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NEW ORLEANS – Nov. 8 – Author and economist Dr. Ronald R. Pollina brought his clarion call for a drastic change in U.S. trade policies to Business Facilities LiveXchange event here today, telling attendees that our leaders must reverse a steep decline in the nation’s ability to compete with emerging global powerhouse China “before it’s too late.” In his keynote address at LiveXchange, held this week at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans’ French Quarter, Dr. Pollina warned that global companies and foreign governments are systematically wiping out what is left of the U.S. manufacturing base, with U.S. government acquiescence bought and paid for by special interests determined to ship jobs offshore. “The line between domestic and foreign companies is blurring,” Dr. Pollina said. “Our trade policy lacks balance and can be bought.” In his talk, the noted geoeconomist and president of Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc., summarized a series of dire statistics and trends that are included in his recently published book, Selling Out a Superpower: Where the U.S. Economy Went Wrong and How We Can Turn It Around. In addition to the outsourcing of jobs to China, Dr. Pollina said the U.S. is losing high-paying engineering, medical, business, technology and manufacturing jobs to its free-trade partners and gaining low-pay service jobs, a trend that will lead to a decline in living standards in the United States. “We are becoming a nation that makes nothing,” Dr. Pollina declared. “Growth has been occurring at the expense of Americans, not for Americans.” Dr. Pollina cited a Goldman Sachs analysis that predicts China’s economy will surpass the U.S. economy as the world’s largest economic superpower by 2025, and will be nearly twice as large by 2050. “When I started writing my book, the prediction was that they wouldn’t pass us until 2045,” he said, noting that some analysts are projecting that the U.S. may even be overtaken by China in this decade. The author also cited a McKinsey Global Institute study indicating the number of researchers in China and India rose 35% to 1.6 million in 2008, while at the same time the number of researchers in the U.S. decreased 11% to 760,000. According to Forrester Research, he said, by 2011 10% of all the associates hired by large U.S. law firms will work overseas; and Nasscom-KPMG predicts that information technology revenues in India will jump from 2004’s level of $22 billion to $148 billion by 2012. Dr. Pollina also gave some stark figures to confirm that the North American Free Trade […]
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and state officials announced that Mountaire Farms will invest approximately $34.5 million to expand its poultry complex in Millsboro. The plant will add 31 new jobs by December 2011for a total of 3600 Mountaire employees in Sussex County. The new state-of-the-art Resource Recovery Center will convert waste into products for the poultry and commercial pet food industries, recycling feathers, carcasses and other processing leftovers. The company received an industrial expansion permit to build in the protected Coastal Zone. In exchange, Mountaire Farms says it will convert boilers from oil to natural gas, install odor controls and make wastewater treatment plant upgrades to cut pollution releases. “Support for the Resource Recovery Plant project is paramount in solidifying Mountaire’s total integration poultry business in Delaware,” said Paul Downes, president of Mountaire Farms. The Delaware Economic Development Office has offered a $787,500 grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund to assist with the development and construction of the new facility, a grant that must also be approved by the Council on Development Finance. “The state’s support of this expansion would continue our commitment to this important sector of our economy, while helping to create jobs and make improvements to the environment. It is a solid investment in the future of our state,” said Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary, Alan Levin.
Clean-tech company Exergonix has agreed to locate a $90 million headquarters in the Kansas City area. Exergonix will produce one-megawatt batteries capable of storing solar or wind energy, supplying it to the power grid during peak times. The producer of energy storage systems will bring 275 new jobs to the metro, according to CEO Don Nissanka. The expansion was made public at the annual luncheon of the Kansas City Area Development Council on Friday.
i/o Data Centers is planning to build a huge data center in New Jersey to serve as the East Coast hub for its growing colocation business. The company is in the late stages of site selection for a modular data center that will occupy 550,000 square feet of space, which would make the center one of the largest in the country. “We’re expanding to the East Coast,” said George Slessman, CEO of i/o Data Centers told Data Centers Knowledge. “We really think it’s critical for our customers to have both East coast and West coast options. We think it’s a natural progression.” The company currently operates two data centers in the Phoenix market , including i/o Phoenix, which at 538,000 square feet is among the world’s largest data centers. Last month, the company acquired a $130-million line of credit facility to finance growth, including the New Jersey data center and additional deployments in Phase II of its Phoenix site. Slessman said the company has narrowed its site search to two locations in New Jersey, including a greenfield site and a retrofit of an existing facility. Either site would be developed using the company’s i/o Anywhere modular data center as the deployment model. The New Jersey market already has seen several new providers open facilities this year. Earlier this month, DuPont Fabros Technology opened a data center in Piscataway; Senitinel Data Centers is in Somerset; and NYSE Euronext recently opened a colocation center in Mahwah.
Economic development officials in Conway say Kimberly-Clark Corp. is moving up its plans for expansion at its plant in Conway, AR. A news release from the Conway Development Corporation the company will add about 100 new full-time positions and invest about $65 million in the plan during the next three years. The company had said it July it would invest about $25 million and add about 40 jobs during the next 18 months. The CDC said the new plans are due to improved business conditions. Kimberly-Clark produces feminine and adult-care products at the Conway plant and currently has about 450 employees.
For some time now, growing numbers of aging Baby Boomers (and some of their offspring) have been beating the drum for legalization of marijuana, arguing that decriminalizing what may be America’s largest “cash crop” could fill depleted state tax revenue coffers and even spur economic development. Voters in four states have spoken this week and they beg to differ. Weed afficionados believed they had their best chance of outright legalization of pot this year in California, home of Haight-Ashbury, birthplace of the late ‘60s hippie phenomenon. California’s Proposition 19 on the Nov. 3 ballot would have allowed the legal cultivation, sale, and possession of marijuana for “recreational” as well as medical use. Unfortunately for the Left Coast pothead community, an overwhelming majority of California voters rejected Proposition 19. So much for “California dreaming.” Perhaps even more surprising was the negative vote in three other states to legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana, which already has been embraced by 14 states in the U.S. Arizona, South Dakota and Oregon all decided they don’t want to be number 15 on the medical marijuana bandwagon. Arizona’s Proposition 203 nearly squeaked in, failing by 50.25 percent to 49.25 percent, or less than 6,000 votes. Oregon’s Measure 74 to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries also went down to defeat, by a healthier margin. South Dakota voters trounced a measure to allow patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions legal access to marijuana—nearly 65 percent of voters opposed the measure, while 35 percent supported it. A similar effort went up in smoke in South Dakota four years ago, but the margin in favor at that time reached 48 percent. Supporters of Initiated Measure 13 argued in vain that legalization for medical use was an issue of compassion for those dealing with the pain and muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis or the debilitating nausea that can accompany chemotherapy for cancer. It is not known at this time whether the surge of voter opposition to decriminalization of even small amounts of medical marijuana also will put the brakes on partial legalization initiatives currently moving through state legislatures in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We suspect this backlash is a reaction to the explosion of marijuana cultivation in California since medical marijuana was legalized there more than a decade ago and the fact that more than 200,000 Californians currently are walking around with “prescriptions” for the herb, which can be obtained for just about any medical excuse, including stress. City officials in Denver, CO recently […]
The Missouri Department of Economic Development said Ford Motors has applied for the $150 million, 10-year package of tax credits passed by the Legislature this summer, according to a report from KMBC.com. The application is being viewed by state officials as an indication that Ford has future plans at the Claycomo plant in the Northland. A spokesman for the Department of Economic Development would only confirm they have received the letter of application from Ford. The measure calls for “substantial capital investment in production capacity,” according to a news release from the governor’s office this summer. KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney reported that incentives would be triggered after a company makes a firm commitment and workers are on the job. Since Ford announced it was moving one of the two vehicles made at Claycomo to another plant, there has been concern about the future of the 50-year-old facility and its 4,000 employees. The Ford Hybrid Escape production line is moving to a plant near Louisville, Ky. In September, Ford CEO Alan Mulally came to Kansas City for a speech. He did not make an announcement about Claycomo’s future, but he did praise the plant and its work force. Ford spokeswoman Marcy Evans says Ford has applied to be a “certified manufacturer” who would qualify for the tax break. “It doesn’t signify we have made a commitment for a specific product or future plans,” she told Mahoney. Evans described the application as part of a process. She said getting that certification could take up top six months. A company must make a “substantial capital investment in production capacity” to be eligible for the tax credits. Incentives would be triggered after a company makes a firm commitment and workers are on the job.
Nordex USA has officially opened its flagship wind turbine manufacturing plant in the U.S. in Jonesboro AR. Representing a $40 million investment, the 150,000 square foot plant is one of the most modern production facilities in the wind industry, optimized for lean flow and reduced lead times for customers. It positions Nordex as a domestic manufacturer of the highest caliber in one of the biggest wind energy markets in the world. “There’s no way around it,” said Thomas Richterich, CEO of parent company Nordex SE. “To play in the US wind market, you need a Made-in-the-USA strategy. Our turbines are some of the most powerful and reliable on the global market, and now we can get them to US wind farms quickly and cost-effectively.” Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas senior senator Blanche Lincoln joined with state and community leaders for the event, following a tour of the plant. The total planned investment for the site is $100 million, with further manufacturing capacity to be added in a second phase in line with market conditions. The Nordex plant will build nacelles for 2.5 megawatt turbines that belong to Nordex’s new third generation efficiency class – the Gamma generation. Production began earlier this month, and the first assembled nacelle was on display. Nacelles house the engine and other key turbine components and sit high atop the turbine tower. The assembly time for a nacelle is about two weeks, and the Nordex plant has the capacity to produce 300 per year. One Nordex turbine can power about 700 American homes. “Energy is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today, including the United States,” said Ralf Sigrist, President and CEO of Nordex USA. “These turbines will help America secure a new domestic energy supply without compromising national security or the environment.” Since breaking ground on the plant last September, Nordex has hired 54 employees, about 80% locals, including the first production crew. Job functions range from production assembly, process engineering, supply chain management, facilities management, training, quality assurance, safety, administration and management. Nordex plans to grow its ranks to nearly 70 in Jonesboro and 175 nationally by the end of 2010. It has the potential to create a total of 700 jobs in Jonesboro and 1,000 nationally over the next four years, not including indirect jobs created by suppliers and service providers. Earlier this year, steel components manufacturer Beckmann Volmer announced it would build a $10 million factory and employ 500 in neighboring Osceola to supply parts to Nordex. Part of Nordex’s […]
In the fourth announcement of its kind this week, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels joined executives from rail industry supplier, Progress Rail Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., to announce the company’s plans to locate a locomotive manufacturing facility in Muncie to serve the diesel-electric locomotive market and position the company to participate in future transit rail projects. Progress Rail, which will operate the facility through a new subsidiary, anticipates this project could create up to 650 new jobs by 2012. The company plans to invest approximately $50 million to open the first locomotive assembly plant in the United States in many years. Progress Rail will launch assembly and manufacturing in the 740,000 square-foot facility formerly occupied by ABB Power T&D Co., which closed in 1998. In addition, the company plans to build a locomotive test track on the facility’s 75-acre campus. Today’s news from Progress Rail brings total jobs announced for Indiana this week to 2,000. Earlier today Ascension Health said it would locate a professional service center in Indianapolis and create 500 new professional jobs. On Tuesday ExactTarget announced plans to add 500 jobs in Indianapolis and Cummins said it would expand its Columbus headquarters by hiring an additional 350 associates. “Weeks like this remind us that Indiana is a leader in private sector jobs creation because we’ve built the best sandbox for business. I can’t think of a better way to cap off the week – a major investment from a company that is a recognized leader in one of America’s great industries and hundreds of new jobs moving into a building that has long been vacant,” said Daniels. Founded in 1983, Progress Rail Services manufactures, repairs and refurbishes freight cars, locomotives and rail track for Class 1, short-line and transit railroad companies as well as private car owners. In addition, the company oversees the reclamation of used rail, wrecked or retired railcars and locomotives and other scrap metal. “We are pleased to announce the opening of this state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to better serve our customers,” said Billy Ainsworth, president and chief executive officer of Progress Rail Services. “We believe the Muncie community and the state of Indiana will offer our organization an outstanding location from which we will produce world-class products.” The company has more than 130 operating facilities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. In August, Progress Rail acquired Electro-Motive Diesel, expanding its network of global locations, products and services. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered […]
The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park the winner of its Innovation in Green Technology Award. The Arizona initiative was among four recipients of the 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards, announced at the Southeast Workforce and Economic Development Conference this month. Also cited at the conference, which was co-hosted by EDA and the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, were CONNECT of La Jolla, CA, which won for Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs); Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP) of Lexington, Kentucky, for for Innovation in Commercialization; and Pennsylvania Center for Trade Development “Envoy Program” of Harrisburg, PA, for Innovation in Global Export Promotion. The Solar Zone is a comprehensive, innovative economic development strategy to create a supportive environment where companies can develop, test and demonstrate the next generation of renewable energy products and technologies. The goals of the Solar Zone are to attract private investment; create sustainable, high-wage jobs; develop a skilled workforce; support utility efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels; and educate the public on the importance of sustainable energy. The Solar Zone’s comprehensive scope is key to its innovative approach to creating a regional solar-based economy. At completion, the Solar Zone will accommodate all significant components of the solar energy continuum: generation; manufacturing and assembly; research and development; workforce development; and public awareness. Phase one of the Solar Zone development is a unique public/private collaboration between the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power (TEP). Construction of phase one, which includes six solar generation projects sited at the Solar Zone by TEP, occupies 222 acres within the UA Tech Park and is expected to be completed by 2012. The projects represent a capital investment of $80-100 million and will combine to generate approximately 45,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year, enough to power nearly 4,000 Tucson homes. “The Solar Zone offers TEP a unique opportunity to evaluate the performance of various solar generating technologies side by side, at the same location,” said David Hutchens, Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Resource Planning for TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “It’s an innovative approach to renewable resource development that supports the expansion of southern Arizona’s green energy economy.” Bruce Wright, the Associate Vice President for University Research Parks added, “We believe that the Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park will be the nation’s largest multi-tenant, multi-technology demonstration site.” The Solar Zone has moved from a concept to reality in less than a year. […]