Iowa Awards Economic Development Incentives for Four Projects Generating $157M Investment

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board has approved financial assistance and tax benefits for four projects that are generating more than $157 million in new capital investment.

Iowa economic development

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The projects undertaken by the four companies are expected to create 156 new jobs and will help retain 89 existing jobs in Iowa.

One of the projects is a biotech facility in Keokuk, IA by VAMA, which develops highly targeted natural solutions for insect control that are safe for humans and other animals.

The company recently came up with a natural, non-toxic and bio-degradable solution to combat parasitic mites called Varroa that are attacking and decimating bee populations, and is now planning to establish a facility in Keokuk to make and sell this product.

VAMA, Inc. will be investing $408,000 into this project, and expects to create 45 jobs. The IEDA board has approved tax incentives for the project under the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program.

Another big project receiving state incentives is an expansion by Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative in Luana, IA. Swiss Valley Farms is a four-state cooperative owned by its 626 dairy producers. They are investing $20.6 million into the expansion project in Luana, and will be creating 10 new jobs and retain 89 existing jobs.

The Swiss Valley Farms project has been awarded $465,000 in direct financial assistance, as well as tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs Program.

Custom logistics solutions provider XTL, Inc. is likewise making a big capital investment of $62 million for acquiring a site in Council Bluffs, IA. The company is creating 50 new jobs, and has been awarded tax benefits under the HQJP program.

The biggest investment of the lot is being made by the Monsanto Company, which is proposing a $73.9 million capital investment for expanding and improving operations at its crop plant in Muscatine, IA. The company expects to create 51 new jobs, and has been awarded tax incentives through the High Quality Jobs Program.

Apart from these four projects, the board of the Iowa Economic Development Authority also announced approval of innovation funding for a slew of startups.

West Des Moines-based DataYield is developing a cloud-based SaaS offering that allows agricultural support providers to effectively communicate with farmers who are their customers. DataYield is getting a $100,000 loan through the Iowa Demonstration Fund.

Terra Biologics, a St. Louis, MO-based startup that is relocating to Coralville, IA, has likewise been awarded a $100,000 loan to fund their research and development. Terra Biologics is in the process of commercializing a process to increase agricultural productivity with the help of micro-organisms called blue-green algae.

Clarksville, IA-based Crossroads Manufacturing, which has developed a solar-powered worksite monitoring tool, is getting a $25,000 grant from the Demonstration Fund.

Another Coralville-based company called InnoBioPharma, LLC was awarded a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund, as was Batavia-based MyMedScore (dba Punctil Health). Iowa City-based software development company Mazira, LLC received a $25,000 grant.

US Economic Development Administration Grant Enables Cleveland 100 Gigabit Fiber Network

The City of Cleveland, in partnership with Health-Tech Corridor and OneCommunity, is installing the first commercial metropolitan 100 gigabit fiber network in the United States.

Cleveland 100 gigabit fiber network

Cleveland 100 gigabit fiber network (photo –

The $1.02 million project is being funded by a $700,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, along with local funding from the City of Cleveland and OneCommunity.

The three-mile 1,600-acre HTC connects nine Cleveland neighborhoods and is a prime location for healthcare, biomedical and technology companies. OneCommunity is a non-profit-organization with a mission to expand high-speed broadband access and adoption to strengthen Northeast Ohio.

OneCommunity CEO Lev Gonick said in a release that consistent with their mission, they embrace the 100 gigabit network as a job creation engine for the City. Gonick added that offering the first 100 gigabit capability, specifically in the Health-Tech Corridor, incentivizes both local as well as national fast-growing companies to locate and remain in Cleveland.

Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson noted that the city is established as a center for innovation with the announcement of this 100 gigabit network, which also provides area businesses with a competitive advantage that will allow the creation of more job opportunities for residents.

The 100 gigabit network is being designed to help drive Cleveland economic development. It will connect from the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland, extending through buildings and land parcels in the Health-Tech Corridor to Case Western Reserve University and the University Circle area.

Work on the network is expected to kick off early next year and be completed by early summer.

ideastream President and CEO Jerry Wareham said that the Idea Center as a node on the new network will allow for the transmission of data and rich media including audio and video such as the education content and health information developed by ideastream. Wareham added that the network also provides the potential for advanced R&D and front-line opportunities.

Case Western Reserve University CIO and Vice President for IT Services Sue Workman said the federal grant illustrates the achievements possible when Cleveland organizations come together to serve the community’s best interests.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams said in the release that the EDA is pleased to invest in the strong regional collaboration led by the City of Cleveland and OneCommunity to establish a network that will connect the Health-Tech Corridor.

Assistant Secretary Williams added that this public-private partnership will drive innovation and job creation for the City and regional businesses to support entrepreneurs and advance the region’s reputation as a destination for innovation.

Craig J. Richard to Lead Atlanta Economic Development

Craig J. Richard has been named as the new president and chief executive officer of the City of Atlanta economic development authority Invest Atlanta.

Craig J. Richard

Craig J. Richard

Richard was picked to lead Invest Atlanta through a competitive process. He was one of the three finalists selected by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed following a national search conducted on behalf of the City by Jorgensen Consulting.

Mayor Reed said in a release announcing the pick that Richard is uniquely qualified to lead Invest Atlanta as they continue to grow the economy, create jobs and retain the businesses who already call Atlanta home.

Richard likewise noted that he looks forward to working with Mayor Reed and the Board to bring jobs and investment to Atlanta. Richard added that this was a competitive process, so he is honored to have been selected out of a group of extremely qualified candidates.

Richard succeeds Brian P. McGowan as the president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. McGowan left the post earlier this year to join the leadership team of the Metro Atlanta Chamber as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD, comes to Invest Atlanta from his previous position as CEO and president of Greater Louisville Inc. Richard led GLI from Jan 2013 to Feb 2014. During this period, he helped develop their strategic plan and coordinated a total of 32 projects that generated $571 million in capital investment and created 3,854 jobs.

Before that, Richard served as the Greater Houston Partnership’s Chief Economic Development Officer from 2008-2012. During this period, the GHP racked up 88 projects that generated $4.2 billion in capital investment and created 75,380 jobs.

He was named as the chief operating officer for Hawes Hill Calderon in 2007. This is a consulting firm specializing in the establishment and administration of special purpose economic development districts.

Richard has also served in leadership positions at the Dallas Regional Chamber as well as the Arlington, TX Chamber of Commerce.

After getting his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Houston, Richard went on to get a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

That led to the start of his career in economic development in 1996 with the City of Richmond, VA, and then as a marketing analyst with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Delta Regional Authority Invests $3.7M for Arkansas Economic Development Projects

The Delta Regional Authority, along with its state and local partners, announced an investment of more than $3.7 million to support eight Arkansas economic development projects.

DRA map

DRA map (photo –

The $1.393 million in federal DRA funding is being leveraged to secure another $2.345 million in other public and private investments, adding up into a total of $3.739 million in financial support for the eight projects.

It is estimated that the federal, state and local investment in these eight projects will help create and retain 1,050 jobs in Arkansas.

The federal portion of the funding is being made through the DRA States’ Economic Development Assistance Program.

This program invests federal funds in the 252 counties and parishes in the eight-state Delta region to support projects related to basic public infrastructure, business development, workforce development, transportation infrastructure, and entrepreneurship projects.

The funding includes $200,000 in DRA investment for airport hangar reconstruction in Stuttgart, AR. The $3 million Stuttgart project is creating 20 new jobs and helping retain 20 existing jobs. Another project getting $265,000 in DRA funding is an $865,076 extension of water and sewer utilities at the Big River Steel Plant site. The Big River Steel project is helping create 600 jobs.

The rest of the projects include a $196,250 sewer rehabilitation project in Rison, AR; a $97,125 roof replacement project in Mountain View, AR;  a $118,402 parking lot reconstruction in Eudora, AR; a $630,720 expansion at the Addison Shoe Company in Wynne, AR; a $1.25 million county road upgrade to support the PECO Foods expansion in Corning, AR; and a $225,000 construction of a rail spur in Marmaduke to provide direct rail access to two industrial sites.

DRA Federal Co-Chairman Christopher A. Masingill said in a statement that in this time of extreme competition for business attraction and jobs, these strategic federal investments into the physical infrastructure of Delta communities are necessary to create economic opportunity for the hard-working people of Arkansas and the greater Delta region.

Apart from this $1.4 million investment in Arkansas economic development, the DRA also announced a slew of other investments in the rest of the Delta region.

Alabama – Six projects receiving $1.113 million in DRA funding, along with another $2.471 million in leveraged funding, adding up to a total of $3.585 million.

Missouri – Seven projects receiving $1.088 million in DRA funding, along with another $10.241 million in leveraged funding, adding up to a total of $11.33 million.

Kentucky – Nine projects receiving $867,003 in DRA funding, along with another $187,143 in leveraged funding, adding up to a total of $1.054 million.

Illinois – Nine projects receiving $744,740 in DRA funding, along with another $1.929 million in leveraged funding, adding up to a total of $2.674 million.

Nevada Approves Economic Development Incentives for Switch and K2 Energy Expansions

At its latest meeting, the Board of Directors of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved incentives for three major projects.

Nevada GOED

Nevada GOED (photo –

One of the projects is a $225 million investment in Clark County by Las Vegas-based tech solutions company Switch, Ltd., developer of the SUPERNAP data centers.

The investment will create a minimum of 34 new jobs and possibly up to 80 new jobs. There are already 5,000 jobs related to Switch data centers.

The company plans to continue adding to its line of data center ecosystems, and this latest investment will be used for building the SUPERNAP9A and SUPERNAP9B.

Including this latest expansion, Switch will have 1.3 million square feet of active data center space, along with 136,000 square feet of office space in Nevada. Apart from the hundreds of millions of dollars already invested by the company in the region, Switch is also participating in high-tech industry partnerships to boost regional economic development efforts.

Switch cited the investments already made in the region, along with the climate and favorable business environment, as factors for selecting Southern Nevada for yet another expansion.

Assisted by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), Switch Ltd. successfully applied for and secured a $20.7 million package of Nevada economic development incentives for the $225 million expansion project. The incentives will be provided in the form of tax abatements, including a sales and use tax abatement, Modified Business Tax abatement, and a real property tax abatement.

The LVGEA is a public-private economic development partnership serving Southern Nevada. Another major Clark County project assisted by the LVGEA that received GOED approval for a package of incentives was K2 Energy Solutions, Inc.

Henderson, NV-based K2 Energy Solutions, which was recently awarded an $81.4 million federal contract to supply batteries to the Navy, is undertaking a $32 million expansion of its operations in Henderson. This LVGEA-assisted project has also been approved to receive a $2.9 million package of tax incentives for this project.

Also formally approved during the GOED meeting was the $1.3 billion package of incentives for the Tesla Motors Gigafactory project in Storey County. This project was assisted by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. The EDAWN is a public-private economic development partnership serving the Greater Reno-Sparks-Tahoe region.

IL, OH, TX, VA Competing for Air Force Mission Center HQ Site Selection With 350 Jobs

The United States Air Force has narrowed its site selection process for the new Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center to four candidate bases in Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.

Air Force Materiel Command HQ, Wright Paterson AFB, OH

Air Force Materiel Command HQ, Wright Paterson AFB, OH (public domain photo by USAF)

The Air Force began the process to select a location for the new AFIMSC headquarters with ten installations, and has now announced the following bases as finalists in the process – Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

The base that gets this project will gain up to 350 new jobs. More importantly, the presence of this facility safeguards the future of the selected base and protects the community it is located in from the impacts of sequestration and austerity measures.

This project to consolidate installation and mission support into a single new center has been undertaken by the Air Force as part of an effort to reorganize headquarters operations while complying with the need to cut thousands of jobs and reduce billions of dollars in spending.

Installation management functions are currently being handled at major commands. Once it gets consolidated at the new AFIMSC headquarters, the other bases will face more cutbacks as these functions are taken over by AFIMSC. This makes it even more crucial for the four bases still under consideration to secure the project.

Timothy K. Bridges, the deputy assistant secretary for installations, said in a release issued by the Air Force that it makes good business sense to centralize installation support the way they already centralize other support functions such as science and technology, test and sustainment.

Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) will now proceed with site surveys of the four finalist candidate bases, using a range of operational and facility requirements to assess each location. They will also be developing cost estimates to set up the AFIMSC headquarters at each base.

There’s also the impact of lobbying being done by the states concerned. For example, the entire Ohio Congressional delegation wrote a letter last month to the Secretary of the Air Force, urging that the AFIMSC center should be established at Wright-Patterson AFB.

The delegation says in the letter that WPAFB is the ideal location to host the AFIMSC, and that “we believe the costs associated with the initial stand up of AFIMSC at WPAFB would be low compared to other potential candidate bases. Already available infrastructure along with competitive construction costs across the state would allow the Air Force to quickly make ready the facilities needed to operate AFIMSC.”

U.S. Senators for Virginia Mark Warner and Tim Kaine issued a statement praising the selection of Joint Base Langley-Eustis as one of the four finalists for this project.

Sen. Kaine said that Joint Base Langley-Eustis has the ideal combination of a supportive community, extensive Air Force presence and existing commands to ensure the success of this new Air Force center.

“The Secretary of the Air Force should select Joint Base Langley-Eustis as the final location of this important support center,” added Sen. Kaine.

The Air Force will announce its final selection for the location of the AFIMSC headquarters early next year.

US EDA and MBDA Launch Tribal Economic Development Webinar Series

The U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency have teamed up to launch a webinar series on tribal economic development.

MBDA Tribal Economic Development Webinar

MBDA Tribal Economic Development Webinar (photo –

The EDA and MBDA are hosting five webinars in this series over the course of a year.  The first tribal economic development webinar was held on Nov 19.

The webinar was designed to help tribal leaders and administrators, tribal advocacy organizations and Native American-owned businesses understand the federal resources available for tribal economic development.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) shared information at the webinar on capital, counseling, contracting and trade resources available to Native American entrepreneurs.

The MBDA explained how their Business Center Program works with Native-owned enterprises on access to capital, contracts and other market opportunities.

MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo said in a release that the MBDA is committed to honoring the Native American legacy, and added that their mission is to help the growth and global competitiveness of Native American-owned businesses.

Castillo said the Tribal Economic Development Webinar Series affirms their commitment and helps strengthen their partnerships.

MBDA has opened six tribal-focused business centers that have specific expertise in helping businesses owned by Native Americans. These centers are located in Anchorage, AK; Tulsa, OK; Bismarck, ND; Santa Fe, NM; Fresno, CA; and Bridgeport, CT.

Participants in the webinar also learnt how the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s grant programs help in eliminating economic barriers, and how the EDA helps attract capital to Indian country.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams said in the release that during the past five years, the EDA has awarded nearly $54 million in assistance to Indian tribes to create businesses, build roads and other infrastructure, and develop economic development strategies.

ASC Williams added that while EDA grants are removing economic barriers and attracting capital to Indian country, they know there is more work to be done and look forward to a strong and continued partnership with the nation’s tribal communities to strengthen tribal economies.

The Department of Commerce and its agencies including the EDA have been meeting with tribal leaders to explore opportunities for working together.

Earlier this year in August, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met with the 12 CEOs of the Alaska Native Corporations during her visit to Alaska. Assistant Secretary Williams likewise met with tribal leaders from across the country when he visited Alaska in June for attending the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) conference. The trip resulted in closer relationships with tribal leaders and a better understanding of how EDA programs and services can serve Native communities.

Kansas City Economic Development Corp Helps The Nerdery Add 100 Jobs

Following expansions in Chicago and Phoenix, tech firm The Nerdery announced that it has picked Kansas City, MO as its third major market for growth.

The Nerdery

The Nerdery (photo –

The Minneapolis-based company opened an office in Kansas City in 2012, where it already has 33 employees.

Having outgrown the space, the company relocated their KC office last month to a larger and permanent location as the anchor tenant in the historic Western Union Building.

The Nerdery is making a capital investment of $4.3 million into the project, and will be spending millions more in wages for the 100 new jobs they plan to create over the next five years.

This expansion project was secured by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, working in partnership with the City of Kansas City and a number of regional organizations and state agencies.

Mayor Sly James said in a release issued by The Nerdery that it is very satisfying to see that Kansas City’s talent, resource infrastructure and vibrant lifestyle continue to attract such high quality players in the innovation sector.

Pete Fullerton, CEO of the EDC, added that they had an amazing team come together that told the city’s story well and demonstrated the resources available to meet The Nerdery’s needs.

Apart from the Kansas City Economic Development Corp and the City, other partners who helped secure the project include the Kansas City Area Development Council (ADC), the Technology Council of Greater Kansas City (KCnext), Metropolitan Community College, the KC Downtown Council, KCP&L, and Missouri Gas Energy.

KC ADC President and CEO Bob Marcusse said they are proud of the regional partnership that made the case for The Nerdery to expand their KC office. Marcusse added that The Nerdery announcement is one more example that Kansas City is a hotspot for innovative companies that want to attract and retain top IT and tech talent.

State support for the project was provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Office of Governor Jay Nixon.

The Nerdery is getting nearly $2.3 million in Missouri economic development incentives for creating jobs, in addition to funding support for workforce training. These state incentives will be provided through the Missouri Works Program.

The Nerdery President Tom O’Neill said there is a lot of opportunity for them in Kansas City. O’Neill cited the support network and the great talent pool of potential ‘Nerds’ available to them.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals Selects Birmingham, Alabama for Manufacturing Facility

Oxford Pharmaceuticals LLC will establish a new manufacturing facility in the Jefferson Metropolitan Park at Lakeshore in Birmingham, AL.


Birmingham (photo – Robert S. Donovan/Flickr)

The Oxford, UK-based pharmaceutical startup company plans to invest $29.4 million to build the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on a  24-acre site, and expects to create 61 new jobs when it opens in 2016.

By the time it is fully operational, the facility will have created 200 new jobs for Birmingham and Jefferson County.

The jobs announcement was made by Governor Robert Bentley during the Governor’s Luncheon hosted by the Birmingham Business Alliance. The BBA is a unifying voice and catalyst for economic development and business prosperity in the seven-county Birmingham region.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals Chairman John Hoffmire said in a release issued by the BBA that they chose Birmingham over other competing markets because of the region’s workforce, close ties to health care, and a recruiting effort involving a number of teams.

The Oxford project was a joint effort where the City of Birmingham and the BBA worked with the Jefferson County Economic Industrial Development Authority and Jefferson County Commission. State support was provided through AIDT and the Alabama Dept. of Commerce.

All put together, the company is set to receive nearly $5 million in State of Alabama, Jefferson County and City of Birmingham economic development incentives.

Oxford is also getting a ‘Soft Landing’ designation from Innovation Depot that will enable the company to receive free rent until its facility is operational. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is additionally providing life sciences and pharmaceutical consulting.

Innovation Depot is a business incubation facility that operates in partnership with UAB, focusing on providing support to emerging life science-biotechnology, information technology and service businesses.

Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. said they welcome Oxford Pharmaceuticals to Birmingham. The Mayor labeled it as another big step for the City to show the world that Birmingham is a major player in the global economic development arena.

BBA Chairman Grayson Hall, who is the CEO of Regions Financial Corp, added that with partners at the state, county and city level and assets like UAB, Innovation Depot and the Southern Research Institute, they see Birmingham playing a global role in shaping the future of medicine and health care around the globe.

Palm Beach County, Florida Approves Economic Development Incentives for Project Osprey

The Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, FL has cleared a resolution recommending approval of local economic development incentives for a large distribution center project.


Osprey (photo – Gareth Rasberry/Wikipedia)

The distribution chain company, identified as yet in county documents only as ‘Project Osprey,’ is considering establishing a new 386,000-square-foot distribution center in Palm Beach County.

The facility will be their regional wholesale distribution center serving the entire Southeastern United States.

Project Osprey will make a capital investment of $93 million into the project, and expects to create 440 new and relocated jobs over the next five years.

These are jobs with an average annual wage of $48,813, not including benefits – that’s 115 percent of the average annual wage in the state.

The Palm Beach County Dept. of Economic Sustainability estimates that the project will generate a local economic impact of $236.5 million over five years.

In order to secure the project, the company is being offered a package of Florida and Palm Beach economic development incentives that add up to $1.68 million.

Specifically, Project Osprey has been identified by the State of Florida as a Targeted Industry eligible to apply for $930,000 in state incentives under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund program. Under this program, the project has to receive a 20 percent ($186,000) match in the form of local incentives.

Citing the local economic impact of the large number of jobs being created and the significant capital investment the company is making, the Palm Beach Dept. of Economic Sustainability submitted a recommendation that the County Administration should go well beyond this $186,000 requirement.

The Board of County Commissioners has recommended approval of the suggested $750,000 in incentives for the project through an ad valorem tax exemption for a period of eight years.

Palm Beach County’s Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program is designed to provide funding assistance to support businesses looking to relocate into the County or establish a new facility, and to help existing businesses with expansion projects that will create full-time jobs, increase the tax base and diversify and strengthen the local economy.

The State QTI tax incentives for Project Osprey are tied to the company fulfilling its $93 million capital investment and creating 310 new permanent jobs in Florida within five years.

Project Osprey’s real name will be made public only after it enters into a formal agreement with Palm Beach County under the terms mentioned above.

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