By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2019 Issue
Throughout 2018 and into 2019, New England continued to see improvements in economic conditions, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s 1Q 2019 report on economic indicators in the region.
Through February 2019, employment increased and unemployment rates fell relative to one year prior. Wages increased in all six New England states. Through the fourth quarter of 2018, home prices continued to climb both regionally and nationally compared to the same period in 2017, but the increases were more modest than in recent quarters, the report stated.
Within New England, New Hampshire posted the strongest year-over-year job gains through February 2019; Connecticut (0.3 percent), Maine (0.7 percent), Massachusetts (0.6 percent), and Vermont (0.4 percent) each saw increased payroll employment.
Incomes in New England continued to grow through the first half of 2018. Wage and salary disbursements, the largest component of income, were up year-over-year by 4.2 percent regionally in Q2 2018. Compared to historical averages, the recent wage growth pace in New England has been robust. All six New England states experienced year-over-year gains in wages and salaries; the rate of growth ranged between 2.1 percent in Maine and 5.8 percent in New Hampshire, according to the Boston Fed’s report.
As of February 2019, New Hampshire and Vermont tied for the lowest unemployment rates in the region at 2.4 percent. Within the region, Connecticut posted the largest decline (0.7 percentage points) in unemployment, bringing the unemployment rate in Connecticut for February 2019 to 3.8 percent; at 3.0 percent, Massachusetts is also at its lowest rate since February 2001.
QUONSET BUSINESS PARK: SMALL STATE, BIG IMPACT
Quonset Business Park has created an environment for businesses to succeed since the Quonset Development Corporation’s creation in 2005. Once home to two navy bases, the park now has been transformed into the leading engine of economic development in Rhode Island that supports over 200 companies and nearly 12,000 jobs. The Park has been a leader in job creation and economic growth in the state, attracting over $2 billion in private investment. The Park also employs one out of every six manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island, and added 500 new full and part time jobs in the past year. So what is it about Quonset that creates a climate for success?
Facilities: Quonset’s greatest strength has always been in the different facilities that it offers to tenant companies. Its industrial park spaces have capacity to support large high-tech and industrial operations like Electric Boat and Toray Plastics, while the Commerce Park section accommodates some of the state’s most successful corporations like Ocean State Job Lot. It also has created a brand new Flex Industrial Campus for new and growing companies who want to move into existing, affordable space that can adapt with the changing needs of their business. The first of three phases in this campus has been fully leased out and the second phase currently is under construction. Once completed, the campus will include multiple buildings, each between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet. They will be equipped with office spaces, restroom facilities and high bay space for manufacturing, assembly or warehouse use, with ceilings up to 24 feet. Each building will provide full service utilities and was designed to allow tenants to customize spaces based on their own unique needs.
Location: Quonset’s location in North Kingstown, Rhode Island places businesses in the heart of the Northeast, giving them broad access to the region’s largest customer markets. It is located halfway between Boston and New York, so companies can have a stake in both of the region’s largest population centers. The Park also is minutes from major highways such as I-95; has the public Port of Davisville; and is adjacent to Amtrak’s New England Connector.
Growth Mindset: The available land at Quonset could accommodate 3.6 million square feet of new building construction and they make it easy to make you the Park’s newest company. The Park’s site readiness pre-permitted and pre-engineered program makes development easy by eliminating red tape and helping you get to the work that matters sooner. It has streamlined all permitting and development processes so you can get shovels in the ground within 90 days of signing a lease.
Transportation: Quonset’s location places our tenant companies at the heart of major shipping and travel routes in the region. The onsite Port of Davisville provides public access to a world-class port facility that is one of the Top 10 auto importers in North America. The park also affords access to 14 miles of freight rail lines traversing the Park and highways like RI Rte. 4 and I-95. With additional proximity to major airports like T.F. Green (RI), Logan International (MA) and Bradley International (CT) and train routes like the MBTA and Amtrak, businesses and workers alike have the options they need to access new markets.
Superb Public Amenities: To attract the best talent, you have to be a place where people want to work. Quonset’s facilities include an 18-hole golf course, four public beaches, a bike path, a daycare facility and a free express bus shuttle service that connects it to Providence provided through RIPTA.
Its Gateway Plaza also includes shopping options like Dave’s Marketplace and Kohls. These amenities create an environment for success for our employees and are a benefit to our neighbors, as well.
Cleaner and Greener: Access to the Port of Davisville has made the Park a magnet for clean energy development. The Park has hosted the construction of some of the nation’s most ambitious wind energy projects, including the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island. Quonset looks forward to welcoming new renewable energy companies in the coming year. Quonset also was recently recognized by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources for a commitment to investments in energy efficiency. Recently, all of the light fixtures in the facilities were replaced with LED, drastically reducing energy consumption, and saving tenants money on energy costs. The Quonset Development Corporation’s offices are also run 100% on clean energy generated by solar power.
Quonset Business Park is the premium location for business of all sizes and stages of development. Its diverse facilities, centralized location and institutional support not only gives businesses at Quonset an edge in the competitive Northeastern markets, but also the resources they need to grow. For more information about starting your next venture at Quonset, visit us online.
CLAREMONT, NH: HEART OF INNOVATION
Innovation and a creative spirit are alive and well in this thriving New England mill town. Claremont, New Hampshire, nestled along in the Connecticut River Valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is a bustling mill town full forward-thinking manufacturers and creative entrepreneurs. While the end-product has changed over the years, Claremont continues to be the center of creativity for professionals of all ages. The most recent example of this is the opening of the Claremont MakerSpace.
The Claremont MakerSpace (CMS) is a major addition to downtown Claremont. CMS is a coworking space, education center, creative hub and business incubator. CMS offers affordable access to a variety of specialty equipment and educational resources to help members put shape to their ideas, develop new skills, learn new crafts and launch businesses. Technology, arts, machinery and classroom facilities are located on the premises.
The MakerSpace is a place for personal development as well as the promotion of business and workforce development through educational offerings, hands-on classes and activities, and active collaboration across multiple crafts, trades and professions. It also serves as a home base and incubator for local hobbyists, artisans and small businesses seeking to promote their efforts and those of their community.
In the first year open for business, the MakerSpace has offered over 200 classes and events which saw over 750 participants. Collaboration with dozens of regional businesses and community organizations, launching an Artist-In-Residence Program and Veterans Scholarship Program are just a few of the major accomplishments achieved in just one year in Claremont. Every day, members from around the region are using the MakerSpace to put shape to their ideas, develop new business ventures, explore new technologies and learn new things.
Housed in the former Sullivan Machine Foundry, the MakerSpace enhances entrepreneurship, job development, community development, science and the arts in the Greater Claremont Region. The Foundry was one of many buildings in the downtown that composed Sullivan Machinery Co.
According to the Historic American Engineering Record of the National Park Service (HAER No. NH-4) “As the largest industrial employer in the city…it would be difficult to walk around Tremont Square in Claremont and not talk with a man who worked at the Sullivan plant…As an employer of mostly skilled machinists, Sullivan had always been a good place to work.”
Adding to the legacy of this building, already rich with history, is not lost on either the City of Claremont or Claremont MakerSpace founders Jeremy Katz and Steve Goldsmith. According to Jeremy Katz, “with the ability to access by membership CNC machines, 3-D printers, electrical studio, wood shop, as well as textile and jewelry studios and equipment, production will once again occur at the Sawtooth Mill.” Steve Goldsmith continues “the Maker Movement is enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and arts education, providing a vehicle for younger generations to learn the skills to create new products and designs.”
The Claremont MakerSpace is a major attraction that is drawing talented, young professionals to the area, and giving local businesses a place where their employees can develop their skills using the MakerSpace’s specialty tools, and network in their community.
Claremont, NH, as well as Sullivan and Grafton Counties, are federally designated HUBZones. For more information, visit http://www.claremontnh.com.
NEW ECONOMY GROWS IN NEW MILFORD
Litchfield County, Connecticut is known for horses, antiques and as an easy getaway from New York City only 70 miles away. Today a new economy is growing in New Milford, the second largest population and the gateway to the rest of Litchfield County and central New England. Bioscience and bio-manufacturing are taking hold in the region and have the “first mover” advantage of an untapped workforce. The Corporation for New Milford Economic Development is now developing a former food manufacturing facility with lab space into a research and development campus with space for small firms to grow.
Already operating in this campus is MedInstill Technologies, a manufacturer of innovative sterile filling, multi-dose dispensing, sterile transfer and packaging sterilization. CEO and Chairman Dr. Daniel Py, MD, ScD in Physics, founded the firm in 1986 following his years as Director of Research at Merck. Dr. Py has 50 employees working on site in New Milford, crafting the whole sterile system from manufacturing to dispensing with in line sterilization of its closed devices.
Scientists are collaborative and this was a tremendous benefit as the Corporation for New Milford Economic Development started to bring other bioscience firms to look at lab spaces available in the facility. Dr. Py became a member of the team welcoming the visiting firms with open arms and demonstrating his production line and medical devices. This was exactly the environment the firms were seeking and the Corporation is proceeding to lease 15,000 square feet of premium lab space for bioscience companies moving to Connecticut from other states.
Bioscience is a major industry in Connecticut and there are a lot of public and private resources to support companies large and small. While New Haven and Farmington have university connections, many firms are choosing locations like New Milford where top talent can enjoy the quality of life without a tough commute.
According to BioCT, Connecticut ranks second in the nation for academic R&D investments in bioscience and fourth for venture capital R&D investments in bioscience; ranks third for adults with advanced degrees; ranks fourth for bioscience patents per 1,000 people; and has a 33-percent higher concentration of high-tech workers than the national average.
CTInnovations is the state’s strategic venture capital arm and has a number of programs specific to bioscience firms. They administer the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, which allows angels an opportunity to receive a tax credit by investing in a qualified Connecticut business. Accredited investor, or a network of accredited investors, makes an investment of $25,000 to $1,000,000 and qualifies for a 25 percent credit on their state income tax. They also have a Venture Capital Fund with rounds of $1.5 million, up to $7 million per firm. More can be found at http://CTInnovations.com.
The state of Connecticut offers a manufacturing and biotechnology sales and use tax exemption of 100 percent for purchases of machinery used directly in the manufacturing production process, as well as materials, tools and fuel used in the manufacture or fabrication of finished products. This exemption can also be used for the sales of and the storage, use or other consumption of machinery, equipment, tools, materials, supplies and fuel in the biotechnology industry. There are also R&D Tax Credits available up to 6 percent of your qualified R&D budget.
All of these programs mean a lot more when you factor in the high-tech and well educated workforce. New Milford has targeted the bioscience industry by partnering with Naugatuck Valley Community College on training programs for lab associates and related positions. This program will start with adults and will roll out to high school seniors in New Milford next year and is supported by a grant from the Northwest Region Workforce Investment Board. In a 1 hour drive time around New Milford there are 52,107 people working in biotech occupations with another 1,197 looking for work in the industry. Customized workforce data can be developed as part of a confidential prospect package through the Corporation for New Milford Economic Development.
The New Milford region also is seeing an influx of Millennials as the job opportunities grow and housing developments come on line with great apartments near outdoor natural recreation such as hiking, kayaking, bicycling and enjoying scenic roads and the waterfront park. Downtown is just a few steps from the Housatonic River, with fine eateries and pubs, unique shops and an enviable schedule of events on the Town Green such as Farmer’s Markets, concerts and movies. It’s a quality of life that is appealing to all ages.