2008 Archives

Metro Spotlight: Long Island, NY

Metro Spotlight: Long Island, NY

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 […]


Texas Corporate Moves

Texas Corporate Moves

  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, […]



60 Seconds with Ezra Green, CEO of Clear Skies Holdings, Inc.

60 Seconds with Ezra Green, CEO of Clear Skies Holdings, Inc.

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 […]



Is Pakistan the new India?

Is Pakistan the new India?

Not bloody likely. According to an annual report, titled “Doing Business,” put out by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in late 2007, Pakistan is perceived as a better place for doing business in South East Asia than India in many respects. In fact, Pakistan ranked 76 among 178 economies worldwide, while India held the 120th spot. However, after the assassination in Pakistan of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in late December, Pakistan has no chance of outpacing India as a prime spot for foreign investment anytime in the near future. The country’s economy (which is in shambles now) endured nearly $2 billion in losses in just two days of violence following her murder, according to government estimates. According to a January article on Forbes.com: “Until recent months, Pakistan had been an increasingly popular destination for foreign investment, partly because military ruler President Pervez Musharraf introduced liberal economic policies after he came to power in a 1999 coup. The economy has grown at an average annual rate of 7.0 percent since 2002. The Karachi stock exchange has shot up almost 900 percent this decade. But the killing of Bhutto, a former prime minister, has left an economic void since she was seen as the only opposition leader with genuine national appeal and strong foreign backing.” All that said, I guess it is safe to say that India will remain as top dog with foreign investors … for now.


Porn and Pumpkins

Porn and Pumpkins

When governments are strapped for cash and hesitant to raise income taxes, lawmakers often invent some wacky taxes on random goods, according to a Yahoo! news story this week. Six states currently enforce a tax on pornography. Texas goes a step further and taxes strip clubs, cheekily calling it the “pole tax.” Other states have taxes on the sale of illegal drugs. Enforcible, you ask? Usually only post-arrest. A less scandalous tax comes in October when several states take a percentage of pumpkin purchases. What a trick! Basically, it seems a lot of politicians use such offbeat taxation to raise revenue without raising the boiling points of the average taxpayer. Have to keep the voters happy, right?


One Cut Cable = $Millions Lost

One Cut Cable = $Millions Lost

Lest we be forget that the Internet is based on wires and antennas, consider this news item (Reuters via NYTimes): A breakdown in an international undersea cable network disrupted Internet links to Egypt, India and Gulf Arab countries on Wednesday, and Egypt said it could take several days for its services to return to normal. It was not immediately possible to gauge the impact of the disruption on financial institutions. Egypt’s telecoms ministry said 70 percent of the country’s Internet network was down and India initially said it had lost over half its bandwidth. The Internet was designed as a military research project, with the goal of creating a network that could not be taken out by destroying a single central computer. Indeed, it’s admirable that data traffic could still get through via alternate routes in Egypt and India. But I sometimes think that we don’t realize how vulnerable the whole thing is. We are talking about, I presume, a single, lonely cable lying on the sea floor here. How many dollars worth of business and personal data were interrupted by what could been, for all we know, a shark attacking what it thought was a fat and listless eel? Okay, that’s unlikely, but the point is that it’s pretty easy to disrupt the Internet by accident, and if you know where to strike, you’ll virtually guaranteed of some success. Part of the problem is that we run pretty close to our capacity. That means that cutting even a minor backbone cable (or cyber-attacking an important backbone traffic routing computer) can have an outsize effect as data tries to cram through the existing pipes on the way to its destination. Fortunately, unlike the electric grid, there won’t be an overload that shuts down the data traffic routers (the equivalent of electric substations, if you like). Unfortunately, what an overloaded router does is a) become slow and/or b) randomly reject or drop your packets of information. Data that doesn’t arrive exactly as you sent it or arrives in partial form is about as useful as electricity that comes on only during odd-numbered minutes of the day. Capacity does not appear to be getting better. It’s kind of like the gasoline refinery situation here in the U.S. or the worldwide oil situation for that matter: there is enough of either, but demand is so close to capacity/production that even a minor supply disruption can affect everyone worldwide. The Internet is a bit more segmented–the traffic disruption in the Middle East and India […]


The Recession-Proof State

The Recession-Proof State

Our previous blog post highlighted recession-proof jobs and employment sectors, so I thought a recent news story about a “recession-proof” state would be pertinent to mention. Most Americans now think of Hurricane Katrina when they hear about Louisiana. But with a new governor, economic prowess, and some optimism, this fine state is ready to rebound from its disaster relief image. The gulf state, already the nation’s number one producer of crude oil, has purchased 1,500 acres of land in hopes of luring a major automotive plant. Additionally, it offers a unique business tax incentive that specifically targets the booming digital media industry. And sights are set on bringing in biotechnology and life sciences companies to diversify the state’s business climate.With all of the international chatter about the U.S. economic backslide, Louisiana’s development team seems undaunted. In fact, Donald Pierson, the state’s assistant secretary for economic development, considers Louisiana to be “a little bit more recession-proof.”


Is YOUR job safe!?

Is YOUR job safe!?

With the word recession at the tip of every one’s tongues these days, I figured it would be apropos to spotlight an article I read today on Yahoo titled “Recession-Proof Jobs in 2008.” According to the article: “Economists at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley say the U.S. is heading for its first-blown recession in 16 years, and a recent CNN poll found that 57 percent of the public believe the U.S. is in a recession already, with the economy topping the list of voter’s worries.” The article went on to discuss exactly which employment sectors are recession-proof, and the winners are … Education Energy Healthcare International business Environmental sector Security And, in other recession news … Bush’s Congressional leaders completed a deal with the White House today on tax rebates to help revive our failing economy. The $150 billion plan, also includes close to $50 billion in business tax cuts. Under the plan, individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600 and couples would get up to $1,200 (couples with children would get an additional $300 per child). In addition, individuals who make at least $3,000 but don’t pay taxes would get $300 rebates. Only individuals whose income is $75,000 or less and couples with a combined income of $150,000 or less would be eligible for the rebates. So, it looks like a good portion of us will have some extra money in our pockets soon (around June, according to sources) courtesy of Uncle Sam, who already takes a lot of extra money I could be putting back into the economy out of my pocket every pay period. It will be good to see some of my own hard-earned cash back in my pocket! I guess this means I can get two scoops in my cone this summer instead of one!