Daily News Archives

Google Aims to Power East Coast

Posted on:

Every year, somebody at our office circulates an email message updating us on what it’s like to work at Google. This message always generates a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” at the water cooler. The privileged few who inhabit Google’s high command in Mountain View, CA are living the corporate good life. In between tweaking the algorithm that governs 80 percent of web searches, these working stiffs can be seen: Serenely swimming in an Olympic-sized pool; Reclining in ergonomically designed “stress” capsules; Moving from floor to floor on a sliding pond; Shooting pool in the billiard room; Getting a professional massage; Having a personal chef prepare a five-star meal for lunch. Frankly, we’re fed up with the annual “what it’s like to work at Google” message. We’d like to forward it to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Strike that last thought. Google just announced it has plans for the Atlantic Ocean. The search behemoth is going to spend $5 billion to power a huge stretch of the East Coast of the United States with wind from the Atlantic. Google intends to leapfrog to the head of the alternative energy pack. The project would set up offshore wind turbines and a new transmission grid stretching 350 miles from New Jersey to Virginia. Google, which also is dabbling in robotic cars (they drive themselves), said it would provide 37.5 percent of the initial funding for the East Coast wind bonanza. Rick Needham, director of green business operations and strategy at Google, described the project as a new “superhighway” for alternative energy, creating jobs and eventually providing enough power to serve 1.9 million households. “We’re willing to take calculated risks on large-scale projects that can move an industry. Indeed, that is what’s made our company so successful to date,” Needham told a news conference in Washington. Google and its partners hope to begin work on the project, called the Atlantic Wind Connection, in early 2013 and complete it by 2020, subject to government approval. Needham said Google was open to further investment later. We can imagine how this project got started. Google founders Sergey and Larry were taking a stress break after a five-star meal at the Mountain View HQ. While they were lying on the massage table, Sergey suddenly blurted out: “Gigabits. Gigabits. That’s all we ever talk about. I’m sick of gigabits!” To which Larry responded: “OK. How about gigawatts?” We’ve got an uneasy feeling about this initiative. Creating a power transmission grid for the most densely populated chunk of the U.S.A. is… …Read More…

SAERTEX USA Expands in Mecklenburg County

SAERTEX USA Expands in Mecklenburg County Posted on:

SAERTEX USA LLC said Tuesday it will spend $6.5 million to expand its factory in Huntersville, NC creating 178 new jobs over the next three years. The move came with the help of $240,00 in incentive grants from Huntersville, Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina. Based in Saerback, Germany, SAERTEX makes lightweight composite materials used by manufacturers in the wind energy, aerospace, civil engineering, auto and shipbuilding industries. The company first told local officials about the possible expansion a year ago and was considering sites in Brazil and Colorado as well as Huntersville, according to Jerry Broadway, executive director of the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp. One option would have required closing the Huntersville plant and building a larger plant in Colorado. “This project points out the importance of working with our existing companies,” Mike Griffin, chairman of the Lake Norman Regional EDC, said in a press release. The SAERTEX announcement “is exactly the outcome we hoped would occur” when the LNREDC started its Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program two years ago. In exchange for its pledge to expand and add employees, Saertex will get grants of up to $240,000 from various sources, Mr. Broadway said. That includes $110,000 from the state’s One North Carolina Fund, to be distributed as the company meets goals for hiring and retaining new employees, and incentives of $45,000 over 5 years from Huntersville, and $80,000 over 3 years from Mecklenburg County – both payable as rebates on taxes the company pays.

GE Plans Center of Excellence in Bloomington

GE Plans Center of Excellence in Bloomington Posted on:

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob joined executives of General Electric Co. this week to announce the company’s plans to establish a new center of excellence here, creating up to 200 new jobs by 2013. The Fortune 50 business group will invest more than $93 million to make necessary infrastructure and equipment improvements at its 1 million square-foot manufacturing campus in Bloomington. The facility, once scheduled for closure, will become GE’s center of excellence for the manufacture of side-by-side refrigerators. The company’s decision reverses the strategy pursued for over 12 years of transferring production from the facility and comes just more than two weeks after GE announced it would invest $68 million to redesign its refrigerator line at the Bloomington plant. “Were so glad that General Electric understands that Indiana is a competitive location to invest and grow its business,” said Roob, chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “This announcement is welcome news, not only for the new opportunities it will create, but also for the more than 500 workers who will be retained here.” GE currently employs approximately 550 workers at the Bloomington facility and plans to hire additional assembly and supervisory associates as new equipment and appliance models are phased in at the plant. The new side-by-side refrigerator models to be produced in Bloomington will meet anticipated high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® criteria as well as the 2014 U.S. Department of Energy efficiency requirements. “GE is proud to make this investment in Bloomington, IN. With the support of our employees and the government, GE will now be able to offer consumers new and improved, energy efficient refrigerators that are competitively made right here in the U.S.,” said Charlene Begley, president and chief executive officer of GE Home and Business Solutions. “This is a tremendous win for GE, our employees, the local community and American consumers.” Fairfield, CN-based General Electric employs more than 300,000 associates in more than 100 countries worldwide. The company’s Home and Business Solutions division, which includes the Bloomington production operation, reported revenues of more than $8.4 billion in 2009. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered General Electric up to $2.25 million in performance-based tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. “General Electric has been great to work with as everyone tries to overcome the tough economic climate,” said Mayor Mark Kruzan. “We’re happy to be a part of this exciting announcement.” General Electric’s announcement of investment in the Bloomington facility comes just more than a week after military commissary supplier, Nash Finch,… …Read More…

Pinnacle Airlines Keeps HQ in Memphis, TN

Pinnacle Airlines Keeps HQ in Memphis, TN Posted on:

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber have applauded Pinnacle Airlines’ decision to enter into negotiations to lease commercial space for a new corporate headquarters in downtown Memphis. The company’s board of directors approved a letter of intent to enter into negotiations for approximately 155,000 square feet of office space in the One Commerce Square Building. “To use a pilot’s vernacular, this project has been on approach for some time and I couldn’t be happier we’ve landed it,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “We’ve worked hard to create strong partnerships at the state and local levels and a business climate that helps companies understand there’s no better place to locate a business than in Tennessee. Pinnacle’s decision is a great endorsement of both Memphis and Tennessee and keeps hundreds of jobs in the community.” “I’m pleased Pinnacle’s management and board of directors have moved forward on creating a strong presence for the airline in Memphis today and into the future,” said Matt Kisber, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “This announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a strong partnership between the city of Memphis, Shelby County, the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and the state of Tennessee. It’s a big win for all of us.” Pinnacle currently employs approximately 600 people in several buildings in the Nonconnah Office Park near the Memphis International Airport. A search has been underway by the company for more than a year for space to accommodate growth in the wake of Pinnacle’s acquisition of Mesaba Airlines in July 2010. “It is our desire to keep our headquarters in Memphis, and the One Commerce Square proposal came closest to meeting our criteria,” said Philip H. Trenary, President and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. “State, county and city representatives have worked very hard to reach this point and we are appreciative of their efforts.” Trenary says upon completion of lease negotiations, Pinnacle will occupy 12 floors in the One Commerce Square building. More than 9,000 Pinnacle employees from around the country travel to Memphis annually for training. The company provides regional air service under contract to Delta, Continental and U.S. Airways. Pinnacle Airlines Corp., an airline holding company, is the parent company of Pinnacle Airlines, Inc.; Colgan Air, Inc.; and Mesaba Aviation, Inc. Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. operates a fleet of 142 regional jets under Delta brands in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Colgan Air, Inc. operates a fleet… …Read More…

ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Expands in Perry County

ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Expands in Perry County Posted on:

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc. to announce the company will expand its Tell City foundry operations, creating up to 160 new jobs by the end of 2012. This is the second company to expand business operations in Perry County in the past few months.  In March, manufacturing and logistics service provider, WGS Global Services said it would locate a new production facility in Tell City, creating up to 70 new jobs over the next three years ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc. is the largest independent vertical molding foundry in the world.  The company produces gray, ductile and compacted graphite iron castings and serves the global automotive, off-highway, commercial vehicle, material handling and industrial markets. ThyssenKrupp Waupaca will invest $36.5 million in equipment upgrades to expand capacity at its 480,000 square-foot Tell City plant. “Indiana is leading the nation in job growth, at 3 ½ times the national average.  The problem is the national average is far too weak. This vote of confidence from a world-class company is further evidence that our competitive advantage over other states is growing,” said Daniels. In addition to the Tell City location, which first opened in 1997, ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc. is headquartered and has three plants in Waupaca, Wisc. as well as plants in Marinette, Wisc. and Etowah, Tenn.  The company is part of ThyssenKrupp’s Components Technology business area.  The ThyssenKrupp Group, based in Essen, Germany, is a global materials and technology company which consists of eight business areas.  In fiscal year 2008/2009 the Group had annual sales of $54.8 billion and employed more than 187,000 worldwide. “We are extremely grateful to Governor Daniels and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for their tremendous support of ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc.,” said Gary Gigante, president and chief executive officer of ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc.  “Tell City, Perry County and the state of Indiana have been outstanding partners throughout our history.  The support provided by the Governor and his entire team will ensure that we continue to grow our operations and remain an integral part of the Indiana economy for many years to come.” Hiring at ThyssenKrupp Waupaca’s Tell City plant is already underway for equipment operators, maintenance technicians and production workers. “This is a great opportunity for both ThyssenKrupp Waupaca and the residents of Perry County.  We have a wonderful corporate partner in ThyssenKrupp Waupaca and the opportunities that this expansion will provide are tremendous for all parties.  I look forward to seeing more progress for the company and our community as this expansion continues,” said Chris… …Read More…

Sematech Relocates Manufacturing HQ to Albany, NY

Sematech Relocates Manufacturing HQ to Albany, NY Posted on:

Sematech will move the bulk of its remaining operations from Austin, TX to Albany starting in January, bringing at least 100 new jobs to the area, company officials have told the Business Review. Sematech CEO Dan Armbrust this morning said his organization’s manufacturing productivity arm—known as International Sematch Manufacturing Inc.—will relocate its headquarters and operations from Austin to the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The move comes after another Sematech subsidiary, International Sematech, relocated its headquarters from Austin to the Albany campus in 2008. That decision was preceeded by a $300 million incentive package that was approved by the state of New York. “By moving here, it’s a job creating mechanism for us,” Gov. David Paterson said. The only Sematech operations that will remain in Texas will be a small research and development team focused on transistor research, Armbrust said. Sematech is a consortium of computer chip makers, including Intel, HP and Toshiba. Sematech is designed to help the R&D efforts of its member companies. Armbrust, who took over Sematech a year ago after 25 years with IBM in Fishkill, said he was not sure how many of ISMI’s Austin employees would make the move to Albany. The company already is hiring here, he said, although it was not immediately clear what positions are available. ISMI and private partners will invest a combined $80 million, officials said. In addition, $20 million in state money will be contributed through the state Assembly and Empire State Development Corp. Sematech has had a presence on the Albany NanoTech campus since 2003. “New York State has put tremendous backing behind this initiative,” Armbrust said. “I think we’ve crossed the tipping point where there are enough entities that are investing here that we have to be here too.”

BMW Adds 600 Jobs in Spartanburg, SC

BMW Adds 600 Jobs in Spartanburg, SC Posted on:

BMW Manufacturing Co., Spartanburg, SC. has announced the hiring of an additional 600 contingent associates. The need for additional workers is driven by the continued demand for the BMW X5 and X6, as well as the global launch of the new BMW X3.  This will bring the total number of contract jobs announced by BMW in the past 3 months to 1,600. “The introduction of the next-generation BMW X3, along with strong continuing global demand for the X5 and X6 is a great stimulus for our creating more jobs in our facilities here in the U.S.,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know we can add another economic incentive to the region and further our commitment here in America.” MAU Inc, BMW’s contract staffing partner, will hire for these positions. MAU will hold job fairs over the next several weeks. Qualified applicants should attend jobs fairs at the Spartanburg Community College Tyger River Campus on October 13 and October 20 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Additionally, BMW Manufacturing Co. announced yesterday that it is implementing a new alternative fuel platform to use hydrogen fuel cells to power material handling equipment. Hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts, tuggers and stackers will be used in BMW’s new assembly hall that produces the new BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle ®. “BMW has taken another important step to affirm our global commitment to sustainability with a project such as this in Spartanburg,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. “There’s a clear vision and determination to reach our goal of using renewable energy as much as possible throughout the plant site.” Initially, the hydrogen-powered material handling fleet will consist of more than 85 pieces of equipment, making it one of the largest hydrogen fuel-cell fleets in the U.S.

Beckman Coulter Expands Biomedical Ops

Beckman Coulter Expands Biomedical Ops Posted on:

Beckman Coulter, a manufacturer of biomedical test instruments and supplies has announced it will expand its operations  for the third time in the last four years, creating up to 95 new jobs by 2013. Since 2007, the company has grown by over 350 percent, adding 390 new jobs in Indianapolis. The company, which develops, manufactures and markets testing instruments and supplies for hospital laboratories as well as scientific research and drug discovery, will invest more than $18.2 million to add new equipment at its 5355 W. 76th Street facility. “Once again, Beckman Coulter is recognizing that Indiana is a cost-effective environment to further grow its business,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. “This company’s trend of growth continues to create life sciences and manufacturing opportunities for Hoosiers.” Beckman Coulter, which has been in Indianapolis since acquiring a locally based high-tech start-up in December of 1996, plans to begin hiring additional employees immediately. New associates will be hired at both Beckman Coulter’s 5355 W. 76th St. facility and its 5550 Lakeview Parkway operations. In addition to the manufacturing jobs, the site is comprised of roles as diverse as field service, engineering and business. “The state of Indiana’s strategic intent to focus on life sciences and advanced manufacturing aligns with our business objectives,” said Lori Gabrek, general manager at Beckman Coulter. “The area offers a favorable business environment and lower total cost of operations, plus a local workforce with strong skills in both engineering and manufacturing. Our operations here have become a “Center of Excellence” for our discovery products – those developed for life science research and drug discovery. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Brea-Calif.-headquartered company was founded in 1935 as National Technical Laboratories.  Beckman Coulter currently employs more than 12,000 associates worldwide and reported more than $3.3 billion in revenue in 2009. “Beckman Coulter’s commitment to doing business in our city is clearly evidenced by its decision to expand its manufacturing operations here,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “The new jobs coming to Indianapolis as a result of Beckman Coulter’s growth in the biomedical and life sciences sectors indicate these growing industries continue to flourish in our local economy. We welcome Beckman Coulter’s continued investment in Indianapolis and look forward to their future success.” The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Beckman Coulter up to $800,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $300,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The city of Indianapolis and Develop Indy will support property tax abatement for Beckman Coulter before the Metropolitan Development Commission.  

Tunnel Vision

Posted on:

The largest public transit project in the nation—which was earmarked to receive the largest single allocation of federal stimulus dollars—apparently has been killed by a slash from the relentless budget-cutting sword wielded by New Jersey’s governor. Gov. Chris Christie abruptly announced this week that New Jersey is pulling out of an $8.7-billion project to construct a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Ground already had been broken for the rail tunnel and more than $3 billion in federal financing (with an additional $2 billion from the Port Authority of NY/NJ) had been arranged. More than 6,000 construction jobs were in the process of being filled for the shovel-ready project. The rail tunnel has been in the planning stages for decades as an alternative route into New York City for NJ Transit’s northern rail hub, which serves the most densely populated region of the United States. The Garden State’s commuter rail giant currently relies on two tracks that travel across the Hudson through a single, century-old tunnel which rapidly is approaching its capacity limit. After learning that original estimates for the rail tunnel project had ballooned by at least $2.5 billion, Gov. Christie said New Jersey could not afford its one-third share of the project’s cost. The decision shocked federal officials, who viewed the tunnel project as a crown jewel of the federal stimulus program. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is seeking an emergency meeting with Christie to try to get the governor to reverse course. The state’s portion of the rail tunnel funds reportedly will be reallocated to fill a yawning deficit in NJ’s highway and bridge repair fund. Despite slashing New Jersey’s bloated state budget by nearly $3 billion since taking office in January, Gov. Christie recently discovered that the state’s dedicated fund for bridge repair and roadwork has run out of money after years of underfunding by the state Legislature. The governor previously indicated that an increase in the state tax on gasoline, currently one of the lowest in the nation, is not an option to close the fiscal gap. We give Gov. Christie kudos for boldness. Let’s face it, it’s not every day that a state chief executive turns down more than $5 billion in ready cash from the Feds and a regional agency. We will reserve judgment on the wisdom of Gov. Christie’s decision. There are some nagging questions about the long-term impact of this action, and a few doomsayers are imagining a worst-case scenario that might confront future rail commuters in the Garden State…. …Read More…

U.S. Approves Chevron Solar Project

U.S. Approves Chevron Solar Project Posted on:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has announced it has approved the first large-scale solar-energy projects to ever be built on public land. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved for two solar installations, both on public lands in California. One of the alternative-energy projects approved was proposed by a subsidiary of the oil giant Chevron. The Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project, which will be overseen by the Chevron subsidiary Chevron Energy Solutions of California, was granted use of 422 acres of public land in San Bernardino County, Calif., for the purpose of building a 45-megawatt solar plant consisting of 40,500 solar panels. The land is located near California State Route 247 north of San Bernardino National Forest and abuts an existing transmission line. When complete it’s expected to generate enough electricity to power between 13,500 and 33,750 homes at any given time. (The range takes into consideration the natural fluctuation in available solar power.) Another project, the Imperial Valley Solar Project, which will be overseen by Tessera Solar of Texas, was granted use of 6,360 acres of public lands in Imperial County, Calif. It’s desert land located along Interstate 8 near Plaster City, Calif., just north of the California-Mexico border. That plant will consist of 28,360 parabolic solar dishes estimated to produce about 709 megawatts worth of energy annually. Once up and running, that plant is expected to provide enough energy to power between 212,700 and 531,750 homes at any given time.