A skilled workforce is a prerequisite for many of today’s projects. Here’s a handy guide that will help you sort out the bevy of training programs that now are being offered.
Neal Wade left St. Joe Co. eight years ago to become director of the Alabama Development Office. He is now returning to St. Joe to spearhead the West Bay development in northwest Florida. BF: What attracted you to this opportunity and what do you bring to the table? NW: I’m bringing a whole new set of values and experiences I didn’t have before. If you’ve only been on the corporate side, state government can be a shock. It’s really been an education to me to learn how to navigate through all levels of government. I’ve also made a tremendous amount of contacts internationally as well as here in the U.S., especially among projects that we’re going to be targeting and among site consultants throughout the country. BF: Are there specific lessons you’ve learned in your state post that you can apply to your new position? NW: Government does not operate at the same pace that the private sector does–you don’t have the same abilities to make decisions inside state government that you do on the private side. It’s much slower [at the state level]. So you really have to pick your battles and figure out how you’re going to work within the system. It’s also really brought into focus that to be successful, you have to have a team: not just St. Joe, but local and state government, the new governor, all of those elements have to be part of the success we’re going to have down there. BF: How challenging is the economic environment in northwest Florida today? NW: We’re seeing a lot more activity than we were seeing two years ago. We’re seeing a lot of projects right now. Companies are preparing for recovery and the opportunity for activity is good. BF: What are the biggest selling points for West Bay? NW: In northwest Florida what we have to offer is an unparalleled quality of life, a workforce that can be trained to fit the companies we’re going to be targeting and we’re going to have a new set of sites that we’re going to make available over the next three years that weren’t available seven years ago. There are 1900 aerospace and defense businesses in northwest Florida, and when you combine that with the type of sites we will have available we’ve got a tremendous selling point. We also are changing the perception that the region is strictly a tourist destination rather than a major business location. BF: How important is the new Northwest Florida Beaches International […]
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief
The software giant’s 230,000-square-foot facility in Utah will bring 1,000 new jobs to the state.
SunCoke Creates Jobs and Energy in Middletown SunCoke Energy, a subsidiary of Sunoco, Inc., is building a $360 million coke plant in Middletown, located adjacent to AK Steel’s Middletown Works. Expected to be complete in September 2011, the project will create approximately 550 construction jobs and 86 new Ohio steel industry jobs. Under a 20-year supply agreement, the 100-oven facility will supply AK Steel with roughly 550,000 tons of blast furnace coke delivered via conveyer annually. Previously, AK Steel purchased 25 percent of its yearly coke requirements on the open market. “Our long-term agreement with SunCoke Energy to supply AK Steel with coke and electrical power is one of the most forward-looking commitments by our company in recent years,” said AK Steel President and CEO James L. Wainscott. The 157-acre state-of-the-art plant will be the cleanest of its kind in the nation with a network of ambient air quality monitors that include volatile organic compound monitors and a sulfur dioxide monitor. Using advanced technology, the facility will also recover waste heat from the coking process to generate around 46 megawatts of electrical power each year, about 25 percent of Middletown Works’ energy requirements. Even with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stringent requirements, Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration worked to see that this plant received all necessary permits and approval from the U.S. EPA. “Steel has been a vital part of Ohio’s history and we are working every day to make steel a vital part of Ohio’s future,” Strickland said. “We are proud to have worked with SunCoke and AK Steel to bring hundreds of new jobs and the cleanest coke plant in the country to southwest Ohio.” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said, “Ohio already has a skilled workforce and a rich manufacturing heritage, spurred by projects like these that lead to good-paying jobs. Simply put, this would be one of the largest cogeneration power projects in the nation—and it’s happening right here in Middletown.” Pro-Tec Coating Adds More Steel for Leipsic, OH Pro-Tec Coating Company is expanding its operation in Leipsic with a more than $290 million project scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2010. It includes the addition of a 415,000-square-foot building, the creation of 80 jobs and the retention of 229 jobs. As a result of its expansion, the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) approved a 70 percent Job Creation Tax Credit (given through the Ohio Tax Credit Authority) for Pro-Tec estimated at $681,694 for a ten-year term. A condition of the grant requires the company […]
It’s no secret that the United States has come up lame in the global race for dominance in the renewable energy market. The total U.S. investment in renewable energy projects was measured last year at roughly $19 billion, less than half of the investment made by China, the current world leader in the field. In fact, there may be only one alternative energy-related sector left to give Americans an opportunity to crow “We’re Number One!”—the emerging market for carbon accounting software, also known as Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) or Green IT. A study by Groom Energy found that in 2009 more than $46 million was invested in ECA start-ups with tools to help businesses manage, analyze and report on their carbon footprints. Last year, Walmart announced it would begin requiring suppliers to report statistics on resource consumption, forcing vendors to develop calculations that will conform to the retail giant’s forthcoming Sustainability Index. Industry analysts now are projecting the global market for carbon accounting tools and related Green IT consulting will top $9 billion by 2012. According to reports, software titans SAP and Microsoft are making acquisitions to position themselves as leaders in carbon management products. The rubric of Green IT is not limited to the measurement of carbon footprints; it also encompasses everything from the management of smart grids to the processing of consumer waste. Much of the interest in carbon accounting tools was spurred by the assumption that the U.S. would enact some form of a carbon trading system this year as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s energy strategy. However, Congress dropped consideration of an energy bill from its agenda this year. California, which pioneered the concept of a carbon market, is poised to vote on a referendum that may postpone a statewide mandate on carbon trading that was supposed to take effect next year. So the widespread embrace of carbon footprint measurement methodology is peaking at the same time that the political will to place a cost on carbon emissions appears to be waning. Perhaps we need a tool to measure the environmental impact of cold feet in the halls of government.
Governor Bev Perdue has announced that North Carolina will receive $4.5 million in federal recovery funds to support the development of broadband access and economic development across North Carolina. The funding goes to the e-NC Authority, a state initiative to expand broadband access throughout North Carolina especially in rural areas. The $4.5 million grant is matched by an additional $1 million, including $400,000 from the Golden Leaf Foundation, for a total $5.5 million investment. “Broadband access is a critical component for economic development in North Carolina – in particular in rural areas,” said Gov. Perdue. “These funds will help continue the work of the e-NC Authority to expand the reach of high-speed Internet and, in turn, boost local economies.” Since January, North Carolina has received $275 million in federal recovery awards for expanding access to broadband. The funds announced today will enable the e-NC Authority to continue its statewide mapping of broadband availability for four more years, continuing the work started by a previous federal grant. Today’s grant was made by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. “This funding will enable e-NC to continue its statewide mapping work of broadband availability for four more years, and will enable us to go back into the communities in North Carolina to help us find on-the-ground solutions for broadband service for all North Carolina citizens,” said Jane Patterson, e-NC Executive Director. The grant funds will also be used to continue the pilot Lifeline Online program, a national model, for another two years to improve computer ownership and Internet usage in economically distressed counties. In addition, funds will support a partnership with the NC Center for Geographic Information Analysis (CGIA) to improve the state’s address look up functionality, which will benefit emergency and public safety services.
TIMCO Aerosystems, LLC will invest $2.75 million to open a manufacturing operation in Wallburg, North Carolina. The company anticipates the creation of 275 jobs over the next five years with an overall average wage of $34,728, not including benefits. TIMCO Aerosystems, a unit of TIMCO Aviation Services, one of the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul (“MRO”) providers in the world, develops, manufactures, integrates and certifies interior cabins and monuments including galley systems, lavatories and aircraft seating. The facility in Wallburg will engineer and manufacture these interior components. Kevin Carter, Co-CEO of TIMCO along with Ron Utecht, said, “We undertook a comprehensive assessment of various locations around the country for the expanded facilities. At the end of the day, the impressive partnership of the Governor, the State Legislature, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina Community Colleges, Davidson County and the Town of Wallburg, recognized the opportunity before us and really worked hard with our team on a compelling plan to take advantage of something that doesn’t come along frequently in the aerospace industry.” To help facilitate this expansion, the company has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund, which provides cash grants to attract business projects deemed by the governor to be vital to a healthy and growing state economy. No money is paid up front and companies must meet job creation and investment targets to receive payments. One North Carolina Fund grants also require a local match, and this grant is contingent upon approval of local incentives. Also, the state Economic Investment Committee voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to TIMCO. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant. Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 60 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the nine years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If TIMCO meets the targets called for under the agreement and sustains them for nine years, the JDIG could yield $1.798 million in maximum benefits for the company. “By expanding its stake in the state, TIMCO has demonstrated that our own investments in education, worker training, aerospace and infrastructure have paid off. We have created the kind of business climate and workforce that is attracting new companies and encouraging the ones that […]
The Minnesota Economic Development Fund was awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant will help create more than 200 jobs and generate upwards of $4.3 million in new private investment in northeast Minnesota. The money will be combined with $772,000 in local matching funds to create a revolving loan fund of nearly $2.2 million. The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and the Northspan Group of Duluth asked for Congressman Jim Oberstar’s help with the grant application in spring 2009, when it became apparent that Duluth’s aviation manufacturing industry needed access to operating capital. “This is a sound investment in our economy; EDA estimates show that every federal dollar invested will return $3 in private sector growth,” said Oberstar. “Duluth’s aviation industry is a prime example of how new ideas can create jobs and economic growth,” said Oberstar. “This fund will ensure that companies and entrepreneurs have the ability to create jobs.” The following coalition of Northeast Minnesota counties and economic development agencies committed matching funds to the revolving loan fund: Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, $300,000; Duluth 1200 Fund Inc., $200,000; St. Louis County, $100,000; Two Harbors Development Commission, $100,000; Carlton County, $50,000; Lake County, $10,000; Aitkin County, $10,000; and Koochiching County, $2,000.
Cree Inc. will invest $135 million to expand its Durham, NC manufacturing operations, announced Governor Bev Perdue. The LED lighting company will create 244 new local jobs over the next two years with an average annual wage of $42,726. Cree will receive more than $4 million in state and local incentives if it meets hiring and investment goals. The incentives will help the company produce next generation LEDs, tiny light-emitting chips that are used in such products as lighting, signs and wireless devices. This latest expansion involves a significant increase in Cree’s manufacturing footprint and led them to explore several possible locations. Chuck Swoboda, Cree’s Chairman and CEO, said that the company needed to move quickly to meet orders for light models for Chinese streetlights and other uses. “I think incentives are a reality in making these decisions today,” Swoboda said, noting that Cree also received economic incentives at its China facilities. “They’re part of the equation. They’re not the only factor, but they are a factor.” “Cree is proud to be expanding our operations in North Carolina,” said Swoboda, “The establishment of this next generation wafer fab capability will help us to lead the next phase of the LED lighting revolution.”