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Progress Rail Plans Locomotive Plant in Muncie

Progress Rail Plans Locomotive Plant in Muncie Posted on:

In the fourth announcement of its kind this week, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels joined executives from rail industry supplier, Progress Rail Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., to announce the company’s plans to locate a locomotive manufacturing facility in Muncie to serve the diesel-electric locomotive market and position the company to participate in future transit rail projects.  Progress Rail, which will operate the facility through a new subsidiary, anticipates this project could create up to 650 new jobs by 2012. The company plans to invest approximately $50 million to open the first locomotive assembly plant in the United States in many years.  Progress Rail will launch assembly and manufacturing in the 740,000 square-foot facility formerly occupied by ABB Power T&D Co., which closed in 1998.  In addition, the company plans to build a locomotive test track on the facility’s 75-acre campus. Today’s news from Progress Rail brings total jobs announced for Indiana this week to 2,000.  Earlier today Ascension Health said it would locate a professional service center in Indianapolis and create 500 new professional jobs.  On Tuesday ExactTarget announced plans to add 500 jobs in Indianapolis and Cummins said it would expand its Columbus headquarters by hiring an additional 350 associates. “Weeks like this remind us that Indiana is a leader in private sector jobs creation because we’ve built the best sandbox for business. I can’t think of a better way to cap off the week – a major investment from a company that is a recognized leader in one of America’s great industries and hundreds of new jobs moving into a building that has long been vacant,” said Daniels. Founded in 1983, Progress Rail Services manufactures, repairs and refurbishes freight cars, locomotives and rail track for Class 1, short-line and transit railroad companies as well as private car owners.  In addition, the company oversees the reclamation of used rail, wrecked or retired railcars and locomotives and other scrap metal. “We are pleased to announce the opening of this state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to better serve our customers,” said Billy Ainsworth, president and chief executive officer of Progress Rail Services. “We believe the Muncie community and the state of Indiana will offer our organization an outstanding location from which we will produce world-class products.” The company has more than 130 operating facilities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.  In August, Progress Rail acquired Electro-Motive Diesel, expanding its network of global locations, products and services. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered… …Read More…

UA Tech Park Wins U.S. Innovation Award

UA Tech Park Wins U.S. Innovation Award Posted on:

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park the winner of its Innovation in Green Technology Award. The Arizona initiative was among four recipients of the 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards, announced at the Southeast Workforce and Economic Development Conference this month. Also cited at the conference, which was co-hosted by EDA and the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, were CONNECT of La Jolla, CA, which won for Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs); Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP) of Lexington, Kentucky, for for Innovation in Commercialization; and Pennsylvania Center for Trade Development “Envoy Program” of Harrisburg, PA, for Innovation in Global Export Promotion. The Solar Zone is a comprehensive, innovative economic development strategy to create a supportive environment where companies can develop, test and demonstrate the next generation of renewable energy products and technologies.  The goals of the Solar Zone are to attract private investment; create sustainable, high-wage jobs; develop a skilled workforce; support utility efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels; and educate the public on the importance of sustainable energy. The Solar Zone’s comprehensive scope is key to its innovative approach to creating a regional solar-based economy.  At completion, the Solar Zone will accommodate all significant components of the solar energy continuum: generation; manufacturing and assembly; research and development; workforce development; and public awareness. Phase one of the Solar Zone development is a unique public/private collaboration between the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power (TEP). Construction of phase one, which includes six solar generation projects sited at the Solar Zone by TEP, occupies 222 acres within the UA Tech Park and is expected to be completed by 2012.  The projects represent a capital investment of $80-100 million and will combine to generate approximately 45,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year, enough to power nearly 4,000 Tucson homes. “The Solar Zone offers TEP a unique opportunity to evaluate the performance of various solar generating technologies side by side, at the same location,” said David Hutchens, Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Resource Planning for TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “It’s an innovative approach to renewable resource development that supports the expansion of southern Arizona’s green energy economy.” Bruce Wright, the Associate Vice President for University Research Parks added, “We believe that the Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park will be the nation’s largest multi-tenant, multi-technology demonstration site.” The Solar Zone has moved from a concept to reality in less than a year…. …Read More…

ExactTarget Expands HQ in Indianapolis

ExactTarget Expands HQ in Indianapolis Posted on:

Email marketing and interactive marketing provider ExactTarget has announced the company’s plans to expand its headquarters in Indianapolis, creating up to 500 new jobs by 2015. ExactTarget’s latest expansion in Indiana is the company’s third in three years.  The company announced plans in 2007 to add 90 associates at its Indianapolis operations, and in 2008 the company announced plans to open a new technology center and add 300 jobs in Indianapolis. ExactTarget, which employs more than 580 in Indiana and more than 750 around the globe, plans to invest more than $45 million over the next five years in its technology and infrastructure in downtown Indianapolis. “ExactTarget’s business continues to grow internationally, now with offices on two more continents, yet the company maintains the bulk of its employment and investment in its home state of Indiana. This company is proof of the strength of our state’s entrepreneurial capital, business climate and workforce and we are so proud to see them surpass every goal they set,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels. The news of ExactTarget’s Indiana expansion is the latest in the series from the company, which in the past 14 months has announced new or expanded operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, Seattle and San Francisco.  Earlier this month, ExactTarget launched its Pacific Northwest Services Center in Bellevue, Wash., and in August, the company launched its Asia Pacific operations following the acquisition of mPath Global in Sydney and Melbourne.  ExactTarget announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based Twitter platform CoTweet in March, and launched a new international division in London in September 2009 following the acquisition of its U.K.-based reseller Keymail Marketing. “As we expand into new markets across the country and around the world, we must continue to invest in world-class talent and technology to deliver results for our clients,” said Scott Dorsey, cofounder and chief executive officer, ExactTarget.  “Expanding our operations in Indiana allows us to continue to fuel our business with great minds from Indiana’s colleges and universities and benefit from the competitive economic environment that the Governor and Mayor have worked so hard to create.” ExactTarget, which powers billions of emails, mobile messages, websites and social media updates monthly for thousands of organizations across the world including Best Buy, CareerBuilder, Expedia and Microsoft, plans to continue hiring technology specialists, software developers, sales, marketing, administration and customer service professionals. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered ExactTarget, Inc. up to $11 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $225,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. … …Read More…

U.S. OKs World’s Largest Solar Plant

U.S. OKs World’s Largest Solar Plant Posted on:

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the world’s largest solar power plant, a $6 billion project in California, according to Bloomberg News. Solar Millenium LLC of Oakland, California, agreed to fund conservation measures protecting the desert tortoise and Mojave fringe-toed lizard in return for permission to build the Blythe Solar Power Project on public land, the Interior Department said today. Blythe will use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy rather than solar panels that convert light directly into electricity. Blythe Solar will cover 7,025 acres on a site 216 miles east of Los Angeles, producing as many as 1,000 megawatts, the Interior Department said. The facility will use rows of parabolic mirrors to focus the sun’s energy onto tubes that carry heated oil to a boiler, which sends steam to a turbine. “The Blythe project and others approved by Interior demonstrate the need for the agency to improve the permitting process,” Johanna Wald, NRDC’s senior attorney, said in a statement. “By making future renewable-energy projects smart from the start, we can better ensure their biggest impact is on our energy supply, not other natural resources.” On Oct. 5, Salazar approved on Oct. 5 projects in California proposed by Chevron and Tessera Solar. Before today’s announcement, four solar facilities on public lands in California and a project in Nevada with capacity to generate a total of 1,800 megawatts of electricity won approval this month. A megawatt is enough to power about 800 average U.S. homes, according to the Energy Department.  

Ford Invests $850 Million in MI Auto Plants

Ford Invests $850 Million in MI Auto Plants Posted on:

Ford has announced it will invest a combined $850 million in Michigan between 2011 and 2013 to upgrade manufacturing of fuel-efficient vehicles. The investment will add up to 1,200 new jobs. Two automotive plants in Sterling Heights, MI will get combined $150 million in investment under a package of incentives deals approved this week by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority. Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool told Crains Detroit the automaker would invest $100 million at the Van Dyke Transmission facility and $50 million at the Sterling Axle Plant. The two plants collectively employ almost 3,200 people. “The transmission plant we understand is the center of their global, six-speed transmission initiative (for Ford). And the six-speed investment is across a variety of models, so we gather the work it generates will be pretty diversified,” Vanderpool said. “This is very good news for Sterling Heights, since the city alone has round 10,000 automotive related employees.” “Fuel economy and technology are consumers’ biggest priorities—and we have made them Ford’s as well,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, said in a statement Monday. “We are pleased to work with state and local government leaders to find new ways to work together, invest in our people as well as Ford facilities, further improve our competitiveness and secure jobs in Michigan.”

Google to Open OK Data Center in 2011

Google to Open OK Data Center in 2011 Posted on:

Google is resuming work on a major data center project at MidAmerica Industrial Park near Pryor, OK in Mayes County, saying it will soon need to being additional data center capacity online. The $600 million Oklahoma project was originally scheduled for completion in 2009, but was delayed due to the slowing economy. It is now expected to be operational by the end of 2011. “Over the course of the next year and a half, Google will be building out this facility, installing servers and creating jobs in Mayes County,” Google said in a statement. “We always intended to make the Mayes County data center operational at some point. In 2008, we determined that it was unnecessary to bring the Mayes County site online as we already had enough server capacity to meet current demand. Since then, Google’s traffic and products have continued to grow, and we believe it’s time to make this site operational.” Google announced the Oklahoma data center project in May, 2007, when it purchased 800 acres of land in Pryor for a massive facility that would employ 100 workers with an average salary of $48,000. The Pryor project was the third of four data center construction projects Google announced in the first half of 2007. The search company has completed the initial phases of the other projects, located in Lenoir, NC, Goose Creek, SC and Council Bluffs, IA. Google received both sales tax and property tax incentives from the state and local governments in Oklahoma, and legislators also passed a law allowing municipal power companies to not report power usage by their largest industrial customers—which in this case made it possible for the local utility in Pryor to not disclose Google’s energy usage.

ZF Steering Invests $95.8 Million in Kentucky Plant

ZF Steering Invests $95.8 Million in Kentucky Plant Posted on:

Gov. Steve Beshear has announced that ZF Steering Systems LLC will undergo a major expansion in Northern Kentucky, investing $95.8 million over the next three years. The growth is a result of increased demand for the company’s new and existing products and involves constructing two new buildings and creating 374 new full-time jobs over the next three years at its facility in Florence, Ky. “Kentucky is proud to be the home of world-class companies such as ZF Steering Systems and strives to partner with its existing industries to create new economic development opportunities,” said Gov. Beshear. “ZF Steering Systems’ $95.8 million investment is a tremendous boost to the Commonwealth. We look forward to working with ZF Steering Systems as it grows and prospers in Northern Kentucky.” ZF Steering Systems is a subsidiary of Germany-based ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, and has been located in Kentucky since 1994.  The company manufactures steering components for passenger cars and SUVs, and is adding capacity to meet demand for its new electric steering gear. Construction of two new buildings totaling 175,000 additional square feet will begin in November and is expected to be complete by summer 2011. “This important investment will allow us to meet the increasing demand for our premium steering components and expand our manufacturing footprint in Northern Kentucky,” said Pierre Abboud, president & CEO, ZF Steering Systems LLC. “The area’s skilled workforce and competitive business environment were among the reasons we chose to locate here, and we look forward to continued growth in the region.” An incentive package was preliminarily approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) to encourage the near $100 million investment in Kentucky.  ZF Steering was approved for up to $7.5 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.  The performance-based incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments. “ZF Steering Systems is adding a significant amount of new jobs in addition to their substantial number of existing employees,” said Florence Mayor Diane Whalen. “This economic development project serves as an example of how companies can prosper and grow in Northern Kentucky.  Good things can happen by cooperatively working together.”

Albany International Grows in Rochester, NH

Albany International Grows in Rochester, NH Posted on:

Albany Engineered Composites (AEC), an aerospace composites manufacturer and subsidiary of Albany International, has announced that it will build a new plant in Rochester, NH, creating 300 jobs. New investment by the company in existing operations also is expected to create an additional 200 jobs, Gov. John Lynch said. “This is an exciting time for the city of Rochester, and an exciting time for the state of New Hampshire,” Lynch said. “These are good paying jobs at a great company, and these are exactly the kinds of job creation we’ve been working toward. This is really a significant investment by Albany in New Hampshire.” Lynch also announced that Albany International will be moving its corporate headquarters and leadership team from New York to Rochester during the next few years. The state’s community college system also will be working with Albany Engineered Composites to provide job training for candidate workers at the AEC facility. “Our fastest-growing business, and the business we hope will continue to grow, is located right here in Rochester,” said Joseph Morone, AEC president and CEO.

Intel to Create Thousands of Jobs

Intel to Create Thousands of Jobs Posted on:

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corporation will invest between $6 billion and $8 billion on future generations of manufacturing technology in five semiconductor fabrication plants. A new facility in Oregon and four other existing facilities, two in Oregon and two in Arizona, will develop 22-nanometer process technology. The new chips will be used in a variety of devices from computer servers to mobile devices. The project will support 6,000 to 8,000 construction jobs and create 800 to 1000 permanent high-tech positions. Intel is relying on the smaller chips to develop faster, power-efficient processing while reducing the risk of overheating. “Today’s announcement reflects the next tranche of the continued advancement of Moore’s Law and a further commitment to invest in the future of Intel and America,” Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said in a statement. While the company has not decided how the money or the jobs will be split between the operations, John Pemberton, VP of technology and manufacturing group for Intel and plant manager in Chandler, AZ, said the work will be finished by the end of 2012. In Arizona, Intel will upgrade Fab 12, originally built in 1995. The plant currently is producing older chips in a 65-nanometer process and will be making several generations of upgrades with the investment, Pemberton said. The other plant upgrade is Fab 32, where Intel recently spent $3 billion on the 32-nanometer process, at the time the highest chip production level. That production facility was built in 2005. Still, the bulk of the money and the jobs may go to Oregon, which is getting a new fab to be called D1X, slated for startup in 2013. It also will receive money to upgrade two of its current fabs (D1C and D1D). Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the decision continues a tradition of Intel bringing high-wage jobs to the state. The company has about 10,000 employees and is the largest semiconductor employer in the state.

Google Aims to Power East Coast

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Every year, somebody at our office circulates an email message updating us on what it’s like to work at Google. This message always generates a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” at the water cooler. The privileged few who inhabit Google’s high command in Mountain View, CA are living the corporate good life. In between tweaking the algorithm that governs 80 percent of web searches, these working stiffs can be seen: Serenely swimming in an Olympic-sized pool; Reclining in ergonomically designed “stress” capsules; Moving from floor to floor on a sliding pond; Shooting pool in the billiard room; Getting a professional massage; Having a personal chef prepare a five-star meal for lunch. Frankly, we’re fed up with the annual “what it’s like to work at Google” message. We’d like to forward it to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Strike that last thought. Google just announced it has plans for the Atlantic Ocean. The search behemoth is going to spend $5 billion to power a huge stretch of the East Coast of the United States with wind from the Atlantic. Google intends to leapfrog to the head of the alternative energy pack. The project would set up offshore wind turbines and a new transmission grid stretching 350 miles from New Jersey to Virginia. Google, which also is dabbling in robotic cars (they drive themselves), said it would provide 37.5 percent of the initial funding for the East Coast wind bonanza. Rick Needham, director of green business operations and strategy at Google, described the project as a new “superhighway” for alternative energy, creating jobs and eventually providing enough power to serve 1.9 million households. “We’re willing to take calculated risks on large-scale projects that can move an industry. Indeed, that is what’s made our company so successful to date,” Needham told a news conference in Washington. Google and its partners hope to begin work on the project, called the Atlantic Wind Connection, in early 2013 and complete it by 2020, subject to government approval. Needham said Google was open to further investment later. We can imagine how this project got started. Google founders Sergey and Larry were taking a stress break after a five-star meal at the Mountain View HQ. While they were lying on the massage table, Sergey suddenly blurted out: “Gigabits. Gigabits. That’s all we ever talk about. I’m sick of gigabits!” To which Larry responded: “OK. How about gigawatts?” We’ve got an uneasy feeling about this initiative. Creating a power transmission grid for the most densely populated chunk of the U.S.A. is… …Read More…