Oklahoma

Oklahoma Economic Development Incentives For Four Projects Creating 679 New Jobs

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce announced that four companies enrolled in the Quality Jobs Program will create 679 new jobs as part of their new or expanded facility investments.

Progrexion

Progrexion (photo – progrexion.com)

QJP is an Oklahoma economic development incentive program that allows qualifying establishments creating new quality jobs to receive an incentive to locate or expand in the state.

The largest project is by Progrexion ASG, Inc., a technology-enabled consumer services company that is leading provider of credit repair services in the United States. The Salt Lake City, UT-based company, already has over 2,000 employees and additional offices in Phoenix, AZ; Idaho Falls, ID; Provo, UT; and West valley City, UT.

They are now planning to open a new office in Oklahoma City, with an investment of over $4 million and the creation  of 534 new jobs over five years. The estimated new payroll for the first year will be $5.5 million, and will increase to up to $17.9 million by the fourth year of operations.

The City and Greater Oklahoma City Chamber have been working with Progrexion on this project since last July, and have since approved an economic development agreement for it. This project also stands to get up to $6,637,479 in state incentives (3.8 percent of new taxable payroll) through QJP.

Listed below are the other three recipients of state incentives under this program.

Power Costs, Inc. – PCI is a global leader for generation asset optimization software for energy and trading companies. The company, which develops, supports and sells utility software and provides integration and consulting services, is undertaking an expansion of its operations in the City of Norman, OK. The project will create 48 new jobs, and stands to get up to $1,790,525 in state incentives (five percent of new taxable payroll) through QJP.

Verinovum, LLC – Verinovum’s solutions are designed to transform healthcare data. Their core technologies coordinate, monitor and act on vast amounts of data coming from the “blueprint-less” medical superhighway. The company is undertaking an expansion of its operations in Tulsa, OK. The project will create 47 new jobs, and stands to get up to $1,982,530 in state incentives (five percent of new taxable payroll) through QJP.

Spacenet – The company, which designs, implements and manages fast, secure and reliable communication networks for organizations with geographically dispersed locations, is likewise expanding its operations in Tulsa. The project will create 50 new jobs, and stands to get up to $1,339,051 in state incentives (five percent of new taxable payroll) through QJP.

QJP is a revenue neutral program and is risk-free to the state because without new payroll, companies do not receive rebates. Administered by Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Quality Jobs Program provides quarterly cash payments of up to five percent of new taxable payroll directly to a qualifying company for up to 10 years.

Since its inception in July 1993, Oklahoma has issued more than 743 contracts to locating, expanding and start-up businesses. To date, more than $968 million in performance-based wage rebates has been paid because of the Quality Jobs Program.

Boeing Breaks Ground on Oklahoma City Expansion

Boeing has broken ground on its new 290,000-square-foot facility in Oklahoma City, OK that will add a third structure to the company’s campus in the city.

Boeing

Boeing (photo – Prayitno/flickr)

The expansion project, supported by State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City economic development incentives, calls for Boeing to invest about $80 million and will house approximately 800 employees.

The average first year wage for these new jobs is estimated to be $90,000, and will include engineering, research and development laboratories, and some support staff.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Boeing Global Services & Support President Leanne Caret announced that the headquarters for the GS&S Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment (AM&S) division would move to Oklahoma City in the coming months. This will bring another dozen or so senior management positions to Oklahoma City.

The AM&S division is a part of Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security (DSS) unit. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, this DSS unit is a $31 billion business with 53,000 employees worldwide.

Caret said in a release announcing the move that they see a bright horizon for the aircraft sustainment business because of the highly trained and motivated workforce they have in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who was present at the groundbreaking, said in the release that this announcement will help solidify Oklahoma’s position as a premiere destination for the aerospace industry.

This latest announcement builds on the work done by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Oklahoma City economic development staff in recruiting Boeing’s relocation of certain programs from out of state to the city. Boeing announced last year in September that it would relocate 900 jobs to Oklahoma City as part of a plan to move jobs from Washington to its facilities in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Florida.

Boeing already has 1,850 employees in Oklahoma, most of whom are in Oklahoma City and the remainder at Altus AFB and Vance AFB. These existing employees generate a statewide payroll of more than $178 million. Boeing also has 145 Oklahoma-based suppliers to whom the company paid $850 million last year.

The estimated impact of this latest $80 million investment and the 800 to 900 new jobs being created in Oklahoma City is $637.7 million over the first four year period. The estimated local sales tax and property tax revenue during this four-year period is expected to be $4.7 million, and then $1 million annually.

In order to support the project, Oklahoma City offered Boeing a package of incentives totaling $6 million. Gov. Fallin approved $2 million in state incentives for the project through the Oklahoma Quick Action Closing Fund. The company will also qualify for additional tax incentives through the state’s 21st Century Quality Jobs Program.

Tulsa Seeks Economic Development Projects From Citizens For Vision Program Extension

The City Council of Tulsa, OK has approved a resolution that paves the way for the City to seek input from citizens for economic development projects that should be included in a proposed extension of the city’s Vision 2025 program.

Tulsa City Hall

Tulsa City Hall (photo – Nmajdan/wikimedia)

This Vision 2025 Tulsa economic development program is funded by a 0.6 percent county-wide sales tax that is slated to expire in about 18 months, and the City is considering getting authorization to extend it through a ballot measure.

The projects that will be included in this extended version will be selected from ideas pitched by Tulsa citizens online via email or in-person. The City has set up a website for this project, and people can also create video presentations and post them on Youtube. The City will post all proposals online for public viewing.

Those who want to do it in person can drop off their proposal with the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall. The City Council has also arranged to hold four televised public hearings at Council Chambers of City Hall where individuals or teams can pitch their ideas live and in person to the Tulsa Mayor’s Office and the City Council.

The kind of economic development projects that Tulsa is looking to include in the 0.6 Vision extension can be judged based on a goals statement available on the project website. For starters, they are looking to prioritize strategic investments that lead to economic development and sales tax generation in Tulsa.

This includes addressing the challenge of reimagining and redeveloping aging and obsolete commercial corridors and neighborhood centers. They are also interested in projects that seek to reverse the decades-old trend of suburbanization, and the more recent trend of retail activity being diffused online.

Projects that unleash creativity and cultivate home-grown enterprises are sought, as are projects that focus on enhancing the quality of life in Tulsa and serve as a means of attracting and retaining a well-educated and high-quality workforce.

Other project focus areas include connectivity and transportation choices, and projects related to public health, education and safety.

Broadly speaking, all projects should be on a scale that moves the needle, reversing negative trends and supporting positive ones. Projects should seek to invest in Tulsa’s unique assets and treasures, and community beautification should be an integral part of all projects that will be funded through this program.

Councilor Blake Ewing, who chairs the Tulsa Vision Economic Development Task Force, said in a release that they are asking for ideas from Tulsans.

“Ideas from well-established organizations, you and your friends, old and young, rich and poor, we want your thoughts on what we should do as a community to take Tulsa to the next level,” said Councilor Ewing.

Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust Approves $7.2M Incentives for Boeing, Paycom

At its latest meeting, the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust approved resolutions authorizing the City to negotiate economic development agreements for two expansion projects by The Boeing Company and Paycom Software, Inc.

Boeing

Boeing (photo – Prayitno/flickr)

Boeing plans to add 900 jobs to its Oklahoma City operations over the next three years. These will be relocated jobs that are a part of Boeing’s consolidation of its defense services and support work to Oklahoma City, OK and St. Louis, MO that was announced last year in September.

These are high-wage jobs with an average first-year wage that is estimated to begin at $90,000. Every year after that, the salaries will increase incrementally, ending up at approximately $99,000 by the time the project nears completion.

Boeing is investing approximately $80 million to build a new 290,000-square-foot facility near its current facility. The projected economic impact of the project over the first four-year period is estimated to be $637.7 million, with $4.7 million in tax revenue over the first four-year period and $1 million annually thereafter.

Approval of state and local economic development incentives was crucial to Boeing selecting this location for the expansion. The City is offering Boeing a local incentive package of $6,000,000.

The other project for which Oklahoma City is offering $1.2 million in incentives is an expansion plan by Paycom Software, Inc. (NYSE:PAYC) at its headquarters. Paycom is a leading provider of cloud-based software for human capital management.

The company is investing $16 million to build and equip a new building adjacent to its current headquarters in Oklahoma City. In March this year, Paycom notified the City that it is needs to decide where and how to accommodate 423 additional jobs that it needs to add. The average first year wage of these positions is $51,027.

Paycom already has two buildings totaling 170,000 square feet of space at its headquarters complex in Oklahoma City, and considered other alternative locations both in and outside the state before letting the City know that it was interested in adding a third building to its headquarters.

Paycom Oklahoma City expansion rendering

Paycom Oklahoma City expansion rendering (Press photo – paycom.com)

In order to secure this Paycom expansion project, the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust has approved a resolution authorizing the City to negotiate a local incentive package worth up to approximately $1.2 million.

Paycom Founder and CEO Chad Richison said in a release announcing the project that they are excited about expanding their corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, and added that it marks another milestone in the organization’s path and is a testament to the strength of their solution and people.

Oklahoma City Mulls Economic Development Incentives for TapStone Energy HQ

The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust is being asked to consider approving incentives for Tapstone Energy to ensure their headquarters is located in Oklahoma City, and the company creates new jobs.

OCEDT

OCEDT

Tapstone, which is an oil and gas company, is currently headquartered in Oklahoma City and plans to add 150 new high-paying jobs over the next five years.

The average annual wage of the new jobs will be $146,133. The estimated new payroll for the first year alone is $8,176,000, and it will rise up to $18,524,400 in three years.

Tapstone plans to invest $10 million for redeveloping the facility in Bricktown and installing office equipment. They currently have 35 employees housed in their offices in Oklahoma Tower.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has been working with the company since early this year, and Tapstone considered several other locations before deciding on Oklahoma City for the expansion and job creation.

State and local economic development incentives were said to be important in positioning Oklahoma City as a competitive location for this project, which is expected to have a total economic impact of more than $106.6 million in the first three years.

The sales and property tax revenue from the project is expected to be $1,150,187 for the initial five-year agreement period, and then $225,516 annually after that.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Economic Development Division recommended that the City and OCEDT approve a local incentives package of $1.45 million for Tapstone Energy, based on the job creation, potential for future growth, and the fact that it establishes Oklahoma City as the company’s headquarters.

The City Council and OCEDT Trustees will now be taking up a resolution to approve the agreement. If approved, the resolution would authorize the OCEDT General Manager to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Tapstone Energy. The final agreement would then again need to be approved by the City Council and the Trust.

U.S. Announces Five Zones Under Promise Zone Initiative

The first five of 20 planned Promise Zones under the federal Promise Zone Initiative that was unveiled last year are Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

 Promise Zones

Promise Zones

Each of these Promise Zones will benefit from intensive federal support and assistance provided at the local level for implementing economic and community development goals.

Each of the selected Promise Zones has put forward a plan detailing how they plan to work with local businesses and community leaders to make investments that will expand opportunity and reward hard work.

Here’s a brief outline of what each Zone has proposed:-

San Antonio, Texas (Eastside Neighborhood) РFocus on job creation and training in key growth areas through a partnership with St. Philip’s College and others.

Empower children with the skills needed by increasing enrollment in quality pre-K programs and installing a STEM focus in the local school district. Offer adult education opportunities.

Facilitate neighborhood revitalization by expanding public safety, better street lighting and demolishing abandoned buildings.

Los Angeles, California (Pico Union, Westlake, Koreatown, Hollywood and East Hollywood) – Provide more affordable housing by preserving existing units and partnering with developers to add more affordable housing units.

Ensure youth have access to high-quality education, and prepare them for college and careers via the Promise Neighborhoods initiative. Partner with L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Youth Policy Institute for expanding the Full Service Community Schools model from the current seven schools to all 45 Promise Zone schools by 2019.

Partner with the Los Angeles Community College District and career and technical training schools to provide technical training opportunities and prepare youths and adults for high-growth industries.

Invest in transit infrastructure to attract new businesses and create jobs. Empower the Promise Zone Director and Advisory Board to eliminate wasteful and duplicative government programs.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (West Philadelphia) – Put people back to work through skills training and adult education, small business development classes, and loans and technical support for small businesses. Develop a supermarket that will provide access to healthy food and create jobs.

Partner with Drexel University and the William Penn Foundation to prepare children for careers. Prevent and reduce crime to attract investments and new residents.

Southeastern Kentucky (Kentucky Highlands) – Implement sustainable economic effort involving eight counties in the Kentucky Highlands region. Create jobs and grow small businesses within the Promise Zone using a revolving loan fund created with the help of $1.3 million in private sector funding.

The University of Kentucky Economic Development Initiative, the East Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, and the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation will provide leadership and entrepreneur training for youth, and also retraining for the local workforce in specific industries.

Eastern Kentucky University will expand technical education programs in the Promise Zone, while Berea College will provide high school students with evidence-based college and career readiness programs.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – Provide workforce training for skilled trades and professionals with a focus on STEM certifications through partnerships with Oklahoma State University, Eastern Oklahoma State College, and the Kiamichi Technology Center.

Make infrastructure Investments including for water and sewerage systems, and pursue economic diversification. Support women-owned businesses in the Promise Zone, and implementation of large-scale greenhouses and technology-enhanced farming and ranching.

The remaining 15 Promise Zones around the country will be announced over the next three years.

Find out more about the Promise Zone Initiative at hud.gov.

GE Selects Oklahoma City For Global Oil & Gas Technology Center

GE (NYSE: GE) announced that it has chosen a site in Oklahoma City for the company’s first-ever Global Research Center dedicated to Oil & Gas technology.

GE Oklahoma City Global Oil & Gas Technology Center

GE Oklahoma City Global Oil & Gas Technology Center (photo – genewscenter.com)

The $110 million investment by GE and the choice of Oklahoma for the Global Research hub was announced earlier this year in April.

However, the exact location within the state had not been finalized at that time. The investment and new jobs being created in the Greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area will have a $13 million annual economic impact on the local economy.

GE is still negotiating with the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Association (OCURA) for the site at 10th and Walnut Avenue near downtown Oklahoma City. Once the formalities are completed, construction on the 95,000 square foot facility will begin in spring 2014, and the Center is expected to be operational in 2015.

The Global Research Center, intended by GE to be a collaboration hub for their domestic as well as global customers, is expected to create 130 high-tech jobs.

Specifically, the Center will focus on accelerating mid-to later-stage technologies developed by the company’s Research Labs. This includes everything from production systems to well construction, CO2 solutions, water use optimization and energy systems.

Michael Ming, general manager for the new Center, is scheduled to speak about the site and the Center at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s Friday Forum. He will be joined by GE CTO Mark Little, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and other local, state and university leaders.

The Center is also going to be GE’s new focal point for building relationships with Oklahoma’s university network.

Mayor Cornett said in a statement that they were thrilled that GE had chosen to build its new Oil & Gas Technology Center in Oklahoma City. He said they had been working hard to make the City a place where companies want to locate their operations and grow, and GE’s technology presence will provide a major boost for the local economy.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin likewise said that the new GE Oil & Gas Technology Center would make a great addition to the Oklahoma City skyline, and added that it would be a beacon for attracting Oil & Gas partners from around the world who value GE’s technology excellence in the energy sector.

NGA Announces America Works Initiative

At the closing session of the National Governors Association (NGA) summer meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the new NGA Chair and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced a yearlong initiative for improving the effectiveness and capacity of education and workforce training programs.

OK Gov. Mary Fallin announces NGA America Works initiative

OK Gov. Mary Fallin announces NGA America Works initiative (photo – nga.org)

The initiative is called “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”

America Works seeks to improve and align workforce training and states’ education with the requirements of state economies.

The initiative will push for post-secondary education such as a workforce certificate or degree as the new minimum required for gaining access to opportunities.

Fifty years ago, 75 percent of jobs were available and paid good wages to those who had a high school diploma or less. Now high school graduates and dropouts only qualify for 40 percent of jobs, and less than a third of these jobs pay more than $25,000 in annual wages.

America Works will be launched at a national event to be held in Washington D.C. so that policy organizations and industry leaders can learn about the objectives and priorities of the initiative, coordinate their state activities and align with the governors’ shared interests.

The initiative will provide each state with investment data specific to the state that will help boost degree attainment. Regional roundtables will be hosted involving the governors and leaders of industry and education to identify priorities for state action.

A “Governor’s Guide” and case studies will be prepared detailing examples of state efforts to integrate workforce and education data to assist in aligning workforce training programs and higher education with the state’s labor needs.

Six to eight states will come together under this initiative for developing and implementing a policy agenda that builds and strengthens both workforce training and education. The agenda will help promote information sharing and collaboration between economic development or workforce agencies and education.

It will expand private and public education and training capacity to meet future workforce requirements.

Gov. Fallin said that the future economic security of the United States requires significant improvements to workforce training programs and the educational system, and it would also need closer relationships between employers, workforce training providers, colleges and high schools.

States Land International Aerospace Companies at Paris Air Show

There are more than 250 American companies jostling for space in the U.S. International Pavilion at the 50th Annual Paris Air Show, not to mention delegations from several states and federal agencies including Commerce and State.

Paris Air Show

Paris Air Show (photo – paris-air-show.com)

Among the various state delegations working to attract new aerospace investments and jobs, Florida and North Carolina were each rewarded with multiple projects.

Florida snagged Vision Systems and Diamond Aircraft Industries. The Lyon, France-based Vision Systems will open its first U.S. subsidiary in Melbourne, FL with 40 new jobs and an investment of $1.2 million. Diamond is an Austrian company, and has agreed to enter into a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to establish a presence at the University’s campus in Daytona Beach.

North Carolina started off with GE Aviation’s $192 million expansion, and followed up with the IOMAX USA, Inc. expansion at its headquarters in Mooresville, NC. IOMAX provides signals intelligence and airborne systems solutions to the U.S. government, and will be investing $1.75 million with the addition of 35 new jobs.

The Oklahoma delegation announced that Australian company Ferra Engineering, a supplier for leading aerospace companies, will be expanding to a new location in Grove, OK and adding 20 skilled worker jobs at the new site.

The Washington delegation announced that Umbra Cuscinetti, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the Italian Umbra Group, will be expanding into a new facility in Everett, WA that opens up the possibility of the company adding 100 new engineering and manufacturing jobs.

These are just some of the aerospace project announcements that were timed to coincide with the Paris Air Show, and a lot of the meetings going on are laying the groundwork for future projects. The Alabama delegation has been busy meeting with dozens of Airbus suppliers such as Safran Group for setting up shop or increasing their presence in Mobile, AL.

The big disappointment at the Paris Air Show was the conspicuous absence of the U.S. Military and its defense contractors, who have all been grounded by the sequester. This is the first time in more than a decade that not a single manned fixed-wing military aircraft from the U.S. is present at the Paris Air Show.

Way it works is that companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing who make these military aircraft don’t get to keep them, so the Department of Defense arranges to send the planes for air shows. Because of sequestration budget cuts, the DoD did not send them this time, and none of the defense contractors are hawking their manned military aircraft at the Air Show.

This despite the fact that the U.S. Air Force currently supervises 2,800 sales deals with 100 countries that have a total value of $138 billion. All put together, the U.S. aerospace industry racked up $106 billion in export sales last year. The industry has a trade surplus of $65 billion – the largest of any manufacturing industry.

KS, NH Bases Selected for KC-46A Refueling Tanker Operations

The U.S. Air Force has announced that McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas will be the first KC-46A refueling tanker base for active duty operations. New Hampshire‘s Pease Air National Guard base was selected as the tanker‚Äôs first Air National Guard operational base.

KC-46A base site selection

KC-46A base site selection (photo – af.mil)

McConnell AFB will now be sent 36 KC-46A tankers to replace KC-135R tankers.

The base is getting a $200 million infusion for upgrades required to become the main operating base (MOB 1) for KC-46A operations.

The selection ensures the base and its economic impact on the community will be maintained for the long-term.

These 36 KC-46 tankers are just one part of the first phase which involves replacing 179 tankers. There are two more phases afterwards, and all three phases put together will replace 59 KC-10 and 400 KC-135 tankers.

McConnell AFB was competing for this project with bases in Washington, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

It wasn‚Äôt all smiles for Kansas, though, because the Forbes Military Airfield in Topeka lost its bid to be designated as the Air National Guard led main operating base (MOB 2) for the KC-46A. This project was won by New Hampshire’s Pease Air National Guard base.

Apart from Pease and Forbes, three other bases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio were competing for MOB 2.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said that on behalf of the people of New Hampshire, they were proud and honored to have the KC-46A with the Granite State’s National Guard.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said it was unlikely that two bases in the same state would be chosen for the initial round of the KC-46A base site selections. He added that Kansas being the only state that had two bases competing in the final stage of the process speaks for the quality of personnel at the bases.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, whose Fairchild AFB lost out against Wichita’s McConnell, issued a statement in which he said the Fairchild community, Spokane County and the State had made important investments for preparing the base to host the tanker, and this was “an extremely unfortunate decision” by the Air Force.

The reasons for which McConnell and Pease were selected are explained here.

Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma was also one of the unsuccessful candidate sites for MOB 1, but Altus did get chosen as the first KC-46A formal training unit or FTU.

These chosen sites for MOB 1, MOB 2 and FTU are only the “preferred alternatives” based on the results of evaluations and cost estimates developed by site survey teams.

The final site decisions will be announced at a later date depending on the outcome of additional approvals such as the Environmental Impact Analysis Process (EIAP) which includes a public comment period.

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