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60 Seconds with Neal Wade, Sr. Vice President for Economic Development, St. Joe Co.

60 Seconds with Neal Wade, Sr. Vice President for  Economic Development, St. Joe Co.

Neal Wade left St. Joe Co. eight years ago to become director of the Alabama Development Office. He is now returning to St. Joe to spearhead the West Bay development in northwest Florida. BF: What attracted you to this opportunity and what do you bring to the table? NW: I’m bringing a whole new set of values and experiences I didn’t have before. If you’ve only been on the corporate side, state government can be a shock. It’s really been an education to me to learn how to navigate through all levels of government. I’ve also made a tremendous amount of contacts internationally as well as here in the U.S., especially among projects that we’re going to be targeting and among site consultants throughout the country. BF: Are there specific lessons you’ve learned in your state post that you can apply to your new position? NW: Government does not operate at the same pace that the private sector does–you don’t have the same abilities to make decisions inside state government that you do on the private side. It’s much slower [at the state level]. So you really have to pick your battles and figure out how you’re going to work within the system. It’s also really brought into focus that to be successful, you have to have a team: not just St. Joe, but local and state government, the new governor, all of those elements have to be part of the success we’re going to have down there. BF: How challenging is the economic environment in northwest Florida today? NW: We’re seeing a lot more activity than we were seeing two years ago. We’re seeing a lot of projects right now. Companies are preparing for recovery and the opportunity for activity is good. BF: What are the biggest selling points for West Bay? NW: In northwest Florida what we have to offer is an unparalleled quality of life, a workforce that can be trained to fit the companies we’re going to be targeting and we’re going to have a new set of sites that we’re going to make available over the next three years that weren’t available seven years ago. There are 1900 aerospace and defense businesses in northwest Florida, and when you combine that with the type of sites we will have available we’ve got a tremendous selling point. We also are changing the perception that the region is strictly a tourist destination rather than a major business location. BF: How important is the new Northwest Florida Beaches International […]

Ohio Corporate Moves

SunCoke Creates Jobs and Energy in Middletown SunCoke Energy, a subsidiary of Sunoco, Inc., is building a $360 million coke plant in Middletown, located adjacent to AK Steel’s Middletown Works. Expected to be complete in September 2011, the project will create approximately 550 construction jobs and 86 new Ohio steel industry jobs. Under a 20-year supply agreement, the 100-oven facility will supply AK Steel with roughly 550,000 tons of blast furnace coke delivered via conveyer annually. Previously, AK Steel purchased 25 percent of its yearly coke requirements on the open market. “Our long-term agreement with SunCoke Energy to supply AK Steel with coke and electrical power is one of the most forward-looking commitments by our company in recent years,” said AK Steel President and CEO James L. Wainscott. The 157-acre state-of-the-art plant will be the cleanest of its kind in the nation with a network of ambient air quality monitors that include volatile organic compound monitors and a sulfur dioxide monitor. Using advanced technology, the facility will also recover waste heat from the coking process to generate around 46 megawatts of electrical power each year, about 25 percent of Middletown Works’ energy requirements. Even with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stringent requirements, Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration worked to see that this plant received all necessary permits and approval from the U.S. EPA. “Steel has been a vital part of Ohio’s history and we are working every day to make steel a vital part of Ohio’s future,” Strickland said. “We are proud to have worked with SunCoke and AK Steel to bring hundreds of new jobs and the cleanest coke plant in the country to southwest Ohio.” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said, “Ohio already has a skilled workforce and a rich manufacturing heritage, spurred by projects like these that lead to good-paying jobs. Simply put, this would be one of the largest cogeneration power projects in the nation—and it’s happening right here in Middletown.” Pro-Tec Coating Adds More Steel for Leipsic, OH Pro-Tec Coating Company is expanding its operation in Leipsic with a more than $290 million project scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2010. It includes the addition of a 415,000-square-foot building, the creation of 80 jobs and the retention of 229 jobs. As a result of its expansion, the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) approved a 70 percent Job Creation Tax Credit (given through the Ohio Tax Credit Authority) for Pro-Tec estimated at $681,694 for a ten-year term. A condition of the grant requires the company […]