Daily News Archives

Allison Opens Hybrid Plant in Indianapolis

Allison Opens Hybrid Plant in Indianapolis

Allison Transmission has opened a new hybrid manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, which will be capable of churning out more than 20,000 commercial-duty hybrid propulsion systems a year. The new Allison hybrid propulsion system captures kinetic energy and later reuses the energy to propel or reaccelerate the vehicle. The recovered energy can also be used to power vehicle accessories. “Over $130 million is being invested in the renovation of this facility and the development of our new commercial hybrid truck product,” Allison Transmission Chairman and CEO Lawrence E. Dewey told a group of employees, government officials, state and local representatives and project collaborators gathered at the plant’s dedication recently. The dedication of the facility follows an August 2009 visit to Indiana by President Obama. During his visit, Obama announced that Allison was being awarded a $62.8 million matching grant by the U.S. Department of Energy to increase the U.S.’ capacity to manufacture the commercial-duty hybrid truck propulsion systems. With the DOE grant, Allison Transmission will be rolling out the truck hybrid products in 2013.


Adobe Expanding Utah Operations, Adding 1,000 Jobs

Adobe Expanding Utah Operations, Adding 1,000 Jobs

Gov. Gary R. Herbert has announced that Adobe Systems Inc. plans to build a new technology campus in Utah, a decision that could potentially create up to 1,000 new high-tech jobs in the state over the next 20 years. “This is a major announcement for our State and its citizens, and offers further proof that Utah’s software and technology industry is thriving,” Gov. Herbert said during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol. “I have personally assured company leaders that Utah’s business climate will allow operations to thrive, and that we, as a State, can provide them with a workforce that is well-educated, tech-savvy and ready to go to work for Adobe.” The new Adobe campus to be constructed in Salt Lake County or Utah County will accommodate future growth for the company and its Omniture Business Unit operations, which are currently based in Orem. The multi-phase project includes construction of a new campus to be completed in 2012 and the possibility of additional facilities expansion over 20 years. If growth projections are met, approximately 1,000 new employment opportunities with Adobe could be created in Utah over that same period, generating approximately $1.6 billion in new state wages. “Adobe’s plans for expanding in Utah are a natural extension of the growth and success of our Omniture Business Unit operations,” said Mark Garrett, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Adobe. “Utah’s vibrant communities, skilled talent base and business-friendly environment are appealing. We appreciate the efforts of the Governor’s Office and the State of Utah in working with Adobe, and we look forward to contributing to the vitality of the region.” Adobe acquired Omniture, a homegrown Utah company, in October 2009. It is now known as the Omniture Business Unit within Adobe, employing approximately 620 people in Utah and 1,100 worldwide. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development Board voted in a special session today to approve a post-performance economic development tax incentive for the project. New state tax revenue is expected to exceed $134 million over a 20-year period as a result of the Adobe projected expansion, job creation and capital investment in Utah. The maximum value of the post-performance refundable tax credit incentive is $40.2 million, or 30 percent of new state revenue for 20 years. “The Omniture success story demonstrates that Utah has the fertile fields to cultivate and grow great ideas into great companies,” said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “Today’s announcement confirms the fact that Utah has the business environment […]


Boeing Relocates C-130 Avionics Program

Boeing Relocates C-130 Avionics Program

The Boeing Company today announced it will relocate the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) and B-1 Program from Long Beach, CA to Oklahoma City. The move will begin with C-130 AMP starting in the first quarter of 2011 and conclude by the end of 2012 with the move of the B-1 Program. Both programs are part of the Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades (MM&U) division of the Global Services & Support (GS&S) business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The programs now employ approximately 800 people in Southern California. About 550 positions will be relocated to Oklahoma City. The remaining positions will be reduced from the programs over the next two years as contracts are fulfilled. MM&U Vice President and General Manager Mark Bass said relocating the programs will help Boeing provide a more competitive cost structure for customers. “Making a decision like this is never easy, but as we reviewed our anticipated operating costs for the next several years, it became clear that Boeing needs to take major actions on these programs in order to remain affordable for our customers,” Bass said. “We remain committed to maintaining the excellent record of performance that our employees deliver for our U.S. Air Force B-1 and C-130 AMP customers during this transition.” During the move, some employees will be relocated, while other positions will be posted and hired locally in Oklahoma City. Company managers are determining which employees will be offered relocation to Oklahoma City. Boeing will provide assistance for workers who do not make the transition, including help in searching for other potential positions within the company. “We will communicate openly and often with our employees throughout this process,” Bass said. C-130 AMP brings commonality to the C-130 fleet by offering flexibility in assigning aircrew, regardless of the model design type, and reducing aircraft operating costs while addressing obsolescence and providing for future capability growth. The program recently was approved by the Air Force for low-rate initial production. The Boeing B-1 Program is modernizing the B-1 Lancer bomber to further enhance its conventional munitions capability. Multiple upgrades are being tested this year to improve the bomber’s capabilities. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.


2010 RANKINGS: Tucson, AZ is Top Alt Energy Metro

2010 RANKINGS: Tucson, AZ is Top Alt Energy Metro

Business Facilities has announced the following rankings for the Tucson Region in its 2010 Rankings Report: #1 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INDUSTRY LEADERS: This category ranks the top 10 metros in overall leadership in alternative energy manufacturing, growth strategy and development of renewable energy. The magazine considers the Alternative Energy Industry Leaders ranking one of its most important “flagship” categories. Editors considered overall economic development strategy and growth potential as well as new project activity to determine its flagship ranking of alternative energy leaders. “There were many worthy competitors for the top position in our first annual Alternative Energy Industry Leaders metro ranking, but Tucson was head-and-shoulders above everyone else,” said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers. Tucson, a global leader in solar energy manufacturing, earned the top spot with a highly coordinated strategy that brings together industry, higher education, effective incentives and sensible regulation, Rogers said. “In addition to Tucson’s well-earned reputation as The Solar City, we were really impressed with this region’s intelligent approach to maximizing its resources,” Rogers said. “An aggressive and innovative economic development strategy combined with unlimited growth potential made this an easy choice.” “This recognition reflects our success in working with local leaders and our utility customers to tap into southern Arizona’s abundant solar energy resources,” said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of Tucson Electric Power and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “This community has always been very receptive to our efforts to promote the use of renewable energy.” “From research to student initiatives to the campus itself, the University of Arizona is a global leader in sustainability and conservation,” said UA President Robert N. Shelton. “Throughout the history of the UA, our entire campus community has fostered a commitment to a culture of conservation and innovation.” TOP 10 METRO – ECONOMIC GROWTH POTENTIAL: Tucson’s alternative energy achievements — and its position as a leading player in the aerospace/defense manufacturing and an emerging hub for biotechnology — also made it a Top 10 Metro for Economic Growth Potential in Business Facilities’ annual rankings report. A benchmark ranking for economic development excellence, the magazine considers Economic Growth Potential to be a most important ranking, because it reflects not only what a location already has accomplished but what can be expected in coming years as a result of its development strategy. “The Tucson region has received more than 25 positive national rankings over the last few years. Being number one as a solar leader in a highly-read economic development publication is an achievement Tucson can […]


What’s in a Name?

For years now, state and local economic development marketers across the country have been pursuing the holy grail of a catchy tag line that engraves their location on the subconscious of the nation. The success stories are, well, memorable. Mention Las Vegas and “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” immediately pops into your cerebellum. New York is synonymous with “The Big Apple.” Of course, along the way, there also have been some slogans that didn’t quite hit the mark. In the 1980s, the Garden State came up with “New Jersey and You, Perfect Together,” which never really clicked. But that may have been the result of Gov. Tom Kean’s patrician accent, which rendered the tag line “Puhhfect Togethah.” Enter the city fathers of Columbus, OH. As detailed in an article in Sunday’s New York Times, the civic leaders of Ohio’s capital have elevated their search for a new slogan to something akin to the Manhattan Project. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotional organizations including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and the job-creating Columbus Partnership have joined forces to leave no stone unturned in search of the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with the intensity of a heat-seeking missile. The city elders have named a special task force to come up with a new slogan for Columbus. The task force reportedly has been sworn to secrecy until it can reach a consensus choice, for as long as it takes. According to the Times, the task force is not expected to unveil a new tag line for Columbus until the middle of next year. Apparently, the city is a bit gun-shy about moving too quickly to embrace a new slogan because six earlier branding efforts fizzled out. Previous entries included “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s Columbus” and the current standard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.” “Columbus has not had a bad image,” Paul Astleford, director of Experience Columbus, told the Times. “It has just had no image in the national marketplace.” One model the top-secret task force reportedly is eyeing is that used by nearby Indianapolis, which has fashioned itself the “Amateur Athletic Capital of America.” Since Columbus is one of our favorite towns, we wish the city well in its quest for a new slogan. We look forward to seeing the winning line. We presume the new slogan will not be based on the motion picture title of the vintage romantic comedy starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin, which was based on the novella of […]


What’s in a Name?

For years now, state and local economic development marketers across the country have been pursuing the holy grail of a catchy tag line that engraves their location on the subconscious of the nation. The success stories are, well, memorable. Mention Las Vegas and “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” immediately pops into your cerebellum. New York is synonymous with “The Big Apple.” Of course, along the way, there also have been some slogans that didn’t quite hit the mark. In the 1980s, the Garden State came up with “New Jersey and You, Perfect Together,” which never really clicked. But that may have been the result of Gov. Tom Kean’s patrician accent, which rendered the tag line “Puhhfect Togethah.” Enter the city fathers of Columbus, OH. As detailed in an article in Sunday’s New York Times, the civic leaders of Ohio’s capital have elevated their search for a new slogan to something akin to the Manhattan Project. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotional organizations including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and the job-creating Columbus Partnership have joined forces to leave no stone unturned in search of the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with the intensity of a heat-seeking missile. The city elders have named a special task force to come up with a new slogan for Columbus. The task force reportedly has been sworn to secrecy until it can reach a consensus choice, for as long as it takes. According to the Times, the task force is not expected to unveil a new tag line for Columbus until the middle of next year. Apparently, the city is a bit gun-shy about moving too quickly to embrace a new slogan because six earlier branding efforts fizzled out. Previous entries included “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s Columbus” and the current standard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.” “Columbus has not had a bad image,” Paul Astleford, director of Experience Columbus, told the Times. “It has just had no image in the national marketplace.” One model the top-secret task force reportedly is eyeing is that used by nearby Indianapolis, which has fashioned itself the “Amateur Athletic Capital of America.” Since Columbus is one of our favorite towns, we wish the city well in its quest for a new slogan. We look forward to seeing the winning line. We presume the new slogan will not be based on the motion picture title of the vintage romantic comedy starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin, which was based on the novella of […]


2010 RANKINGS: China Races Past U.S. in Green $

2010 RANKINGS: China Races Past U.S. in Green $

Perhaps the biggest eyebrow-raiser in Business Facilities’ 2010 Global Rankings is China’s astonishing rise to the top of the list of Alternative Energy Investment Leaders. It seemed like only yesterday that everyone on the Western side of the globe was tut-tutting about the PRC surpassing the United States as the world’s leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. We all assumed that with double-digit growth fueled by hundreds of coal-fired power plants, China would need a couple of decades of retooling before it appeared on anybody’s list of alternative energy leaders. Well, we all need to think again. China’s investments in renewable energy in 2009 exceeded those made by the previous global leader, the United States, for the first time, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. With its investments growing 50 percent in 2009, China committed $34.6 billion to wind power, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy, making it the word’s biggest investor in such projects. China invested nearly double the United States’ $18.6 billion, while the United Kingdom, which has a much smaller population, was the third-largest investor with $11.2 billion in 2009. The study of investments by G-20 nations also found that China’s installed renewable energy capacity surged to 52.5 gigawatts, putting it just behind the United Ststes, which had 53.4 gigawatts of capacity in 2009. “China is emerging as the world’s clean energy powerhouse,” wrote the report’s authors. “Having built a strong manufacturing base and export markets, China is working now to meet domestic demand by installing substantial new clean energy-generating capacity to meet ambitious renewable energy targets.” Over the past six months alone, China has signed deals with American solar companies to build solar power plants that would generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity.


2010 RANKINGS: TX, VA Have Best Business Climate

2010 RANKINGS: TX, VA Have Best Business Climate

For the second year in a row, Texas has taken the top prize in Business Facilities’ coveted Best Business Climate ranking. There are more than 20 input factors that helped determine the final outcome in Business Facilities’ assessment of this flagship category, including its rankings for Cost of Labor, Business Tax Climate, Quality of Life, Transportation Infrastructure, Educated Workforce and Economic Growth Potential. The magazine also took a close look at per capita GDP, population growth and energy costs/energy efficiency. The Lone Star State continues to match its surging population with a solid strategy for attracting and expanding new business. The list of recent facilities announcements is far too long to reproduce; suffice it to say that Texas is maximizing its return from an unbeatable combination of low taxes, strong incentives, low energy costs, a relatively low cost of labor and solid infrastructure. Texas also continues to rule the roost in state-by-state comparisons of employment rates, GDP growth and personal income growth. A healthy number of the metros ranked in the top 15 for the nation’s biggest gains in private-sector employment are deep in the heart of Texas. Virginia blasted its way into the top 10 in Best Business Climate with a second-place finish that was nailed down with a first-rate focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Immediately after taking office in January, Gov. Bob McDonnell issued an executive order creating a state Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission. McDonnell identified an improved business climate as a top priority for the new unit. “We must be aggressive in putting in place the policies that will improve our business climate and make Virginia a global job magnet,” he said. “This Commission will be identifying new ideas and initiatives to make the Commonwealth even more competitive in the global marketplace.” Virginia’s effort already is bearing fruit, most recently with an announcement from defense giant Northrop Grumman that it is relocating its corporate headquarters from the West Coast to northern Virginia.


2010 RANKINGS: Louisiana Leads In Workforce Training

2010 RANKINGS: Louisiana Leads In Workforce Training

Louisiana has come out on top of Business Facilities’ new ranking of state workforce traning programs, released today. The Bayou State grabbed the top slot in this new rankings category with its FastStart program. “Louisiana has established the gold standard for workforce training solutions with its innovative FastStart program,” said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers. “The availability of customized workforce recruitment, screening and training rapidly is becoming a requirement for success in the competition for new business.” Rogers noted. “Louisiana is far ahead of the curve with a fully integrated program that works in partnership with higher education in a coordinated economic development strategy that targets growth sectors. We are pleased to reward this effort with the top ranking in our Workforce Training Leaders category.” Tax credits and similar traditional incentives often are the first tool in the box that is put to use in sealing the deal for a relocation or new facility. However, many states now recognize that providing targeted workforce training potentially is the most valuable and productive incentive they can put on the table. FastStart provides workforce recruitment, screening and training to new and expanding companies—all at no cost. Louisiana’s innovative and customized programs are available to companies that meet eligibility requirements and are aligned with the state’s economic development targets, including digital media, headquarters and business operations, service industries, advanced and traditional manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, and research and development. To qualify, a facility must first commit to creating a net of at least 15 new, permanent manufacturing jobs, or a net of at least 50 new, permanent service-related jobs. Service industries, headquarters and business operations, and warehouse and distribution companies also must have a majority of sales out of state. Each request is evaluated prior to project commencement to ensure all eligibility requirements are met. Louisiana FastStart’s partners include the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and local colleges and universities—a unique model that enables streamlined, efficient pre-employment training, and access to a network of adult education resources. Also in the top tier in Business Facilities’ new workforce training ranking is Florida’s Quick Response Training Program (QRT), which provides grant funding for customized training for new or expanding businesses. Workforce Florida, Inc. administers the program. An employer-driven training program, QRT has provided customized training for well over 100,000 employees for more than 300 businesses throughout the state, jump-starting new ventures and easing the way for expansions. Here are the full results for Business Facilities’ Workforce Training Leaders ranking: – 1. […]


2010 RANKINGS: AZ, IA, MI Top Alt Energy List

2010 RANKINGS: AZ, IA, MI Top Alt Energy List

Arizona, Iowa and Michigan took the top three positions in Business Facilities’ new ranking for Alternative Energy Industry Leaders, released today. The alternative energy leadership ranking is a new category in the magazine’s annual Rankings Report, assessing to top alternative energy manufacturers and leaders in renewable power generation in solar, wind, biofuels and advanced battery development. According to Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers, Business Facilities decided to create an omnibus ranking for alternative energy, in addition to individual categories tied to energy type, due to the diversification of state efforts in this dynamic growth sector. “As we delved deeper into the data, we realized that all of the major alternative energy players are not putting their eggs in one basket: they are aggressively moving to stake a leadership position in an entire menu of renewable energy industries,” Rogers said. “Therefore, we took the plunge and decided to create a ranking category for overall alternative energy industry leadership.” Arizona, the established solar energy king, easily took the top ranking. As detailed in Business Facilities’ April cover story, Arizona’s robust solar panel industry is a global as well as national leader, befitting the sunniest state in the country. Arizona’s  vast desert areas offer the highest solar power potential in the nation, and the state is by far the leading producer of equipment to capture these rays. Tucson, AZ is home to some of the world’s largest photovoltaic manufacturers, including Schletter, Inc., Global Solar Energy, and SOLON. Iowa snared second place in the Alternative Energy Industry Leaders category with its ongoing success as the primary wind-turbine manufacturing center and its natural position as a major ethanol producer. Iowa is home to six wind-turbine manufacturing companies: Acciona, Siemens, Clipper, Hendricks, TPI and Trinity, representing thousands of green-collar jobs and an investment of almost $250 million in the state. The Hawkeye State is one of only two states to make three component parts of a modern windmill— turbine, blades and tower. Michigan vaulted into third place in the alternative energy ranking with torrent of announcements that have been coming out of the glove-shaped state in recent months. “Michigan is far too busy reinventing itself as a hub for alternative energy manufacturing to wallow in despair over last year’s tough sledding in the auto sector,” Rogers said. “Hardly a week goes by without a major piece of ‘green’ news from the Wolverine State, whether it’s Dow Chemical’s commercialization of solar shingles in Midland, MI or President Obama’s recent visit to the groundbreaking for an advanced lithium battery plant in Holland, MI.” […]