Magazine | Business Facilities - Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutions

A collaboration with top CEOs combined with new renewable energy incentives creates a new engine for job growth in the Grand Canyon State.

A collaboration with top CEOs combined with new renewable energy incentives creates a new engine for job growth in the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona: A New Model for Economic Development

Magazine Articles

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 […]

Changing Demographics Drive Medical Demand

Our aging population has expectations for healthcare and a sustainable quality of life that those before could have only dreamed of—prospects that innovation supported by plastic medical devices can afford them. Rising healthcare spending, higher life expectancy and innovation all have fueled growth in the plastics and medical device industries. A strong focus on research and development has led to numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs with no end in sight. In the past few decades, plastics have made healthcare simpler and less painful, and new techniques possible. Plastic medical devices have reduced contamination, relieved pain and cut medical costs. They have prolonged, improved and saved lives. “From blood bags and examination gloves to glucose meters and heart valves, vinyl, polyurethane and other plastics have traditionally been the healthcare industry’s materials of choice,” says Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) President and CEO William R. Carteaux. “The materials’ strength and versatility will continue to be in demand as medical discoveries and treatment breakthroughs create a need for new medical tools that only plastics can deliver.” Be it tamper-evident seals, child-resistant caps or Petri dishes, plastics continue to permeate medicine. Home healthcare products—including assistive devices, therapeutic devices, monitors, sensors and telemetry devices—are expected to become one of the fastest- growing segments of the medical device industry. The U.S. Census Bureau notes that as the U.S. population ages, healthcare will be increasingly delivered in alternative settings, such as nursing homes, hospices and patient homes. As a result, BCC Research & Consulting, a company that does economic, market and policy research, projects a $20-billion global market for home medical equipment in 2012. Another market tipping the scale is the plastic medical device packaging sector. Plastics packaging has proven indispensable in modern medical care, providing products such as see-through intravenous bags and break-resistant containers. According to a recent study by the firm Frost and Sullivan, this sector is expected to earn $920 million by 2013. U.S. Census data shows that by 2030 there will be 71.5 million adults age 65 and over—up from 35 million in 2000. The older population is influencing the direction of the medical device industry due to its changing health needs and an accompanying shift in thinking on how and where seniors will be treated. Polymer-containing devices such as artery-opening stents, heart pacemakers, and hip replacements will help save and improve life for this rising figure—demonstrating that as our population ages, the need for plastics will grow. As important a role as plastics may play in medical devices, there is an […]

Certified and Ready to Go

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 […]

Southern Innovation in the Carolinas

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 […]

Race to the Bottom

KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives study reveals that the push to be the location with the lowest cost of manufacturing is heating up around the world. In a recovering economy, every major business expansion, relocation or new facility is the focus of intense competition. With fewer projects to zero in on, every location is vying to offer the lowest overall manufacturing costs. One of the most coveted measures of cost competitiveness is found in KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives study, which is conducted every two years. The 2010 Competitive Alternatives survey examined 112 cities in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The KPMG study measured 26 significant cost components most likely to vary by location, including: labor, taxes, real estate and utilities, as they applied to 17 business sectors over a 10-year planning horizon. A range of non-cost competitiveness factors also were considered, as were currency exchange rates. The 2010 study was revamped to include a new focus on the largest cities in each country, and it includes a number of major cities not included in the 2008 survey, such as Berlin, Los Angeles, Lyon, Miami, Osaka, Rome and Tokyo. The results, released at the end of March, revealed some bad news for the U.S.—the United States dropped from third place in the 2008 KPMG study to seventh place in the 2010 survey. Mexico and Canada continued to hold onto the first- and second-place rankings, respectively, while the Netherlands surged from number seven to number three. “The global recession has not been the only factor impacting international business over the last two years,” explains Simon Harding, associate partner in KPMG’s Advisory Service practice and head of its Canadian Strategic & Commercial Intelligence practice. “Divergent trends in exchange rates, utility and transportation costs, taxes and incentives all helped to shape the international competitiveness environment in 2010,” Harding noted. “The degree of variation in business costs between major cities in some countries also is quite remarkable. All of these factors highlight the importance of having access to up-to-date intelligence on international business competitiveness issues for both businesses and governments.”   TAMPA AND ATLANTA LEADING LOW-COST LARGE U.S. CITIES Harding told Business Facilities that this year’s emphasis on the largest cities in each country was a primary factor in the downward shift in the U.S. competitiveness ranking. The change in focus impacted on the U.S. ranking due to the greater variation in costs between the largest cities and regional cities in the U. S. The cost […]

Mississippi Sets its Priorities: Business is Number One

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 to Site Seekers: What Recession?

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 […]

Luxembourg: Dynamic Country, Grand Impact

Research and innovation are key drivers in modern industry. Luxembourg has unveiled new initiatives that are attracting investors and creating a dynamic environment for existing industries to grow. Luxembourg, officially called the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is located in one of the most dynamic regions of the EU at the heart of northwestern Europe where France, Germany and Belgium meet. Luxembourg is unique in that it is the world’s only remaining sovereign Grand Duchy—a territory whose head of state is a monarch. These and other factors have contributed to Luxembourg’s strong political, economic and social stability. In addition, its multiculturalism and multilingualism, with English, French and German being widely spoken, make Luxembourg a very attractive location for investors. In fact, the Grand Duchy’s international community has grown so much that it now represents about 42 percent of the population. In addition, around 150,000 non-residents commute to Luxembourg to work each day, representing about 44 percent of the total workforce. Over the years, Luxembourg has risen out of the shadows of its bordering countries to emerge as a strong player in the global marketplace. According to the Institute FERI, Luxembourg ranks number 1 in a survey analyzing European cities and ranking them according to their economic performance, the purchasing power of its citizens, the unemployment rate and its population until 2015. About half a million inhabitants live in Luxembourg (an area of land about the size of Rhode Island) and enjoy the highest GDP per capita in the world. Luxembourg is a gateway to the European market, giving companies access to some 500 million consumers. However, according to Francois Knaff, executive director of Luxembourg’s Office of Economic Development in New York, Luxembourg offers some unique advantages. “Luxembourg offers not only a central access, but unlike some other surrounding countries, we also offer the advantage of political, economic and social stability, as well as a strong fiscal environment with competitive salaries and lower tax rates and social taxes.” Luxembourg has risen to become one of the top locations for leading-edge communications infrastructure and is home to a host of Internet firms including Amazon, Apple, eBay and Skype. In March 2010, Luxembourg ranked second worldwide in mobile, fixed, and Internet connectivity, and has Europe’s lowest ICT costs, according to a new International Telecommunication Union survey of 159 nations. Luxembourg’s logistics sector is also ahead of the curve, rating above other European countries the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, and France. In January 2010, it ranked fifth in the world in ease of importing and […]