The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced its selection of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as Governor of the Year this week in recognition of his leadership and support of the biosciences industry. Gov. O’Malley received the award during the Wednesday Keynote Luncheon at the 2010 BIO International Convention in Chicago, IL. “Governor O’Malley has done an exemplary job enhancing and expanding Maryland’s stature as one of the nation’s most vibrant biotech clusters. His funding and support of biotech tax credits is a model for federal legislation that supports critical early-stage capital formation. His leadership in this field will continue to benefit his state, in terms of jobs and innovation, for years to come,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO. “The Governor has done an exemplary job in expanding Maryland’s traditional role as a home to innovation,” said Renée M. Winsky, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Council of Maryland. “He has defined himself as a national leader in terms of building the framework for a business environment that is conducive to expansive and collaborative research institutions. His leadership has led to significant growth of major research parks and attracted more than 50 bioscience companies in the last two years.” Governor O’Malley launched his Maryland BIO 2020 Initiative at the 2008 BIO International Convention in San Diego. The initiative pledges more than $1.3 billion in biotechnology investment over a ten year period. Highlights of the plan include the establishment of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, growing Maryland’s technology incubator network, increasing technology transfer, increasing intellectual property valuation and protection services, and funding increases for numerous biotech-related incentives and programs.
Former Vice President Al Gore directly challenged his critics and threw down a moral gauntlet on the issue of climate change in a keynote address to the BIO 2010 convention in Chicago this week. “What we are facing is unprecedented in human history,” Gore said. “If you confuse unprecedented with improbable, the exceptions can kill you—and climate change is one of those exceptions.” The former U.S. vice president, a Nobel laureate, painted a stark picture of a civilization on a collision course with a fragile ecosystem. He described the Earth’s atmosphere as a thin shell that sits like a coat of paint on a huge globe. “If you could drive a car straight up, it would only take you 10 minutes to pass through the atmosphere,” Gore said. Gore noted that 90 million tons of carbon dioxide are being pumped into the atmosphere each day, with 30 million tons of that going into the world’s oceans. “This has already changed the ph level of the ocean, making it more acidic,” he said. The Nobel prize-winner said that 40 percent of the Earth’s ice cap already has disappeared, critical sources of drinking water are threatened, and the average global humidity has increased by 4 percent. He predicted that continued reliance on fossil fuels will result in an increase in global temperatures by up to 11 degrees F. by the end of this century. “The ice is melting everywhere in the world,” he said. Gore warned that it will take only a one meter increase in sea levels to create more than 100 million “climate change refugees” in coming decades. Climate change also will spawn destructive storms and droughts that will make it impossible to feed the estimated 9.5-bilion inhabitants of Earth by mid-century, and it will accelerate mass extinctions not seen since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, he said. “Only this time it’s not an asteroid—it’s us,” Gore added. The former VP said the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, currently costing $300 billion annually, soon will exact an even greater price on the U.S. economy and national security, as the oil supply rapidly depletes while worldwide demand increases.“The roller coaster on oil prices is going to speed up. It is headed for a crash and we are in the front car,” Gore said. Gore directly challenged his critics, who in recent months have become more vocal in questioning the science behind climate change. “We have seen attacks designed to confuse people, and some of this propaganda […]
The BIO 2010 International Convention was kicked off this week in Chicago with the release of the BIO/Battelle State Biosciences Initiatives report. The report, which is issued every two years, indicates that total employment in the U.S. bioscience sector has exceeded 1.42 million, with another 6.5 million jobs indirectly supported by biotech. The annual growth in the biotech sector registered a healthy 1.4 percent during the first year of the recession, despite a decline in total private sector employment of 0.7 percent. The BIO/Battelle report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics projections forecasting sustained annual growth of 1.5 percent in biotech through 2018. Research, testing and medical labs added 11,670 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase, from 2007 to 2008. Medical devices and equipment added 10,140 jobs, a rise of 2.4 percent , for the same period; agricultural feedstock and chemicals added 5,021 jobs, a jump of 4.6 percent. Since 2001, more than 176,000 jobs have been added in the research, testing and medical lab sector, with total employment in the sector now topping 558,000. According to the report, only the drugs and pharmaceuticals sector shed jobs, with a decrease of 7,445 positions from 2007 – 2008. Average annual wages in the U.S. biotech sector were tallied at $77,595, compared to the $45,229 average for total private sector employment. California once again reigned supreme in the BIO/Battelle report as the biotech employment leader, far outpacing the competition. The Golden State is home to 221,096 biotech workers, followed by New Jersey with 88,854, Pennsylvania with 80,929, Massachusetts with 72,627, and Texas with 64,964.
UAL Corp.’s United Airlines announced on Monday it will merge with Continental Airlines in a deal worth $3.2 billion, creating the world’s largest airline. The combined company, which will fly under the United name and Continental logo, is now larger than Delta Air Lines which became the country’s largest airline when it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. It is expected to serve more than 144 million passengers per year and fly to 370 destinations in 59 countries. “Combining these two companies is the best way to position ourselves … to thrive in the changing and competitive airline [industry,]” said Jeff Smisek, chief executive of Continental, in a press conference with Glenn Tilton, chief executive of UAL Corp. “Continental is strong where United is weak; United is strong where Continental is weak. Putting these two carriers together is a match made in heaven.” Under the terms of the deal, Continental shareholders will receive 1.05 shares of United common stock for each Continental common share they own, the companies said in a statement. United shareholders would own approximately 55% of the combined company and Continental shareholders would own approximately 45%. As a result of the merger, the companies expect to have annual revenues of $29 billion and save between $1 billion and $1.2 billion over the next three years. United and Continental discussed combining in 2008 and Houston-based Continental backed out, according to CNN.com. United boasts a stronger financial position this time around though. Last week, the Chicago-based company reported a first-quarter loss of $82 million, much narrower than the $382 million loss posted a year earlier. And revenue jumped 15% to $4.2 billion. The proposed mega-merger is subject to antitrust approval.
KPMG recently released the results of its 2010 Competitive Alternatives study. We asked Hartley Powell to comment on major trends tracked by the study. BF: Do the 2010 results show an improvement or a decline in overall U.S. competitiveness? HP: My assessment is that the United States is holding its own in terms of cost-competitiveness relative to other industrialized nations. While the ranking of the United States in 2010 is somewhat lower than in 2008, this is due mainly to the shift in emphasis for the 2010 edition, which bases the comparison on the major cities within each country rather than one with a broader base of larger and smaller cities. Over the last few years, U.S. companies have achieved massive structural changes that have lowered the cost of production. BF: What is the biggest factor currently impacting U.S. competitiveness? HP: Productivity growth has clearly been a key factor in spurring U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. Despite the impact of the recent financial crisis and increased competition from fast-growing economies, such as those in China and India, the U.S. economy has demonstrated its resiliency during the recent recession, and strong productivity performance has been an important contributor to that success. This improved productivity supports solid competitiveness for the U.S. for the near and longer term. BF: We were surprised to see Mexico get the top ranking for R&D cost-competitiveness. Is the skill-level there comparable to the United States and Europe? HP: R&D includes a wide range of activities, from scientific research to prototype manufacturing. Many companies have developed and expanded these types of operations in Mexico for many years, so it would be safe to assume that their needs are being met. BF: The study lists increased electricity rates as a cost trend in the U.S. Will this be a temporary disadvantage as more alternative energy comes online? HP: A number of industry studies are projecting strong growth in U.S. electricity demand over the next several years, leading to continued upward pressure on U.S. electricity rates. Clearly, electricity prices vary significantly across different regions of the United States. Renewable energy mandates can increase the cost of power since renewables are generally more expensive than traditional sources of energy. While future demand may be met from alternative or renewable sources, we still do not anticipate a decline in rates. BF: The study indicates that labor costs have the biggest impact on cost competitiveness. Can a location mitigate that impact if it has an available pool of skilled workers within proximity […]
There are no national standards for certifying a site. Here is a handy guide to the typical certification process from a firm that specializes in evaluating mega-sites. Q As we begin to look at sites for a new facility, we are coming across a number of sites designated as “Certified.” What is a certified site and how does this designation create value for us? The Expert Says: A certified site is one which has been screened and evaluated against a set of development criteria in order to assess, and certify, its readiness for development. The first thing to know is that there are no national, centralized standards for site certification. So if you are evaluating a site that carries such a designation, you should still evaluate the site in full against your project specific criteria. If a site has been certified, it will have readiness advantages if the evaluation items and their criteria definitions are properly identified and designed to align very closely to what you are looking for in a site. All of these criteria issues are ones that matter to you in how timely and how costly it will be to get you project developed on the property, so properly designed and executed programs will have real bottom line value to you. Most certification programs will cover such fundamental criteria as property identification, property ownership and control, and availability. However, the “certification” criteria for each of these factors may vary from one program to another. With identification, there may informal descriptions or there may be full boundary surveys completed. With ownership and control, one property may have an owner or owners identified while another may not address this in full, particularly for a site that has multiple owners or different owners of different parcels. Availability may be documented with a formal real estate listing, or an option held by a development agency, or even simply a letter from the owner(s). One key element of availability is an opening or list price. A fundamental real estate issue is zoning. Since there are many reasons why a property may not be currently zoned for your intended purpose (including a lack of zoning regulations in the community), a properly certified site should address the zoning issues and the process, schedule and likelihood of achieving the required zoning designation in a timely manner. Constructability issues include surface and near-surface conditions such as flood plain and soil conditions. A major component of a site’s readiness is its development status. Four key studies that […]
General Motors To Expand Green Manufacturing In Baltimore General Motors will produce next-generation, two-mode rear wheel drive motors and related electric drive components at GM Powertrain Baltimore in White Marsh, MD. Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith jointly announced the green manufacturing expansion. GM will construct a high-volume electric drive manufacturing facility at the Baltimore County Transmission plant, creating approximately 200 jobs and retaining hundreds more already at the plant. “Maryland is proud to be home for this new innovation driven by GM for the next generation of green technology. The technology being unveiled today will help drivers drive further on less fuel, and provide green jobs for Marylanders to support their families,” said Gov. O’Malley. “Maryland is home to one of the nation’s most talented and skilled workforces, and GM’s decision to house the manufacturing of their new technology in our State is validation of their commitment to fuel innovation, create jobs, and drive economic progress here in Maryland.” Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith said the investment in green technology at GM’s Baltimore transmission plant will bring automotive jobs back from Mexico to White Marsh. “Today’s announcement is great news for GM’s Baltimore Transmission Plant, great news for jobs, and great news for Maryland’s economy. Just last year, people wanted to write-off the American auto industry. But I and my Team Maryland colleagues knew differently,” Sen. Mikulski said. “Building the fuel efficient engines of the future, GM’s Baltimore Transmission Plant is going to lead the way to a better way, showing America can compete, America can innovate, and the American auto industry can lead again.” GM is investing $129 million in the Baltimore Transmission Plant to build electric motors and related electric drive components. The company was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for a $105 million grant for electric drive systems manufacturing. In addition, the State of Maryland is providing a $3 million grant through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund (MEDAF) and a $1.5 million grant from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Workforce Training Fund. Baltimore County is providing a $6 million conditional grant from the Baltimore County Business Growth Fund and a $150,000 Baltimore County Economic Development Training grant. “I applaud GM’s decision to partner with Maryland in using the technology of the future to build cleaner, more efficient cars that will lead to in new jobs for Marylanders,” said Sen. Cardin, a member of the Environment and […]
Creating Exciting New Workforce Development Strategies for the 21st Century In the past few years, the Carolinas have become well known for their creative and innovative climate, as well as their low-cost business environment. North Carolina and South Carolina has spent the past two decades certifying shovel-ready sites and pioneering new incentives. For example, Gov. Bev Perdue recently established the North Carolina Innovation Council to foster strategic investments and policies in the growing knowledge and innovation economy. The North Carolina Innovation Council is part of Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative. Through JobsNOW, the state will work aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. “To continue growing jobs in North Carolina, we must make sure this state is poised to compete globally in the 21st century,” says Perdue. “Innovation is North Carolina’s launch pad to success in the global economy, and it’s a primary way for us to maintain and sharpen our competitive edge.” North Carolina recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide free technology training to its citizens through the North Carolina Community College System, the Division of Workforce Development and the Employment Security Commission. The Elevate America courses range from basic- to intermediate-level technology literacy, and even provide a portion of the recipients with Microsoft Certification. “This partnership will provide North Carolinians with another opportunity to retrain for today’s new economy,” Gov. Perdue says. “At a time when businesses are seeking a highly qualified, well trained workforce, Elevate America can give potential employees new skills to succeed.” In South Carolina, the focus also is on creative workforce development strategies. The South Carolina Department of Commerce is committed to meeting a business’ specific workforce needs. The Department of Commerce’s Workforce Division and the readySC™ program, offered through the S.C. Technical College System, coordinate training needs at no cost for eligible new or expanding companies throughout the state. The readySC™ program works with the state’s 16 technical colleges to develop training curriculum tailored to meet a company’s workforce requirements. More than a quarter-million workers have been trained since the nationally recognized program’s inception. “South Carolina is dedicated to establishing an environment where businesses can prosper,” says Gov. Mark Sanford. “The state has taken necessary steps to further enhance its business-friendly environment. Efforts like tort reform, workers’ comp reform, lowering taxes and expanding healthcare access for small businesses are just a few reasons why South Carolina has been ranked among the top five most business-friendly states for the past four years […]
Incentives and initiatives in a supportive business climate—along with an obvious geographic advantage—will prove once again that Mississippi is a business force to be reckoned with. In his state of the state address, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said “2010 is the year we will help lead America out of this global recession; the year when we pick up where we left off before this recession sidetracked our growing economy and rising incomes.” He then backed the statement up by helping to create and renew incentives and initiatives that would do just that. In October, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), the state’s lead economic and community development agency, held events around the state for local economic developers during a nine-city rollout of the new PriorityOne program. An effort of MDA’s Existing Industry and Business (EIB) Division, PriorityOne is a key component of the agency’s business retention and expansion program. Goals of PriorityOne include assisting businesses in solving immediate and long-term problems, promoting economic development and job creation and strengthening and diversifying the local economy. To achieve these goals, MDA staff and local economic developers interview businesses throughout the state to assess their particular needs and concerns, using the PriorityOne survey questions as a guide. All survey results are entered into a database. MDA then analyzes and reports the results, in the aggregate, to each community. With this information, local developers and state officials can provide relevant assistance to community businesses. The information PriorityOne provides to local officials will assist them as they define their communities’ priorities and determine how best to allocate their resources. At the state level, this program will enable MDA to develop policy and implement programs that will be most effective in assisting the state’s existing businesses. “The PriorityOne program . . . will be beneficial for businesses around the state, particularly during a time when economic development efforts and job creation are critical to maintaining a healthy economy,” said Chandler Russ, EIB Division director during the roll-out. Gov. Barbour also created a partnership with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to launch The Aerospace Alliance, a 501(c)(6) private/public organization that will establish the Gulf Coast and surrounding region as a world-class aerospace, space and aviation corridor. “This alliance will go far in promoting our region for what it is—one of the largest aerospace corridors in the world and a great place for companies in this sector to do business,” says Gov. Barbour. “The Gulf Coast states share geographic proximity, a long tradition of aerospace and aviation activities and a […]
Louisiana’s economy and job creation have been outpacing the nation throughout the past two years. Come see how this Southern state can boost your business. Louisiana is bucking the national recession by having an economy that currently is outperforming both the South and the nation. Unemployment rates in 2009, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED) officials, was down about one percent since January 2008, bringing it to 6.7 percent as compared to the national average of 10 percent. The year 2009 saw expansions and relocations that resulted in more than 21,000 new jobs, $2.5 billion in new capital investment and $53 million per year in new state tax revenues. “Our aggressive focus on preserving our existing jobs and attracting new jobs is resulting in increases in our national rankings, improvements in our business climate, population in-migration and most importantly more good job opportunities for our people,” Gov. Bobby Jindal says. In fact, Louisiana tied for third among all U.S. states in Gallup’s Job Creation Index for 2009. According to Moody’s Economy Adversity Index, New Orleans, Lafayette and Lake Charles have emerged from the recession. “There is no longer a placeholder for Louisiana at the bottom of the major economic and business climate rankings,” says Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret. “The positive national recognition Louisiana has received since 2008 is a strong indicator that our economy has performed better than the South and U.S. during the recession. This consistent recognition also demonstrates that we are taking the right steps to grow our economy, create better job opportunities and position our state for long-term economic growth.” But the governor and the state’s economic development officials aren’t resting on their laurels, in fact, in April, Gov. Jindal laid out the Louisiana Way Forward. “The Louisiana Way Forward means that during these tough economic times, we’re pursuing reforms and efficiencies that make government do more with less. Families and business across Louisiana are tightening their belts and we’re doing the same for state government,” says Gov. Jindal. “The Louisiana Way Forward will create a more accountable state government so that even when our revenues grow back, we will not simply restore funding to the status quo, but instead, we’ll make investments that produce results.” The Way Forward includes further developing LED’s recently launched priority initiatives, including: • The Louisiana FastStart program—building on the expertise of national-caliber corporate training experts recruited from around the country, Louisiana FastStart is a first-class workforce solutions provider executing more than a dozen pilot projects—more than 11,000 hours of […]