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60 Seconds with Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development

60 Seconds with Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development

BF: Louisiana has emerged as a national leader in workforce training with the Louisiana FastStart™ program. Is the availability of customized pre-employment training becoming a deciding factor in site selection decisions? SM: In less than two years, Louisiana FastStart™ definitely has become one of our most powerful and effective recruiting tools during site-selection competitions. As one of the nation’s top workforce development programs, FastStart offers companies world-class, customized employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery, and also can provide specialized solutions for companies in a wide variety of industry sectors—from automobile manufacturers to digital media firms to aerospace companies. All of these services come at no cost to the company. BF: The Deepwater Horizon disaster has caused disruptions in the oil drilling and fishing industries. Can FastStart play a role in retraining displaced workers from these sectors? SM: In certain situations, FastStart could definitely retrain displaced workers in the oil and natural gas industries as well as the commercial fishing industries. For example, if a company is expanding in Louisiana, FastStart could help the company hire employees seeking new opportunities due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or the drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama. Moreover, this could be extremely valuable for a company because FastStart would be able to identify employees with transferable skills, then train them using customized programs created through FastStart. BF: How has Louisiana has positioned itself to be a major player in the revived nuclear power industry? SM: Louisiana is well positioned to be a leader in the global nuclear renaissance because we possess a highly skilled and productive manufacturing workforce, a world-class workforce solution in FastStart, deep-water shipping infrastructure and a healthy business climate. Based on these strengths and early success in developing the industry, over the next two decades, the nuclear energy sector could create up to 20,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana alone. The Shaw Group, is developing a $100-million facility in Lake Charles, LA that will employ up to 1,400 people focused on constructing modularized nuclear reactor components. This facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. BF: If you could change one perception about Louisiana, what would that be? SM: One of the greatest challenges facing our economic development efforts is more closely aligning the perception of Louisiana’s business climate with the actual business conditions available here. Fortunately, we have made significant advances in reversing outdated perceptions. Companies now see in Louisiana an attractive business climate, high-quality available labor, low energy and utility costs, excellent […]




Illinois Corporate Moves

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. […]





60 Seconds with Dennis M. Mullen, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Development

60 Seconds with Dennis M. Mullen, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Development

Dennis Mullen recently was officially named chairman of New York’s Empire State Development agency, which has been actively involved in revamping the state’s incentives programs. BF: The elimination of the Empire Zones program on June 30 has generated a lot of controversy across New York. What will you replace it with? DM: Since its creation in 1986, the Empire Zones Program has gone through numerous revisions and lost its original focus of attracting new business and enabling existing businesses to expand and create more jobs in economically distressed areas of the state. The Governor’s decision to sunset the flawed Empire Zone program and implement a new economic development program addresses the need for accountability and administrative efficiency, while providing a strategic focus that more narrowly targets state incentives to key sectors of our struggling economy. BF: Will converting incentives from loans to grants if specified job targets are met generate more economic development activity in the state and more relocations of businesses to New York? DM: ESD’s assistance is typically provided in the form of a loan or a grant. Recently, ESD has been offering loans that convert to grants if certain investment and job creation milestones are met. While loans and convertible loans have the potential to return funds back to ESD, all of our products are deployed to “win the project” and each is considered equally effective, based on the situation, to induce the project and create economic activity. BF: The Tax Foundation ranks New York near the bottom of its annual Business Tax Climate index. What are the most important steps you can take to improve NY’s competitive position? DM: We’ve created an economic development plan we believe is tight and focused. It concentrates on both job development and capital investment. Our go-to market strategy is a balanced approach centered around four key pillars: partnering with business and academic leadership; supporting New Economy job growth and capital investment; maintaining our core competency in manufacturing; and providing access to capital for small business. We believe [with] this strategy we will make great strides towards a more business-friendly and competitive New York. BF: Is New York positioned to be a leader in alternative energy manufacturing and renewable energy generation? DM: Yes, definitely. New York has one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country: the “45 by 15” initiative. By 2015, New York State will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy. This initiative [will create] an estimated […]