BF Staff Archives





Ohio Corporate Moves

V&M Star Expands in Youngstown V&M Star is investing $650 million in an expansion of its Youngstown, OH facility that is projected to create more than 350 new full-time jobs, and retain more than 400 jobs. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher lauded the announcement at a press conference in Youngstown. V&M Star, a leading producer of seamless oil country tubular goods, line and standard pipe, coupling stock and mechanical tube headquartered in Houston, TX, confirmed that it will build a new state-of-the-art rolling mill expansion project in Youngstown in both Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The state has been working with V&M Star over the past year to make this investment possible. Gov. Strickland met with V&M officials in Youngstown to discuss the company’s plans moving forward. “We commend V&M Star and its parent company, Vallourec, for their continued commitment to grow here in Ohio, an affirmation of Ohio’s strengths in manufacturing, our dedicated workforce and the state’s extensive logistics network,” Gov. Strickland said. “We also congratulate and thank the leadership in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties for their collaborative work in meeting the goals of the company, especially Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, Girard Mayor James Melfi, and Congressman Tim Ryan for their diligent efforts and support of V&M’s continued investment in northeast Ohio.” The state of Ohio’s early commitment of $20 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for road improvements and the relocation of rail lines near the current property of the V&M Star Steel Pipe Production Facility helped significantly to make these new jobs for Ohioans possible. Ohio Gets $30 Million Grant for CSX National Gateway Gov. Ted Strickland recently announced that Ohio has been awarded $30 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for the CSX National Gateway project. The National Gateway is an $842 million, multi-state infrastructure freight project aimed at reducing congestion on roads and highways, lowering emissions, and conserving energy. The TIGER Discretionary Grant program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “The National Gateway will improve the movement of freight and give Ohio even more opportunities to deliver goods to markets across our region and country,” Gov. Strickland said. A total of $98 million was awarded in TIGER grants to cover the federal portion of National Gateway clearance projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Ohio served as the lead sponsor of the National Gateway TIGER application. Ohio already has committed $20 million in targeted ARRA resources from the Federal Highway Administration to […]



60 Seconds with Mark Peterson, President, Greater Rochester Enterprise

60 Seconds with Mark Peterson, President, Greater Rochester Enterprise

The state government and legislature in New York is preparing to end the Empire Zone incentives program in July and replace it with a more cost-effective program that has stringent job-creation requirements. We asked Greater Rochester Enterprise President Mark Peterson for his thoughts on this controversial move, and invited him to comment on proposals to have Empire Zone incentives convert from loans to grants if recipients are able to meet specified job targets. BF: Has the Empire Zone incentives program been effective as a job-creation tool in New York State? Can you tell us how many jobs have been created with the assistance of the program? MP: The Empire Zone incentives program has been effective at creating jobs in New York State. Since its inception in 2000, it has certified more than 8,000 businesses that employ more than 350,000 people. However, companies who have been helped by the Empire Zone program need to do a better job of meeting their investment goals. BF: Do you think the program should be replaced? MP: I don’t have any reservations to doing away with Empire Zones, as long as it’s replaced with a program that allows us to be competitive. The devil is in the details of providing incentives to companies wishing to expand or move here. For example, tax credits are fine provided they can be monetized over time so a company can take advantage of the full financial benefit through either utilization or by receiving a refund. BF: What would be the economic impact on your region if current plans to replace the Empire Zone program are enacted in July? Do you think the changes may have a negative effect? MP: The economic impact on the Greater Rochester Region will be positive as long as the Empire Zone is replaced with an affordable, sustainable program that makes it worthwhile for businesses to expand or relocate here. BF: How would you like to see the state incentives program adjusted, or do you think it should remain identical to the current structure? MP: I would like to see it adjusted. Most companies are challenged with what they can do at the front end, because there is usually capital expenditure going on to build a new plant. One way the state could help companies deal with those challenges —and create jobs—would be to offer loans. The loans would turn into grants under the right circumstances. If you make your job target, we’ll convert the loan to a grant. If not, the state would demand […]



Dow Invests $294 Million in MI Battery Plant

Dow Invests $294 Million in MI Battery Plant

A pair of initiatives by Dow Chemical Co. will bring hundreds of green jobs to the state, Michigan Economic Development Corp. confirmed to the Detroit News this week. Dow Kokam MI LLC, a joint venture formed last year between Dow Chemical Co and South Korean partner TK Advanced Battery LLC, will construct a manufacturing facility in Midland for its lithium-polymer batteries for electric vehicles. The project will operate for at least the next 15 years. The facility entails a $294 million investment from Dow Kokam MI over the next three years and will create at least 320 full-time jobs by February 2014. The average weekly wage will be $730, with an additional $85 in weekly health care benefits. Construction on the 400,000-square-foot structure is expected to begin in May. The project’s second phase will construct an identical facility, allowing the venture to power 60,000 electric vehicles. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has awarded the project an estimated $3.4 million in annual Michigan Business Tax abatements. Dow Kokam MI also will receive an estimated $4.3 million in annual property tax breaks. The MEDC’s decision “is a very critical milestone,” said Dow Kokam MI spokeswoman Kristina Schnepf. “This puts us a step closer to being the first advanced battery facility to break ground in the state.” Dow Chemical will partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is involved in producing carbon fibers, in a separate venture to develop a facility focused on low-cost carbon fiber for wind turbine blades and other projects. The project, valued at $20 million, will receive $10 million from Dow and $5 million from the Department of Energy. Dow has requested an additional $5 million from the Center of Energy Excellence, a statewide program to join companies, educational institutions and the state in developing alternative energy technology.


Oak Ridge Energy Corridor To Promote Electric Vehicles

Oak Ridge Energy Corridor To Promote Electric Vehicles

A consortium of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley organizations, regional planners, and the Department of Energy have formed the Oak Ridge Energy Corridor, an initiative to promote alternative-energy-based mass transit and a network of recharging facilities for electric and hybrid vehicles. Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley organizations participating in the effort include the National Transportation Research Center, City of Oak Ridge, Metropolitan Knoxville Municipal Airport Authority, Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Y-12 National Security Complex and UT-Battelle, the partnership which manages ORNL. The goal of the corridor group is make it clear that public and private sectors support for an alternative energy transportation system can greatly reduce the region’s carbon footprint. The Oak Ridge Energy Corridor demonstration project will include alternatively fueled mass transit vehicles, integrated recharging and parking facilities for electric and hybrid vehicles, and intelligent transportation technology. In addition, interconnected bike and pedestrian paths will terminate at key parking and destination locations. The initiative is intended to accomplish four goals. — Enhance electric vehicle use, minimize carbon footprint, and emissions reductions in a region that experiences non-attainment challenges; — Serve as a platform to test, demonstrate, and evaluate intelligent transportation technology utilizing the expertise in the area; — Serve as a public transportation opportunity for an underserved population in a community with a high influx of commuter traffic; — Provide an education opportunity for other regional transportation planning organizations during implementation of energy and environmentally sound transportation projects. Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley has become a hub for alternative energy manufacturers. A major new ethanol facility is under construction by Genera Energy, an arm of the University of Tennessee. Confluence Solar decided last month to build a $200 million manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility in Clinton, TN, near ORNL, creating 300 jobs. Confluence creates mono-crystal silicon ingots that lower the cost of solar photovoltaic solar power generation. Both Wacker Chemie and Hemlock Semiconductor are building $1 billion-plus plants in Tennessee to produce high quality polysilicon used in solar panels and computers.