Hershey Opens PA Chocolate Plant After $300M Investment

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) officially opened up the world’s most technologically advanced chocolate making facility in Hershey, Pennsylvania that cost the company $300 million.

Hershey

Photo – Joadl/wikipedia

The new Hershey chocolate plant is expected to have a $1 billion impact on the local economy in Pennsylvania over the next five years.

“Today, we are celebrating our proud Pennsylvania heritage, the growing popularity of Hershey products in global markets, our continuing investments in productive technology and our great workers who make it possible to enjoy these iconic products,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO, The Hershey Company.

“I am working as Governor to ensure there is a job for every Pennsylvanian that wants one and an educated Pennsylvanian for every one of those jobs. I am proud the Commonwealth was able to partner with Hershey as they grow, evolve, create jobs, train great employees and continue their commitment to Pennsylvania’s prosperity,” said PA Gov. Tom Corbett.

The new 340,000 sq. ft. expansion at West Hershey is located less than two miles from the company’s original chocolate factory opened in 1905 by Milton Hershey.

The plant has the most technologically advanced, automated chocolate syrup production lines in the world. It can produce more than 70 million “Hershey‚Äôs Kisses Chocolates” per day.

This investment by Hershey represents the single largest manufacturing investment in Pennsylvania that breaks the company’s own record which was established when they build the original West Hershey plant in 1991.

The new development has pumped $70 million into the Pennsylvania economy and created more than 300 construction jobs. Hershey has already trained approximately 700 employees to prepare them to work in the plant’s high-tech manufacturing environment.

The Hershey Company is the third-largest manufacturer in Pennsylvania. They have 4,800 employees in the state, 8,800 in the United States and 14,000 worldwide. With revenues of more than $6 billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 25 brand names.

Software Company TCS Adds 150 Jobs in Bloomington, MN

India-based IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will be adding 150 high-tech jobs to expand its operations to a new office complex in Bloomington, Minnesota.

TCS

Photo – TCS_News@yfrog

The expansion comes as a result of an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) which has awarded a $500,000 loan to TCS.

In return, the company will create 150 tech jobs paying an average wage of $27 per hour. Once all the promised jobs are created, half of the $500,000 loan will be forgiven.

“We are very excited and deeply grateful that Tata Consultancy Services has decided to expand its operations in Minnesota,” said MN Gov. Mark Dayton. “The company will become a very important employer inBloomington, and we look forward to assisting its continued success and growth in Minnesota.”

All put together, TCS will have 300 employees in their new location at the 8300 Tower of the Normandale Lake Office Park, where they are signing a long-term lease for 50,000 square feet of office space on the sixth and seventh floors.

The 300 strong workforce will include the new workers as well as employees who will move from offices elsewhere in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

“TCS is a rapidly expanding information technology company that is an excellent fit for the Twin Cities market,‚Äù said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. ‚ÄúMany of the company‚Äôs corporate customers are already here, and the region has a strong technology workforce.‚Äù

“We are pleased that Tata is choosing to expand in the Greater MSP region. The decision to add 150 high-tech jobs in our region is recognition of our world-class workforce and the growing demand for Tata services by the major companies here,” said Michael Langley, CEO of the Greater MSP regional economic development group.

Tata Consultancy Services, which was established in 1968, has 243,000 employees in 42 countries, and generated a net profit of $2.2 billion last year on revenues totaling $10.17 billion. TCS has 18 offices in the U.S., including the one in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“The decision to open a new TCS facility in the Minneapolis region is part of our company’s on-going commitment to grow our presence in each and every market we serve,” said N Chandrasekaran, TCS’ CEO and managing director. “Over the past few years, Minnesota has put an emphasis on technological innovation that aligns with TCS’ breadth of industry expertise, innovative engineering strength and commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions, and will only enhance the scope and scale of our customer offerings in North America.”

Upstate SC Alliance Hosts Site Selectors Panel

The Upstate SC Alliance is hosting nationally renowned site selection consultants for a three day event in South Carolina this week, including a breakfast and panel discussion on September 21, 2012.

Upstate South Carolina

Upstate South Carolina (Photo – iwasblownaway.com)

The consultants who will be part of the group include:-

Р        J. Michael Mullis of J.M. Mullis Inc.;

-         Didi Caldwell of Global Location Strategies;

-         W. Hartley Powell and Michael Huber of KPMG LLP;

-         John Hunter of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP; and

-         Robert E. Leak, Sr. of Leak-Goforth Company, LLC

Combined, this group has the power to direct billions of dollars’ worth of investment annually.

J. Michael Mullis, for example, is the president and CEO of J. M. Mullis, Inc., which typically does more than $1.5 billion annually in major new project establishments on a global basis.

All five consultants put together have a who’s who client list that includes global corporate giants such as Airbus, BMW, Boeing, Caterpillar, Colgate, Conoco, Continental Tires, First Quality Tissue, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kia, Toyota, and Verizon Communications , just to name a few.

The panel discussion will focus on the economic climate and community competitiveness. It will be moderated by Jennifer Noel, director of Global Business Development for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The event, sponsored by Alliance Consulting Engineers and Santee Cooper, is open to the public and will be held at the Westin Poinsett in Greenville, SC from 8:00 am -10:00 am. More details here.

In addition to the breakfast panel, the group will also be touring Upstate South Carolina and the Upstate Alliance will make presentations.

“We are excited to have a group of this caliber to tour and enjoy the Upstate. These consultants advise some of the top companies in the world and it is truly vital that they understand all the Upstate has to offer,” said Hal Johnson, president and CEO of the Upstate Alliance.

They will also hear from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Ports Authority and have one-on-one meetings with each of the region’s local developers.

Con-Pearl Selects Greenville, SC for First North American Plant

Con-Pearl North America, a subsidiary of Germany-based Friedola-Tech, has chosen Greenville County, South Carolina for its first North American production facility.

Con-Pearl Friedola-Tech

Con-Pearl (Photo – Friedola-Tech)

Con-Pearl North America, which makes lightweight recycled plastic boards, is a subsidiary of Germany-based friedola-TECH GmbH.

“We celebrate Con-Pearl North America’s decision to invest $14.25 million and create 51 new jobs in Greenville,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We are committed to strengthening South Carolina’s business climate and bringing more investments like this one.”

“We are pleased with the opportunity to locate our new operations in Greenville. South Carolina offers us an exceptional business environment and great access to markets in the U.S. We look forward to bringing our facility online and appreciate all the support we’ve received from state and local officials,” said Stefan Hoedt, director of Business Development for Con-Pearl North America.

“We are very pleased that Con-Pearl decided to locate their business here in Greenville County,” said H. G. “Butch” Kirven, director of the Greenville Area Development Corporation and chairman of Greenville County Council. “Everything lined up for them here – skilled workforce, proximity to customers and a great quality of life. We welcome this fine company into our community.”

Friedola-Tech is a recycled plastics processing and products company, with its main product being a lightweight structural board made of polypropylene. Its finished products are primarily returnable packaging containers used in many applications by a variety of industries.

The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a grant of $150,000 for Con-Pearl North America for building upfit. The company expects to begin operations in the new Greenville facility next month.

“Today’s announcement bolsters our state’s manufacturing sector and also strengthens our economic ties with Germany. We welcome Con-Pearl North America to South Carolina’s business community and look forward to the company’s growth here,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

South Carolina has raked in more than $430 million in capital investment and 1,000 new jobs in the recycling sector since the beginning of 2010. Overall, the state has received more than $7 billion in capital investment and more than 17,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector since Jan 2011.

Google Fiber Bumps Into Kansas City Socioeconomic Divide

Back in July, Google opened up registrations for its Google Fiber broadband network in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. They divided Kansas City into fiberhoods and set a minimum threshold for providing connectivity. If a fiberhood got enough signups, they would hook up all those who registered with high speed broadband.

Google Fiber, Kansas City

Google Fiber, Kansas City (Photo – Google.com)

The pre-registration period is over and done with, the results are in and Google will soon be setting up the first fiberhoods in both states (Hanover Heights, MO and Crown Center, KS) with their connections.

A close look at which areas got a high number of registrations and which did not get enough signups shows that Google’s attempt to level the playing field by providing broadband has run into a socioeconomic and racial divide in Kansas City.

The western side of the city has mostly met the threshold and then some. But the eastern part of the city on the other side of Troost Avenue is a challenge, with registrations in most neighborhoods falling short of the threshold.

Michael Liimatta of Connecting for Good, a nonprofit working to bring broadband access to low-income residents in Kansas City, told Wired.com that “the white, affluent neighborhoods qualified and the primarily black, lower-income neighborhoods didn’t.”

Google did attempt to address the issue, and even conducted a survey before actually wading into the project. They found that affordability ($70/month) was only part of the problem, and 25 percent of Kansas City residents did not have any kind of internet at home and said they didn’t need it.

Many people who did not have internet or an email account didn’t sign up because the pre-registration process required a Gmail account and a $10 fee to be paid with a credit or debit card. Google sent out 60 employees armed with chromebooks to go door to door and convince people to register, but the signups still ended up following the digital divide.

Google does not want to give up just as yet. “We’re committed to addressing the digital literacy and relevance problem head on,” Jenna Wandres, an associate on the Google Fiber communications team told Time. “We’ll have micro-grants available for community organizations who want to start up digital literacy programs in Kansas City.”

Google is also working with the University of Kansas Medical Center and local public schools to provide them with free broadband. They plan to help pipe advanced placement classes from schools where they are taught to those where they aren’t.

Casino Expansion Boosting Economy In Western North Carolina

www.knoxnews.com/

The development of a casino is boosting the economy in the western part of North Carolina.

The expansion is almost completed but many jobs were created in the process while other economic benefits were realized as well.

The development is nearly 15 years in the making and is the largest employer in the western region of North Carolina.

The Principal Chief for the Cherokee Nation elaborates on how resources were created which addressed many issues such as housing, education and improving the living standards for people around the area. A casino impact study was conducted and nearly $380 million dollars was contributed to the local economy in North Carolina.

There were also many economic benefits which were ultimately highlighted such as:

  1. Visitors generating gaming revenue of approximately $386 million dollars
  2. Casino revenue impact was approximately $300 million dollars
  3. Hiring in the casino was about 5 percent of local employment
  4. Operational spending contributed to nearly $65 million in the local economy

An Economic Development Director named Josh Carpenter elaborates on how the casino has made a major impact on the counties of Graham, Jackson, Clay and many others around the western region of North Carolina. Carpenter pinpoints that the majority of the impact comes from the jobs that are created from the development itself.

Carpenter states that many people drive from the specific counties to work at the local Cherokee Casino. There is not much tax revenue that is raised due to the tribe not having to pay any form of property tax. The tourism economy benefits while employees also spend money in the local area. The casino expansion has also assisted the local construction industry as there was a slowdown due to the housing market slump.

Overall, the development of the casino has been beneficial to the entire western region of North Carolina.

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South Carolina Economy Dependent Upon Wind Energy Production

www.heatherlord.com/blog/

The economy in South Carolina is dependent upon wind energy and the great recession has ultimately slowed the development of the energy.
The state of South Carolina is considered to have the 2nd largest offshore wind resource and the goal is to ultimately generate approximately 1,000 megawatts of wind power within a time frame of a decade.

The Wildlife Federation issued a detailed report on the wind energy development. A representative for the Wildlife Federation pinpoints that many states are ahead of South Carolina but pinpoints that the state is making proficient gains in offshore wind resources.

The region between the state line and Georgetown is considered to be prime territory to generate megawatts of electricity. The goal is to ultimately generate approximately 1,000 megawatts by the year 2020. Senator Paul Campbell pinpoints that the discovery of natural gas and hydraulic fracturing have negatively affected alternative energy. Natural gas prices are expected to increase while the production of wind turbines is expected to increase in South Carolina. The increased generation of wind turbines could result in South Carolina being a leader in the production of wind energy. A Renewable Energy director named Nicholas Rigas elaborates on how the low manufacturing region makes the port an ideal area for the wind industry to grow.

The role of the facility was to ultimately expand the electrical systems while also increasing the production of many turbines. The state of South Carolina currently has the second largest wind resource on the eastern part of the U.S. A representative for the Southern Alliance pinpoints that nearly 35 gigawatts of wind can be generated which can ultimately power nearly 8 million homes in the state. Wind energy is considered to be the largest resource of clean energy in the surrounding area.

Overall, the development of wind energy is important to the economic structure in South Carolina.

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UC Davis Receives Million Dollar Award To Assist Sustainable Agriculture Businesses

www.news.ucdavis.edu/

UC Davis has recently received a million dollar award which will ultimately result in the development of sustainable agriculture businesses.

Innovative technologies will ultimately be provided as a result of the million dollar award. UC Davis will utilize the award to create an innovation center.

Representatives Mike Thompson and Doris Matsui announced the grant which will be given to UC Davis and the campus.

Matsui elaborates on how UC Davis is one of the top research facilities in the U.S. and is ultimately pleased that the innovation center will be developed.

Matsui pinpoints the positive impact of the center such as:

  1. Linking the agriculture industry to brand new technologies
  2. Sustaining the nation’s food supply
  3. Fueling job growth
  4. Boosting economic growth on a myriad of farms across the United States

Representative Thompson pinpoints that agriculture is considered to be the backbone for the economy in the region of Northern California. The brand new innovation center will allow ranchers to build their businesses through brand new technologies. When businesses are growing for ranchers and farmers, the agriculture economy grows while the number of jobs is boosted. The construction of the innovation center will also accelerate entrepreneurial thinking between businesses and many researchers.

The establishment of the innovation center will also result in the creation of the AgEntrepreneurship Academy. Agriculture food chains will be created in the process as market needs are met. Chancellor Linda Katehi elaborates on how the grant will turn research into economic development and jobs in the future. The Challenge Grant is known for supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. A dean for the school of Management at U.C. Davis states that many universities are hubs for innovation and that many consumers will benefit through the Clean Innovation Center.

Overall, the grant will positively affect the agriculture community as jobs are created and economic growth occurs.

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Air USA Moves Corporate HQ From Illinois to Albuquerque

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was joined by Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela and officials from Air USA to announce that Air USA is relocating its corporate headquarters from Quincy, Illinois to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Air USA

Photo – Air USA

Air USA is a government contractor that provides tactical aircraft services to U. S. defense agencies, contractors and NATO allies.

Air USA will be filling 200 new jobs in Albuquerque, most of which are expected to be filled by U.S.military veterans.

“We welcome not only the 200 direct jobs that will be created as a result of their corporate headquarters moving to Albuquerque, but we also anticipate important economic benefit from hosting numerous out of state military units that will be traveling to New Mexico throughout the year to train with Air USA’s fleet of foreign fighter aircraft,” said Governor Martinez.

“Aerospace companies like Air USA help enhance the use of New Mexico military bases, provide opportunities for military veterans and bring high-wage jobs to the state,” said Economic Development Secretary Barela.

Air USA has its own fleet of fighter jets that are used for training purposes. Customers get a turn key operation including aircraft, pilots, maintenance, ordnance and support equipment.

As such, most of the new jobs that are being created will be jobs that require fulfilling some function associated with operating and maintaining a fighter squadron. Over the next three years Air USA will be seeking additional qualified pilots, crew chiefs, avionics men, weapons loaders, munitions handlers, and life support personnel.

“We are pleased to make New Mexico the new home of Air USA,” said Don Kirlin, Air USA founder and president. “New Mexico has a significant veteran population and a local, skilled workforce in Albuquerque that understands fighter aircraft operations, and we believe that our proximity to local training ranges and flight test ranges will help us support our customer base and lead to further growth for our company.”

Colorado Offers Woodward $7.3M Tax Credits to Save 1000 Jobs

Fort Collins, Colorado-based Woodward Inc. has won approval for $7.3 million in state tax credits. The offer was made by the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) to try and save 1,000 jobs at the company’s headquarters and the huge impact the energy and aerospace company has on the Northern Colorado economy.

Woodward Inc.

Photo – Woodward Inc.

Woodward wants to move its headquarters out of the current Drake Road location in Fort Collins. They have been looking at sites in Illinois, Wisconsin and California, along with four sites in Northern Colorado.

Last month, Woodward chose Loves Park, Illinois for a new $200 million aerospace manufacturing plant and offices.

They chose the Illinois site after a year long site selection process, wherein sites in Wisconsin and South Carolina were also under consideration. Woodward did not consider any of their existing sites in Northern Colorado for the $200 million aerospace plant.

Illinois Gov. Quinn personally courted the aerospace plant expansion, meeting with Woodward’s CEO and touring the company’s existing facilities in Loves Park, where Woodward already has a significant presence with 1,500 employees. The new plant will add another 660 jobs and they plan to double their workforce in Loves Park in this decade.

Woodward’s Fort Collins headquarters and operations mostly deal with the energy side of their business. There are 971 jobs at stake in Fort Collins, with an average $76,000 in annual wages.

“They’re a primary employer for the region,” said Walt Elish, CEO of Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp (NCEDC). “The direct and indirect impact they have on this whole Northern Colorado region is significant.”

The tax credits approved by the Colorado EDC have been granted to Woodward under the state’s “Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit” program, which offers incentives to companies with high-paying jobs from moving elsewhere. Recipients start getting the credits after the jobs have been in place for a year. In this case, Woodward will start getting the credits a year from now if they do not move their headquarters out of Fort Collins in the interim.

To get the $200 million aerospace plant, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) offered Woodward corporate income tax credits potentially valued at $45 million, in addition to a $3 million grant for site improvement and half a million in training funds. Remains to be seen if they top Colorado‘s $7.3 million offer to try and lure Woodward’s headquarters out ofFort Collins.

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