Daily News Articles
The Cape Cod Commission and IBM have announced a collaboration, dubbed “Smart Cape Cod,” to deploy sophisticated technology for more efficient management of physical infrastructure, protection of natural resources, and enhanced opportunities for economic growth across the region. This initiative is intended to help Cape Cod execute its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which promotes the use of technology solutions for renewable energy, environmental science, and marine/coastal industries, among other regional priorities. It highlights the need to address choke points in physical infrastructure – such as insufficient telecommunications capacity, variable electric power, and lack of wastewater treatment facilities – that limit options for economic development. “Cape Cod faces significant planning challenges,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, “but the solutions can create economic opportunities. This type of investment creates new jobs, drives economic diversification, and enables efficiencies in government, ultimately providing taxpayers with higher quality services.” The Commission and IBM, together with regional collaborators, aim to develop and implement a set of pilot projects to demonstrate the value of smart systems that utilize real-time information, connectivity, and advanced analytics for addressing the Cape’s infrastructure. “We anticipate working closely with the Cape’s renowned research institutions, regional business organizations such as the Cape Cod Chamber and the Cape Cod Technology Council, and our government partners,” Niedzwiecki said. “The Smart Cape Cod initiative will accelerate economic development plans and maximize the benefits of the $40 million investment in the OpenCape(1) broadband network and infrastructure.” The first phase of the Smart Cape Cod initiative, which will be completed by spring 2011, will focus on designing a Strategic Information Office and a Center of Excellence for Water Resources. The Strategic Information Office will guide the use of data, information, and technology for program management and policy making, developing standards for data management, primary data collection systems, and algorithms for the meshing of data sets. The Center of Excellence for Water Resources will assess critical issues relating to water quality and management, centralizing water information and stimulating technology development needed to monitor and improve water quality and manage water and wastewater. “Cape Cod’s commitment to deploying a broadband infrastructure, its strong base of academic institutions, its entrepreneurial business community and the critical linkage between environmental management and the region’s economic prosperity all contribute to the region being a natural choice for an innovative project of this nature,” said Sharon Nunes, VP, Smarter Cities Strategy and Solutions, IBM. “IBM’s vision for a Smarter Planet is to help communities deploy smarter systems that drive tangible benefits in […]
Acumen Solutions, an international business and technology consulting firm, will spend $2.35 million to expand in Fairfax County, an investment that will bring 156 new jobs to the county, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday. Acumen worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to secure the project. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide the firm funding for recruitment and training services. The company, founded in 1999 in Vienna, has its headquarters in Fairfax County, as well as offices throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Drug giant Roche will spend about $180 million in Oro Valley on new buildings and other capital investments while creating 500 jobs there over the next five years. The jobs, to pay an average salary of $75,000, will include positions in science, administration and manufacturing, as the heavyweight bioscience and pharmaceutical firm grows to meet the demands of an aging population, the Swiss-based company recently announced. The new jobs will increase the work force of Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems—which was bought by Roche in 2008—by up to 50 percent. The Tucson area is believed to have won out over three other regions that also have a Roche workforce, in Indianapolis, Southern California and northern New Jersey, said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. or TREO. Community and business leaders close to the deal said it’s been in the works for nearly a year and hinges on Pima County and the state providing key incentives. Pima County Supervisor Ann Day, whose district includes Oro Valley, said the county and state were able to put together generous incentives to entice the company to expand its work force at Innovation Park. The county will waive $8.5 million in property taxes and the state is offering $2 million in stimulus funds, Day said. Pima County will also offer work force training. “These are 400 to 500 high-tech positions that have a median wage of more than $70,000 a year,” Day said. “I just think it’s remarkable to have companies like Ventana Medical and Roche in our region because they are at the forefront of creating new medicine to treat previously untreatable diseases. Just think, it’s developed right here in our county.” Innovation Park has become a hub for bioscience research. Sanofi-Aventis also has a research center at the 535-acre campus, and the University of Arizona recently acquired Sanofi-Aventis’ older, smaller lab space a few miles from the park. Plans for that lab call for drug research, but the lab will also be used as a business incubator.
Automotive components maker Multimatic Inc. plans to expand its northeast Indiana production operation, adding new assembly lines as it aims to create over 200 jobs by 2013—more than tripling employment there. Toronto-based Multimatic intends to make a “significant investment” in machinery and equipment at its existing 224,000-square-foot facility in the city of Butler, north of Fort Wayne, state economic development officials said Tuesday morning. Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Multimatic Indiana as much as $1.5 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $48,500 in training grants based on its job-creation plans. Butler will provide additional property tax abatement at the request of the Dekalb County Economic Development Partnership. Multimatic’s Butler facility employs more than 80 workers making bumpers, door tracks, suspension components and structural roof bows for customers including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. The company, which has over 2,000 employees, plans to begin hiring engineering associates in 2011.
Governor Sonny Perdue joined company officials today in Savannah to announce that Gulfstream Aerospace is expanding its operations in Savannah, adding more than 1,000 jobs and investing at least $500 million. “A company like Gulfstream would be welcomed anywhere in the world, so we are proud they have chosen to expand right here in Georgia,” said Governor Perdue. “Gulfstream’s plan for growth will have a significant, statewide impact on Georgia’s economy.” Gulfstream is expanding its Savannah operation to facilities at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport and will renovate several existing facilities on its main campus. The company will also expand its offices and laboratories at the Gulfstream Research and Development Center in Crossroads Business Park. This will be Gulfstream’s second major expansion in the last five years. “This expansion is necessary to meet the industry’s projected increase for new business-jet aircraft and the maintenance that will follow,” said Joe Lombardo, president of Gulfstream. “The effect this initiative will have is very simple. It’s good, high-tech jobs for Georgia. Jobs for Gulfstream Aerospace. And jobs for general aviation, a vital aspect of this nation’s industrial base.” Gulfstream, a native Georgia company whose headquarters has been located in Savannah since 1967, currently employs approximately 5,500 workers and manufactures the Gulfstream G650, G550, G450 and G350. The Savannah operation also includes the largest of the company’s five final-phase manufacturing facilities and the largest of its 10 service centers. Gulfstream has already begun hiring for the expansion. Training support for this expansion includes the state’s commitment of Quick Start program resources to assist in building job skills required for the available positions. Gulfstream also has cooperative relationships with several local educational institutions, including Savannah Technical College, in support of its commitment to the community. In 2009, the company completed a $300 million expansion it announced in 2006. The project included the largest general aviation aircraft maintenance facility in the world, along with manufacturing, paint and R&D facilities. Gulfstream hired 1,100 new employees as part of that expansion. A number of those employees were trained at Savannah Technical College on programs specifically tailored for Gulfstream’s employment needs. Savannah Tech is constructing its own building to house its aerospace training programs. “Gulfstream is promoting a new era of U.S. manufacturing that can’t be easily replicated, further positioning our community and the state for continued growth on an international level. And, not too many people would argue that Gulfstream, with their superb product lines, isn’t just competing globally, but winning,” remarked Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) Senior […]
The G20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea, ended Friday with leaders issuing a communique that endorsed the multi-year Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth. The plan seeks to boost development by taking a “business-focused approach” in the developing world, the Globe and Mail of Toronto reports. The G20 meeting gathers the leaders of the world’s largest economies representing 80 percent of global GDP. According to the Korea Herald, “[t]he Seoul Consensus identifies nine key pillars where we believe actions are necessary to resolve the most significant bottlenecks to inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth in developing countries, low income countries in particular,” the leaders said. “The Seoul Consensus complements our commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and focuses on concrete measures as summarized in our Multi-Year Action Plan on Development to make a tangible and significant difference in people’s lives, including in particular through the development of infrastructure in developing countries,” states a G20 leadership statement. “The plan includes actions on infrastructure, human resources and development, private investment and job creation, food security, growth resilience, financial inclusion and domestic resource mobilization, and knowledge sharing.” To achieve plan goals, the G20 will work with a variety of organizations, such as the World Bank, UNESCO and the World Trade Organization. “The notion that the rich world’s efforts must shift to creating private-sector jobs and away from traditional foreign aid is hardly new,” the Globe and Mail writes. The focus on “tailoring initiatives to nations’ individual circumstances … has been paid lip service before, too. But this time around the country [South Korea] pushing the proposal is the leading example of how a poor country can become a wealthy one,” the newspaper writes (11/12). The International Business Times reports on worries that during the G20 Summit, “in all the heated debate on currency and trade imbalances, the development issue will fall by the wayside. The second concern is that the issue of aid has been decoupled from that development.” The article quotes a variety of development experts, including Ben Phillips, Asia Strategy Director for Save the Children, who said, “The emerging Seoul G20 development agenda is right to reject the old one-size-fits-all model of development, in favor of one where developing countries shape their own future. … It’s right to call for growth, but growth alone is not enough.”
While we were visiting New Orleans this week for Business Facilities’ annual LiveXchange event, we came across an article in Sunday’s edition of the Times-Picayune detailing an interesting quandary confronting historic preservation districts when they try to address the need to convert to alternative energy. According to the New Orleans daily, Big Easy resident Glade Bilby ran head-on into this quandary when he was proceeding with renovations on his three-story brick townhouse on Esplanade Ave. in the French Quarter. Bilby had no problems when he installed a rainwater collection system and added a foil radiant barrier in his attic to cut down on heat loss in the winter and provide insulation from the summer’s brutal heat. But Bilby apparently crossed an invisible line when he tried to take advantage of state and federal tax credits being offered to homeowners this year for energy efficiency improvements. Bilby wanted to place about $50,000 worth of photovotaic solar panels on the roof of his house, something that thousands of homeowners across the country are doing to generate an alternative source of electricity. Although local housing officials boast that solar and other energy-efficient technologies are beginning to take hold in New Orleans as it continues to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Bilby’s project would be the first of its kind in the French Quarter, which maintains as its top priority the preservation of its old-timey, wrought iron authenticity. Despite a staff recommendation to approve the project, the Vieux Carre Commission, the city’s regulatory agency for the French Quarter, denied Bilby’s application for the work in a close vote on Oct. 19. According to the Times-Picayune report, preservationists have struggled to set standards for incorporating new technologies and energy-efficiency improvements into historic buildings in an area populated by homes that in many cases were built before electricity was available. Ironically, the newspaper notes, the French Quarter was green before it was cool to be green. A French Quarter resident for more than three decades, Bilby plans to appeal the ruling to the New Orleans City Council this month. Bilby noted that actor Brad Pitt has made green building features central to his redevelopment effort in the city’s battered Lower 9th Ward, which was almost wiped out by Katrina. Many of the new structures put up in the 9th Ward in Pitt’s Make It Right campaign have been loaded with features geared to attaining net-zero electric use. Commission members who backed Bilby cited “a myriad of preservation organizations…[which] have recognized the synergy between preservation […]
Less than one year after breaking ground, Levelland City and Economic Development officials will get engines on track for an $8.6 million industrial rail park in the 12,866 population town. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 17. “We’ve come a long way in 11 months,” said Dave Quinn, executive director of the Levelland Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). “We’ve used the tagline, ‘Progressive on Purpose,’ here in Levelland for quite some time, and this ribbon-cutting is the culmination of our work — not only for our city, but for the entire West Texas region.” The entire rail portion—which includes a 300-acre development for new businesses—received $3.3 million in federal stimulus funds along with $1.5 million of the LEDC’s cash reserves. The remaining $3.8 million came in the form of a loan through bonds sold by the city and repaid with LEDC sales tax revenues and Tax Increment Financing District Funds. “We are thankful to have received this $3.3 million in stimulus funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act,” said Elgin Conner, LEDC chairman. “This is one of the nation’s largest grants in size and scope. And that says a lot for a town our size to receive recognition for a project such as this.” Quinn said he anticipates the industrial rail park to create 1,000 jobs and $100 million in new capital investment over its first 10 years. “We’re proud the public can now see evidence of the time and effort put in by our engineers, public officials and utility providers,” Conner said. “Chi Energy Inc. relocated flow lines and tank batteries, Xcel and Lamb County Electric completed overhead power lines, while Atmos and Lubbock Gas gathering moved underground gas lines.” In coordinated efforts, utility companies also made way for Railroad Specialties, Inc., out of Littleton, Colorado, to install more than 21,000 track feet of 132# rail and concrete crossties that make up the rail infrastructure of the industrial rail park. Aside from the rail line, the project also includes the addition of water, sewer and street improvements. Now complete, the industrial rail park encompasses 18 total lots, ranging in size from five to 65 acres. Each lot, Quinn explained, has direct access to the rail line.
AREZ LLC will locate its U.S. headquarters and a new manufacturing facility in Crossett, Arizona; their first location in North America. The Irish company will invest approximately $6.8 million in the facility and create 121 new jobs. AREZ will begin construction immediately and hopes to begin initial production by October 2011. The 270,000-square-foot facility on a six-acre site will produce rosin-based resins for the printing ink industry with the capacity to produce 25 million pounds of resin annually. The primary supplier of rosin to AREZ will be Georgia Pacific in Crossett. AREZ Crossett will also provide tolling services for production of resin solutions. John L. Smith, chief operating officer of AREZ LLC, remarked that he has never worked with state and local government officials who have shown such attitudes of “how can we help” and “let’s get it done”. “We at AREZ are thankful for these attitudes because we saw the local manufacturing infrastructure, talent pool, and quality of life as very desirable for us to place our facilities in Crossett,” said Smith. “The government streamlined the process whereby we can get into operation much faster than we would have ever thought possible.” In addition to its headquarters in Ireland, AREZ International also has locations in mainland Europe and China. With the China manufacturing facility at capacity, the company chose to locate in Crossett to better meet the needs of clients in the U.S. “AREZ choosing Crossett is a statement about the quality of life and the resiliency of this community,” said Crossett Mayor Scott McCormick.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that ICF International, a global professional services firm, will expand its corporate headquarters in Fairfax County. According to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), ICF is expanding its leased office space to 300,000 square feet for the next 12 years. ICF’s commitment to Fairfax County will result in the investment of $20 million to improve and re-equip its headquarters. The company also plans to create at least 400 jobs over the next three years in Virginia, a majority of them in Fairfax. ICF already has more than 2,500 employees in the region. “Fairfax County is one of the nation’s most dynamic business communities, which makes it a highly desirable location for ICF’s headquarters. Its proximity to Washington, D.C., available transportation infrastructure and well-educated workforce are key determining factors in ICF’s decision to extend its office lease in the county,” said Sudhakar Kesavan, chairman and CEO of ICF International. “ICF International is a major employer in Fairfax County and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the company as it grows,” said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA. “Professional services companies such as ICF can tap into one of the best-skilled workforces in the world, and their growth here adds to the momentum of business activity we enjoy in Fairfax County.” The FCEDA worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia has provided up to $1 million through incentives programs to ICF to retain its headquarters in Fairfax County. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. The company is also eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit.