“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce Let’s face it, the past two years have been brutal for the denizens of Detroit. Two of Motown’s mighty Big Three automakers went belly up and nearly sank in the depths of the Great Recession before being rescued by a federal bailout. Detroit became the unofficial unemployment capital of America, bottoming out at nearly 20 percent. The mayor was sent to the slammer. If ever there was a city that needed a lift, a kind word, something to cheer about, it’s Detroit. On a sunny June afternoon, they almost got it. Out of what seemed to be the pages of a well-worn Hollywood script came Armando Gallarraga. Armando bounced around Major League Baseball as a journeyman pitcher for a couple of years before getting an audition this spring with the Detroit Tigers. The 28-year-old Venezuelan native had a rough spring training, losing out in a competition for the final spot in the Tigers’ rotation. Armando began the season with the Tiger’s Triple-A minor league squad, the aptly named Toledo Mudhens. That’s where he was, toiling in obscurity in Toledo on May 16, when the call came from Detroit that the Tigers needed a fresh arm to bolster their injury-plagued staff. So Armando stepped onto the mound at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon to face the Cleveland Indians. Eight scoreless innings later, Armando found himself on the cusp of baseball history. Cleveland sent 24 batters to the plate and 24 batters quickly came back to the dugout. The reserve pitcher, who had never thrown a shutout — probably never dreamed about a no-hitter — was better than that. He was perfect. Three more outs, and Armando would join 20 other baseball immortals and achieve one of the rarest feats in baseball history. Three more outs, and the third perfect game of the season — all recorded within the same fortnight — would be in the books. That last factoid should have prepared us for what came next. Clearly, the baseball gods were toying with us. The first Cleveland batter in the ninth, Mark Grudzielanek, took a mighty cut at one of Armando’s offerings and sent it screaming into the nether regions of Comerica’s vast centerfield. Armando grabbed his head with his gloved hand and stared out into the abyss. The crowd and millions more watching on national television held their breath. Everyone waited for the ball to land with a sickening thud yards behind the desperately racing outfielders. Armando’s perfect […]
New Jersey has launched a privately funded nonprofit to market the state. The $2 million effort, called Choose New Jersey, has recruited 15 local corporations to help promote and facilitate business attraction, retention and expansion. The new organization was announced at the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. in West Trenton this week. Choose New Jersey is part of Gov. Chris Christie’s New Jersey Partnership for Action, a three-prong approach to revitalizing the state’s economy. Sixteen business leaders sit on its board and have made a three-year commitment to serve as ambassadors to business and industry and further business attraction and retention initiatives. That commitment includes $150,000 per company, per year, for three years, which will give Choose New Jersey a roughly $2 million annual operating budget. A search is under way for a “world class economic development expert” who will come in and put a team in place, Verizon NJ President Dennis Bone, interim chair of the organization, told Philadelphia BusinessJournal. “When we benchmarked New Jersey to other states we found out New Jersey wasn’t in the game, was not in the game when it came to selecting and attracting businesses to the state, programs to keep businesses here. There is so much more we can do in this area and that is the mission of Choose New Jersey,” Bone said. Under Christie’s state budget plan, all of the components of the state’s Economic Development Authority would be moved into a group that would serve as the one-stop shopping arm of the New Jersey Partnership for Action, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said. The Lieutenant Governor’s Office and Secretary of State would be the government arm of the partnership, she said. Christie said announcements would be made in the next couple of weeks regarding companies that the state is courting. Christie said his team is regularly reaching out to CEOs, and had three calls planned that afternoon. In addition to Bone, Choose New Jersey’s members include: Joe Colalillo, president, Wakefern Food Corp.; Don Correll, CEO and president, American Water; Robert H. Doherty, state president, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO, New Jersey Resources; Bernard Flynn, president and CEO, NJM Insurance Group; Edward Graham, president and CEO, South Jersey Industries; Rev. M. William Howard, pastor, Bethany Baptist Church; Robert J. Iacullo, president and chief operating officer, United Water; Bob Hugin, Celgene president and COO; Ralph Izzo, chairman and CEO, PSE&G ; Vincent Maione, president, Atlantic City Electric; William J. Marino, chairman and CEO, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield […]
Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company and community leaders in Bowling Green to announce the expansion of Topura America Fastener. A manufacturer of automotive and industrial fasteners, Topura America Fastener will add 30 new jobs in phases over the next three years, bringing their total employment at the Bowling Green plant to 95. Additionally, the company will invest $9.34 million as a result of the expansion and continual improvement in processes and technology. “Topura America Fastener’s expansion is a good example of Kentucky’s strength in the automotive supplier industry,” said Gov. Beshear. “The creation of 30 new jobs and a multi-million dollar investment that will more than double the size of the company’s Bowling Green plant will have a significant impact on the entire region.” Topura America Fastener will be adding 96,000 square feet to its existing 71,966 square-foot facility. The company will also install new equipment and make other improvements that will allow them to increase manufacturing capabilities and improve product flow. “Topura America Fastener is extremely excited about today’s announcement and for the opportunity of organizational growth in a challenging economic time period,” said Darrell Oakley, Topura executive vice president. “The expansion will secure an increase in both job opportunities and process investments for today and long term. We appreciate everyone’s support during this process, especially that of Governor Beshear, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.” The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Topura America Fastener for tax incentives up to $675,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments. KEDFA also approved the company for up to $75,000 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, an incentive program that allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on the cost of construction materials, building fixtures and equipment used for research and development. “Bowling Green congratulates Topura on their announcement today,” said Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker. “Their expansion reflects the great working environment and strong work ethic we enjoy here in South Central Kentucky.” “It’s another great day here in South Central Kentucky because of today’s announcement,” said Warren County Judge Executive Michael Buchanon. “We thank Topura for their continued commitment to doing business here.”
A galaxy of emerging stars made this year’s selections a tough choice for our panel of editors. Here are the standouts that caught our eye with sparkling innovation and steadfast growth.
Astrellas Pharma U.S. Picks Glenview, IL for Headquarters Gov. Pat Quinn has announced an approximately $4 million investment package to assist Astellas Pharma US, Inc. in establishing their new corporate headquarters for the Americas in Glenview. The state’s business package will leverage $140 million in private investment and will create 150 new jobs, further strengthening the economy of Northeast Illinois. “I am pleased Astellas selected Illinois for its new headquarters for the Americas,” said Gov. Quinn, who attended the company’s groundbreaking ceremony. “This major investment will create new jobs and generate economic activity throughout the region. At the same time, this decision highlights Illinois role as a Midwestern leader in the life sciences business and its emergence as a vital base of operation for the biopharmaceutical industry’s future growth.” Construction of the new headquarters is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2012. It will include two six-story buildings totaling 425,000 square feet. The buildings and site will emphasize sustainability and the complex is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. The company’s current Deerfield-based employees will be relocating to the new headquarters. “At Astellas, we measure success not only by bringing innovative and effective pharmaceuticals to patients and physicians, but also by our contributions to local communities and protection of the environment,” said Seigo Kashii, president and CEO of Astellas Pharma US, Inc. “Today we are fulfilling our vision for continued growth through our groundbreaking for a new corporate headquarters.” The state’s investment package, administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), will consist of Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits, which are based on job creation, and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce. “In order for our economy to continue growing, we must continue making strategic investments on the local level that will create jobs and support long-term sustainable growth,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Our investment in Astellas will pay dividends for this region and the state.” Astellas’ expansion will also support Illinois’ growing life sciences industry. Illinois’ biopharmaceutical industry, which is supported by the state’s highly-regarded federal labs and top-notch research universities, directly employs more than 40,000 people and supports more than 112,000 indirect and induced jobs. BOMAG Americas to Locate Plant in Kewanee The Illinois Department and Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and BOMAG Americas, Inc. have announced that the company will consolidate its domestic manufacturing operations, currently located in Illinois and Missouri, to the company’s U.S. […]
President Obama’s announcement last week indefinitely suspending work at 33 deepwater drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico has state officials in the Gulf region making dire forecasts of potential job losses as a result of the shutdown. The president imposed a moratorium on operations at the deepest offshore drilling operations in the wake of BP’s disaster in the Gulf, which has poured an estimated 39 million gallons of crude oil into the ecosystem in the wake of the explosion and sinking of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in April. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that 22 of the 33 rigs covered by the president’s order are off the coast of Louisiana. Moret added that it is possible that some of the remaining 11 could be rigs that were scheduled to start operations in Louisiana waters in the next few months. Moret has three scenarios for how bad the moratorium could be for Louisiana’s economy: In the near term, Moret believes the state will lose 3,000 to 6,000 direct and indirect jobs; if the suspensions are maintained, this could rise to 10,000 jobs; and if the moratorium persists while oil prices rise, the state could lose 20,000 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months in the form of lost direct and indirect jobs, and missed job creation opportunities because rising petroleum prices stimulate more energy development. “There’s definitely a real risk that some of these rigs could be moved outside of the Gulf of Mexico because of the cost of keeping them idle, the regulatory uncertainty and opportunities in other parts of the world, ” Moret told the Times-Picayune. Others are convinced that rigs will be floated to foreign waters, and if they’re moved, it will take two to three years for the equipment to finish up its new contracts elsewhere and come back. “The drilling equipment and the rigs, if they know that they can’t work for the next six months, they’ll re-deploy to the rest of the world. It will be a lot longer than the next six months, ” said Otto Candies III, secretary/treasurer of the Des Allemands marine transport company Otto Candies LLC.
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Ohio Companies Making a Material Difference in Advanced Energy In recent years, Ohio has made significant commitments to the support of advanced and alternative energy solutions, including the adoption of renewable portfolio standards and a State Job Stimulus program in advanced energy. Ohio Third Frontier also has made major investments, accelerating the success of advanced energy projects and industries in Ohio. Underlying many of the successes in advanced energy is Ohio’s breadth and depth of world-class competencies in the area of advanced materials, which has also been a major focus for investment by Ohio Third Frontier. Whether improving on more mature energy technologies such as wind turbines or leading the development of next generation solar, research and commercialization of advanced materials is making Ohio a recognized source for alternative and renewable energy solutions. Located in Kent, AlphaMicron, Inc. has been capitalizing on the depth of liquid-crystalline materials expertise that has emerged at Kent State University over the past two decades and has given rise to the Liquid Crystal Display industry. A major product focus of the company has been the use of liquid crystal materials to create actively lightening and darkening lenses for motorcycle helmets, ski goggles, and designer sunglasses. The same switchable property of the liquid crystals that makes these applications possible is now being applied, with Ohio Third Frontier funding, to an energy conservation product. AlphaMicron is developing the world’s first auto-adjusting “Adaptive Window.” The window is based on the company’s VALiD™ liquid crystal-based technology to create an adaptive film that can be laminated to windows and has a self-regulating and photovoltaic-powered electronically controllable tint. The window will transmit more winter sunlight to assist with heating and less summer sunlight to minimize overheating, thus transforming windows from a source of energy loss to one of energy gain. Market applications targeted for AlphaMicron’s window include greenhouses, automobiles, and office and residential buildings. Several years ago, Miamisburg’s WebCore Technologies, Inc. began working closely with leading research laboratories including the Air Force Research Lab, located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, to develop an advanced polymer composite panel system. Initially, the product concepts focused on marine (e.g., bulkheads) and infrastructure (bridge decks) applications that could benefit from the new material which is lighter, stronger, and more durable than the steel and other metals it would replace. These very same properties may make WebCore’s technology an ideal material solution for the wind power industry. The company is now developing the TYCOR® polymer […]
A collaboration with top CEOs combined with new renewable energy incentives creates a new engine for job growth in the Grand Canyon State.