Business Facilities Staff

U.S. ports and foreign trade zones are poised to play a huge role in economic recovery, forming a vital interface between the nation and the world.


U.S. ports and foreign trade zones are poised to play a huge role in economic recovery, forming a vital interface between the nation and the world.

Gateways to 21st Century Business and Industry Solutions

BF Staff


Michigan Corporate Moves

Michigan Gets $1.35 Billion from DOE for Advanced Battery Development Vice President Joe Biden recently announced that 12 Michigan projects have been awarded more than $1.35 billion in economic stimulus grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to support advanced battery and electric vehicle manufacturing and development. Funding for the competitive grants comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The projects are estimated to create 6,800 jobs in the next 18 months and up to 40,000 jobs by 2020. Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry Jr. hailed the awarding of the alternative energy grants. “Three years ago, we identified the advanced battery market as a key emerging sector that Michigan, already the global center of automotive research and development, was positioned to lead,” Granholm said. “We developed an aggressive strategy to make Michigan the advanced battery capital of the world, and today’s announcement is another huge step toward that goal.” “Michigan is the leader among states in the advanced battery field, and it will help transform our economy,” Cherry said. “We are working to establish an entire advanced battery industry with manufacturers, suppliers, and the entire value chain located right here in Michigan, creating new economic activity and new jobs.” Michigan saw the opportunity for an advanced battery industry early and developed an innovative strategy to bring to Michigan the jobs and economic development created by advanced battery research, development, and manufacturing. That strategy includes Michigan’s first-in-the-nation advanced battery tax credits. Earlier this year, Granholm signed into law legislation providing up to $700 million in refundable tax credits to encourage companies to develop and manufacture advanced batteries and commercialize advanced battery technologies in Michigan. Michigan’s early commitment to this initiative was a key factor in Michigan projects receiving the DOE grants. Beginning in February, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) approved battery incentive agreements with Ford, GM, and Chrysler totaling $280 million for pack engineering, integration and assembly, vehicle engineering, and advanced-battery technologies. In April, MEGA approved $400 million in refundable advanced battery tax credits for A123Systems, Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions, KD Advanced Battery Group, and LG Chem-Compact Power. The state also is expanding its advanced automotive research outside of the metro Detroit area. For example, Mercedes-Benz is expected to hire more than 200 workers for a hybrid technologies research and development center that will be relocated from Troy, MI to Washentow County. The center will be the first major alternative propulsion technology operation in the Ann Arbor, MI region, which is steadily […]


Mississippi Corporate Moves

ATK Expanding Iuka Plant To Make Aero Composites Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (ATK) is expanding its Iuka, MS facility to manufacture composite structures for next-generation commercial aircraft. ATK will produce composite structures for these aircraft, as well as composite aircraft engine components, at its Iuka facility. The expansion is expected to retain the 176 jobs currently at the facility; the workforce will grow to a total of 800 employees in the next eight years. “We welcome ATK’s decision to locate its composite airframe operations at the Tishomingo County facility,” Gov. Haley Barbour said. “ATK’s selection of its Mississippi site for these high-tech operations indicates the company’s confidence in Mississippi’s workforce and its ongoing commitment to doing business in the state.” The state assisted ATK with funding for building infrastructure improvements. “Expanding ATK’s presence in Mississippi with its talented workforce, strong university system, and pro-business environment is the right strategic move for our company,” said Dan Murphy, Chairman and CEO. “We are delighted ATK has chosen to grow its composite manufacturing operations for commercial aircraft here in Mississippi,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. “This further confirms Mississippi is a prime location for companies involved in advanced material-making processes for the aerospace industry.  ATK’s decision to locate these operations in Mississippi will provide a future for many of our college graduates in this field.” ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 17,000 employees in 21 states. It is a leading manufacturer of composite components for military aircraft and satellites. ATK is the world’s largest ammunition manufacturer for military, law enforcement and commercial markets, and it is the largest producer of solid rocket motors for access to space and tactical weapons. United Chair Adds Jobs at Bruce, MS Facility United Chair, owned by Haworth Inc., will add at least 125 new jobs at its Bruce, MS, facility. The company’s Bruce plant currently employs approximately 180 people. The new jobs at the Bruce facility, the result of a consolidation in North American operations for Haworth, will have an average wage rate of $13.44 per hour.  Mississippi Development Authority has provided $500,000 to assist with infrastructure improvements at the Bruce plant. Also, the Appalachian Regional Commission has committed approximately $219,000 and the City of Bruce and Calhoun County have pledged approximately $115,000 for public infrastructure improvements. “During these challenging economic times, companies face difficult decisions regarding where to focus production. This announcement clearly demonstrates Haworth’s confidence in Mississippi as the right place to do business,” said Gray […]




60 Seconds with Mario Brossi, North American Senior Representative, Switzerland Trade and Investment Promotion

60 Seconds with Mario Brossi, North American Senior Representative, Switzerland Trade and Investment Promotion

Switzerland has surpassed the U.S. as the top-ranked country in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness survey. Mario Brossi, who has dual Swiss and American citizenship, puts this achievement in perspective. BF: What factors enabled Switzerland to surpass the U.S. in the WEF survey? MB: Although Switzerland is proud to be at the top of the table this year, we view this more as a marathon than a sprint, with the U.S. coming in a very close second. Being in the top tier in the long run is what is key, with Switzerland’s long-term economic stability, excellent capacity for innovation and sophisticated business culture making the fundamental difference this year. BF: Switzerland has attracted more than 40 new projects from the U.S. in the past year. Can you give us some examples of the investment criteria that have influenced these location decisions? MB: Parker Hannifin cited a stable and business-friendly government, outstanding infrastructure and a well-educated, highly productive and multilingual workforce combine to provide an excellent environment for our international operations, Ecolab selected the Zurich area because of its consistent ranking as one of the best business locations in the world, as well as the outstanding quality of life [which] will help us attract and retain world-class and diverse talent.” Worldwide HR firm Kelly Services said Switzerland is an ideal base from which to service clients across its EMEA operations, with an excellent transportation infrastructure. BF: Has the Swiss government offered any new incentives and/or tax breaks to lure overseas businesses? MB: Switzerland through its federal and cantonal governments and public/private partnerships has been putting more emphasis on the marketing side, actively promoting the country as a leading business, conference and investment location. For example, the federal promotion effort has now been expanded and merged with the trade promotion activities on behalf of all Swiss FDI-focused enterprises overseas under the name Switzerland Trade and Investment Promotion. However, cantons in Switzerland are reducing their level of corporate and individual taxation BF: Was the top competitiveness ranking the result of a coordinated strategy? MB: Sustainability, innovation, education, research and investment are among the many criteria that our country seeks to improve year and year out. The fact that these jelled this year and that others were more directly affected by market weakness and instability were probably more responsible for the overall outcome than the idea that Switzerland had a mega, overarching strategy to achieve this result. BF: Do you believe Switzerland will maintain its top ranking in coming years? MB: Predicting […]



WHERE THE JOBS ARE!

WHERE THE JOBS ARE!

Each year, our LiveXchange event provides a fertile meeting ground for site selectors and senior economic developers. This year—as every sector battles its way from the depths of recession into the sunlight of an emerging recovery—we believe LiveXchange presents a crucial, not-to-be-missed opportunity for locations to zero in on pre-qualified, viable projects in an economy that has winnowed the field and intensified the competition. No other event can offer this kind of a value in return for time well spent. We have lined up 20 delegations for this year’s LiveXchange who will be representing shovel-ready projects that have the potential to create 6,100 new jobs with more than $86 million in payroll. These projects amount to an astounding $438 million in capital investments, and they all are looking for a home! Business Facilities LiveXchange is an invitation-only event that provides senior economic developers from across the nation the unique opportunity to meet with representatives from pre-qualified projects in two days of intense face-to-face meetings at a first-class resort. Site selectors can learn everything they need to know about candidate locations directly from the economic development specialists representing their prime site targets. Not a minute is wasted during these pivotal meetings—which often are the precursors to major site selection decisions —because the itinerary for each attendee is created using our proprietary Group C-Link software, which ensures that site selectors meet all of the attending representatives from the locations they want to scout. Because the event takes place in a resort setting, there also is time for casual interaction during luncheons, dinners and at what often is the most productive business venue: the golf course! LiveXchange 2009 will take place October 18-20 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, FL. A limited number of location slots are still available. If your economic development agency still has not seized this crucial job-creating opportunity, we suggest you give one of our reps a call as soon as you can (contact jsemple@groupc.com, bnachsin@groupc.com or dgoldstein@groupc.com for more information about a LiveXchange sponsorship). As in past events, the unique LiveXchange experience will be supplemented by an all-star list of guest speakers, who will be making presentations and leading discussions on a number of hot-button issues. This year, we are paying particular attention to an emerging sector which rapidly is becoming an economic driver from coast to coast: alternative energy. Fueled by $3 billion in federal stimulus grants, alternative energy projects focused on solar, wind, biomass and other renewable fuels are being pulled off […]


IVC US Invests $70 million in Dalton, GA

IVC US Invests $70 million in Dalton, GA

IVC US is investing $70 million in an upgrade of its Dalton, GArnfacility, installing what it says will be the longest vinyl productionrnline in the world. IVC Group unveiled plans for construction ofrnits new IVC US, Inc. headquarters to include manufacturing andrndistribution facilities. The 520,000 sq. ft. facility — which morernthan doubles the size of the present IVC US Dalton, GA location — is arngreenfield project being developed on a 44-acre campus off I-75 exitrn328 along connector 3. ”This is a key strategic decision forrnus,” said Filip Balcaen, chairman, IVC Group ”It is a clear signal ofrnour long term commitment to the U.S. market and our desire forrncontinued industry leadership.” Once in operation, IVC US will be adding more than 100 employees, bringing total local employment to over one hundred and fifty. JanrnVergote, CEO IVC Group, adds, ”The current success of our IVC productrnand service model in the United States is a solid basis for futurerngrowth which warrants the $70-million capital investment. Thisrninvestment will further propel IVC US to a leading position in therndomestic sheet vinyl industry.” IVC US CEO, Xavier Steyaert,rncommented ”Our new state of the art manufacturing plant will featurernthe industry’s latest technological advances and will run the longestrnvinyl line in the world. First products are expected to roll out of thernnew plant in January 2011, and will mark the beginning for IVC productsrn- made in the USA.” The new venture will not only benefit thernlocal community but also the company’s customers nationwide. StefaanrnDebusschere, VP Marketing and Sales explains ”manufacturing locallyrnwill offer tremendous advantages for our network of distributors andrnretailers across North America. This investment will give our customersrnthe availability of special request designs, shorter time to market andrnlarger selection of products, widths, and finishes.” IVC US,rnInc. operates its current headquarters and distribution center inrnDalton, GA and a West coast distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga,rnCA, providing its network of distributors and retailers with a widernrange of cushioned back sheet vinyl products manufactured in Belgiumrnand Luxembourg. IVC US Inc.’s parent company, the IVC Group is arnprivately owned Belgian company established in 1997 with headquartersrnin Avelgem, Belgium. IVC Group is the largest residential sheet vinylrnmanufacturer in Europe, manufacturing high quality flexible fiberglassrnflooring in Belgium and Luxembourg, with sales across the globe.


Texas-sized venue

Texas-sized venue

If King Kong was the Eighth Wonder of the World, the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX surely is the Ninth. The Cowboys new home is the largest domed stadium in the world, measuring a whopping 2.3 million square feet. To get a sense of just how big this place is, consider this: its volume of 104 million cubic feet is large enough to fit the entire Empire State Building sideways (minus the antenna). The new $1.3-billion football palace, designed by Dallas architects HKS Inc., is capable of holding 111,000 fans, far more than any other venue in the NFL. This marvel of engineering includes a retractable roof, a retractable glass front entrance, and, most amazing of all, a seven-story-high, 11,520-square-foot, high-definition video screen that hangs directly over the middle of the playing field and stretches from 20-yard-line to 20-yard-line. The mammoth HD TV screen runs parallel to several tiers of luxury boxes in the stadium, but Cowboy loyalists in the end zone seats aren’t neglected. Two more giant HD screens are attached to either end of the video monster. The Cowboy’s new digs are so spacious each deck has its own set of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Construction was completed on the stadium in May. The Cowboys played their home opener against the New York Giants on Sunday night. Before the national anthem was played at the world’s largest domed field, the world’s largest American flag was unfurled over the entire playing field. We didn’t catch a glimpse of the concession stands, but we imagine the world’s largest chili-dogs are being consumed there. The eye-popping 160 x 72 ft. TV screen already has resulted in a hasty rule change by the NFL. Because the screen superstructure is hanging low enough over the field to make it a tempting target for punters (the big TV received its maiden deflection during an exhibition game), the lords of the NFL have ruled that any kicked ball that hits the structure will require a ”do-over.” There will be no do-over of the home opener at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. We’d tell you the score, but Jerry Jones just switched off the big TV set.