Missouri Economic Development Dept Helps Kemin Industries With $14M Expansion

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that Kemin Industries will undertake a $14 expansion of its production facility in Verona, MO.

Missouri DED announces Kemin Industries expansion

Missouri DED announces Kemin Industries expansion (photo – DED)

The five-year expansion plan is expected to create 24 new jobs, and will give the company additional production capacity to manufacture the meat proteins used in palatants for pet foods.

Mike Downing, acting director of the Missouri Economic Development Dept (DED), said that the Kemin announcement is another big win for the state, and will create jobs and boost the economy.

Downing said they were proud to partner with Kemin for the expansion.

The Verona plant was acquired by Kemin in 2011 from American Dehydrated Foods. The purchase and this latest expansion plan are both part of the company’s plan to enhance its global palatant manufacturing capacity and ensure that Kemin is positioned to meet the rising demand among consumers for pet food.

They have also opened a new plant in Italy and acquired another manufacturing facility in Brazil. Not to mention the fact that Kemin is in the midst of a $40 million expansion of its corporate headquarters in Des Moines, IA, where they recently opened a new R&D facility. All told, the company has nearly 2,000 employees around the world and operates in 90 countries.

In Missouri, the company plans to expand the Verona facility by 40,000 square feet in order to accommodate growth in both production capacity and warehouse space over the next few years.

Giuseppe Abrate, president of Kemin Industries’ pet food ingredient division, said that Missouri’s prime location in the middle of the animal health science corridor provides an excellent location for their palatant plant.

Abrate added that access to diverse industry resources has served their business well, and will help them achieve the vision of touching half the world’s people, and pets, with their services and products.

Verona Mayor Willis Huston said they are pleased that Kemin Industries decided to expand in the city and will be able to benefit from the Enhanced Enterprise Zone which Verona comes under. Mayor Huston added that as they seek to revitalize the city, others will take advantage of it too.

The Missouri DED further facilitated the expansion by approving Kemin for $300,000 in state economic development incentives, which are subject to the company fulfilling its job creation and investment commitments.

Iowa Economic Development Authority Incentives Assist Projects With $1.2B Investments

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded tax benefits and other financial incentives for six projects that will together bring $1.189 billion in new capital investments to the state, and help create 327 new jobs.

Iowa announces economic development incentives for Microsoft data center and other projects totaling $1.2 billion

Iowa announces economic development incentives for Microsoft data center and other projects totaling $1.2 billion (photo – iowa.gov)

By far the biggest project of the lot is a plan by Microsoft Corporation to establish a $1.1 billion data center in West Des Moines.

This 1.2 million-square-foot data center project on 154 acres is expected to create 84 new jobs, of which 66 are incented.

Microsoft asked the IEDA to approve $20,256,000 as state incentives in the form of sales tax rebates for the project. The City of West Des Moines has additionally approved $18 million in local incentives for the project.

Microsoft already has one existing data center in West Des Moines, and this new one takes their total investment in the city to more than $2 billion.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said that “Microsoft’s decision to again choose Iowa for another significant investment highlights our commitment to the innovation economy.”

Other companies that received approval for financial assistance from the board of the Iowa Economic Development Authority are Iowa Premium Beef, Delta Dental, Dickten Masch Plastics, Hirschbach Motor Lines and IP Pathways.

Iowa Premium Beef is planning to spend $48 million to upgrade a plant in Tama to establish their new state-of-the-art beef production facility that will eventually employ 600 people. At the moment, the IEDA has approved tax benefits to the company for creating 120 jobs and investing $48 million.

Delta Dental is expanding its headquarters in Urbandale with a $9.3 million capital investment and 15 new jobs. The company has been awarded $251,250 to assist in the expansion that will add 29,600 square feet of space to its headquarters.

Dickten Masch Plastics LLC, which makes thermo-plastic components for automobile and truck manufacturers, is investing $4.4 million at its facility in Ankeny to add a warehouse and expand an assembly work cell. The project is expected to create 30 jobs, and the company has been awarded $160,050 in tax benefits.

Hirschbach Motor Lines, Inc., which has a long-haul refrigerated trucking operation, is planning to relocate its recruiting and operations personnel to Sioux City. The IEDA has approved tax incentives for this $850,000 project, which is expected to create 25 new jobs in Iowa.

IP Pathways, which specializes in data center technologies, is investing $825,000 for an expansion of an existing facility in Urbandale that will create 53 new jobs. The IEDA has approved $240,000 for this project in the form of a zero-interest loan and a forgivable loan.

New York Approves $5.6M in Economic Development Funding For Projects Creating 430 Jobs

The Board of Directors of Empire State Development (ESD) has approved $5.6 million in economic development funding for projects that will create and retain more than 430 jobs in New York State.

Empire State Development

Empire State Development

This funding approved by the chief New York economic development agency will help the projects leverage another $6.5 million in private and additional public investments.

One of the grant recipients was Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. The historic maker of luxury pianos has been operating in New York City since 1853. The company moved from Lower Manhattan to their current headquarters in Astoria, Queens in 1876.

Steinway was planning on implementing a polyester finishing process to improve the lacquer finish of their pianos. The process is already in use in their facility in Germany, so the company was considering relocating the finishing process for its New York-made instruments to Germany.

ESD offered Steinway a $350,000 grant to help them purchase new equipment and machinery so that they can implement the finishing process in New York itself. The project has created 20 new jobs and helped retain the company’s existing 372 jobs in Steinway’s New York facility.

Another grant recipient was the Southern Tier Region Economic Development Corporation (STREDC), which is getting $2,125,000 as funding for a regional grant program to assist the health care industry and educational institutions with grants for projects related to providing health care in rural areas using mobile technology and remote access.

The Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency was awarded $40,000 to help with a project undertaken by the IDA and Mohawk Fabric to upgrade the fabric company’s manufacturing facility in New York to enable production of 25,000 tons of their product which was being outsourced to an out-of-state manufacturer.

Other grant recipients who were approved for ESD funding include:-

Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority – $1,950,000 for renovations;

ASP Partners, LLC – $420,000 as partial reimbursement of construction costs for a lodging project in Allegany State Park;

Masonic Medical Research Laboratory – $300,000 for purchasing machinery and equipment for a new Organ Bioengineering Program at their Cardiac Research Institute;

Adirondack Meat Company Inc. – $300,000 to assist with construction of a new USDA meat processing facility; and

Town of Ticonderoga – $177,286 for a sewer and water infrastructure improvements projects.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said that the strategic investments they’re making are creating jobs and supporting economic development projects across New York State, leading to a stronger economy and more economic opportunities for New Yorkers.

Michigan Governor’s Economic Development Trip to China Leads to Fuyao Expansion

Gov. Rick Snyder announced an expansion of operations by Fuyao Automotive North America in Orion Township, Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder speaking at Michigan Investment Attraction Seminar in Shanghai, China on Sept. 20, 2012

Gov. Rick Snyder speaking at Michigan Investment Attraction Seminar in Shanghai, China on Sept. 20, 2012 (photo – michigan.gov)

During an economic development trip to China in 2012, the Governor had put forward Michigan as an expansion location to the company’s leadership in Shanghai.

Fuyao will be investing $15.3 million for the expansion project, which is expected to create 102 new full-time jobs in Oakland County.

Gov. Snyder said that Fuyao’s expansion in Michigan tells global companies that the state holds great opportunities for growing their business. The Governor added that Michigan leads the country in creating new manufacturing jobs, and the jobs resulting from Fuyao’s growth will keep the state moving in the right direction.

Fuyao Automotive North America Inc., a subsidiary of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, was established in 2008 to manage the company’s automotive glass supply and service to North American automotive OEMs.

They are now expanding the Orion Township operations to install equipment for manufacturing auto glass assembly parts.

Chris Feng, president of Fuyao Automotive North America, said that Michigan is the undeniable capital state of North America’s automotive industry, and Fuyao has employed more than 100 people in Orion Township since its beginning in 2008.

Feng added that he is confident that the dedicated workforce, OEM network, supply base and pro-business environment in Michigan will support Fuyao’s growth in the state and the U.S.

For this expansion, Michigan was competing with sites in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio. Back in January 2014, Fuyao chose a former GM assembly plant in the City of Moraine, OH for establishing a new $200 million glass manufacturing facility.

This time, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) secured the expansion project by offering the company a $1 million performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund. Orion Township is additionally providing local incentives in the form of a property tax abatement.

MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney said that Gov. Snyder’s meeting with Fuyao executives in China demonstrated their commitment to helping companies expand their auto presence. Finney added that the meeting delivered the message that there is no better place in North America for Chinese companies to expand than in Michigan.

The MEDC has scheduled another trade mission to China in August 2014. Eligible SMEs in Michigan who want to be a part of the mission can receive 50 percent reimbursement of their participation fee and travel expenses under the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program.

Team Effort By Florida Economic Development Agencies Secured Northrop Grumman Expansion

Governor Rick Scott led the dedication of Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, Florida. The project is creating 400 new jobs and injecting $102 million in capital investment into the region.

Gov. Scott at dedication of Northrop Grumman center of excellence in St. Augustine, FL

Gov. Scott at dedication of Northrop Grumman center of excellence in St. Augustine, FL (photo – Northrop Grumman Corp)

Back in March 2013, Northrop Grumman announced that it was designating five centers of excellence across the country, and two of them went to Florida – to St. Augustine and Melbourne.

Enterprise Florida, the state’s official economic development organization, has now released more details about how the state secured the two projects that represent more than $170 million in capital investments and 1,400 jobs.

The project was made possible with the help of strong partnerships between Florida economic development agencies and officials at the state and local levels.

Apart from Enterprise Florida, other partners who helped in the effort include the City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and CareerSource Florida.

CareerSource Florida is providing Northrop Grumman partial reimbursement grants for employee training. The performance-based grants are being offered under the Quick Response Training (QRT) program, which is structured to be flexible and adaptable to the specific training needs of new or expanding businesses.

For its part, St. Johns County has approved a local incentives package totaling $3 million as part of an economic development agreement with the company. Northrop Grumman will in return be creating 400 new jobs at average wages greater than 125 percent of the county’s average wage, in addition to maintaining the 959 existing full-time jobs and third-party supporting positions located at the facility.

Tom Vice, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president, Aerospace Systems, said the dedication of the center of excellence signifies the company’s continued commitment to service members and their employees in St. Augustine and Florida.

Gray Swoope, Secretary of Commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, said this second center of excellence is another fantastic project for the state, with a strong and long-time partner in Northrop Grumman.

Swoope said that they were obviously incredibly happy and proud when they learned Florida had been chosen for not just one but two of five national centers, and added that these facilities speak to the work they’re doing to highlight Florida’s numerous business advantages and the pro-business climate that Gov. Scott and the State Legislature have created in the last three-plus years.

Austin Economic Development Dept Puts Feet on the Street

The City of Austin Economic Development Department is taking a personalized approach by literally sending out employees on walkabouts to talk to businesses all over the city and inform them about a low-interest loan program.

Austin Family Business Loan Program

Austin Family Business Loan Program

The Family Business Loan Program (FBLP) is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Austin Economic Development Department, and private lending institutions in the area.

The program has a $40 million loan pool, including an $11 million HUD allocation and $25 million from institutional lenders.

It was launched to assist qualified small businesses in Austin with their expansion and job creation plans, in the process revitalizing communities, increasing the tax base and enhancing the overall quality of life for residents.

In addition to interest rates significantly lower than regular market lending rates, the FBLP program also requires only a 10 percent equity injection on the part of the borrower. This makes it much easier for small businesses to avail of a loan.

The program requires borrowers to create at least one job for every $35,000 borrowed, and 51 percent of the individuals hired must be in the low to moderate income range, as defined by federal levels. The project for which the funds are to be used must be located in the Austin Energy Service Area.

FBLP loans are available only for small businesses with a tangible net worth of less than $15 million and after-tax profits of less than $5 million. Eligible projects for which financing is provided include acquisition of commercial and industrial land or buildings, and renovation and new construction of commercial and industrial buildings.

City employees will be hitting the streets on five walkabout events scheduled in different parts of the city over the next three weeks to talk to businesses and their employees about the Family Business Loan Program.

FBLP was established in May 2012 using no city funds, and the first project that received financing under this program was the restoration of a fire-damaged property and its subsequent lease to a community yoga studio that opened its doors in Dec 2013.

Kevin Johns, director of the Austin Economic Development Department, said that this program was part of the department’s broader efforts to make sure that businesses of all sizes have the tools they need to grow the business and create jobs.

U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $200K to Assist Job Loss Recovery in Minnesota

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a grant of $200,000 to the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission to assist in establishing an economic recovery strategy in the wake of job losses at a paper plant in International Falls, Minnesota.

Boise paper mill job loss impact in Minnesota

Boise paper mill job loss impact in Minnesota

In May 2013, Idaho-based Boise Inc. announced that it would be closing two of its four paper-making machines at their International Falls paper mill, and would be downsizing the workforce by cutting 265 jobs. The mill still has 580 employees left.

These cutbacks were initiated after the struggling Boise was acquired by Packaging Corp. of America in a $2 billion deal. The resulting restructuring and merging of the two companies’ combined capabilities called for cutbacks of $105 million, part of which came from the reduction in production capability and workforce in International Falls.

This was a big blow to Koochiching County, whose 6,300 jobs include 1,100 manufacturing jobs, of which 900 are (were) paper mill jobs. The loss of 265 of these jobs accounts for a 30 percent reduction in the county’s paper mill workforce.

According to an analysis prepared by the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the loss of these high-paying 265 jobs (around $97,300 per employee, including benefits) directly reduces annual economic activity in the county by $207 million.

The job loss means that another 290 jobs in businesses that serve the plant and its employees will be lost, adding up to a total of 555 jobs lost in the county. The total labor income loss in the county adds up to $38.2 million. The ripple effect also spreads out into other counties in northeast Minnesota, with a total loss of 805 jobs in the region.

To deal with this crisis, an Economic Response Team was created to brainstorm ideas, but the group needed additional funding to develop a strategic plan.

This is where the EDA stepped in with a $200,000 grant that will help the region develop a strategy focusing on business and industry growth opportunities. It will allow the region to diversify its economy, assess workforce needs and help displaced workers find new opportunities.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine said this grant will allow for the creation of a long-term strategy to help Northern Minnesota realize greater economic growth and stability.

The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission is additionally getting a $64,465 planning grant from the EDA. This grant will be used to help develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for the region.

GE Selects University of Louisville for FirstBuild Micro-factory

GE (NYSE:GE) announced that their first-ever GE Appliances FirstBuild micro-factory will be located on the University of Louisville Belknap Campus in Louisville, KY.

Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers speaking at GE FirstBuild micro-factory announcement

Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers speaking at GE FirstBuild micro-factory announcement (photo – louisville.edu)

The project is a partnership between GE, UofL and Phoenix-based open-source hardware innovator Local Motors.

The 35,000-square-foot FirstBuild micro-factory will be housed in a former storage facility at UofL, and is slated to open this summer.

GE had announced last month that it as teaming up with Local Motors to create a new model for the manufacturing industry that harnesses the power of a co-creation community and an open platform to establish micro-manufacturing capabilities.

The first set of projects at the micro-factory will focus on the “future of cooking.” A global community of innovators will be working to prototype, iterate and refine GE products, and come up with new designs.

Kevin Nolan, vice president of technology, GE Appliances, said that they selected Louisville for the FirstBuild micro-factory because of the strong collaborative innovation and entrepreneurial spirit nurtured by the city government and UofL.

He also mentioned the need for the micro-factory to be close to the design and engineering teams of GE Appliances to ensure real-time iteration as community designs produced in small batches transition to larger-scale production.

Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors, said America is searching to define its new manufacturing soul, and many people assume that this industrial reinvigoration will come out of the tech hubs of San Francisco, New York or Boston. However, said Rogers, trends such as micro-manufacturing powered by co-creation and the industrial Internet show that cities such as Louisville can be leaders in the Third Industrial Revolution.

FirstBuild will enable UofL researchers and students to collaborate on innovation and production of kitchen appliances with GE engineers, Local Motors workers and community residents. FirstBuild will have a kitchen demonstration space, showroom, wood and metal shops and lounge areas.

The FirstBuild micro-factory is part of a plan for GE and UofL to create an advanced manufacturing hub called the “Institute for Product Realization” where students will be able to conduct research while getting practical training on 3D printing and technologies in a micro-factory setting.

UofL President James Ramsey said they are excited to be expanding the collaboration with GE. Ramsey added that together, they’re finding new ways to grow technologies and the economy while giving students real-world engineering experiences.

Connecticut Economic Development Dept Awards $3.8M in Brownfield Grants

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has awarded grants totaling $3,821,000 for advancing development of brownfield sites all over the state.

Science Park in New Haven, CT

Science Park in New Haven, CT gets brownfield grant (photo – cityofnewhaven.com)

The grants, announced by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, will enable 21 communities to assess and investigate 48 sites covering more than 310 acres.

Gov. Malloy said that the communities receiving these grants will be able to prepare key sites that are in many cases vacant and blighted for a return to productive uses that will grow jobs and improve the quality of life across Connecticut.

The Governor said these assessment grants will create a pipeline of larger redevelopment and remediation projects in the near future.

The grant funding, provided under the state’s Municipal Brownfields Assessment and Inventory Grant Program, allows regional development agencies, towns and cities to take a vital first or next step towards reuse of blighted and vacant sites that have been abandoned for decades or are underused.

The program was created as a complement to the DECD’s larger brownfield programs, enabling local governments and their development agency partners to get started with the process of redeveloping brownfields.

Before the redevelopment of a brownfield or suspected contaminated site can begin, environmental assessments are required in order to provide potential developers with information about the site’s status and required cleanups.

This is where the municipal grant program came in handy, allowing applicants to receive grants of up to $200,000 for investigation and other pre-development activities. The CT Economic Development Dept’s Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development is administering this grant program.

One of the 22 grant recipients is the City of New Haven and Yale University’s Science Park Development Corporation, which is getting $200,000 to kick off the next phase of development by investigating another 3.5 acres.

The Science Park is being developed on 80 acres of industrial land and buildings in between Yale’s Science Hill and the city’s Newhallville neighborhood that formerly housed the Winchester Repeating Arms Factory.

Connecticut Economic Development Dept Commissioner Catherine Smith said these grants will unlock significant new development opportunities for new housing, commercial office space, open space and adaptive reuse of legacy brownfield sites.

Connecticut Energy and Environmental Protection Dept Commissioner Rob Klee said that putting these properties back into productive use enables taking advantage of existing infrastructure, protecting public health and the environment, and reduces development pressure on undeveloped lands.

New York Smart Grid and Control Center Project to Save $190M Per Year

Federal, state and local officials and energy sector leaders attended the grand opening of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) Control Center in Rensselaer County, NY.

NYISO control center

NYISO control center (photo – nyiso.com)

NYISO is the non-profit that oversees New York’s bulk electricity grid and wholesale electricity markets, and the 64,000-square-foot control facility adjacent to their headquarters will serve as their primary operations and control center.

The control center is part of a smart grid project funded partly with $38 million in Recovery Act investment provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Energy Department and utilities across the U.S. have partnered to deploy advanced grid sensors known as synchrophasors that will improve grid reliability, safeguard against outages and enable faster power restoration.

In New York, the Energy Dept teamed up with eight NYISO and eight transmission owners to deploy these synchrophasors and smart grid technologies. The control center gives NYISO an in-depth and expansive view of the power grid on a 2,300-square-foot video wall, the largest such utility installation to-date in North America.

The video wall shows New York’s entire grid on a single screen, with more than 3,000 live status points on it representing key electric systems operations data and information.

The control center supports and boosts some of the state’s key energy goals, including maintaining reliability through smart grid technology. It will also assist in implementing the NYISO regional markets initiative that will provide New York ratepayers with around $190 million in annual savings by eliminating barriers and optimizing resources among regions.

The best part about it is that the new control center replaces a 44-year old one which was the oldest such utility control center in the country.

NYSIO President and CEO Stephen G. Whitley said that reliable operation of the grid requires constant vigilance every hour of the day, every day of the year. Whitley said the new control center helps them meet the 21st century grid’s reliability requirements through the use of state-of-the-art visual displays and the latest control technologies that are designed to improve NYISO’s ability to receive, process and monitor changing conditions throughout the region.

U.S. Senator for New York Charles Schumer said NYISO has recognized the importance of creating a 21st century grid to support New York State’s 21st century economy, and the opening of the facility is a major component of that effort.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, in whose district the NYISO headquarters is located, said the completion of the control center and smart grid infrastructure upgrades will help ensure that new and existing businesses have the power they need to drive economic growth in the region and state.

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