2008 | Page 5 of 24 | Business Facilities - Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutions

Our aging population is the driving force behind tremendous growth in the plastics and medical device industries. Where will you grow your facility?


Our aging population is the driving force behind tremendous growth in the plastics and medical device industries. Where will you grow your facility?

Renaissance in Medical Plastics

7 years ago



Pennsylvania Corporate Moves

Pennsylvania Corporate Moves

  Hazleton Is in the Zone In May, AutoZone, one of North America’s top auto parts retailers, opened its 600,000-square-foot distribution center in the Greater Hazleton area of Pennsylvania. Construction of the facility began in June 2007, and AutoZone expects to employ 400 people when the plant in Humboldt North Industrial Park is fully operational. AutoZone considered dozens of communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland before deciding on Greater Hazleton as the site for its newest distribution center, according to John Warden, an executive vice president with The Walker Company, the site selector for the project. “In addition to our workforce, several other factors helped us locate this project here. The Governor’s Action Team brought significant state financial incentives to the table. The Hazleton Area School District, Hazle Township and Luzerne County approved the land in Humboldt North for LERTA tax status. And the assistance provided by our industrial and educational community, the Manufacturers and Employers Association, CareerLink and the Chamber of Commerce was invaluable,” says Kevin O’Donnell, president of CAN DO, an economic development agency for Hazleton. Joining CAN DO and local officials in making the announcement were AutoZone representatives including Bill Graves, senior vice president of supply chain customer satisfaction; Rod Halsell, vice president of distribution and customer satisfaction; Dave Ronk, regional distribution center manager; Joe Buehrle, distribution center manager; and Joe Lorson, direction of supply chain construction. “The increasing scope of our business requires that we enhance our supply chain capabilities,” says Bill Graves, SVP of supply chain customer satisfaction. “AutoZone’s new facility in Hazle Township will bring even more efficiency to the process of delivering the right part at the right price to our retail and commercial customers.” “Our staff spent countless hours, weeks and months coordinating all of the meetings and information this company sought during the site selection process. Before joining the CAN DO board, I had no idea how much hard work goes into courting a new industrial tenant. I think everyone who is involved in this process has an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into bringing new jobs to the area,” says CAN DO Chairman of the Board Thomas Sandrock. Boston Taps Lehigh Valley Brewery The Boston Beer Company, Inc., announced in August that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Diageo North America, Inc. to acquire a brewery located 60 miles outside of Philadelphia, for $55 million. The company expects to begin brewing Samuel Adams beer in the fourth quarter of this year. “This agreement […]


Metro Spotlight: Johnson City, Tennessee

Metro Spotlight: Johnson City, Tennessee

Johnson City: A Perfect 10 in Tennessee Once a 19th century railroad depot, Johnson City, TN has grown into a successful city with deep musical and historical roots. Positioned in the far eastern stretches of Tennessee, Johnson City spans Washington, Carter and Sullivan Counties. The MSA’s estimated population was 181,607 in 2006, with approximately 60,000 people residing in the city limits. Intelligent residents and a burgeoning business climate combine to make Johnson City one of Tennessee’s most notable metro areas. The knowledge community present at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), home to 13,000 students, solidifies Johnson City’s educational foundation. The public university includes the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, which was ranked fourth in the United States for excellence in rural medical education in 2009’s U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” ETSU also was ranked in the top 25% of medical schools for primary care education. The university has a College of Pharmacy, as well. In the business realm, Johnson City recently was ranked tenth by Forbes magazine’s “Best Smaller Metro Area for Business and Careers.” In 2007, Washington County’s workforce totaled 60,600 strong, with a countywide unemployment rate of 4.1%, down from 4.9% in 2005 and 5% in 2003, according to the Tennessee Department of Employment Security. Washington Welcomes Two Japanese Auto Suppliers On October 27, 2008, two Japanese companies held an official opening and building dedication ceremony at the Washington County Industrial Park, located on Highway 11E near Johnson City, TN. Koyo Corporation of USA and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies broke ground in November of 2006 and their new manufacturing facilities became fully operational in May of this year. Both companies are involved in the manufacturing of bearings for the automotive industry and have brought approximately 100 to 150 new jobs, consisting primarily of machining, grinding, assembly, skilled trades and professional positions, to Johnson City and the surrounding area. “This is a positive development for Tennessee and Washington County,” says Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. “Attracting good-paying manufacturing jobs is an important part of our job creation strategy. Having our efforts embraced by automotive industry leaders like Koyo and Nakatetsu is a strong endorsement of Tennessee’s business climate.” Koyo Corporation of USA’s General Manager Steve McCullough believes the new facilities will be an important step for both companies’ growing businesses. “Our preliminary selection of Washington County reflects our commitment to American manufacturing and the American worker,” says McCullough. “Increased consumer demand for our products requires increased manufacturing capabilities to complement our other U.S. plants and relationships. […]


Utah Corporate Moves

Utah Corporate Moves

Charlotte Pipe: A Utah Success Story When Charlotte Pipe and Foundry decided to expand, it needed land with easy access to rail and highway transportation. The company found that and more at the largest new rail-served industrial park west of the Mississippi: Port 15 Utah in Cedar City, UT. Charlotte Pipe found “a business-friendly environment,” says Brad Muller, vice president of marketing, “and a very easy place to do business.” The fast track process Port 15 implemented took only seven months from permits to finished 148,000-square-foot facility on 50 acres that began producing pipe in March of this year. The 107-year-old family-owned company, a market leader based in Charlotte, NC, wanted to sell plastic pipe and fittings to West Coast plumbing distributors. But because pipe is mostly air, it’s too expensive to ship across the country, so Charlotte Pipe needed a manufacturing site within a day-and-a-half-drive of southern California and other population centers on the coast. The company also needed rail service to deliver its primary raw material—PVC resin—a reliable workforce, and room to expand. Charlotte Pipe looked for land around Las Vegas and in Arizona, but found none with rail service, an essential component. It soon learned Utah is the meeting point of three major rail lines, with service to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Port 15 Utah was created by a group of public and private investors, including: • Utah School Land Trust • State of Utah • Quantum Development Group • Iron County School District • Cedar City/Iron County Office of Economic Development • Rocky Mountain Power “Port 15 is a unique commercial and industrial center”, says Mike Hillis, a managing partner at Commerce CRG, a regional commercial real estate firm marketing the property. Utah’s three interstate highways—two east-west routes, I-70 and I-80, and a north-south route, I-15, which runs through the middle of Cedar City—have made the state a central distribution point along the Canada/Mexico trade corridor. Cedar City Regional Airport, with the second longest runway in Utah, is a key component of regional transportation. The Iron County region and Cedar City are both undergoing population growth, while maintaining a high quality of life and reasonable cost of living. Southern Utah University and Southwest Applied Technology College offer opportunities for higher education in the area. The quality of life is enhanced by such amenities as several nearby national parks, the Utah Shakespearean Festival and the annual Utah Summer Games. The Quantum Development Group created a partnership with the Utah School Land Trust to assemble 800 […]


60 Seconds with Guy Tozzoli, President of the World Trade Centers Association

60 Seconds with Guy Tozzoli, President of the World Trade Centers Association

Guy Tozzoli began his career in 1946 as an engineer for the Port Authority for NY and NJ. In 1970, he helped create the WTCA and, in 1997 and 1999, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. BF: What unique services can a World Trade Center offer to businesses? GT: World Trade Centers (WTCs) support companies that want to grow internationally, whether they’re just beginning to look beyond their own region or are exploring ways to grow in foreign markets or find new suppliers. WTCs provide education, trade data, market research, company lists, business matchmaking services, trade shows trade missions, market entry programs—anything in support of trade. What makes WTCs unique is that they work together. The network of WTCs is very strong and they work cooperatively. If a business in Pennsylvania needs information about Taiwan, the Philadelphia WTC can call the Taipei WTC and get answers. If a company in Istanbul is looking for a supplier, the WTC there can call their counterparts in Shanghai or Charleston or Bogota or Lagos to try and see if they can find what is needed. BF: What emerging cities have the potential to become global trade hubs? GT: There are many growing cities around the world. China has almost 100 cities with populations of a million or more. Even though things in the financial world are in turmoil right now, there is still tremendous growth in many regions.  In November, our WTCA General Assembly will take place in Dubai, an incredibly exciting city experiencing phenomenal growth. In fact, it is literally growing; they’re creating islands and adding more land to the city. BF: How can international trade influence worldwide peace and stability? GT: It is proven that international commercial relationships tie nations together through mutual economic interest and cultural exchange. Research also shows that the growing link between trade and the environment hugely impacts the economy. Nations that are open to a global economy are more open politically. Trade is a direct benefit of peace. The WTCA has a positive effect on the trade environment. WTC executives spoke on activities that have had substantial impact in building and maintaining economic prosperity in key areas such as Kabul, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Korea, Mumbai and Stockholm. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ongoing conflicts have dropped sharply since the early 1990s. We believe this is a direct result of global trade and the interdependence and interconnection that is the result of international business. The WTCA In the UAE The World Trade […]



Pity the fool

Pity the fool

When Alan Greenspan presided over the Federal Reserve for 18 years, he periodically appeared before Congress to mutter some ethereal bromides about the state of the U.S. economy. Greenspan’s pronouncements were greeted as Yoda-like pearls of wisdom. Every mumbled word from this financial deity was reverentially parsed ad nauseum by a herd of financial analysts; every time he raised his eyebrows and creased those shar pei-sized folds on his brow, markets jumped. He even had an official, gushy hagiography penned about him by Washington’s favorite instant historian, Bob Woodward. Woodward called the book ”Maestro.” Yesterday, the Maestro sat amidst the wreckage of the global financial system and was asked by the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform whether his zeal for unregulated markets might have caused the unmitigated disaster we are now living through. The answer was pure Greenspan: ”Yes, I’ve found a flaw,” he mumbled. ”I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.” One might assume this vague reference to a ”flaw” was the former Fed chief’s way of admitting that the housing bubble he was largely responsible for inflating had fueled a wild speculative orgy that resulted in the collapse of the global financial system. Unfortunately, before we could all reach that conclusion, Greenspan wiggled an eyebrow and added some nuance that gave us a clue as to what he was really trying to say. The ”flaw,” he explained, was that the banking giants had failed to regulate themselves, causing the ”intellectual edifice” of the ”modern risk-management paradigm” to collapse. ”Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he said. So Alan Greenspan is shocked, shocked, that unregulated banks might get so greedy that they would act irresponsibly. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Here’s what happened during all those years that guru Greenspan was struggling to reach this conclusion: The largest banks in the world, all wanting to gorge themselves on big gooey chunks of speculative moolah cooked up in the overheated U.S. housing market, created a bunch of exotic financial instruments called derivatives. They used these to bundle ridiculous sub-prime mortgages and spread the unsecured debt throughout the global financial system. Not satisfied with simply owning huge chunks of bad debt they couldn’t even locate on their books, these binge bankers created a market for credit default swaps, insurance instruments that permitted them […]


Live from Germany, It’s Monday Night!

Live from Germany, It’s Monday Night!

This afternoon, I had the privilege of interviewing Volker Hoff, the minister of federal and European affairs for the German state of Hessen. We met in a deluxe, circular conference room adorned with a glittering chandelier and a balcony overlooking the grandeur of Hessen’s capital, Wiesbaden. Hoff and I were joined by Bernd Kistner, head of foreign trade for the Hessian Ministry for Economic Affairs, as well as Oliver Biel and Kristina Garcia, both of Hessen Agentur. As the senior editor of Business Facilities, the opportunity to sit down for a high-profile discussion with some of Germany’s most influential people was a journalistic high point. Speaking with Hoff and company about issues such as the necessary expansion plans of Frankfurt airport to the challenge of finding the funding to invest in education—starting at the kindergarten level—highlighted a significant point for me. Even as the economic crisis grips the world’s banks and strikes fear into the hearts and wallets of billions of people, business still goes on. It, like time, doesn’t seem to stop. There are always decisions to be made, plans to be drawn, and opportunities to be seized. All of this happens like clockwork, regardless of fluctuating stocks, interest rate cuts, and missed mortgage payments. They say time is money, but business is both. I’ve been traveling through Germany for ten days now and, while some companies were hesitant to sit down with me–fearing tough questions about global economic woes—I could not have asked for a better moment in time to meet face-to-face with elite businesses. In Bavaria’s iconic capital, Munich, I met with top-level executives from GE and Ingram Micro, to name a few, before heading to Hessen for talks with The Hartford Financial Group and Citibank, among others. Let me tell you how reassuring it is to have been met with both optimism and candor, open-mindedness and insight, from some of Germany’s newest and biggest economic additions. Keep an eye out for future issues of Business Facilities where I plan to detail what I have learned from conversing with international businesspeople and European lawmakers over the last couple of weeks. For some, the reasons to enter the German market are too numerous to quantify, while the reasons for choosing specific cities, sometimes, have been easier than you could possibly imagine.


Crimson tide swamps Birmingham

Crimson tide swamps Birmingham

The fiscal tsunami triggered by the collapse of Wall Street’s investment banking giants is poised to drown an entire county in Alabama. According to a report in Fortune magazine, Jefferson County, AL, which includes the city of Birmingham, is on the verge of filing for Chapter 9 protection in what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Fortune says that Jefferson County has fallen ”hopelessly behind” on payments to service $3.2 billion it borrowed on ridiculous terms from the financial geniuses on Wall Street during the past decade to build a new sewer system. Despite desperate pleas from Alabama Gov. Bob Riley to the federal government, the Jefferson County Commission is said to be just days away from an official bankruptcy filing. Riley reportedly has placed several urgent phone calls to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s newly named bailout czar, Neel Kashkari, and told him that the impending fiscal disaster in Jefferson County is ”the single biggest threat to the municipal bond market today and a poster child for how the subprime mortgage crisis is hurting Main Street America.” According to a legal study cited by Fortune, bankruptcy filings by municipalities have been extremely rare in the United States. Since the bankruptcy laws were written in 1934, fewer than 600 localities have filed under Chapter 9. By comparison, roughly the same number of private sector entities file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection every two weeks in this country. The Chapter 9 protection provides for the reorganization of the municipality. The folks in Jefferson County may want to start with the officials who thought it was a great idea to finance their new sewer system with exotic financial instruments hawked by the snake-oil peddlers at the big Wall Street investment banks. Two of the county’s biggest counterparties in derivatives trades used to finance the sewer project were the now-defunct Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, according to Fortune. To make matters worse, an ongoing federal corruption probe in Jefferson has thus far yielded 21 convictions. The mayor of Birmingham, who previously served as president of the Jefferson County Commission, is said to be a prime target of the probe. The people of Jefferson County thought they were going to get an end to constant overflows of raw sewage when a $250 million project to improve the local sewage system was approved in 1996. What they got was a $3.2 billion piece of the Great Fiscal Flood of 2008, which smells even worse.