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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 […]