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Hazleton Is in the Zone In May, AutoZone, one of North America’s top auto parts retailers, opened its 600,000-square-foot distribution center in the Greater Hazleton area of Pennsylvania. Construction of the facility began in June 2007, and AutoZone expects to employ 400 people when the plant in Humboldt North Industrial Park is fully operational. AutoZone considered dozens of communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland before deciding on Greater Hazleton as the site for its newest distribution center, according to John Warden, an executive vice president with The Walker Company, the site selector for the project. “In addition to our workforce, several other factors helped us locate this project here. The Governor’s Action Team brought significant state financial incentives to the table. The Hazleton Area School District, Hazle Township and Luzerne County approved the land in Humboldt North for LERTA tax status. And the assistance provided by our industrial and educational community, the Manufacturers and Employers Association, CareerLink and the Chamber of Commerce was invaluable,” says Kevin O’Donnell, president of CAN DO, an economic development agency for Hazleton. Joining CAN DO and local officials in making the announcement were AutoZone representatives including Bill Graves, senior vice president of supply chain customer satisfaction; Rod Halsell, vice president of distribution and customer satisfaction; Dave Ronk, regional distribution center manager; Joe Buehrle, distribution center manager; and Joe Lorson, direction of supply chain construction. “The increasing scope of our business requires that we enhance our supply chain capabilities,” says Bill Graves, SVP of supply chain customer satisfaction. “AutoZone’s new facility in Hazle Township will bring even more efficiency to the process of delivering the right part at the right price to our retail and commercial customers.” “Our staff spent countless hours, weeks and months coordinating all of the meetings and information this company sought during the site selection process. Before joining the CAN DO board, I had no idea how much hard work goes into courting a new industrial tenant. I think everyone who is involved in this process has an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into bringing new jobs to the area,” says CAN DO Chairman of the Board Thomas Sandrock. Boston Taps Lehigh Valley Brewery The Boston Beer Company, Inc., announced in August that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Diageo North America, Inc. to acquire a brewery located 60 miles outside of Philadelphia, for $55 million. The company expects to begin brewing Samuel Adams beer in the fourth quarter of this year. “This agreement… …Read More…
Johnson City: A Perfect 10 in Tennessee Once a 19th century railroad depot, Johnson City, TN has grown into a successful city with deep musical and historical roots. Positioned in the far eastern stretches of Tennessee, Johnson City spans Washington, Carter and Sullivan Counties. The MSA’s estimated population was 181,607 in 2006, with approximately 60,000 people residing in the city limits. Intelligent residents and a burgeoning business climate combine to make Johnson City one of Tennessee’s most notable metro areas. The knowledge community present at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), home to 13,000 students, solidifies Johnson City’s educational foundation. The public university includes the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, which was ranked fourth in the United States for excellence in rural medical education in 2009’s U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” ETSU also was ranked in the top 25% of medical schools for primary care education. The university has a College of Pharmacy, as well. In the business realm, Johnson City recently was ranked tenth by Forbes magazine’s “Best Smaller Metro Area for Business and Careers.” In 2007, Washington County’s workforce totaled 60,600 strong, with a countywide unemployment rate of 4.1%, down from 4.9% in 2005 and 5% in 2003, according to the Tennessee Department of Employment Security. Washington Welcomes Two Japanese Auto Suppliers On October 27, 2008, two Japanese companies held an official opening and building dedication ceremony at the Washington County Industrial Park, located on Highway 11E near Johnson City, TN. Koyo Corporation of USA and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies broke ground in November of 2006 and their new manufacturing facilities became fully operational in May of this year. Both companies are involved in the manufacturing of bearings for the automotive industry and have brought approximately 100 to 150 new jobs, consisting primarily of machining, grinding, assembly, skilled trades and professional positions, to Johnson City and the surrounding area. “This is a positive development for Tennessee and Washington County,” says Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. “Attracting good-paying manufacturing jobs is an important part of our job creation strategy. Having our efforts embraced by automotive industry leaders like Koyo and Nakatetsu is a strong endorsement of Tennessee’s business climate.” Koyo Corporation of USA’s General Manager Steve McCullough believes the new facilities will be an important step for both companies’ growing businesses. “Our preliminary selection of Washington County reflects our commitment to American manufacturing and the American worker,” says McCullough. “Increased consumer demand for our products requires increased manufacturing capabilities to complement our other U.S. plants and relationships…. …Read More…