February, 2008 Archives
Companies choose Alabama because of its pro-business attitude, its strong infrastructure, and especially because of its best-in-class employee training program.
Allstate Ensures Cheyenne’s Growth In December, Allstate opened an office in Cheyenne, WY to expand and improve its insurance claims service to customers. The Allstate Express office has brought 200 new entry level jobs and 94 indirect jobs into the community, with a total of $5.2 million in direct payroll. Over the next five years, the business activity will contribute $672,000 in local taxes, and $686,000 in state taxes to Wyoming, according to estimates. The total long-term impact on the community is estimated at $97 million. “Allstate could have located this facility anywhere in the nation,” says Tom Thorson, vice president of Cheyenne LEADS. Cheyenne was one of many cities evaluated for the Allstate Express office and was ultimately chosen based on several criteria including cost of living, availability of talent, and the ability to maintain operations during severe weather occurring in other parts of the country. Thorson expects Allstate to employ most of the city’s available customer service workforce. Allstate began retrofitting 28,000 square feet of an existing building in March 2007. Hiring began in September, and training followed in October with excellent results. Allstate already has more people applying than the company needs to keep its training classes full. A $400,000 Workforce Development Training Fund Grant from the state of Wyoming and the Department of Workforce Services’ training programs also factored into Allstate’s decision to locate its facility in Cheyenne. Nortrack on the Right Track in Cheyenne Last summer, VAE Nortrak North America Inc. purchased two buildings from the city of Cheyenne. Nortrak will use one building to expand its manufacturing of pre-stress concrete switch ties for the railroad industry, an investment of nearly $4.7 million. Nortrak had leased the second building since 2000. After remodeling and renovating, the plant became fully operational in late 2007. Most of the equipment required for the new facility was custom-built, with many components imported from Europe. Nortrak has hired 20 new employees and anticipates acquiring an additional 50-60 workers within three years. The company currently employs more than 120 people in Cheyenne. Including its newest facility, Nortrak now utilizes 158,000 square feet of manufacturing space on a 28-acre site in Wyoming’s capital. New Technology Creates Clean Water in Buffalo In February, RG Global Lifestyles completed construction on its first water treatment plant in the Powder River Basin near Buffalo, WY. The facility is the company’s first to utilize the Catalyx Fluid Solutions ion exchange technology to treat water discharged during the harvesting of coal bed methane (CBM). The treated water […]
Companies Continued to Choose Overland Park in ‘07 Overland Park is gaining approximately 40 new information technology-related jobs thanks to Software Engineering Services (SES), which announced in August 2007 that it will open a regional office in Building 51 of the Corporate Woods business park. SES, a 15-year old technology solutions company based in Omaha, NE, specializes in public-sector clients including the Department of Defense, state agencies, and local governments across the country. The Overland Park office will focus on private-sector clients, which include numerous Fortune 200 companies. In September 2007, Allied National, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected administrators of small employer benefit plans, announced plans to put its headquarters in Overland Park. The company is bringing a $4.9 million payroll to the city with 98 employees earning an average salary of $50,000. By 2010, Allied National plans to add 10 employees with an average salary of $56,666, bringing its payroll to almost $5.5 million. BRAINPOWER Without Breaking the Bank Overland Park, KS—part of the Kansas City, KS/MO metropolitan area—is a suburb of superlatives. The city has invented itself as a magnet for telecommunications, pharmaceutical/biotechnology, and financial services companies. Given that these industries are driven by employee brainpower, it’s hardly surprising that Overland Park also has the highest percentage of high school graduates in the United States (97% among those 25 and older) and three of the highest ranked school districts in the country. Despite having such a desirable workforce composition, Overland Park is not expensive for companies. The average home price in the area is only $238,172, for example, and Overland Park’s property tax mill levy is 18% lower than any major community in the region. Business Parks in the City Much of Overland Park’s 22.4 million square feet of office space is located throughout its many business parks. Strategically located around the city, each business park is uniquely designed to cater to businesses of all sizes. Major existing office parks in Overland Park include Corporate Woods (2.3 million square feet); Southcreek (1.2 million square feet); Executive Hills (1.7 million square feet); Lighton Development (893,555 square feet); Foxhill Office Park (629,580 square feet); and Bryan Office Park (854,337 square feet). Overland Park has the potential to offer more than 24 million square feet of commercial office space.
Greetings from Long Island, NY W hile Long Island, NY generally refers to Nassau County and Suffolk County, it also geographically includes the two New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Long Island is home to several well-known vacation spots of the rich and famous, such as the Hamptons, Jones Beach, and Fire Island, as well as several Atlantic Ocean beaches. Although tourism makes up a substantial part of Long Island’s economy in certain regions, the area supports a wide-ranging economy. Long Island has a diversified economy that currently supports more than 1.2 million jobs. The services sectors—including educational and health, leisure and hospitably, and professional firms—account for more than 40% of non-farm employment. Some of the corporations that have taken up residence on Long Island include: Computer Associates Arrow Electronics Henry Schein Pall Corporation OSI Pharmaceuticals 1-800-Flowers FESTO Corp. Forest Laboratories Canon EDO Corp. Estee Lauder Beverage Company Giant Invests in Long Island AriZona Beverage Company, one of the largest beverage companies in the United States, announced in late 2007 that it will invest $35 million to build a new facility for its corporate headquarters in Woodbury (Nassau County), NY. The company will retain 235 jobs at its two existing facilities in Nassau and Kings counties, and intends to add 50 new jobs over the next five years. After negotiations with Empire State Development (New York State’s primary economic development agency) and Nassau County, AriZona Beverage decided to build a new state-of-the-art facility in Woodbury. Empire State Development and AriZona Beverage have agreed to a series of project milestones that will enable the company to apply for a $250,000 capital grant to offset construction costs. Under the agreement, AriZona Beverage will receive the full amount upon reaching project targets set by Empire State Development. The company has also reached an agreement with the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency for up to $3.79 million in state and local tax abatements. “The state and county were extremely collaborative and proactive in working with us to address all of our site location needs throughout the course of this two-year project,” says John Posillico, chief technical officer for AriZona Beverage Company. “They were our partners from start to finish and were instrumental in helping our new home become a reality.” Long Island Workforce Data Labor force: 1,485,800 Households: 916,686 Total Personal Income: $115.6 billion Per capita income: $41,558 Long Island has the 17th largest metropolitan area economy in the nation. More than 120,000 businesses in both Nassau and Suffolk counties generate $134 […]
Orgill Opens Number Six in Kilgore In the first quarter of 2008, Orgill, Inc. plans to open its 530,000-square-foot distribution center in Kilgore, TX, 120 miles east of Dallas. Construction on the project began in April at a 65-acre plot of land in Kilgore’s Synergy Industrial Park. The new facility, Orgill’s sixth, will be modeled after the company’s state-of-the-art distribution center in Hurricane, UT. A distributor of hardware and home improvement products, Orgill expects to initially employ at least 100 workers at its Kilgore center, expanding to 300 over the next five years. Once operational, the facility will serve Orgill customers throughout Texas, as well as in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Customers in these areas of the country are currently being serviced by Orgill’s distribution facilities in Memphis, TN and Tifton, GA. “This new facility will allow us to improve our effectiveness across the board,” says Randy Williams, Orgill’s senior vice president of operations and logistics. “This will be a strategic location for us that will allow us to reduce our lead time and improve our service to customers within the four-state region, as well as create operating efficiencies for us in Tifton and Memphis.” Staffing requirements were one of the primary reasons Orgill selected Kilgore, according to the company’s CFO, Byrne Whitehead. “Geographically, Kilgore fit our needs very well, but the real deciding factor was the quality and quantity of the labor force available in the area,” he says. “We quickly recognized that the Kilgore area had the labor market we needed to start the facility and grow it into the future.” San Antonio Makes Space for Rackspace In August, Rackspace Managed Hosting, a Web hosting service provider, announced plans to open a new expansion facility at Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest, TX. Rackspace, headquartered in Texas, selected the San Antonio suburb over five other out-of-state locations thanks in part to a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant valued at $22 million. This award is projected to generate more than $100 million in capital investment and create approximately 4,000 new jobs during the next five years, the largest job creation announcement in Texas since 2005. “The Texas Enterprise Fund grant was the key factor in Rackspace’s decision to keep its company headquarters in San Antonio and build out a new campus within Windsor Park Mall,” says Graham Weston, executive chairman of Rackspace Managed Hosting. “We are committed to delivering thousands of high-paying jobs to Texas.” Rackspace’s choice was secured by the collaborative efforts of Bexar County, […]
This month, the Expert answers questions concerning the value that employees place on a location’s quality of life.
Ezra Green has been involved with renewable energy companies for seven years and founded Clear Skies in 2003. Prior to Clear Skies, Green was a successful entrepreneur who founded TAL Design & Construction in 1990. AMERICA’S 15 “GREENEST” STATES 2007-2008 1. Vermont 2. Oregon 3. Washington 4. Hawaii 5. Maryland 6. Connecticut 7. New Jersey 8. Rhode Island 9. New York 10. Arizona 11. Massachusetts 12. Idaho 13. Colorado 14. California 15. Minnesota Source: Forbes, October 2007 States were ranked in six equally weighted categories: carbon footprint, air quality, water quality, hazardous waste management, policy initiatives, and energy consumption. BF: Besides being environmentally responsible, what are some reasons or incentives for businesses to go green? GREEN: Money is a huge factor. If someone is in business, you need to assume they are a capitalist of some sort. Solar energy, for example, saves large sums of money on monthly utility bills as time goes on, and it also adds to the value of the real estate. Furthermore, businesses can advertise that they are using solar energy, which is gaining respect and growing by leaps and bounds in the business arena. As such, companies receive recognition as being good corporate citizens and stewards of the environment. BF: How can businesses reduce their upfront costs when going green or, more specifically, installing solar energy systems? GREEN: Several forms of financing are available for businesses to install solar energy systems, making it so businesses incur little, if any, upfront costs for installing the system. These financing options are structured in accordance with businesses’ individual needs. If a business is very profitable, we recommend self-financing. If they have little or no profit, we suggest leasing, and in a few years they will start increasing their savings, which is as good as cash. The Power Purchase Agreement exists for non-profits who have a system installed at no cost and then purchase the electricity produced from the system at a predetermined discounted rate. The Clear Skies Group’s experts can help clients determine which form of financing will best suit their needs. BF: What advice would you give to a business that wants to go green, but doesn’t know where to start? GREEN: I suggest starting with solar and have a utility-provided efficiency person to inspect the premises for money-losing issues, such as poor insulation or window and door leaks. Since electricity is the most expensive form of energy that we use and cannot do without, why not make it yourself? With generous rebates available and high costs […]
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief