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Ground Broken for Nucor Steel Plant in Louisiana

Ground Broken for Nucor Steel Plant in Louisiana

At a ceremony in Convent, LA, ground was broken this week for the first phase of Nucor’s new $3.4-billion multiphase iron and steel manufacturing facility in St. James Parish, one of the largest industrial projects in Louisiana history. The Nucor project will result in more than 1,250 new direct jobs, averaging approximately $75,000 per year and $3.4 billion in capital investment. Gov. Bobby Jindal, Nucor Corp. President and CEO Dan DiMicco , Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret and St. James Parish President Dale Hymel attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “After working for three years to attract Nucor to Louisiana, I am thrilled to join Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco and local officials to break ground on the first phase of this huge new job-creating project,” said Gov. Jindal. “Nucor’s decision to come to Louisiana instead of anywhere else in the nation or the world is a tremendous victory for Louisianians and sends yet another signal that our state is the best place for businesses to locate, grow and succeed. We are competing for the best businesses in the world. We have already announced project wins creating more than 39,500 new jobs since taking office, and the Nucor project will be a tremendous economic boost for Southeast Louisiana and our entire state for years to come,” the governor said. “We are excited to be getting our DRI project underway and to bring good manufacturing jobs to Southeast Louisiana,” DiMicco said. “Manufacturing has long been the cornerstone of the American economy, and we feel that it will once again lead our country back to economic prosperity. America is a place where we make and build things, and the partnership we have formed between the state and Nucor is a testament to the hard work of Gov. Jindal, Secretary Moret, Parish President Hymel and other local officials and residents, all of whom have supported and championed this project.” The five phases of the project described in an incentive agreement with the state include a direct reduced iron (DRI) facility (150 jobs and $750 million capital investment) in Phase I; a second DRI facility (100 jobs and $400 million capital investment); a pellet plant (200 jobs and $500 million capital investment); a blast furnace and coke ovens (300 jobs and $1 billion capital investment); and a steel mill (500 jobs and $750 million capital investment). Phase I of the project, a 2.5 million tons-per-year iron-making facility, will use direct reduction technology to convert natural gas and iron ore pellets into high-quality DRI used by Nucor’s […]


Indiana EDC Supports Entrepreneur Network

Indiana EDC Supports Entrepreneur Network

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has created a new program aimed at attracting new resources and increasing access to capital for Indiana entrepreneurs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The agency will use its 21st Century Research and Technology Fund to create a statewide entrepreneurial network to engage private investors and regional partners in creating and supporting new companies. Executive Director Mark Becker of the Northeast Indiana Fund says the program incorporates the best aspects of other national models developed in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma. The corporation says it hopes to attract an additional $30 million in matching federal and private funding to support Indiana entrepreneurial efforts. The program called Invest Indiana was announced Thursday at a meeting of the corporation’s board of directors in the northern Indiana community of Winona Lake.


Lockheed Martin Invests $26 million in Kentucky Facility

Lockheed Martin Invests $26 million in Kentucky Facility

Gov. Steve Beshear has announced Lockheed Martin is reaffirming its commitment to Kentucky with a $26 million investment at Lexington’s Bluegrass Station.  The global security company was recently awarded a major contract for Logistics Support Services that will result in securing its statewide presence, as well as add 224 new, full-time jobs in Lexington over the length of the contract. “This $26 million investment by Lockheed Martin sends a strong and clear message that Kentucky is a true partner with its existing businesses,” said Gov. Beshear. “Not only will this project enhance Lockheed Martin’s existing footprint in Kentucky, it will add 224 new jobs in the Lexington community.  This is a win-win situation for everyone.” The logistics contract is supported by 1,856 full-time Lockheed Martin and partner company employees across Kentucky, including Bluegrass Station, Fort Campbell and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond.  Lockheed Martin’s investment will entail numerous improvements to existing state-owned facilities, as well as equipment costs that will increase the performance and longevity of the operations. “This investment will improve the existing equipment, tools, and facility infrastructure as well the overall efficiency and quality of work to position us as a world-class sustainment operation within the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Howard Yellen, Lockheed Martin vice president. “Our joint vision is to develop the existing workforce while making strategic investments in equipment and infrastructure for the long-term growth into a Sustainment Center of Excellence.” The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Lockheed Martin Corporation for tax incentives up to $15 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program.  The performance-based incentive will allow Lockheed Martin to keep a portion of its investment over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $415,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA).  KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment. “Lockheed Martin is ranked 44th on the Fortune 500 list and is an international leader in the aerospace and defense industries,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.  “These are good jobs with a future.  We’re extremely pleased that Lockheed Martin is remaining and growing jobs in our community.” “Many people don’t realize it, but from an employment standpoint, the military’s impact is felt throughout the Bluegrass. Together, Bluegrass Station in Fayette County and Bluegrass Army Depot in Richmond account for an annual economic […]


Green Light Turns Yellow

Historians call the period from 1876 to 1905 the Second Industrial Revolution in America. Here’s a quick rundown of the innovations that remade the nation in this 30-year span: 1876 — Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone. 1879 — Thomas Edison invents the incandescent light bulb. 1892 — Rudolf Diesel patents the diesel engine. 1899 — Marconi invents the wireless. 1903 — The Wright Brothers make the first successful flight over Kitty Hawk, NC. Within a few years of these developments, most Americans could sit down in their armchairs, turn on their reading lamps, pick up the phone and make a reservation to travel across the country on an airplane. We are now going through a similar period of innovation and high expectations. Homeowners across the country are thinking about the feasibility of installing a wind turbine in their driveway or covering the roof of their house with solar shingles. The age of alternative energy has arrived. But while individuals are taking the lead in making green energy part of their everyday lives, our government seems to have lost its mojo to Do Big Things. In recent months, the United States has moved to the front burner its effort to power our economy with alternative energy. The federal government has put its full weight behind the fast-tracking of an assortment of mega-projects to build huge wind farms, solar arrays and the beginning of a national renewable energy power grid. The national energy strategy, as enunciated by the Obama Administration, embraces all forms of alternative energy, including hydropower, geothermal energy and nuclear power. Regardless of the lingering debate on global warming (a.k.a. climate change), there seems to be a solidifying consensus that the conversion to renewable energy is a top national priority. But opposition to a fast-track conversion suddenly has emerged from some surprising (and not-so-surprising) quarters. The opponents all have their own particular concerns, but these may cumulatively succeed in flashing a yellow caution signal on the fast track to a green energy future. As reported in this space, the first big alt energy counteroffensive came from the U.S. military. A bevy of Air Force generals fired off a heat-seeking missile from the Pentagon aimed at the heart of the burgeoning wind power sector. The Air Force declared that giant U.S.-based wind turbines pose a threat to national security. According to the top brass at the Pentagon, the radar signature of a giant windmill looks like an aircraft (with propellers, we assume) or a strange weather formation. This might cause a distraction […]


KBA Funds National Animal Health Center of Innovation

KBA Funds National Animal Health Center of Innovation

A new “high-speed lane” will be built along the Animal Health Corridor that spans Kansas and Missouri, thanks to a $1-million investment by the Kansas Bioscience Authority. At its board meeting in Washington, DC, the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) approved seed money to establish a public-private consortium called the National Center of Animal Health Innovation. This “center of innovation” will bring nine area animal health companies, plus regional universities and government agencies together to accelerate job creation, research, development and commercialization of the next generation of animal health and nutrition products. “This proposal is part of an overall strategy to position Kansas as the nation’s innovation hub for animal health and animal disease research and product development,” said Tom Thornton, President and CEO of the KBA. “The center will be led by and responsive to industry. Already, these leading companies have identified opportunities to work together to support new product development to advance the competitive position of their companies and the regional economy. Bottom line, we are talking about the potential to create new products, new companies, new jobs and whole new industries for Kansas.” Participating companies include: Bayer Animal Health, Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica, Centaur, Ceva Biomune, Hennessey Research, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Intervet/Schering Plough, Nestle/Purina and Teva Animal Health. Participating universities, organizations and government agencies are expected to include: University of Kansas, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, Midwest Research Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Services, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, National Bio and Agro- Defense Facility (NBAF), Morris Animal Foundation, National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization (NISTAC), and others. In its first year, the center plans to establish its operations, recruit a CEO, top scientific advisors and board members, along with completing a strategic plan that will clearly define the Center’s mission, vision and value proposition. Additional funding will be based on the achievement of these and other key milestones. The Center and its goals align with the region’s focus on animal health. A 2006 study revealed 120 companies representing $6 billion of the $19 billion global animal health market were clustered between Manhattan, KS and Columbia, MO. “Our region has the largest single concentration of animal health companies in the world,” Thornton said. “The National Center for Animal Health Innovation will leverage this concentration of global leadership, smart people, incredible investments and cutting edge facilities to the benefit of Kansas for generations to come.” The National Center for Animal Health Innovation is the fourth “center of innovation” the KBA has initiated and funded. The other Centers of Innovation include the Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy, Inc., the Center of Innovation for […]


Native Americans Sue to Block U.S. Solar Projects

Native Americans Sue to Block U.S. Solar Projects

Native Americans are going to court to block the federal government from implementing plans to fast-track approval and construction of massive solar energy projects that the Indians fear will harm sacred and culturally significant sites in Western deserts, according to an AP report. Recent lawsuits by two native groups pose a threat to half dozen proposed solar developments that the Obama administration has identified as a high priority in its quest for more clean energy production, one suit already has halted work on a major solar farm in Southern California. Land use and legal experts say the lawsuits mark a new phase in the historically contentious relationship between the federal Bureau of Land Management and American Indians, who in the past have gone to court to block oil, gas, mining and other energy projects on public lands managed by the agency. President Obama’s goal of generating 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035 has led to numerous projects proposed on millions of acres of federally owned lands, most in Western states. The administration has put shovel-ready projects on the fast track for BLM permitting.


Ashley, IN Snares Two Distribution Centers

Ashley, IN Snares Two Distribution Centers

Western Power Sports, Inc. has announced it will locate a distribution center in Ashley, creating up to 40 new jobs by 2012. Western Power Sports is the second company to announce plans to locate a distribution center in the small town of Ashley, Ind. this year. In January, Family Dollar Stores, Inc. said it would start construction on a $70 million, 815,000 square-foot distribution center in the Dekalb County town this spring, creating up to 350 new jobs starting in 2012. A wholesale distributor of parts and accessories for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, watercraft and bicycles, Western Power Sports will invest $3.8 million to lease and equip an existing facility in Ashley to serve as its distribution center for the Upper Midwest. “Indiana continues to invest in its world-class logistics infrastructure and it’s paying off – two new companies in Ashley in as many months is a tremendous economic boost for Hoosiers in the Northeast corner of our state,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels.


Air Force Tanker Decision Fuels 50,000 Aerospace Jobs

Air Force Tanker Decision Fuels 50,000 Aerospace Jobs

The Pentagon has announced it has picked Boeing Co. to begin building a fleet of 179 new aerial refueling tankers. The $3.5-billion contract to build 18 of the Air Force tankers is the first phase of a $35-billion project that will keep an estimated 50,000 aerospace employees busy for years to come. Boeing was chosen over European archrival Airbus and its parent company European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. (EADS) after a heated 10-year dispute that saw the lucrative contract awarded and challenged twice. The tanker deal became a political football that was debated in Congress, with Boeing’s backers claiming that it heavily subsidized European competitor would assign the tanker work to its overseas employees. EADS would have based the tanker on its A330 jets, which are built in Europe. EADS enlisted the support of governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana who were told the project work would be based in Mobile, AL with thousands of jobs going to tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers in the surrounding region. One estimate concluded that the tanker project would generate an economic impact of $600-million for Mobile. “Boeing was the clear winner,” said William J. Lynn, deputy secretary of Defense, in making the announcement. “We went through a process that evaluated war-fighting requirements, evaluated price, evaluated life-cycle costs. And the process yielded the result it did with Boeing winning.” Much of Boeing’s assembly work for the tanker will be done in the company’s plants near Seattle, WA and Wichita, Kan. The deal also will keep Boeing’s suppliers in Southern California busy churning out parts for the fleet that will replace the Air Force’s aging aerial tankers, which were built in the 1950s. The winning bid was based on a modified Boeing 767 passenger jet. Boeing has said the first phase of the project will create about 4,500 jobs in California, including at Raytheon in El Segundo, Alarin Aircraft Hinge Inc. in the City of Commerce and Lamsco West Inc. in Santa Clarita. Ron Scott, executive director of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, told the local media that he hasn’t been as disappointed by a project decision since Volkswagon chose Tennessee over Alabama in 2008 as the location of its new U.S. assembly plant.


What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Loyal visitors to this space know that we always are interested in the efforts of state, regional and local economicrndevelopment agencies to rebrand their locations in pursuit of the holy grail ofrna catchy tag line that imprints their neighborhood on the collectivernconsciousness. Something like “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Last fall, we reported that the city fathers ofrnColumbus, OH had elevated their search for a new slogan to something akin tornthe Manhattan project. ThernColumbus Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotionalrnorganizations including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and thernjob-creating Columbus Partnership joined forces to leave no stone unturned inrnsearch of the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with thernintensity of a heat-seeking missile. ThernOhio capital’s city fathers indicated they will take their time before adopting arnnew moniker because six earlier branding efforts fizzled out. Previous entriesrnincluded “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s Columbus” and the currentrnstandard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.” One of our favorite rebranding efforts took place in Indianapolis, which carved out a unique niche by calling itself the “AmateurrnAthletic Capital of America.” This week, we learned that rebranding feverrnhas crossed the border and is spreading across Canada. From the Standard Freeholder newspaper inrnCornwall, Ontario comes an update on the efforts of six townships within thernUnited Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry to come up with a regionalrnbrand. In October, the six townships thought they hadrnagreed to move forward with a regional branding project. The counties approvedrna budget of $35,000 to engage a consultant to work with the S, D & GrnEconomic Development Working Group, which is comprised of one representativernfrom each township and representatives from the S, D and G Community FuturesrnDevelopment Corporation. However, since that agreement, a significantrncrack emerged in the united branding front: Glengarry county has gone aheadrnwith its own branding process. Glengarry agreed on a new marketing tool tornpromote the region, with South Glengarry adopting the tagline “Glengarry:rnOntario’s Celtic Heartland” at its council meeting last week. NorthrnGlengarry council also approved the idea. Not so fast, said township officials inrnCornwall. They said they aren’t prepared to  bring any funding requests up for approvalrnuntil reassurance is given that all six councils wanted to be involved in thernproject. “Moving forward, I don’t see how we canrnjustify spending the $35,000,” the township administrator told thernStandard Freeholder. “I assume not all six townships (will) agree on arnbranding.” “It’s obviously not a huge amount ofrndollars, but …we want to make sure that we do it, and do it right, and that itrnsticks.” South Glengarry Mayor Jim McDonell […]


Tropicana Expands in Florida

Tropicana Expands in Florida

Tropicana Products Inc. plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Manatee County, according to the Manatee Economic Development Council. The new facility will occupy 36,000 square feet, and will cost $4 million to construct. As construction nears completion, Tropicana will also invest in new equipment to upgrade its bottling capabilities. The county’s ability to retain Tropicana’s business was boosted by its rapid-response permitting program, which, County Administrator Ed Hunzeker says, “was designed for this very purpose: to accelerate the investment by qualified businesses in their local facilities.” Michael Haycock, a vice president with Tropicana, echoed Hunzeker’s comments, saying the permitting program made, “a huge difference for us in meeting market demand.” “We can’t say enough about how positive our experience has been working with the EDC and Manatee County Government,” Haycock added.