Paychex Expansion in Baton Rouge to Create, Retain 160 Jobs

Paychex has announced an expansion of the company’s operations in Baton Rouge, La. that will create a total of nearly 200 new jobs for the Capital Region and surrounding areas.


Paychex (photo – paychex.com)

In February last year, the company relocated to a 14,000-square-foot office in anticipation of the Baton Rouge expansion. The facility serves as both a local office and as one of the company’s regional service centers.

Paychex has now announced that the expansion will include retention of 60 jobs and creation of 100 new direct jobs at its Baton Rouge location over the next five years. These are jobs with an average annual salary of $32,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will result in 97 new indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 200 new jobs for the region. Paychex also operates an office in New Orleans, as part of a network of more than 100 office locations across the U.S. All told, the company has more than 13,000 employees, including 130 located in Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement that “The Paychex expansion will result in great new jobs for the people of the Capital Region, ensuring they can have a great career in the place they call home.”

Paychex Senior Vice President of Service John Gibson explained why they chose Baton Rouge for the expansion. “Baton Rouge has proven to be a great location for us to support our clients and the continued growth of Paychex,” said Gibson. “The access to a high-quality workforce and the support of the local and state governments makes this an ideal location for this expansion.”

In order to secure the expansion for East Baton Rouge Parish, the state offered a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program. Paychex is also expected to utilize incentives under Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.

Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, said in the release that this announcement is illustrative of the value that professional service firms see in doing national business out of an operations base in the Capital Region.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden added that “I’m thrilled that Paychex, with its large corporate footprint nationwide, has chosen to expand its operations right here in East Baton Rouge Parish.”

Rochester, NY-based Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. The company serves approximately 590,000 payroll clients across 100 locations and pays one out of every 15 American private-sector employees.

LED, NLEP Secure CRH Subsidiary Oldcastle Precast Joint Venture in Shreveport, Louisiana

Oldcastle Precast Inc. and Module X Solutions announced plans for a new joint venture in Louisiana to be located in a City of Shreveport-owned manufacturing facility where MXS is the major tenant.

MXS Oldcastle Precast joint venture in Shreveport, LA

Photo – opportunitylouisiana.com

The new joint venture, named Module X Oldcastle LLC (MXO), will chiefly manufacture protective modular buildings for telecommunications, petrochemical, oil and gas, fiber regeneration, and solar properties.

MXS has operated in the 750,000-square-foot Shreveport manufacturing facility since 2014, when it expanded existing modular building production on the site and began $7.4 million in capital improvements.

Oldcastle Precast Inc. is a leading manufacturer of precast concrete, polymer concrete and plastic products in the United States. The project is also significant in terms of FDI because Oldcastle Precast Inc. is a subsidiary of Oldcastle, Inc., which in turn is a part of CRH, plc, a global construction and building materials conglomerate based in Dublin, Ireland. CRH generated $26.7 billion in annual revenue last year, has 3,900 facilities in 31 countries, and employs approximately 89,000 persons worldwide.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement that “Adding one of the world’s leading building products and materials companies, based in Ireland, to Northwest Louisiana’s economy will serve to strengthen Oldcastle operations and create new jobs in Louisiana.”

MXO Vice President of Global and Sales and Marketing David Schoonover added that “The new strategic location for Oldcastle Precast gives the company production locations in Atlanta in the east and Phoenix in the west; and, with the addition of Shreveport reaching the central and southern U.S. markets, Oldcastle becomes a truly national supplier to all of the industries it services.”

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said in the release that “With more than 89,000 employees across the globe, Oldcastle brings considerable strength to MXO Chairman of the Board Steven Schoonover.”

Pierson also noted that Schoonover has worked closely with LED, NLEP and Mayor Ollie Tyler to position Shreveport as the right place for Oldcastle to launch this important and significant joint venture. “Growing the footprint of our existing industry remains a top priority for us at LED,” added Pierson.

NLEP is the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, which serves as the regional economic development organization for 14 parishes. In the last three years, the companies NLEP assisted generated 4,620 new direct jobs and $1.3 billion in direct capital investment.

Monsanto Board Approves $975M Expansion in Luling, Louisiana

The Board of Directors of the Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) has given its final approval for a $975 million capital expenditure over the next three years to expand the company’s manufacturing site in Luling, La.


Monsanto (photo – BAMCorp/flickr)

This large investment in its Greater New Orleans operations, originally announced in June 2015, will enable dicamba manufacturing at the site to support the launch of the company’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.

When completed, the expansion project will create 95 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $76,500, plus benefits. The project also helps the company retain 645 existing jobs in Luling, and will create another 20 new contractor jobs.

Louisiana Economic Development furthermore estimates that the project will result in another 450 new permanent indirect jobs, for a total of more than 540 new jobs in Louisiana. Monsanto estimates the project will generate 1,000 construction jobs at peak building activity.

Monsanto COO Brett Begemann said in a statement that “With more than 60 years of commitment to the Luling community, we are proud to move forward with this facility expansion and play a role in the economic well-being of South Louisiana.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards likewise noted that “We’re encouraged by Monsanto’s vote of confidence in Louisiana as a great place to do business and a vital part of its manufacturing operations.”

LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group began formal project discussions with Monsanto about this project in March 2015. In order to secure it, Louisiana has offered Monsanto a performance-based Modernization Tax Credit of $3.75 million, along with a $1.7 million Economic Development Award Program grant to reimburse rail and electrical infrastructure costs associated with the expansion.

The company will receive workforce training support through LED FastStart, and Monsanto is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

This is the largest single investment in the company’s history, and the project’s impact in St. Charles Parish and the Greater New Orleans region is likewise going to be significant.

St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran said in the release that “This expansion will generate economic growth in our community in the form of high-paying job opportunities for local residents and procurement opportunities for local small businesses.”

Michael Hecht, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans economic development organization GNO Inc., added that “Monsanto’s decision to reinvest in St. Charles Parish represents a vote of confidence in the business climate of greater New Orleans and Louisiana.”

International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in New Orleans

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is hosting its 2016 Leadership Summit Jan 22-24 in New Orleans, LA.

IEDC Leadership Summit

IEDC Leadership Summit (photo – iedcevents.org)

The theme of the Summit is “Resilient Communities: Pathways to Diverse Economies & Innovative Ecosystems.”

Expected to draw over 400 senior-level economic developers, the Leadership Summit will focus on bringing resilience to local economies, and will also explore the partnerships communities must develop.

Also explored will be the the latest techniques to improve EDO performance, and your leadership role in achieving economic growth. By focusing on economic equity, a prepared workforce, the built and natural environment and fully optimized EDOs using technology, the Leadership Summit is designed to illustrate what economic development organizations can achieve under visionary leadership.

In line with this theme, IEDC Board Chair JoAnn Crary said in a release that “Choosing New Orleans for the 2016 Leadership Summit was an easy pick for IEDC.”

Crary also noted that the New Orleans economic development story and resilience is unlike any other in the country. “Getting an up close and personal view of the city will provide lessons that attendees can take back and apply to their own cities,” added Crary.

Attendance at the IEDC Leadership Summit is limited to senior managers of economic development organizations and Certified Economic Developers (CEcDs).

The Summit will kick off this year with welcoming remarks from the New Orleans Host Committee and presentations from economic development leaders. Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.,  and Quentin Messer, Jr., President and CEO, New Orleans Business Alliance, will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Messer said in the release that they’re thrilled to welcome senior economic developers to New Orleans, and stressed on the work done over the last decade to build a more diverse New Orleans economy. “While we recognize that a lot of work remains to be done, we’re very excited to share what we’ve learned and look forward to learning from peers as we work to grow our economy for all New Orleanians,” added Messer.

Keynote speakers in the opening plenary session include Monty Sullivan, President, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Baton Rouge, LA; and Maura Donahue, former Chair of the Board of Directors, United States Chamber of Commerce, Covington, LA.

This will be followed by a Leadership and Resiliency Panel, and then concurrent sessions on economic development fundraising, technology’s impact on economic development strategies and key industries, and a third real estate session on new options for live-work-play.

What: IEDC 2016 Leadership Summit (http://bit.ly/1PAmxhP)

When: Jan 22-24, 2016

Where: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street New Orleans, LA 70130

Axiall, Lotte Make Final Investment Decision on $3B Louisiana Project

Axiall Corp. and Lotte Chemical Corp. have signed off on a $3 billion capital investment in two new chemical manufacturing plants in Calcasieu Parish, next to Axiall’s existing Lake Charles chlor-alkali chemical facility.


Axiall (photo – axiall.com)

Atlanta-based Axiall Corporation (NYSE: AXLL) had originally announced the feasibility of an expansion of its operations in Louisiana back in Dec 2013, and later identified Seoul, South Korea-based Lotte Chemical Corporation (KOSPI: 011170) as its investment partner for the project.

This latest announcement is their final investment decision greenlighting the $3 billion investment in Louisiana.

LACC LLC, the joint venture created for the project, will make a $1.9 billion capital investment in a new ethane cracker facility. Lotte will additionally make a $1.1 billion capital investment in a new monoethylene glycol manufacturing plant on the same site.

Governor Bobby Jindal said in a release that “The combined investment by these companies is a testament to Louisiana’s strong business climate, world-class infrastructure and highly skilled workforce.”

The ethane cracker project will create 135 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $75,500, plus benefits. Lotte’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) facility will create 80 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $87,000, plus benefits.

Apart from these 215 direct new jobs, Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the combined projects will result in 1,892 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,100 new jobs in Southwest Louisiana.

Axiall will furthermore retain 1,600 existing workers in the Lake Charles area, and the company estimates that 2,000 construction jobs will be created at peak building activity for the new plants.

Louisiana faced stiff competition from Texas for the ethane cracker project, and from both Texas and South Korea for the MEG production facility. In order to secure both projects as a combined investment, the State of Louisiana has offered a generous package of incentives.

The ethane cracker project is getting a Modernization Tax Credit of $4.55 million, along with Economic Development Award Program incentives of $700,000 to pay for site infrastructure improvements. The MEG project is getting $1.47 million in Economic Development Award Program incentives.

Both projects will also receive the comprehensive solutions of the LED FastStart workforce development program, and are expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Nicholas E. Hunter said in the release that “This announcement by Axiall and Lotte Chemical is yet another win for Calcasieu Parish and all of Southwest Louisiana.”

Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance President and CEO George Swift noted that “Our international presence is growing and this project sends a strong message that industries can thrive here in our region. We are excited to welcome this new project and the jobs and economic impact it will create.”

Korean Manufacturer to Set Up Cryogenic Insulation Facility in Louisiana

Dongsung FineTec Co. Ltd. Has announced plans to establish a cryogenic insulation manufacturing facility at the Port of Lake Charles’ Industrial Park East in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Dongsung FineTec

Dongsung FineTec (photo – dsfinetec.co.kr)

The company will make a $5 million capital investment into the project, which will be their first manufacturing facility in the U.S.

Dongsung FineTec expects to create 250 direct new jobs at the facility. These will be jobs with an average annual salary of $40,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 492 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 742 new jobs for Calcasieu Parish and surrounding areas. The project also is expected to generate an additional 20 construction jobs.

Seoul, South Korea-based Dongsung FineTec provides specialized high-performance insulation to liquefied natural gas plants and other industrial sites around the world. Its cryogenic insulation panels are designed to keep liquefied natural gas cold at minus-163 degrees Celsius to facilitate storage and transport. The company is the world’s largest maker of cryogenic insulation for the LNG industry.

The company will lease an 11-acre site at the Port of Lake Charles’ Industrial Park East. This is the site of the former Spartech plastics compounding plant. The 59,000-square-foot building will be renovated by Dongsung FineTec for its specialized insulation production.

Senior Vice President James Choi of Dongsung FineTec Co. Ltd said in a release that they are very excited to be expanding their activities to the U.S. “The help and assistance of the Port of Lake Charles has been central to our decision,” added Choi.

Governor Jindal said in the release that following several multibillion-dollar investment announcements in Southwest Louisiana, this project represents the next tier of success, and that “major investments by support industries that will help the LNG industry reach its full potential here.”

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach likewise added that “The LNG facilities planned for our region will not only generate jobs for the area, they will also stimulate additional investment in the region.”

LED began discussing a potential project with the company in February 2015. The incentive package offered to secure the project includes access to LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

David Conner, vice president of economic development and international services for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, noted that the company’s choice to locate in Southwest Louisiana proves again that the region can compete with any area of the world for major manufacturing projects.

Shell Makes Final Investment Decision on $717M Expansion in Louisiana

Shell Chemical LP has made its final investment decision on developing a new $717 million linear alpha olefins manufacturing unit at the company’s Ascension Parish complex in Louisiana.

Shell Geismar

Photo – shell.com

The project will create 20 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $104,000, plus benefits, while retaining 650 existing jobs at Shell Geismar.

Louisiana Economic Development further estimates that the project will result in 93 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 110 new jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding areas. Not to mention the 1,000 construction jobs that will be created at peak building activity.

The Ascension Parish project will be the fourth alpha olefins unit at Shell Chemical’s Geismar plant, which has been in operation since 1967. The new unit will be constructed within the 800-acre Shell Geismar site, a stand-alone chemicals manufacturing plant operated by Shell Chemical LP which is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge.

Alpha olefins are chemicals that are used to produce a variety of consumer and industrial products including plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents. Shell’s new linear alpha olefins unit will generate 425 kilotons per year, making Shell Geismar the largest alpha olefins production site in the world.

Shell Geismar General Manager Rhoman Hardy said in a release that this expansion project is great news for Shell’s Geismar site and the region. “Shell remains a vital economic engine in this region, and a good corporate neighbor for years to come,” added Hardy.

Graham van’t Hoff, Executive Vice President for Royal Dutch Shell plc’s global Chemicals business, noted that “We have strong technology, advantaged ethylene feedstock from nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, and operational flexibility to allow us to respond to market conditions.”

Governor Bobby Jindal likewise said in the release that “This $717 million project reflects the best of our efforts to make Louisiana’s business climate one of the best in the country and around the globe.”

In order to secure the project, the state offered a competitive incentive package that includes workforce development support through LED FastStart. The company is also expected to utilize Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Ascension Economic Development Corp President and CEO Mike Eades noted that they know that Shell Chemical had several choices as to where to site this new project. “We are grateful for its ongoing faith in the Geismar site and the employees there,” added Eades.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp added that BRAC has worked closely with Shell over the years and the company continues to serve as a good corporate citizen, employing more than 700 within the region.

Georgia Still No. 1 in Site Selection Top State Business Climate Rankings

For the third year in a row, Georgia has been named as the top state by Site Selection magazine in its annual top state business climate rankings.


Georgia (photo – MPD01605/Flickr)

Georgia has been ranked among the top ten in Site Selection’s top state business climate rankings throughout the last decade, and has held on to the top spot for the third year in a row.

Site Selection Editor-in-Chief Mark Arend said in a release that Georgia is a regular top finisher in their annual analysis of state business climates, but three consecutive first-place finishes in this ranking is a pattern. “It says the state clearly has in place the business-attraction attributes most required by companies expanding and establishing new facilities,” said Arend.

Governor Nathan Deal said in the release that “This ranking is not only a testament to our strong business climate, but it also speaks to the commitment and support from our industry partners, communities and the people of Georgia.”

North Carolina, which placed second in this year’s ranking, is the only state that has a better record, winning the top ranking four years in a row before Georgia took over. Kentucky in third place, followed by Louisiana and Texas, rounded out the top five states in this year’s rankings.

Half of the score for the rankings comes from a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank their top ten state business climates based on their recent experience of locating facilities in them. Texas finished first in the survey, with Georgia, North Carolina and Florida tied for second place. South Carolina rounded out the top five states mentioned by site selectors.

The other 50 percent of the score in the rankings is based on an index that factors in actual new projects year-to-date, both overall and per capita; state tax burdens on new and established companies; and performance in Site Selection’s annual Top Competitive States ranking.

The projects taken into consideration are private-sector projects limited to those who meet at least one of these criteria – investments of $1 million or more, 20 or more new jobs, or 20,000 or more square feet of new construction.

For Louisiana, this is the sixth consecutive top ten ranking in Site Selection’s state business climate rankings. Louisiana’s steady rise in these rankings is all that much more impressive considering that the state was ranked at No. 25 just before it broke into the top ten six years ago.

Louisiana economic development wins since 2008 are resulting in more than 91,000 new jobs and more than $62 billion in new capital investment. Governor Bobby Jindal said in a release that “Economic development has been a top priority for this administration, and recognition such as this from a respected source like Site Selection magazine is a welcome validation of our efforts.”

See the full top state business climate rankings at Siteselection.com.

Georgia Top State For Doing Business in AD Site Selection Consultants Survey

Area Development magazine has published their sixth annual Top States for Doing Business survey of site consultants, and Georgia is once again the top state for doing business.

Top 10

Top 10 (photo – sam_churchill/flickr)

The state rankings are based on the results of the annual survey in which site selection consultants name their top states for 21 different factors across three broad categories – business environment, labor climate, and infrastructure and global access.

Georgia was the overall best state and topped the labor climate category as well, while also securing a third place ranking in the business environment category, and a second place ranking in the infrastructure and global access category.

Texas and South Carolina followed Georgia in the second and third place respectively, with Tennessee in fourth place, and Alabama and Florida tied for the fifth place in the AD rankings. Indiana, North Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio and Kentucky rounded out the top 10 states for doing business.

For Alabama, this is the sixth consecutive year that the state has been placed in the top five in these AD rankings based on site selection consultants’ feedback.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a release that the fact that Alabama is consistently getting high marks from site selection consultants indicates that the state is viewed as a prime location for expansion opportunities.

“The results reflect the strength of Alabama’s skilled workforce and our training programs, as well as a favorable business environment that companies from around the world are seeking,” added Sec. Canfield.

Louisiana likewise earned its fifth consecutive top 10 ranking in the AD rankings. Area Development editors lauded Louisiana’s workforce development program LED FastStart as a key element in the state’s successful business environment.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said in a release that this recognition by Area Development magazine reinforces what business and industry leaders have long known. “Our success since 2008 has paid off in quality jobs for Louisiana residents like never before, and more of our citizens are able to build rewarding careers without having to leave our great state,” added Gov. Jindal.

Since 2008, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) has secured economic development projects that are creating more than 91,000 new jobs and more than $62 billion in new capital investment, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses throughout the state.

New Orleans Proposes Local Hiring Policy For Economic Development Projects

The City of New Orleans has introduced a proposal to implement a new local hiring policy that links local and disadvantaged workers to the employment opportunities created by City contracts.

New Orleans

New Orleans (photo – Gary J Wood/flickr)

The proposed new policy, named Hire NOLA, requires contractors working on applicable projects to demonstrate good faith efforts to hire local and disadvantaged workers.

Applicable contracts include any Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to which the City is a party and is providing tax incentives for New Orleans economic development projects in excess of $150,000.

The new policy will also cover City contracts for construction, alteration or demolition of public buildings or public works in excess of $150,000.

Contractors will be required to consider New Orleans as their first source for recruitment, referrals and placement of new hires for applicable contracts.

The Network for Economic Opportunity introduced the Hire NOLA policy ordinance as part of the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy that was launched last year to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities.

In a release announcing Hire NOLA, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that “Since launching the Economic Opportunity Strategy, we have made our goal clear -prepare and connect the people of New Orleans to jobs and our local businesses to strategic opportunities for growth.”

Mayor Landrieu added that there is no doubt that the local hiring policy will help to accomplish this goal.

Ashleigh Gardere, senior advisor for Economic Opportunity and executive director of the Network for Economic Opportunity, said in the release that with this new local hiring policy, they will be able to hold contractors accountable to hiring local talent, in turn building capacity for local businesses and supporting the growth of local industries.

The City expects that implementation of the Hire NOLA policy will ensure that at least fifty percent of all work hours on City projects will be completed by local workers, and thirty percent of those hours will be completed by disadvantaged local workers.

The agenda for the next meeting of the New Orleans City Council’s Economic Development Committee includes this proposed ordinance. The City is hoping to work with the City Council to get the ordinance passed by next month, with implementation to begin early next year in January.

The hiring goals set under the program will increase annually by five percent, with full implementation expected by 2020.

Councilmember James Gray said in the release that he is pleased to be championing this effort, and added that establishing and prioritizing local hiring through this new policy will ensure that they are making opportunities available for the local workforce.

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