in recruiting PSW to New Orleans.

Hecht added that Greater New Orleans is the fastest growing technology market in the United States, and the growing base of local companies is complemented by an increasing number of new companies such as PSW, and the result is more high-quality jobs for the community.

UTC Agreement Big Win For Connecticut Economic Development

United Technologies Corporation has signed a far-reaching agreement that’s virtually unprecedented in the history of Connecticut economic development projects.

UTC and Connecticut aerospace investments economic development agreement

UTC and Connecticut aerospace investments economic development agreement (photo –

As per the agreement announced by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and United Technologies Chairman and CEO Louis Chênevert, UTC will maintain its formidable presence in the state, and invest $500 million over the next five years for facility upgrades.

UTC also expects to continue with investments of up to $4 billion on other capital expenditures and research.

Gov. Malloy said this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will make sure the state keeps and creates good-paying jobs.

The agreement will have an impact on more than 75,000 aerospace jobs, including more than 14,400 jobs at UTC companies and the rest in their supply chain that extends all over the state and the region. UTC has more than 2,500 direct suppliers in Connecticut.

Specific commitments UTC has made in the agreement include the following:-

– Construction of 425,000-square-foot Pratt & Whitney corporate headquarters in East Hartford, which will stay in CT for at least 15 years;

– Maintain Sikorsky headquarters in CT for at least five years;

– Locate and build Pratt & Whitney engineering center of excellence in CT;

– Create a UTC Aerospace Systems customer training center in Windsor Locks, CT;

– Expansion at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) in East Hartford, CT; and

– Research projects and capital investments in all the above UTC companies.

These projects will commence this year, and construction is expected to continue through to 2018, and will create nearly 1,500 construction jobs.

Connecticut will have to approve pending legislation (The Connecticut Aerospace Reinvestment Act) to fulfill their end of the deal.

In order to secure all these commitments from UTC, Connecticut has offered the company the ability to annually exchange unused tax credits for R&D activities from previous years to offset future sales and income tax obligations.

These offsets, available over a 14-year period, could end up giving the company up to $400 million in new tax breaks. Of course, the tax breaks would be vastly reduced or eliminated if the company does not fulfill the terms of the agreement.

UTC Chairman and CEO Louis Ch√™nevert said this agreement secures the future of aerospace in Connecticut. Ch√™nevert added that these investments will enable UTC’s aerospace businesses to continue with their cutting-edge research and development in Connecticut, and will provide new and exciting opportunities for science and engineering graduates.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. Funding For Projects Creating 1444 Jobs

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced funding for economic development and community revitalization projects that will create 1,444 new jobs and generate a combined $362 million in capital investment.

MEDC creating jobs

MEDC creating jobs (photo –

Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval of an inducement resolution has been cleared for Michigan State University for a $100 million bond to build the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

This $600 million project has also received funded from the federal government, and the bond issue will provide the required community share of the funding. MSU estimates that 5,000 construction jobs while be created while FRIB is being built, and 400 new full-time jobs thereafter.

Another project that received MEDC funding approval is the proposed TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE: AMTD) technology center in the City of Ann Arbor, MI. The company will invest up to $3 million into this project, which is expected to create 50 new jobs.

TD Ameritrade was also looking at sites in Nebraska, Illinois and New Jersey for the technology center. MEDC sealed the deal with the help of a $500,000 performance-based grant offered under the Michigan Business Development Program. The City of Ann Arbor is offering additional local incentives for workforce recruitment.

German Automotive supplier Eberspaecher is getting a $4.5 million Michigan Business Development Program grant for an expansion of its facility in the City of Brighton. The company is also getting a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Economic Development Fund, and a property tax abatement has been offered by Brighton. Eberspaecher North America, Inc. plans to invest $122 million and create 545 new jobs.

MRO services provider Kalitta Air, LLC plans to build a new airplane hangar at the Wurtsmith Airport in Oscoda Charter Township. The project requires a $9.7 million investment and will create 200 new jobs. Kalitta has been approved for a $2 million state grant, and Oscoda Charter Township is offering tax increment financing (TIF) worth an estimated $2.3 million over a 29-year period.

Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP) incentives have been approved for three renovation and redevelopment projects. Ashley Owner, LLC is getting a $1 million grant for renovating the historic Milner Hotel in Detroit. The Strathmore Hotel renovation project in Detroit is getting a $3.5 million equity contribution. Midland DTH LLC is getting a $4.8 million loan for a mixed-use redevelopment project in Midland.

Two companies – McLaren Performance Technologies, Inc. and AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc., were approved for enhancements to existing job creation tax credits.

Apart from all these projects, MSF also approved more than $7 million in funding for infrastructure improvement projects in 14 Michigan communities under the Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) program. Details of these community grants will be released later this week.

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