Daily News Archives
Phoenix Packaging Operations, LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix Packaging Group, will invest more than $20 million to establish its first U.S. operation in Pulaski County, VA. The company will manufacture thermoformed rigid plastic packaging for customers in the U.S., and also establish its North American headquarters in Pulaski. The project will create 240 new jobs. Virginia successfully competed against Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. “This manufacturing and U.S. headquarters operation is tremendous news for the New River Valley and Virginia. Phoenix Packaging is an international company that produces the packaging for many major companies and household names. I applaud everyone involved in winning a highly competitive project that involves a significant investment and 240 new jobs for the Commonwealth,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in announcing the project. Phoenix Packaging Group, is a family owned Latin American manufacturer of plastic packaging and food service disposable products, with sales in more than 30 countries. Customers include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Keurig, Van Houtte, Agro-Farma, General Mills, Sturm Foods and Colgate, for products such as ice cream and other dairy products, margarine, desserts, and soaps, as well as single-serve products such as yogurt and coffee. “Phoenix Packaging chose the Commonwealth of Virginia to be the home of its U.S. operations after analyzing more than 40 possible locations in six states from the standpoint of geographical location, availability of qualified workforce, energy costs and state and local incentives, among others,” said Alberto Peisach, president and CEO, Phoenix Packaging Operations. “We found that state and local authorities in Virginia were seriously committed to helping new companies set up their manufacturing facilities and bring in high-paying jobs. The state government’s proactive attitude in finding ways to meet our needs, and their flexibility in creating a program to help us find and train the right workforce, was far more forward-thinking than any competing states. With three major higher education institutions in the area, and the government officials’ unwavering interest in creating jobs, Pulaski County was hard to beat.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Pulaski County and the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. McDonnell approved an $850,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Pulaski County with the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. The company is eligible to receive rail access funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The company also is eligible to participate in the Virginia Enterprise […]
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced its selection of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as Governor of the Year this week in recognition of his leadership and support of the biosciences industry. Gov. O’Malley received the award during the Wednesday Keynote Luncheon at the 2010 BIO International Convention in Chicago, IL. “Governor O’Malley has done an exemplary job enhancing and expanding Maryland’s stature as one of the nation’s most vibrant biotech clusters. His funding and support of biotech tax credits is a model for federal legislation that supports critical early-stage capital formation. His leadership in this field will continue to benefit his state, in terms of jobs and innovation, for years to come,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO. “The Governor has done an exemplary job in expanding Maryland’s traditional role as a home to innovation,” said Renée M. Winsky, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Council of Maryland. “He has defined himself as a national leader in terms of building the framework for a business environment that is conducive to expansive and collaborative research institutions. His leadership has led to significant growth of major research parks and attracted more than 50 bioscience companies in the last two years.” Governor O’Malley launched his Maryland BIO 2020 Initiative at the 2008 BIO International Convention in San Diego. The initiative pledges more than $1.3 billion in biotechnology investment over a ten year period. Highlights of the plan include the establishment of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, growing Maryland’s technology incubator network, increasing technology transfer, increasing intellectual property valuation and protection services, and funding increases for numerous biotech-related incentives and programs.
Former Vice President Al Gore directly challenged his critics and threw down a moral gauntlet on the issue of climate change in a keynote address to the BIO 2010 convention in Chicago this week. “What we are facing is unprecedented in human history,” Gore said. “If you confuse unprecedented with improbable, the exceptions can kill you—and climate change is one of those exceptions.” The former U.S. vice president, a Nobel laureate, painted a stark picture of a civilization on a collision course with a fragile ecosystem. He described the Earth’s atmosphere as a thin shell that sits like a coat of paint on a huge globe. “If you could drive a car straight up, it would only take you 10 minutes to pass through the atmosphere,” Gore said. Gore noted that 90 million tons of carbon dioxide are being pumped into the atmosphere each day, with 30 million tons of that going into the world’s oceans. “This has already changed the ph level of the ocean, making it more acidic,” he said. The Nobel prize-winner said that 40 percent of the Earth’s ice cap already has disappeared, critical sources of drinking water are threatened, and the average global humidity has increased by 4 percent. He predicted that continued reliance on fossil fuels will result in an increase in global temperatures by up to 11 degrees F. by the end of this century. “The ice is melting everywhere in the world,” he said. Gore warned that it will take only a one meter increase in sea levels to create more than 100 million “climate change refugees” in coming decades. Climate change also will spawn destructive storms and droughts that will make it impossible to feed the estimated 9.5-bilion inhabitants of Earth by mid-century, and it will accelerate mass extinctions not seen since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, he said. “Only this time it’s not an asteroid—it’s us,” Gore added. The former VP said the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, currently costing $300 billion annually, soon will exact an even greater price on the U.S. economy and national security, as the oil supply rapidly depletes while worldwide demand increases.“The roller coaster on oil prices is going to speed up. It is headed for a crash and we are in the front car,” Gore said. Gore directly challenged his critics, who in recent months have become more vocal in questioning the science behind climate change. “We have seen attacks designed to confuse people, and some of this propaganda […]
The BIO 2010 International Convention was kicked off this week in Chicago with the release of the BIO/Battelle State Biosciences Initiatives report. The report, which is issued every two years, indicates that total employment in the U.S. bioscience sector has exceeded 1.42 million, with another 6.5 million jobs indirectly supported by biotech. The annual growth in the biotech sector registered a healthy 1.4 percent during the first year of the recession, despite a decline in total private sector employment of 0.7 percent. The BIO/Battelle report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics projections forecasting sustained annual growth of 1.5 percent in biotech through 2018. Research, testing and medical labs added 11,670 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase, from 2007 to 2008. Medical devices and equipment added 10,140 jobs, a rise of 2.4 percent , for the same period; agricultural feedstock and chemicals added 5,021 jobs, a jump of 4.6 percent. Since 2001, more than 176,000 jobs have been added in the research, testing and medical lab sector, with total employment in the sector now topping 558,000. According to the report, only the drugs and pharmaceuticals sector shed jobs, with a decrease of 7,445 positions from 2007 – 2008. Average annual wages in the U.S. biotech sector were tallied at $77,595, compared to the $45,229 average for total private sector employment. California once again reigned supreme in the BIO/Battelle report as the biotech employment leader, far outpacing the competition. The Golden State is home to 221,096 biotech workers, followed by New Jersey with 88,854, Pennsylvania with 80,929, Massachusetts with 72,627, and Texas with 64,964.
UAL Corp.’s United Airlines announced on Monday it will merge with Continental Airlines in a deal worth $3.2 billion, creating the world’s largest airline. The combined company, which will fly under the United name and Continental logo, is now larger than Delta Air Lines which became the country’s largest airline when it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. It is expected to serve more than 144 million passengers per year and fly to 370 destinations in 59 countries. “Combining these two companies is the best way to position ourselves … to thrive in the changing and competitive airline [industry,]” said Jeff Smisek, chief executive of Continental, in a press conference with Glenn Tilton, chief executive of UAL Corp. “Continental is strong where United is weak; United is strong where Continental is weak. Putting these two carriers together is a match made in heaven.” Under the terms of the deal, Continental shareholders will receive 1.05 shares of United common stock for each Continental common share they own, the companies said in a statement. United shareholders would own approximately 55% of the combined company and Continental shareholders would own approximately 45%. As a result of the merger, the companies expect to have annual revenues of $29 billion and save between $1 billion and $1.2 billion over the next three years. United and Continental discussed combining in 2008 and Houston-based Continental backed out, according to CNN.com. United boasts a stronger financial position this time around though. Last week, the Chicago-based company reported a first-quarter loss of $82 million, much narrower than the $382 million loss posted a year earlier. And revenue jumped 15% to $4.2 billion. The proposed mega-merger is subject to antitrust approval.
Jupiter Group, a Danish maker of wind turbine components, has agreed to build a plant in Junction City. The plant will have 120 jobs and $2.4 million in capital investment. The new plant, in two adjacent buildings, will total 41,000 square feet. The plant will start producing components by Aug. 1. The company makes composite nacelle covers and spinners, as well as wooden kit structures for wind turbine blades. The company is also a substantial provider of interior and exterior parts, floors and toilet cabins for the train industry. Jupiter received incentives from the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission. The Danish firm will open the facility with 15 to 30 employees and will add more employees over the next few years.
The nation’s largest health-care technology trade group has agreed to lease 25,000 square feet or more in a proposed Nashville Medical Trade Center downtown, giving a major boost to the project’s credibility. The 28,000-member Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society plans to use its space, part of an eventual 15-story medical trade center, as a showroom to demonstrate high- tech clinical systems and other products. “Right now, if you look at health-care information technology, that’s really the sweet spot of growth in the health-care industry,” said Bill Winsor, chief executive officer of Market Center Management, the Dallas developer of the planned $250-million building. The lease gives the Nashville Medical Trade Center—to be built in and atop the existing Nashville Convention Center— a solid starting point, Sean Jackson, an industry analyst at Avondale Partners LLC in Nashville, told the Tennessean.com. With 490 corporate members, including Microsoft and Google, Healthcare Information (based in Chicago) is the largest association of its kind focused exclusively on information technology for health care. Signing a major new tenant may give the proposed Nashville center an edge in a three-way race with two other medical trade centers in the planning stages for New York and Cleveland. Such centers showcase a variety of medical products from hospital beds and imaging equipment to computer software. Market Center Management is negotiating a master lease with Nashville officials to take over the current convention center space after the new Music City Center convention hall gets built. The developer wants to expand the 22-year-old convention center to about 1.5 million square feet by adding 12 new floors above the current building. Plans call for the medical trade center to open in early 2013.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the first U.S. offshore wind farm, giving the green light to the controversial Cape Wind project, which will place 130 huge wind turbines in the waters of Nantucket Sound. Proposed nine years ago, Cape Wind has been a controversial subject in Massachusetts, stirring opposition from prominent residents of Cape Cod. Opponents included the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who loved to sail the waters that will now be dotted with 400-foot-tall wind turbines. Kennedy led the fight against Cape Wind until he succumbed to cancer last year. In announcing his approval of the first U.S. offshore wind farm, Salazar called Cape Wind the start of a “new energy frontier.” “The United States is leading a clean energy revolution that is reshaping our future,” Salazar told reporters in Boston. “Cape Wind is an opening of a new chapter in that future, and we are all part of that history.” “Cape Wind will be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, supplying clean power to homes and businesses in Massachusetts, plus creating good jobs here in America,” Salazar added. “This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.” MA Gov. Deval Patrick praised the federal government’s decision. “Thank you for this decision,” said Gov. Patrick said. “With this project, Massachusetts will lead the nation. This day has been a long time coming.” Seventeen state and federal agencies weighed in on Cape Wind, reviewing everything from its impact on shipping, aviation and fisheries. Salazar visited the Cape earlier this year and pledged to make a final decision by the end of April. While the decision on issuing a federal permit was still pending last month, Boston-based Cape Wind signed an agreement to buy 130 wind turbines for the project from Siemens Energy Inc. Siemens concurrently announced it will open an office in Boston for U.S. offshore wind projects. Asked why Cape Wind made the agreement before the federal government’s permitting decision, spokesman Mark Rodgers told Boston.com: “We’ve been working hard for the last year to make our selection, and now that we’ve made it, we thought, why wait?’’ Siemens Energy’s parent company, Siemens AG, based in Munich, has a U.S. headquarters in Orlando, Fla. The company’s U.S. Wind Power division has grown from one employee in December 2004 to more than 1,000 employees today. Gov. Patrick hailed the agreement with Siemens. “The opening of a local Siemens offshore wind energy office is another significant step forward for the clean energy industry we have growing in […]
VA Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that Northrop Grumman Corp. has officially selecting Northern Virginia over Maryland and Washington, D.C., for its headquarters site, a move that will create 300 jobs. “The foremost priority of our administration is creating new jobs and getting our economy back on track. Today’s announcement that Northrop Grumman, a Fortune 100 company, is moving to Virginia is a major step forward in this effort,” McDonnell said. Northrop Grumman is a defense giant with 120,000 employees in aerospace, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. In a close contest since the company announced in January that it was moving its headquarters from Los Angeles, Loudoun County, MD was briefly considered as was Washington D.C., and other counties in Maryland. After a four-month search, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria reportedly are the remaining contenders for the headquarters facility. All of the sites under consideration would place the corporation close to the Pentagon. “Virginia, Maryland and the District put forward compelling, competitive offers,” said Wes Bush, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman. “Our final decision was driven largely by facility considerations, proximity to our customers, and overall economics.” Gov. McDonnell told WTOP radio that Virginia will give Northrop Grumman about $14 million in grants and cash incentives.
A German company plans to build a wind energy plant and bring 215 new jobs to Gainesville, GA. ZF Group, an automotive industry supplier, said the plant will make wind turbine gearboxes for systems that convert wind energy into electricity. The company will invest $90 million in the project. The news from ZF Group was the third job-creation announcement in the Atlanta area in the past week. On Thursday, an Arkansas frozen baked goods maker, De Wafelbakkers, said it will take over an abandoned bakery in Henry County and hire 242 workers over the next three years to make waffles, pancakes and French toast. A day earlier, word came that General Electric will create 400 new jobs in Cobb County when it opens its futuristic Smart Grid Center of Excellence this year. As for the wind energy plant, it will be built in the Gainesville Business Park, near an existing ZF facility that makes axle drives and transmissions for passenger vehicles and heavy construction equipment. That facility has been in operation about 20 years, state officials said. “There is a heightened global focus on renewable energy production, and we believe there is an opportunity to leverage our automotive driveline and chassis technology leadership in this exciting and growing alternative energy sector,” ZF executive Elizabeth Umberson said in a statement. Construction is scheduled to begin immediately, with the plant to open in February 2011. Production is set to start January 2012. The company will receive economic incentives for the project including tax credits, as well as free, customized employee training assistance from the Quick Start program, state officials said.