Job Creation

Flextronics and Motorola Open First U.S. Smartphone Manufacturing Plant

Motorola Mobility, a Google company, and its manufacturing partner Flextronics have opened the first manufacturing facility in the U.S. for smartphones in Fort Worth, Texas.

Opening of Motorola smartphone plant in Fort Worth, TX

Opening of Motorola smartphone plant in Fort Worth, TX (photo – Texas Governor’s Office)

The grand opening of the new facility, announced earlier this year in May, was attended by Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, Flextronics CEO Mike McNamara, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, among others.

Flextronics initially planned to spend $25 million and hire 2,000 employees for the Fort Worth plant, a former Nokia facility that was retrofitted to enable production of Motorola Mobility’s new Moto X smartphone.

They have already hired more than 2,000 employees in the last four months, and the hiring process through staffing partner Aerotek is still in progress.

Gov. Perry said Motorola and Flextronics could have located this facility anywhere in the world, but they chose Texas. Neither Motorola nor Flextronics asked for incentives from Fort Worth or Texas.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside explained in a blog post why they chose to make the phones in the U.S. Woodside said they chose to be optimistic about the future of American manufacturing, not because making their flagship product in the U.S. was easy, but because it was the right thing to do.

He said it was not economics that prevents consumer electronics manufacturers from making things locally, but a lack of vision and imagination.

Woodside said the economics had shifted and making phones in the U.S. was not that much more expensive now than making it in Asia.

Secondly, the people designing Motorola Mobility’s products are closer to those who build them at Flextronics. This means the iterative process of innovation involving redesigns and refining becomes a lot easier.

Motorola Mobility, which until recently was headquartered in Libertyville, Illinois, is relocating its headquarters and 3,000 employees, including their design teams, to the Chicago Merchandise Mart along the banks of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.

Thirdly, Woodside said that customers had changed, and wanted a say in the design process which is much harder if the manufacturing is done overseas. Others, he said, want a product they buy to be made locally and know that they are supporting local jobs.

Above all, producing the Moto X locally brings innovation back to the U.S., which Woodside says is essential for the nation’s economic health. It creates jobs and will prevent technical skills from being lost.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Will Create 152,000 Jobs in Japan

On Sept 7, 2013, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo selected for 2020 Olympics

Tokyo selected for 2020 Olympics (photo – tokyo2020.jp)

Tokyo won the honor of hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics after two rounds of voting in which it trumped fellow candidate cities Istanbul, Turkey and Madrid, Spain.

According to research conducted by the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, the Olympic Games in Tokyo are projected to generate economic activity adding up to three trillion yen ($30 billion).

This includes $20 billion for the Tokyo metropolitan area, and the remaining spread around the rest of the country.

The Olympic Games are expected to create 152,000 jobs nationwide across Japan. This includes 84,000 new jobs in Tokyo and 68,000 in the rest of the country.

The main areas to benefit will be suppliers in Tokyo and the rest of Japan contracting with local and international businesses, service providers offering assistance for the opening and closing ceremonies and competition management, and the short and long term benefits for tourism.

These figures do not include the economic benefits of improved infrastructure. There will be a massive additional boost to the economy as the Tokyo metropolitan government opens up the spigot of $4 billion it has committed for a complete makeover of Tokyo for implementing the Tokyo 2020 plan.

The National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, which is slated to be dismantled and rebuilt for the Olympics, is by itself a billion dollar project.

This is Tokyo’s second successive bid for the Olympics. They put up a failed bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, which ultimately went to Rio de Janeiro.

The only U.S. cities to have hosted the Olympic Games are St. Louis, Missouri (1904); Atlanta, Georgia (1996); and Los Angeles, California (1932 and 1984).

Chicago actually did win the 1904 bid, but the venue was ultimately moved to St. Louis because of date conflicts with another event.

Chicago tried once more for 1952 and 1956 without success, and then recently for the 2016 Olympic Games. For 2016, the United States Olympic Committee considered bids from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. San Francisco withdrew and Los Angeles lost out to Chicago.

Chicago failed again, as the bid went to Rio de Janeiro. If Chicago had won the bid and been awarded the Olympics by the IOC, it would have created an estimated $22.5 billion in economic activity for the state of Illinois, along with 315,000 full-time jobs for a year and $7 billion in wages.

Tempus Jets Establishing Facility at Brunswick Landing, Maine

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) charged with redevelopment of the decommissioned Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine announced that it had found a new tenant for the facility.

Tempus Jets welcome event in Maine

Tempus Jets welcome event in Maine (photo – tempusjets.com)

Tempus Jets, which has operations in eight locations, will be relocating its Newport News, Virginia operations to a 166,355-square-foot hanger in Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM).

Tempus is headquartered at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, South Carolina.

They are leasing 34,532 square feet of hangar and office plus workshop space at BXM to start with, and plan to expand MRO (aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul) services afterwards.

Because of the size of the Brunswick Landing hangar, Tempus Jets will be able to expand its MRO business considerably.

As per the plan, they hope to take over another 100,000 square feet of space in the hangar to accommodate six narrow-body commercial aircraft simultaneously, and may be able to accommodate wide-body Boeing and Airbus commercial aircraft with some modifications to the BXM hangars.

The relocation project is expected to create 25 new jobs before the end of the year, and another 25 next year. If the expansion goes as planned, the company estimates it will eventually hire 200 technical and engineering staff in the Brunswick facility.

At the moment, they are starting off with 10-12 workers, and are moving equipment and tools worth $7 million from Newport News to BXM.

Tempus Jets CEO Scott Terry said they were excited at having discovered a business-friendly environment with the unique infrastructure they needed to effectively grow the MRO business. He said they intended to do business in Maine for a long time to come.

MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque said this was another great step towards the goal of redeveloping Brunswick Naval Air Station and growing the state’s aerospace sector. He said the kind of jobs Tempus Jets is taking about creating would provide a huge boost for the local as well as state economies.

George Gervais, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), said the project was a perfect fit and would help in sustaining the momentum of new commercial development and increased job opportunities at Brunswick Landing.

Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage commended DECD for working closely with MRRA and Tempus Jets to respond quickly and meet the company‚Äôs needs. He said it was a testament to the state’s can-do approach, and further illustrates that Maine is indeed open for business.

The Governor also mentioned that Tempus has been offered business incentives and is eligible for several state programs.

Hanna Cylinders Relocating to Kenosha County, WI

Libertyville, Illinois-based Hanna Cylinders is relocating its production facility and other operations to Kenosha County in Wisconsin, midway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Kenosha  relocation

Kenosha relocation (photo – kaba.org)

The company, which makes hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders and valve actuators, has signed a long-term lease on a 105,637-square-foot facility in the LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie, WI.

Apart from relocating their existing 100 jobs from the Chicago suburbs to Kenosha County, the company anticipates doubling their workforce in Wisconsin over the next five years.

Kimball Bradley, president of Hanna Cylinders, said that Wisconsin had made Hanna’s decision to relocate from Illinois overwhelmingly clear. He credited the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) for working diligently to facilitate incentives and ensure a smooth transition.

Bradley added that Hanna was looking forward to prospering and growing in Wisconsin.

In order to secure this relocation project and the associated jobs, Wisconsin and Kenosha County offered Hanna Cylinders a generous package of incentives.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is offering tax credits, while Kenosha County is offering another $1.5 million in local incentives. This includes a forgivable loan of $250,000 from the Kenosha County High Impact Fund, and another $1.25 million low-interest loan.

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said the Hanna relocation was an excellent example of the sort of development the Kenosha County High Impact Fund is designed for. He said that attracting an innovative and fast-growing company with 100 new jobs for the county was exactly the intention when the fund was created.

Kreuser and the rest of the County Board established the fund with an initial million dollar allocation that was moved over from another economic development initiative meant for supporting a planned Chrysler V-6 engine plant that never materialized.

In order to qualify for incentives as a “high impact” project in Kenosha County, the project must either promise an investment of at least $3 million or creation of at least 50 new full-time equivalent jobs. If the recipient meets the investment or job creation targets within three years and maintains it for five years, the loan provided from the High Impact Fund is forgiven.

Pleasant Prairie Village President John P. Steinbrink said they were incredibly pleased to welcome Hanna Cylinders. He said that with a great quality of life, a supportive business community and organizations such as KABA, Hanna will excel in Pleasant Prairie.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker likewise said he was pleased to welcome Hanna Cylinders to the state, and particularly to Kenosha County. He said it demonstrated that Wisconsin is a great place for doing business.

USAA to Open IT Center in Plano, TX With 680 Jobs

San Antonio, Texas-based United Services Automobile Association (USAA) announced plans to build an information technology center in Plano, Texas.

USAA

USAA (photo – usaa.com)

The project will require the company to invest $31 million, and is expected to create 680 new jobs.

USAA offers financial services and products to more than 9.8 million U.S. military members, veterans and their dependents.

USAA is taking over two adjacent buildings in the Legacy business park in the Dallas “Platinum Corridor.” The properties in question have already been purchased by USAA Real Estate Co., which is a USAA subsidiary.

USAA CEO Joe Robles said that Texas has been their home for more than 90 years, and they were happy to be expanding in Plano. He said the company was growing, and as the demand for their services and products grows, so does their need to access the best talent available in different markets.

USAA has been offered $5 million as state incentives through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF). The City of Plano is additionally offering local incentives, which will be considered for approval at a city council meeting later this month. The TEF funding agreement is contingent upon the company being approved for the local incentives package.

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said the City was excited to be a part of this joint effort with TEF to bring a Fortune 500 company such as USAA to Plano. He said economic development was the Plano City Council’s primary initiative. He added that such partnerships reinforce the importance placed on continued investments in the community.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Texas and USAA share a proud history of serving the nation’s veterans, and the company’s decision to pump millions into the local economy in Plano and create hundreds of jobs will further strengthen their ties to the state.

USAA was founded in 1922 by a group of army officers who were unable to secure auto insurance because they were considered a high-risk group. USAA is now a Fortune 500 company offering a diversified array of services and products including banking, insurance, retirement investment vehicles and financial planning. Last year, the company generated $20.729 billion in revenue, and now has more than 25,000 employees.

Calsonic Announces TN Expansions With 1200 Manufacturing Jobs

Nissan automotive parts supplier Calsonic Kansei North America, Inc. (CKNA) announced expansions of its Tennessee manufacturing facilities in Lewisburg, Shelbyville and Smyrna.

TN Gov. Bill Haslam at Calsonic jobs announcement

TN Gov. Bill Haslam at Calsonic jobs announcement (photo – TNECD)

The expansion projects will require the company to invest $109 million and will create 1,200 new manufacturing jobs.

CKNA’s Lewisburg facility makes electronic components used in dashboards, meters and inverters, along with plastics components for vehicle interiors.

This Lewisburg plant in Marshall County is getting a $49.8 million investment for an expansion that includes the construction of a 300,000-square-foot warehousing operation. CKNA will add 526 jobs at this plant over the next three years. These jobs are in addition to the existing 1,117 jobs at the facility.

The Shelbyville facility in Bedford County makes catalytic converters, exhaust units and manifolds. CKNA will invest $57.6 million at this plant and create 489 new jobs over the next three years. These new jobs are in addition to the existing 1,010 jobs at the plant.

CKNA’s Smyrna facility in Rutherford County is actually inside the Nissan plant in Smyrna, and supplies Calsonic parts for use in the vehicles assembled at this plant by Nissan. CKNA is investing $2.1 million at this facility, and will create 183 new jobs to add to the existing 469 CKNA employees in Smyrna.

Bob Masteller, vice president of Human Resources and Legal, CKNA, said the company was pleased to announce their largest ever expansion in Middle Tennessee. He said they were grateful for the cooperation and teamwork with Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), who he said were their partners in the expansion.

Masteller also said they believed Tennessee citizens form one of the world’s best workforces, and the company was pleased to be a part of the community in Middle Tennessee.

Gov. Haslam said that in addition to supporting existing companies, a big part of their economic development strategy was to focus on things they were doing well, and this expansion by CKNA further solidifies Tennessee’s leadership of the auto manufacturing sector.

Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray said he was proud of Calsonic. He said the company started with five people, and they were very excited about Calsonic’s continued growth in the community. Mayor Ray added that the investment the company was making in Bedford County was invaluable.

Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said they continued to benefit from the automotive industry’s growth, and added that Calsonic has proven to be a great business partner.

Economy on the Rebound: How Economic Development Helps Us All

Media outlets and politicians talk about economic growth as if it’s the Holy Grail, but most of us are left wondering how macroeconomic factors influence our daily lives. The short answer is that personal economic successes (jobs, savings, good credit) are usually the result of some greater economic development. A small business owner wouldn’t survive without the housing development down the street. A student from a low-income family couldn’t go to college without money from the successful nonprofit. Major economic development trickles down to affect almost every dollar we spend.

When you hear about economic development initiatives in your community, take heart. The positive impact has a snowball effect.

More Jobs

Perhaps the most important consequence of economic development is a boost to employment. When new businesses open in your area, so do new job opportunities. Small businesses are particularly effective engines for this growth. Sba.gov reports that small businesses are responsible for two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. More employment means more money flowing into the the community. Economic growth builds on itself.

CNN reported on one of many studies that found that unemployment correlates with depression. The more hope people have as they apply for jobs online and in person, the better of community morale will be.

Fewer Taxes

Economic growth also means fewer burdens on taxpayers to keep things in order. As unemployment falls, fewer depend on welfare to make ends meet. If no one was unemployed, we could get rid of temporary welfare benefits altogether and reduce the tax rate. Low taxes mean more money to buy products, start business ventures and invest. When more people have more money, things get better economically.

More Progress

Tech start-up Melon wanted to bring its EEG headband to the masses, but didn’t have the funds to do so. Enter Kickstarter.com, a crowdfunding platform that helped Melon raise more than $200,000. Melon expects to release its focus-boosting accessory later this year. It’s a prime example of one of the greatest benefits of economic development: progress. As fresh businesses sprout, they build on what’s been done and create the world of tomorrow. It’s not just in the technology industry either. New businesses are coming up with creative ways to produce food, build roads, teach kids and save lives.

More Hope

If we’ve learned anything from the recent recession, it’s that economic vitality is one of the biggest contributors to our morale. Economic development, whether it’s new businesses or decreased unemployment, offers a communal hope that things are getting better. It’s the reason we celebrate when we see even the smallest positive financial news. Most of us have struggled at one point in our lives, so we can relate to the stress of financial struggles. Economic development is a sign that better days are on the way.

Toyota Announces $102M Expansions in W.Va, TN, MO

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia (TMMWV) announced plans for an expansion of transmission production capacity at the company’s Buffalo, W.Va. powertrain plant.

Toyota plant in Buffalo, West Virginia

Toyota plant in Buffalo, W.Va (photo – toyota.com)

The expansion project requires Toyota to make an investment of $90 million, and will create 80 new jobs. The plant already has 1,300 employees.

The announcement was made by West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin during a visit to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 77th annual meeting and business summit at The Greenbrier.

In addition to 4-cylinder and V6 engines, the Buffalo powertrain plant already makes half a million 6-speed transmissions for various Toyota models including Camry, Avalon, and Lexus RX350, among others – all cars that are built in North America.

The expansion will enable Toyota to manufacture another 20,000 transmissions per month, for a total of 740,000 a year starting from 2015.

This announcement brings the total investment to-date by TMMWV in the Buffalo plant to $1.4 billion, which includes the initial investment to establish the plant in 1996 and eight subsequent expansions.

Millie Marshall, TMMWV senior vice president of manufacturing and administration, said the expansion will enable them to meet increasing North American demand, and is part of their localization strategy to “build where we sell.”

Gov. Tomblin said that after more than 15 years of being a dedicated corporate citizen, TMMWV’s continued growth was a testament to the company’s hard-working team members committed to producing quality powertrains at the Buffalo plant, and to the business climate in the state that encourages companies to innovate, create new jobs and expand.

Toyota also announced that it will be investing $11 million into its Bodine Aluminum casting part manufacturing plant in Troy, Missouri and another $1 million in the Bodine Aluminum plant in Jackson, Tennessee. These investments will enable both these plants to supply TMMWV with transmission cases and housing parts.

The $11 million expansion in the Bodine Aluminum plant in Troy, MO will create another 25 new jobs.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said the Bodine Aluminum expansion in Troy was another important milestone not just for Toyota and Bodine, but also for the community and for the resurgent automotive manufacturing sector in Missouri.

This $102 million investment in the three plants along with the creation of more than 100 new jobs makes it a total of $2.1 billion worth of manufacturing investments announced by Toyota in North America over the past 21 months. These investments represent a total of more than 4,000 new jobs created.

Boeing Launches 787 Flight Training Facility in Miami, FL

Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced the launch of its 787 customer training facility in Miami at an event that was attended by Florida Governor Rick Scott and other state, local and federal officials.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flight Simulator

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flight Simulator (photo – boeing.com)

Back in March, Boeing had announced its intention to consolidate its 787 flight training capabilities in North America in Miami, which has the largest Boeing aviation training campus in the world.

The consolidation required Boeing to relocate 100 jobs to Miami from its Renton Flight Services Division in Seattle, Washington.

Boeing has already moved two 787 full-flight simulators to Miami, which now has a total of 16 flight simulators. One more will be moved in later this year.

The whole project to enhance the Miami campus to get it ready for training flight crews who will be flying and maintaining the 787 Dreamliner required Boeing to add nearly $100 million worth of training assets.

Aeromexico and LAN Airlines will be the first two customers whose crews will be trained on the 787 suites in Miami.

The consolidation of Boeing‚Äôs Americas flight training campuses at a single location is intended to reduce travel time for flight crews by bringing the facility closer to where Boeing’s customers operate.

Max Alvarez, vice president, Fleet Negotiations, Aeromexico, said Aeromexico sees the expanded capabilities at the Miami campus as a positive and beneficial development that will allow savings in transportation time and the associated costs for their airline.

Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services, said that Miami’s location at the crossroads of the Americas provides tremendous advantages as their preferred location for providing training to airlines in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. The Miami campus also gets Boeing customers from China, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Apart from being convenient for airlines, Miami‚Äôs advantages include geographic diversity inside the framework of Boeing’s commercial training network, and its existing status as an international aviation training hub.

Gov. Scott said he was proud to see Boeing consolidate its training capabilities for the Americas in Miami. He said it not only supports more than 100 jobs for families in Florida, but also continues to prove Miami’s status as an international business hub.

PTC Seamless Tube Corp to Create 283 Jobs in Hopkinsville, KY

PTC Seamless Tube Corp. announced plans to establish a new manufacturing operation for producing seamless steel tubes in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

PTC Seamless Tube Corp. product

PTC Seamless Tube Corp. product (photo – ptcalliance.com)

The expansion project in Hopkinsville requires an investment of $102 million, and will create 283 new jobs.

PTC Seamless Tube Corp. is a subsidiary of Wexford, Pennsylvania-based PTC Group Holdings Corp.

The company is implementing a strategic shift from production of traditional mechanical tubular products to seamless tubes such as oil country tubular goods (OCTGs) that the energy industry in the U.S. needs for shale developments.

The new manufacturing plant will be housed in a facility that was formerly a PTC plant, although run by a different subsidiary of the parent company. Before its closure, the plant was producing mechanical tubing components for the automotive industry.

PTC is now renovating this property, acquiring an adjacent site and reworking the whole layout to make room for the new equipment in 256,000 square feet of space.

In order to secure the project, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved PTC for up to $12 million in tax incentives under the Kentucky Business Investment program.

These are performance-based incentives which allow the company to recoup a portion of the investment through wage assessments and corporate income tax credits, which become available when it meets investment and job creation goals as per the agreement.

PTC is also getting $500,000 as sales and use tax refunds under the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. These refunds are available for purchase of construction material, R&D equipment and electronic processing equipment.

Peter Whiting, chairman, president and CEO of PTC Group Holdings Corp., said they were pleased to be returning back to Hopkinsville where the company has a long history of working with the community for creating manufacturing job opportunities.

Whiting said they were grateful for the support provided by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development team, who he said were very helpful during the process of analyzing location options for the expansion.

Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp said they were pleased that PTC had decided to bring the new project to their facility in Hopkinsville. He said it was a testament to the support the City offers to local businesses, and added that they were proud of PTC’s confidence in growing their operation in Hopkinsville.

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