By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2021 Issue
For the past decade, manufacturing has accounted for approximately 8.7 percent of overall U.S. employment—this represents more than 12.3 million jobs at the end of 2020. The industry has the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector: for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $2.74 is added to the economy.
According to a recently released report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, Creating Pathways for Tomorrow’s Workforce Today: Beyond Reskilling in Manufacturing, a U.S. manufacturing skills gap could leave up to 2.1 million jobs unfilled by 2030, which, using this multiplier, could mean a cost of $1 trillion for the U.S. economy.
The report says, “The manufacturing industry netted a loss of 578,000 jobs during the pandemic-challenged year 2020—a figure that represents nearly six years of job gains, and yet, at any given moment in the past six months, nearly 500,000 jobs have remained open in manufacturing.”
This include shortages in entry level as well as skilled positions.
Also, women surveyed—30 percent of manufacturing professionals are women—were 1.8 times more likely than men to contemplate leaving the industry, citing the lack of work-life balance and the need for flexible schedules. The report suggests manufacturers should proactively engage with potential talent pools and also revamp work-life balance, skills training and equitable career pathways to retain employees.
FLORIDA: MANUFACTURING MUCH MORE THAN SUNSHINE
Making It Big in Santa Rosa
After a summer and fall that included a head-spinning number of corporate expansion announcements, you might conclude that Santa Rosa County, FL found a magic formula for growing its manufacturing sector. And you’d be half-right—there is a formula, but the only magic is the county’s determination to bring new, high-paying jobs to the community.
Over the past five years, Santa Rosa County has seen 13 percent growth in manufacturing, a number that’s even more impressive considering the net losses other areas of America have experienced in that same timeframe.
As for the how, Santa Rosa’s economic development director, Shannon Ogletree, pointed to the consistent commitment of county leaders to make Santa Rosa a perfect place for businesses to open, operate, expand and relocate.
“Like other areas of the country, we’ve seen some significant changes and challenges over the past several years,” Ogletree said. “To the great credit of our leadership, we’ve been able to stay focused on job creation and retention even through hurricanes and the pandemic.”
Ogletree said that key investments in infrastructure, including its purpose-built industrial parks, have played a large part in Santa Rosa’s success. He noted that the nearly two-decade effort to negotiate a joint-use agreement with the US Navy led directly to the decision by Leonardo Helicopters to bring a new manufacturing facility and 50 good jobs to the area.
“We’ve made significant investments and we’ve been innovative in our approach,” he added. “But most of all, we’ve stayed true to our mission for a long time—and we’re now reaping the benefits.”
Such an approach isn’t as easy as waving a wand, but the extra effort works like a charm.
Nassau County Is Open for Business
Nestled in Northeast Florida along the Florida/Georgia border, Nassau County (Nassau) ranks as the 5th Fastest Growing county in Florida and boasts A-rated schools. Still very much a rural county, with timber production and manufacturing as its largest industry, time passes slowly in Nassau. One of its greatest assets is Quality of Life. Situated just north of Jacksonville, Nassau has it all—with a business-friendly network of municipalities, a larger MSA of 1.6 million, attractive local and state incentives and access to over 60 million consumers within an eight-hour drive, the nearly 100-year-old manufacturing presence in Nassau has historically been one of its biggest economic drivers.
To this day it remains true, manufacturing is at the heart of Nassau. Recent business expansions include a Florida-based utility provider focusing on renewable energy, a regional healthcare facility, national and international headquarters and advanced manufacturing. Nassau offers easy access to multiple deep water ports within a few hours’ drive; an extensive highway system, including I-95 and I-10; CSX and Norfolk Southern’s far-reaching rail network; and the Jacksonville International Airport.
“The county recently invested nearly $8 million dollars in transportation and waste water infrastructure,” said Sherri Mitchell, Interim Executive Director for the NCEDB. “Nassau is a logistical gem.”
The Nassau County Economic Development Board (NCEDB) is the administrator and facilitator of the local county incentives. Once businesses are pre-qualified, incentives are measured in increments and can be payable for up to 15 years. In the first quarter alone, the NCEDB had over nine collective prospects with the potential of generating nearly 7,500 new jobs and exceeding capital investments of nearly $3.5 billion. These projects
range from aerospace and automotive, to advanced manufacturing, food processing and packing, to bottling and distribution.
The NCEDB is a private-public partnership and is charged with positioning Nassau County as one of the Southeast’s best locations for business investment. Contact Cassie McClellan, Director of Communications, at (904) 225-8878 for more information.
Work Hard, Play Hard In Flagler County
Visit to play and you will want to stay. It has happened innumerable times. Company executives have come to vacation with their families to take advantage of the natural beauty of Flagler County. And who could blame them? With over 19 miles of Atlantic shoreline, 26 parks with launch sites for paddling through pristine waterways, 125 miles of connecting trails and the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail with more than 200 identified species, every day is an “EcoAdventure” in Flagler County. The soothing setting of Flagler County, which has all the amenities, hooks even the most sophisticated decision-maker. Time for more due diligence…
In addition to all of the competitive advantages that Florida offers to a relocating company, Flagler County offers a variety of housing stock appropriate for the CEO and the workforce. Median home value in Flagler County is $248,700. The County is in the top 1/3 of all Florida counties in overall health outcomes, and the graduation rate for students is higher than the State average. With plenty of open space to locate a business, Flagler County is ready for you.
Gioia Sails LLC relocated to Flagler County in 2013 with 43 full-time employees. Experiencing substantial growth and the need for expansion, the company invested another $3 million to acquire property and build a 20,000-square-foot facility in 2017. The County was able to assist in many ways. Fast forward to 2021, Gioia Sails now employs over 92 citizens and is expanding again.
The latest addition to Flagler County’s corporate family is Boston Whaler, which will employ 300 to 400 people in a 225,000-square-foot facility by the close of 2021. For those that are not in the sea-faring community, Boston Whaler manufactures boats from 13 feet to 35 feet long.
Naturally Charming. Uniquely undiscovered. Flagler County is ready to serve you.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY SETS ITS SIGHTS ON ADVANCED MANUFACTURING
Manufacturing and advanced manufacturing have been a staple in the Westchester County business landscape for decades. Located just north of Manhattan in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley, Westchester County is home to a diverse advanced manufacturing industry that produces everything from package inspection equipment and plastic fluid handling products to circuit boards and aluminum parts.
In 2021, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development identified where the County’s human and capital resources should be directed in order to expand its workforce, and found four critical areas to prioritize, including advanced manufacturing.
“The Office of Economic Development’s sector-focused strategy makes us better positioned to help our existing companies continue to grow and expand, while also attracting new businesses to the County,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “We have been amazed at the strength of the advanced manufacturing sector, especially in the wake of the ongoing health crisis.”
As part of the sector-based strategy, the Office of Economic Development has created an Advanced Manufacturing Industry Desk to identify trends and address the needs of the existing businesses in the County, as well as promote Westchester as an optimal location for businesses looking to relocate here.
The Industry Desk is staffed by the Office of Economic Development and supported by a dedicated Task Force comprised of local professionals and other stakeholders that have experience and expertise in the sector, and will serve as a resource providing support and mentorship, including insight into workforce needs, real estate issues, financing advice and more.
Strength Through Turbulence: Unlike many business verticals, advanced manufacturing businesses have shown resilience throughout the pandemic. These companies have been able to persist, and in many cases grow, because of their involvement in the response. Many of the jobs these businesses offer, are well-paying jobs that have a tremendous impact on the economy.
“Many, or most, of the manufacturers in Westchester have very specific, niche-oriented businesses which has enabled them to thrive in the marketplace,” said Jim Irvine, director of corporate education, Westchester Community College. “The outlook for the future of advanced manufacturing in our region is bright.”
Diversity, Digitization & Innovation: In Westchester, the advanced manufacturing landscape is diverse. Packaging Technologies & Inspection (PTI), a leading equipment manufacturer of package inspection equipment, is headquartered in Hawthorne; Micromold Products, Inc., which manufactures plastic fluid handling products, is based in Yonkers; Metcar (Metalized Carbon Corporation), which focuses on self-lubricating machinery components, calls Ossining home; Bantam Tools, which manufactures desktop milling machines used to make printed circuit boards and aluminum parts, is based in Peekskill; Domino Sugar has operated out of their Yonkers refinery since 1921; and Magnetic Analysis Corp., which has been advancing the science and technology behind nondestructive testing for over 90 years, is headquartered in Elmsford. Throughout the years, these companies have incorporated technology and digitalization to make their businesses more competitive.
Westchester’s Workforce: The Hudson Valley has become a true hub for advanced manufacturing, with Westchester serving as the heart of the region with a diverse and growing industry. With 28 higher education institutions and award-winning public schools, the County’s workforce aligns with many of these businesses’ needs. Metro New York is also home to the largest STEM workforce in the country.
In addition to the skilled labor, the education infrastructure provides a great foundation for individuals looking to enter this field. For example, Westchester Community College has offered training in advanced manufacturing since 2016. Their series of three, short-term workforce training modules builds skills in safety, CNC machining, tooling, milling and lays the groundwork for the advanced manufacturing sector.
While many view Westchester’s proximity to Manhattan, Connecticut and New Jersey as a tool for attracting talent, it also is helpful to manufacturers from a logistical standpoint: Westchester has easy access to the Port of New York and New Jersey for shipping, as well as multiple airports and freight rail service.
The Office of Economic Development is committed to maintaining a pipeline of qualified talent and is working with partners throughout the County to ensure the needs of existing businesses are being met. Westchester is working closely with the Council of Industry, a regional manufacturer’s association, to roll out pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to expand the talent pipeline that enables advanced manufacturing companies in Westchester to continue to grow.
“We are very excited to be a part of Westchester’s efforts to strengthen and grow their advanced manufacturing sector,” said Harold King, president, Council of Industry. “Recruiting and retaining workers, entry level, skilled and professional, is the biggest challenge facing manufacturers. The County’s commitment to coordinate and align its resources to help their manufacturers address this challenge is unique and will make a big difference in the months and years to come.”
Room to Expand: Earlier in 2021, PTI expanded its footprint and now occupies approximately 28,000 square feet at 8 Skyline Drive in Hawthorne, nearly four times the size of its original offices in Tuckahoe. Bantam Tools relocated to Peekskill in 2019 from Berkeley, CA, because Westchester offered an affordable alternative. As a result of the pandemic, the company has announced it is looking to grow its workforce to meet the demands for its products, as so many designers and engineers are working remotely and can use Bantam’s products while working from home.
Westchester County offers manufacturers access to a wide-range of real estate opportunities. More digitized, specialized and cleaner manufacturing processes are allowing companies to do business within a smaller footprint and the County is able to meet that need, as well as provide opportunities to scale.
INNOVATION, DEMAND ARE TOPS IN GREATER RICHMOND
There’s a reason why DuPont and Sabra Dipping operate their largest manufacturing facilities in the Greater Richmond region: workforce, access to market and low operating costs.
The Richmond, Virginia region has historically been a great manufacturing location—Reynolds wrap was created here, as was cellophane, and tobacco and related products have been here for years and years. There is a strength in chemical manufacturing, food and beverage and more.
Workforce: With over 31,000 workers already in the advanced manufacturing sector, the Greater Richmond workforce pipeline continues to grow, with nearly 2,000 key degrees awarded annually from colleges such as Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University.
To retrain and update skills, the Community College Workforce Alliance prepares workers for an ever-evolving modern workforce. The collaboration between Reynolds and John Tyler community colleges assists companies with custom training programs.
Once a company is part of the business community, membership in the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) provides a great resource. CCAM is an IP-friendly environment that creates solutions to complex challenges where industry, academia and government find solutions to advanced manufacturing challenges together.
Polykon, a joint venture of two Air Liquide Healthcare entities (Seppic Inc. and Schülke Inc.), operates a $60 million facility in Henrico County where they produce ingredients for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, including for cosmetic companies L’Oréal and Estee Lauder.
“We are selling science to our end customers, so we wanted it to be in a location where there was a skilled workforce,” said Raphael De Monfort, president and CEO of Seppic.
Access to market: As recognized by Foreign Direct Investment magazine, one of the biggest advantages for companies—including those in advanced manufacturing—is the speed and access to market of Greater Richmond. Its central East Coast location assures companies can produce a quality product and deliver to customers in record times. Interstates 95, 64 and 85 converge here and offer access to 45 percent of the nation’s population within a day’s delivery drive. Add another day, and firms can reach 55 percent of the nation’s population.
In addition, Richmond International Airport and the Richmond Marine Terminal, part of the Port of Virginia, offer the ability to efficiently distribute goods by air or sea.
“We looked at 20-plus cities across the U.S., but ultimately it came down to one thing: logistics,” said Sean Monahan, Chief Operating Officer of Stone Brewing. The Escondido, Calif.-based independent brewer operates its largest manufacturing facility in the City of Richmond, with beers available in all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide. “The college access, the community, the vibrant art scene, music scene, food and restaurants, very diverse neighborhoods, it’s a really welcoming place to live.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the need to quickly and efficiently enhance our manufacturing and supply chain challenges, in part by reshoring products. And Richmond, Virginia-based start-up Phlow Corp. was awarded a $354 million, four-year government contract to bring advanced manufacturing of America’s most essential medicines at risk of shortage back to the United States, including those needed to treat COVID-19.
Phlow, which uses a continuous flow process to decrease the cost of pharma manufacturing, was founded by Dr. Eric Edwards, Ph.D., and B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., CEO of Medicines for All Institute, a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering. Gupton, a chemical scientist with a long career in industry before arriving at VCU in 2007, says the Phlow contract shows the value of the investments Virginia is making in higher education research to produce innovative technology.
Expansions during a pandemic pivot: Phlow is only one example of recent Biosciences companies that have chosen to invest in the region. Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC (PPD), a leading global contract research organization, invested $63.7 million to expand its bioanalytical lab in Henrico County.
“The Richmond region is a great place for our employees to live and work,” said Christopher Fikry, M.D., executive vice president of PPD Laboratories. “Today, we employ more than 1,000 life science professionals in our bioanalytical, biomarker and vaccine sciences operations.”
GSK Consumer Healthcare invested $16.7 million to expand its existing consumer research and development center in the City of Richmond, adding 150 new jobs to the region. The Richmond facility is one of three R&D laboratory hubs for the company’s global business.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Richmond provide an environment for GSK Consumer Healthcare to build leading R&D capabilities, including access to world-class talent and universities, while also offering an attractive cost of living and favorable business operating costs,” said Dr. Peter John Ramsey, PhD, Vice President and Head, GSK Consumer Healthcare R&D, The Americas.
City of Richmond-based Grenova designs, develops and manufactures devices that wash and sterilize contaminated pipette tips—mostly in response to the national shortage of the tips. Due to demand for Grenova’s products, the company has quadrupled in size in the last year and will grow by 250 employees to increase capacity with new production lines.
Low operating costs: Virginia and Greater Richmond offer manufacturers low overall operating costs, making it an attractive place to do business.
Greater Richmond offers a competitive cost of labor. The total costs of wages and benefits in the region are within 7 percent of comparison communities, on average. The average wages of key manufacturing positions for Electromechanical Assemblers and Material Movers in Greater Richmond are very competitive at more than 5 percent below the average of the comparison communities. From a state level, Virginia’s worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance costs are lower than larger metros in non Right-to-work states.
Real estate costs for industrial, flex and warehouse are all well below the national average. Once a facility is up and operating, companies discover that electric industrial costs are 37 percent below the U.S. average with a 99.9 percent reliability rate.
“I know that some of my competitors are in places where those resources aren’t as available, and I know that it’s a huge cost to them,” said Hanover Foils President Howard Hager. The company is a main supplier of foil that covers Hershey’s Kisses. “Competitors just don’t have the resources to get those parts, to get their machines up and running quickly. We’re just situated in the perfect place to make things happen quickly. The tax rates are very competitive with just about anywhere in the country.”
Low costs are what have kept long-time manufacturers in the region, including DuPont. In Chesterfield County, the company manufactures Kevlar and Tyvek, a water and microbial-resistant material that is used in a variety of applications, including protective garments worn by first responders and medical professionals.
Prior to the pandemic, DuPont announced that it would modernize and expand its manufacturing and technology presence at Spruance, the company’s largest manufacturing site, investing more than $75 million and adding 60 jobs to its 2,000-person workforce over the next several years.
International Investments: Foreign Direct Investment continues to flow into Greater Richmond as manufacturers seek to produce products closer to their final destination.
Cascades Inc., of Quebec, Canada, is converting an existing paper mill in Hanover County, to a containerboard machine for the North American market. The company is in the process of converting the mill to produce lightweight, 100-percent-recycled linerboard and medium containerboard. The total cost of the mill upfit will be about $380 million.
“This investment, one of the largest in our company’s history, is a decisive and very important strategic move in the modernization of our packaging assets,” said Mario Plourde, president and CEO of Cascades.
Cartograf, of Mexico City, is investing $65.3 million to construct a 275,000-square-foot folding and micro-corrugated package printing facility in Chesterfield County. Once operational, the provider of packaging solutions for over 40 industrial sectors worldwide will hire 60 employees in order to meet growing demand for its products in the northeast and Canadian markets.
For Hanover-based Anton Paar, access to its Austrian headquarters doesn’t pose an issue. The Austria-based manufacturer produces analytical research instruments in Hanover County.
“Richmond International Airport is about 20 minutes away. Norfolk is about two hours away,” said Reinhard Eberl, Executive Director, The Americas, for Anton Paar. “For us, with air freight coming into Washington, D.C., and then by trucks coming down to the Richmond location, we get our shipments within three days.”
Danish company Rose Holm, a leading manufacturer of threaded bolts for the food and beverage, wind power and heat exchange industries in Northern Europe is establishing its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Henrico County, which will give the company close proximity to a major customer and further its wind energy efforts.
“We consider close cooperation with regional partners vital for the growth of Rose Holm, and thus chose Virginia, specifically the Greater Richmond region, for its proximity to a long-time and significant customer that calls Henrico County home,” said Factory Manager Matthew Barnes.
HOOSIER ENERGY EMBRACING BENEFITS OF ESG INVESTMENTS
At the center of the industrial complex, a new energy norm is unfolding. As the world focuses on achieving a carbon neutral economy, today’s advanced manufacturers are increasingly paying close attention to their reputations as socially and environmentally conscious enterprises.
For the global automotive industry and other manufacturing industries, the importance of sustainability is redefining strategic priorities. Companies understand that their long-term success and survival is rooted in how they mitigate climate impact.
The manufacturing industry is not just talking about sustainability, they are doing something about it. The National Association of Manufacturers, which represents 14,000 small, medium and large companies across all industrial sectors in every state, launched a Sustainability in Manufacturing Partnership in 2019 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy. The program is helping manufacturers gain greater insight into the sustainability best practices of industry peers.
That same year, 181 CEOs of America’s largest corporations overturned a 22-year-old policy statement that defined a corporation’s principal purpose as maximizing shareholder return. In its place, the CEOs of Business Roundtable adopted a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, declaring that companies should serve not only their shareholders, but also deliver value to their customers, invest in employees, deal fairly with suppliers and support the communities in which they operate.
This growing trend emphasizes the importance of an ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment framework to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of a company’s business activities.
In Indiana, one electric generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative is at the forefront of an effort to develop an ESG strategy for the benefit of members serving the Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers, multinational agribusiness giants, logistics and healthcare manufacturers that dominate the region.
Hoosier Energy recently partnered with ACES, a nationwide energy management company based in Carmel, IN, to develop a next generation business strategy that includes performance metrics tied to ESG principles and disclosures.
“ESG is a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to developing and disclosing how an organization develops value for all stakeholders,” noted project director/coordinator Nette Brocks, Senior Resource Planning Analyst for ACES. While ESG may mean different things to different companies, investors often are looking for guideposts that demonstrate a commitment to environmental, social and governance principles. “ESG is the next generation of financial reporting,” Brocks added.
For Hoosier Energy, the project represents an extension of the cooperative’s ongoing commitment to provide value to its 18-member distribution cooperatives and the businesses they serve throughout central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois.
The goal of the ESG project is to create a strategic framework that can provide member systems, and the companies they provide power to, with ESG-based portfolio metrics. Those metrics may include many areas Hoosier Energy and its member cooperatives are already engaged in, project officials say, as well as identify new value-added opportunities.
The analysis is an opportunity “to better understand the needs and goals of residential and commercial and industrial customers, and demonstrate how we can meet those goals within an ESG framework,” says Scott Bowers, Senior Vice President, Government & Community Relations for Hoosier Energy.
He pointed to Hoosier Energy’s recently revised renewables-focused portfolio strategy, expertise in serving energy-intensive industries, beneficial electrification programs, flexible business model and use of smart grid technology as prime examples of the company’s ability to meet market demand for a reliable, sustainable energy supply for the region’s manufacturing base.
Other areas targeted for ESG metrics include how Hoosier Energy and its member cooperatives work with water as a shared resource and how member cooperatives manage biodiversity programs that protect wildlife habitats. The analysis also includes the social side—diversity, inclusion, safety, data and cyber security and community involvement, for example.
It seems utilities such as Hoosier Energy are on the right track. In his 2021 letter to CEOs, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, a multinational investment management company, noted that there is no company whose business model won’t be profoundly affected by the transition to a net zero economy. “The more your company can show its purpose in delivering value to its customers, its employees and its communities, the better able you will be to compete and deliver long-term, durable profits for shareholders.”
Locations that are out in front of the ESG investment model can provide a competitive edge in the site selection process, added Tracey Hyatt Bosman, Managing Director for Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.
“There has been a dramatic change in the way companies are talking about these issues,” said Bosman. “They are now making them the fabric of the day-to-day conversation in the site selection process. Companies are increasingly asking how location portfolios can contribute to the achievement of ESG goals, including access to clean/renewable energy and a diverse labor pool, and further foster the corporate culture the company is seeking to create and maintain.”
Commitment to community is prevalent among not-for-profit electric cooperatives, Bowers said, and fits well with the public desire for ESG-minded companies. “Every facet of Hoosier Energy—from generation to transmission to member services to emerging technologies—is dedicated to providing value that consumers want and hold dear.”
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA: CATALYST FOR INVESTMENT & OPPORTUNITY
Established with the purpose of fostering job creation, growing the local economy and providing a platform to attract and retain business and manufacturing, the City of Industry has been a proven catalyst for investment and opportunity since its incorporation in 1957.
With 92 percent of the City zoned for industrial uses and 8 percent for commercial use, the City is zoned 100 percent for business. The City has strategically streamlined its operations in order to ease the process of obtaining permits, conducting business and accessing resources for businesses looking to open in the City—all a true testament to the City’s motto to foster jobs, enterprise and regional infrastructure. Businesses located in the City of Industry enjoy access to reliable and effective transportation infrastructure given the direct railroad connections, accessibility and closeness to freeways, airports and shipping ports.
As part of the City’s commitment to reliable and effective transportation infrastructure, the City has been an active advocate of the California State Route 57/60 Confluence Project, with the purpose to relieve one of the most notorious freeway bottlenecks for well over 356,000 motorists each day. The project received $218 million in funding in November 2020, speeding up the construction date to 2022, two years ahead of schedule. The project is expected to not only increase safety for drivers, but ensure an easing in congestion for the movement of over $35 billion worth of goods.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were faced with abrupt closures and crippling restrictions, the City stepped up—setting aside $500,000 for their COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant programs. The City reimbursed numerous businesses through their COVID-19 testing grant and provided grants to restaurants to set up outdoor dining operations, a lifeline that ensured businesses were able to survive. Throughout this past year, the City and the Industry Business Council (IBC) have worked closely to understand the needs of the business community and develop programs to help support them. The City and IBC remain committed to its business community and providing them with the support to continue running their operations as the road to economic recovery begins through these programs.
Most recently, the City partnered with the Industry Business Council to launch the “Made in City of Industry” initiative, which sets out to support existing manufacturers in the City and attract new manufacturers looking to expand their business operations to the west coast. The team of experts will focus on issues impacting manufacturers in the City, responding to their needs, delivering ongoing improvements and actively attracting more manufacturers to the City, creating a wide range of entry-level and professional jobs.
The “Made in City of Industry” team will provide a detailed analysis of seven of the City’s top manufacturing industries in order to identify growth and future expansion trends, including data on current geographical areas where these industries are predominantly located. The initiative explores supply-chain connections between local manufacturing sectors in order to help streamline the production and distribution of locally manufactured products. By using a knowledge-based approach, the City anticipates identifying existing competitive advantages as well as areas that require additional concentration.
For nearly 65 years, the City has been the central hub for manufacturing in the San Gabriel Valley. Home to more than 200 manufacturers which employ over 17,000 people—the projects implemented by the manufacturing initiative will not only stimulate manufacturing expansion but also continue to boost the regional economy.
One American manufacturer located in the City of Industry, Gordon Brush, specializes in manufacturing over 17,000 standard and custom brushes for various industries, including medical, aerospace, janitorial and military. With a 183,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the City, the company remains committed to keeping their operation in the City of Industry due to the support provided to manufacturers like them. And most importantly, Gordon Brush is dedicated to keeping its 200 employees employed with well-paying jobs. One of the challenges that the company faces is finding workers that are good with their hands and educating the public on the need for these good-paying jobs, that also offer a myriad of growth opportunities. The “Made in City of Industry” initiative is looking to address this issue by identifying individuals with the right mindset and skill to become manufacturing workers.
The City of Industry remains a steadfast advocate for business-friendly policies through its commitment to ensuring that the City is a place where businesses and manufacturers are able to thrive and grow. With over 3,000 businesses operating in the City, the City looks forward to continuing to be the leader in helping boost the economic recovery in the San Gabriel Valley and throughout the region.
KENTUCKY IS READY FOR POST-PANDEMIC GROWTH
Following a historically turbulent year, manufacturers once again are gearing up for growth. In Kentucky, the state’s longstanding manufacturing strengths are powering a steady economic recovery and providing high-quality opportunities at a pivotal time for residents.
With around 4,500 facilities spread throughout the state employing roughly 260,000 people, Kentucky stands among the country’s leading manufacturing states. About 13 percent of the state’s workforce holds a job in manufacturing, well above the national average of approximately 8.5 percent.
This manufacturing base spans a wide array of industries, from automotive to primary metals to food and beverage to aerospace. This diversity is powering the sector’s growth, highlighted by a number of promising new location and expansion announcements throughout the first few months of 2021.
Consider a March announcement from Nucor, the largest steelmaker in the U.S. The company is building a $164 million tube mill and creating 72 full-time, high-paying jobs in Gallatin County, a rural area of Northern Kentucky. This news marked a significant step forward in Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s mission of providing well-paying, high-quality jobs for Kentuckians across the commonwealth.
“Nucor continues making a tremendous impact in our state, serving as both a great corporate citizen and a committed partner in providing meaningful opportunities for Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said in March when announcing the project. “This announcement that the company will create 70-plus Kentucky-resident jobs boasting average salaries over $70,000 is very encouraging news for the families in Gallatin County and the surrounding region. I appreciate Nucor’s commitment to Kentucky during such an important year for the commonwealth.”
Once operational in 2023, the 396,000-square-foot tube mill will provide capacity to produce 250,000 tons of steel tubing annually, including hollow structural section tubing, mechanical steel tubing and galvanized solar torque tubing. These products will serve the construction, infrastructure and renewable energy industries.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company is growing elsewhere in Kentucky as well. In October 2020, Gov. Beshear and Nucor officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the company’s 400-job, $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County, a 1.5-million-square-foot operation expected to open in 2022.
Another subsector seeing continued growth is Kentucky’s dominant automotive industry, which employs about 100,000 people statewide. As the top motor-vehicle-producing state in the U.S., Kentucky features four OEMs—with two Ford plants, one operated by Toyota and one by GM—as well as hundreds of auto suppliers.
The latter category saw a notable addition in March, when leaders of system developer and supplier of exhaust technology, Eberspaecher North America Inc., announced plans to create 214 quality job opportunities with a more than $30 million investment to establish a new operation in Louisville.
The maker of thermal management systems and automotive electronics will occupy over 125,000 square feet of an existing 314,500-square-foot facility in the Louisville Riverport to serve its recently expanded customer base in the U.S. The company’s innovative products improve air quality, and sustainably reduce traffic noise. Work on the project is scheduled to begin in May and be completed by August.
Whether they are newcomers or longtime operators, Kentucky’s manufacturers benefit significantly from the state’s second-to-none geographic location within a day’s drive of more than two-thirds of the nation’s population, personal income and manufacturing operations. Complementing this ideal central location is a robust transportation network that includes 20 interstates and major highways, major rail networks, barge traffic on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, five commercial airports and dozens of regional airports. This diverse network enables businesses to move products easily and efficiently by air, rail, road and water to all points of the globe.
Additionally, Kentucky’s three air cargo hubs—operated by UPS, DHL and Amazon—have the state poised to take the top spot nationally in air-cargo shipment volume. This strong presence by the world’s most prestigious logistics companies means products manufactured in Kentucky can get anywhere in the world virtually overnight.
Complementing this ideal central location is Kentucky’s nationally low business costs. For example, the Bluegrass State touts the lowest industrial electricity rates east of the Mississippi River, which can lead to considerable savings for manufacturing facilities.
Looking ahead, Kentucky is prioritizing ways to facilitate faster, more efficient expansions for companies in growth mode, which is especially important given the post-pandemic increase in economic activity underway. Toward that end, the state features a Build-Ready Sites program that helps companies get to market faster by eliminating the grunt work of selecting a site.
The state recently certified its 17th Build-Ready tract, located in Western Kentucky’s Butler County within Morgantown Industrial Park South. The site includes a 50,000-square-foot building pad on 9.5 acres, zoned for industrial use, and includes access to water, sewer, natural gas, electric and broadband.
Build-Ready certification means the site includes a pad ready to accommodate a building of 50,000 square feet with the ability to expand to 100,000 square feet or more, and utilities extending to the site’s edge. It means the applicant—usually a city, county or economic development group—already filed the necessary permits, including water, environmental and geotechnical, as well as preliminary building plans, cost estimates and schedule projections.
To date, four former Build-Ready-certified sites in Graves, Laurel, Warren and Washington counties have been selected by companies for new location projects, highlighting the program’s effectiveness at getting companies online in a quick, cost-efficient manner.
The groundwork Kentucky laid throughout 2020 now has the state prepared to sprint into its post-pandemic future as the U.S. economic recovery unfolds. Manufacturers looking to locate or expand in Kentucky can call (800) 626-2930, email email@example.com or visit CED.ky.gov. [This section was written by David Hamilton.]
A GROWING WAGE WINNER IN KENT COUNTY, MD
While Kent County is known for its farming industry and rural culture, that only tells part of the story. The business landscape is considerably diverse. The three largest employers represent manufacturing, education and healthcare.
Kent County is a scenic peninsula on Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, ideally situated less than a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Annapolis, Dover and Northern Virginia. It is home to two designated Main Streets, an Arts & Entertainment District, historic Washington College and one of the largest marina communities in Maryland. Nineteen million people live within 100 miles of Kent County, providing access to large talent pools, customers and suppliers. The area also provides access to three international airports and three major seaports.
Kent County is home to Dixon Valve, a worldwide manufacturer of valves, hoses and couplings, with over 1,400 employees. Dixon Valve’s new 88,000-square-foot distribution center, 60,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facilities are in the Chestertown Business Campus. The Chestertown Business Campus is one of the largest economic development projects in many years. The 80-acre site will boast a new facility for the growing Kent County Family YMCA, currently under construction.
Gillespie and Sons manufacture concrete products, water quality testing products are manufactured at LaMotte Company and Eastman Chemical manufactures chemicals—all major employers in Kent County. Manufacturing ranks high in the number of employees, wages earned and gross regional product, standing out as a leading industry sector in Kent County.
Manufacturing job growth on the upper shore has grown by 35 percent in the past five years, and a 15 percent growth is expected in the next five years. Manufacturing represents the largest percentage of wages earned in Kent County and the upper shore region.
Kent County is only one of five counties in Maryland with no business personal property tax. Kent County Economic Development led the efforts to pass a statewide Sales and Use and Personal Property Tax Exemption for Data Centers to locate in Maryland.
The County seat of Chestertown is a designated State Enterprise Zone, a federal Opportunity Zone and HUBZone. In 2017, the Kent County Commissioners enacted local legislation to provide a property tax credit, Commerce Zone Tax Credit, for business entities that obtain new, improved or expanded premises in all State designated priority funding areas within the County for up to 10 years. This demonstrates the commitment of the County and its local jurisdictions to advocate for thoughtful growth and development.
A Gigabit County: Kent County has completed the backbone implementation of a 110-mile fiber-optic backbone throughout the county. It has entered a public-private partnership with Kent Fiber Optic Systems to provide public institutions with high-speed reliable internet access. KentFOS’ open access network allows Internet Services Providers the ability to offer 1G service to businesses and residences. The primary goal was to enhance the infrastructure needed to support new and existing businesses and organizations in Kent County, particularly with affordable, robust and high-capacity internet access. By taking this action, the county is expanding the competitive capability of local businesses and organizations and providing more opportunities.
Low land cost, wide-open spaces, access to fiber and access to 19 million people within 100 miles make Kent County an ideal place for businesses to locate. Visit www.kentcounty.com/business for more information.
If you could work from anywhere… you would live here.
LOUISIANA: MACHINE TOOLS FOR HIGHER ED, ROCKETS TO THE MOON
Louisiana is the first state to deliver 5-axis machining centers to all of its community and technical colleges. It’s the latest pioneering move by the state’s workforce development program, LED FastStart—which has been ranked as the nation’s best for 11 consecutive years.
In partnership with Haas Automation, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) FastStart delivered 5-axis machining centers to 12 institutions spread across the state. It’s another feather in the cap for the program that pairs higher-ed with tech companies, boosts participation in STEM fields and pushes innovative thinking across Louisiana’s manufacturing sector.
What’s all the fuss about?
Manufacturing plays a vital role in almost every sector of Louisiana’s economy, stretching from aerospace to shipping yards and beyond.
Manufactured items in the state that come from natural resources include lumber and wood products, as well as paper products such as corrugated boxes, cardboard tubes and food containers. Additional manufacturing industries include shipbuilding, aircraft, automobile and truck parts, missile parts and truck trailers.
Providing Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) with the 5-axis centers prepares the next set of skilled workers. They’ll be sitting pretty when it comes to filling highly sought-after advanced manufacturing positions.
The Universal Machining Centers from Haas enable the automated production of parts on five vertical, horizontal and rotational axes at one time. Haas’ 5-axis machine can carry out a number of different mechanical operations, such as milling, boring, threading or drilling. LED is covering the costs for all necessary rigging and installation—making this a turnkey solution for each school.
“Advanced manufacturing remains an in-demand and high-wage profession. Providing 12 new 5-Axis Universal Machining Centers to our colleges is a game-changer for our instructors, students and industry partners. Training on the latest state-of-the-art equipment will give students a competitive advantage entering the workforce,” LCTCS President Monty Sullivan said. “LED has been a tremendous partner for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges for many years, and this strategic investment in our schools and our people is yet another example of their commitment to talent and workforce development.”
Remarkably, the Haas machines are just one piece of the pie when it comes to LED’s involvement with the higher-ed community. Another slice is called Artemis. Greek mythology’s sister to Apollo is the tag given to NASA’s next space mission that will bring astronauts, and the first women, to the moon by 2024. Not long after, NASA will be launching mankind to Mars.
Artemis’ spacecraft will rely on the largest, most powerful rockets ever built for its mission to the moon and the red planet. And about those rockets? The core stage components of the Space Launch System rocket program are being made at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans with the help of FastStart, Boeing, and Nunez Community College.
In the early stages of the partnership, LED FastStart and Boeing paired to create a talent pipeline of aerospace manufacturers from already qualified candidates in Louisiana. The campaign originated with a social media push, the creation of company-specific landing pages and job fair events.
To continue providing a steady flow of qualified Louisiana candidates, the LED FastStart team looked to Nunez to expand its capabilities by training students on the specific aerospace skills needed by Boeing. They traveled to other schools with aerospace programs, assessing the types of equipment, facilities and curriculum needed. Their findings set the stage for the Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Program at Nunez.
Forty-one graduates comprised the inaugural aerospace manufacturing class and there are currently 75 enrolled students. The program not only provides Boeing and NASA with top-quality talent, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman’s Michoud campuses also benefit from the influx of skilled workers.
For its aerospace partners, LED FastStart continues to deliver training and recruitment expertise, material development and marketing assets—cementing its place in helping deliver the first women to the moon and beyond.
LED FastStart’s innovative thinking and higher-ed partnerships, open to all, are producing a workforce brimming with bright minds gaining unprecedented hands-on experience. Expect nothing less from the nation’s best workforce training and talent attraction program 11 years running, as ranked by Business Facilities.
HONING MICHIGAN’S MANUFACTURING EDGE
Industrial revolutions have defined society’s progress for centuries, as discoveries such as the use of steam power, the assembly line and computers have marked economic turning points throughout history. In society’s second and third industrial revolutions, Michigan demonstrated its dominance through its manufacturing strengths and innovative workforce. Now, in the latest manufacturing revolution that is being described as Industry 4.0, Michigan is again working to stay ahead of the curve, building on the attributes that make it uniquely-suited as the place where manufacturing and technology unite.
Industry 4.0 is universally recognized as the convergence of digital and physical technologies, marking the next phase in advanced manufacturing automation. This latest manufacturing revolution includes a series of technologies ranging from connected factory, data analytics and 3D printing, to advanced robotics, cybersecurity and modeling, augmented and virtual reality.
There is no denying that the states that secure a leadership position in this fourth industrial revolution are laying the groundwork for success in the years to come. And Michigan possesses a deep bench of assets, starting with a century-long tradition of globally recognized manufacturing expertise, which has produced a large, skilled and diverse workforce.
More than 65,000 advanced manufacturing workers—including 13,000 in related industrial machinery manufacturing—give Michigan the fifth largest advanced manufacturing workforce in the country, and make it the nation’s leader for employment in automation and Industry 4.0-related industries.
Michigan’s manufacturing expertise also has had a multiplier effect, spurring the growth of additional innovations and resources. The state is home to the largest blockchain-enabled 3D printer network in the country as a result of an innovative program led by Automation Alley, the state’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, which gives makers in Michigan and elsewhere a rich set of options for executing their designs.
Michigan also launched the country’s first Industry 4.0 Accelerator, which partners with some of the state’s top OEMs and suppliers to support startup teams from around the globe with the mentoring, programming and financial support they need to turn their visions into profitable reality.
This is the case for an Ann Arbor-based startup, Invisible AI, which has developed AI-enabled cameras to monitor assembly workers to identify inefficiencies or errors throughout the manual processes on factory floors. As a result of Invisible AI participating in the accelerator, it is now in talks with Whirlpool Corp. to not only receive guidance and support for its technology, but to also set up pilots together to test and deploy that technology across Whirlpool’s operations.
Meanwhile, the innovative public/private partnership between Automation Alley, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is leading a multi-faceted effort to expand the state’s manufacturing expertise.
Through a combination of education, outreach, readiness assessments and technical support, the partnership seeks to prepare 6,200 companies—half the state’s population of small to medium-sized manufacturers—to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies by 2025. Doing so will help businesses respond more quickly to customer demand, deliver better profit margins and offer superior quality with lower costs. This is the kind of preparation that will help ensure a genuine and indisputable competitive advantage for Michigan’s manufacturing sector and workforce moving forward.
Michigan’s innovative manufacturing future is also on display at the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and Michigan’s own LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMI), which features a state-of-the-art “high bay” lightweighting research and development laboratory in Detroit. The $50 million facility leverages advanced manufacturing insight and know-how from around the country to conduct research and development work on lightweight metals and advanced composites.
Functioning as a “trusted advisor,” the facility seeks to help guide manufacturers to a smarter manufacturing future. Their work, which touches on many of the Industry 4.0 technologies, includes materials process development, covering everything from rare earth to hypersonic materials and lightweight armor; new methods to join metals to composites and plastics, making entire systems lighter and more efficient; and the development of strategies and solutions that connect advanced materials, processes, systems and talent.
Recognizing that, along with technology, jobs and skills are evolving at an accelerating pace, LIFT also understands that a move to future manufacturing will require a talented workforce and talent development approaches to help companies prepare for new technologies and processes.
To that end, the IACMI/LIFT collaboration also includes seven unique labs in an innovative learning center equipped to prepare students for the most in-demand manufacturing careers. The labs are powered by LIFT’s three-year IGNITE curriculum, a competency model for multi-skilled technicians that focuses on materials science and advanced manufacturing systems.
Through efforts like these, the partnership is tapping into the agility behind Michigan’s well-known ability to pivot, adapting to changing needs and competitive dynamics.
Michigan underscored its reputation for manufacturing agility more than 70 years ago when, almost overnight, the state’s carmakers reinvented themselves as the Arsenal of Democracy, building the planes, tanks, guns and other equipment that helped win the Second World War.
More recently, the state again demonstrated its adaptability by converting automotive assembly plants to produce the personal protective equipment needed by the country’s healthcare professionals working at the frontline of the COVID pandemic.
This rich tradition has made Michigan home to a diverse range of industries employing Industry 4.0 technology, including metals, machinery and chemical products manufacturing, aerospace and medical equipment manufacturing and cybersecurity.
That breadth of expertise, coupled with a clear-eyed and comprehensive view of the Industry 4.0 revolution, will keep Michigan well-positioned to maintain its manufacturing leadership into the future.
To learn more about how Michigan is providing the resources and services to help manufacturing businesses prepare for Industry 4.0, go to michiganbusiness.org/industry4-0.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING CONTINUES TO GROW IN VINELAND, NJ
With a low cost of doing business and a focused economic development strategy, the City of Vineland, New Jersey is building a strong, diverse economy which includes the expansion of existing businesses, the arrival of new ones and the development of new industrial park space. Even as the country has dealt with the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the collaborative spirit in Vineland continues to thrive, and both the public and private sector are invested and passionate about moving development initiatives forward, which currently total more than $100 million.
Vineland is conveniently located along New Jersey Route 55, providing a quick and direct connection to the New Jersey Turnpike, and Interstates 95 and 295. These arteries link the city with major markets along the east coast, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City. Vineland offers rail service to destinations across the United States and Canada, and is home to several logistics firms which transport ready products throughout North America. Additionally, freight air service and three deep water port facilities with Foreign Trade Zone status are just a short drive away.
Now in his second term, Mayor Anthony Fanucci has brought a distinctly pro-business approach to city government, which comes from his background in the private sector. His progressive economic development policies and marketing strategies are encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and attracting new capital investment in industries like Scientific Glass, Plastic Molding and Food Processing.
“Selecting the right location is a key component of any strategic business model,” Mayor Fanucci said. “Companies must look for the right blend of incentives, workforce, municipal infrastructure and business climate to be successful. In addition, our municipal electric and water utilities provide among the lowest rates in the state. Vineland offers these advantages, and much more. Our economic development team provides a one-stop source for moving projects forward through the development and approval process.”
For example, Comar, a premier supplier of specialty packaging solutions and custom molded medical devices and assemblies, has been undergoing rapid expansion, including a new $20 million, 159,000-square-foot Vineland location, which will house injection molding machines, proprietary automation and packaging equipment. Scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2021, the new facility will create over 100 new, good paying jobs.
“This investment builds on our existing facilities around the country, and represents another exciting milestone for our organization,” said Comar CEO Mike Ruggieri. “The new South Jersey location will provide a best-in-class GMP compliant work environment for our employees and allow us to better serve our customers in the medical, pharmaceutical and consumer wellness markets.”
The American glass industry got its start in southern New Jersey because of the natural resources available in the area. Much of that history is centered in Vineland, which today remains a leader in the manufacture and distribution of chemical and scientific glassware. In fact, the city is playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 thanks to the work of Corning Pharmaceutical Glass and their revolutionary new Valor Glass product. The company, which recently completed a 26,000-square-foot expansion, was enlisted by the U.S. Government as part of Operation Warp Speed to increase production of the product. With its robust exterior, Valor Glass is ideal for storing drugs in extremely cold temperatures for extended periods, which is essential for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
According to Corning Pharmaceutical Glass regional manager David Lucht, “Between June 2020 and January 2021, we quadrupled our manufacturing capacity. In the last three months of 2020 alone, the company made enough Valor Glass vials to support 100 million vaccine doses. The entire process starts in Vineland, where its skilled workforce manufactures the tubes for Corning’s U.S.-based glass products. The tubes are then shipped to our facility in Big Flats, New York to convert them into vials for drug storage.”
Vineland’s position in the scientific glass sector continues to expand.
Gerresheimer AG, which produces a broad range of products for pharma, health and biotech uses, recently cut the ribbon on a new Glass Innovation and Technology Center adjacent to their existing Tubular Glass Converting Plant. The Center will bring together specialized experts and engineers in glass technology who will work to develop new products and technologies for the global market.
“We are leading in health and well-being delivery by developing first-class glass solutions to meet the highest quality requirements,” said Gerresheimer CEO Dietmar Siemssen. “At the new Innovation Center, we are able to bundle our glass expertise and all of our experts in one location to develop new products and technologies in conjunction with our customers. This will provide enhanced value propositions for our clients, including Gx Elite Glass, ready-to-fill vials, strengthened glass and much more to come.”
Manufacturing operations in the Food Processing sector also continue to grow in Vineland with the addition of Rovagnati Specialty Meats. The first phase of their North American headquarters, which includes a 64,000-square-foot production and distribution facility scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2021, will produce and distribute salami, bresaola, prosciutto and mortadella. According to company officials, “The USA represents a great opportunity for quality Italian products. The uniqueness of our supply chains and the ability to produce products containing high value content, already appreciated by American consumers, creates a significant development area for the entire category. The new production plant in Vineland, NJ will allow us to increase our presence in the American continent.”
“We are excited about the future and our ability to keep the momentum going,” Mayor Fanucci continued. “As new projects move through the planning process, we are expanding our existing city-owned industrial sites.
Additionally, we have supported efforts to develop a new 285-acre, privately owned Industrial Park anchored by Northeast Precast, a state-of-the-art precast concrete manufacturer of commercial products and residential foundation wall systems.”
“Our commitment to your success begins with our focus on your needs. We understand the challenges you will face and are anxious to meet with you regarding available sites throughout the city. Your business is important to our community, and we are excited to be your partner in finding the perfect location for your business to thrive. Give us a call and find out why ‘It’s Always Growing Season’ in Vineland,” Mayor Fanucci concluded.
CONNECTICUT’S PAST FUELS ITS FUTURE ECONOMY
When regional economies evolve, there is that time between what they were and what they have become that leaves the region in a sort of economic and perceptional purgatory. After decades of prosperity, Connecticut found itself in that position, thanks to market, industry and demographic shifts that started in the mid-2000s. Connecticut has always been the home of Yankee ingenuity: the Cotton Gin was invented in Connecticut, as was the sewing machine, first color television, first submarine and the Colt revolver. Connecticut’s rich history of innovation has continued through the decades, serving as the life blood of the state’s modern economy.
The business culture and roots of innovation that fueled the state’s past prosperity are still present in the DNA of the people, business leaders and companies doing business in Connecticut today.
Connecticut has a significant presence in industries that will be leading the American economy into the next phase of the “innovation revolution.” The state’s modern economy pays homage to its past, with industry strengths in Insurance, Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Finance, Technology and Life Sciences.
More than two hundred years ago, the first insurance agency in the United States was founded in Connecticut. This pioneering business, which was based in Hartford, was the spark that established Connecticut as the insurance capital of the United States—#1 for insurance wages as a percentage of total state wages, #1 in the U.S. for actuaries per capita and insurance and an industry that generated $22.3 billion in GSP in Connecticut. This same heritage is now paving the way for Connecticut to be a global force in the InsurTech Industry.
Tool manufacturer, Stanley Black & Decker, has its global headquarters in New Britain, CT. The company first opened its doors in 1843 and is now 15 times larger than it was just 20 years ago. This past quarter, the company saw its earning jump close to 40 percent. According to Stanley Black & Decker CEO, Jim Loree, Stanley Black & Decker’s success and history are deeply entwined with New Britain’s, adding, “People are flocking to Connecticut, this is our time.”
Connecticut has long identified itself as an advanced manufacturing state, but in fact, it is a state built on innovation. The first fully functional helicopter and nuclear submarines were built in Connecticut, as was the first artificial heart and the invention of anesthesia.
The first functioning helicopter gave way to Sikorsky, which is based in Stratford, Connecticut, where Black Hawk Helicopters are made today. The first submarine evolved into Groton based Electric Boat, which makes the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines. The company is still thriving, recently securing a $9.5 billion contract in addition to a $22 billion contract they won in 2019. Electric Boat is hiring over 2,000 people to meet demand for its products, and these jobs will be based in Connecticut.
Connecticut’s economy has evolved and risen to meet the challenges of the 21st century, finding itself leading once again and driving innovation in life sciences, cementing the state’s position as #2 in the U.S. for academic bioscience R&D investments per capita. Connecticut companies and organizations secured $685 million in NIH funding in 2020, and according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Connecticut ranks #4 in the nation for bioscience patents per capita.
The state is also leading in the technology sector, supported by Yale University’s Quantum Institute, which underpins Yale’s global leadership in quantum science and technology. Connecticut’s technology ecosystem has more than 6,000 companies, employing more than 120,000 people. The state ranked 9th in US News’ Best States for the New Economy ranking, which rates how well-equipped states are to navigate in an economy driven by technological innovation. Connecticut, the country’s third smallest state, punches way beyond its weight when competing with other states across the U.S.
With rising tax receipts and flat or reduced spending, the state now projects a $250 million general fund surplus for the financial year ending June 2021. Its rainy-day fund is projected to reach $3.8 billion which, when combined with American Rescue Plan stimulus, gives Connecticut valuable degrees of freedom to navigate short- and long-term budgetary pressures, and spurred Moody’s to increase Connecticut’s bond rating for the first time in 20 years. People are migrating to the state, responding to the robust job market and the quality of life, which ranks #6 in the United States.
From an industrial history to leading groundbreaking HIV treatments and being on the front lines of COVID vaccine research, Connecticut’s economy has once again found its place at the forefront of the global economy, firmly focused on innovation, science and technology. The roots of the state’s legacy industries have grown and adapted to the times, fueling the state’s future economy.
VALDOSTA-LOWNDES COUNTY, GA: CENTRALLY LOCATED FOR GROWTH
Valdosta-Lowndes County, Georgia is a vibrant and premier location for business development opportunities. Located midway between Atlanta and Orlando in the heart of South Georgia, Valdosta-Lowndes County is strategically positioned for businesses to access and serve the global market. We make it easy for small, medium-sized and large companies to establish healthy roots for success. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority continues to foster relationships with existing businesses to ensure they grow and prosper.
“Our prime location, along with strong logistics and supply chain network provides a competitive advantage in helping businesses move their products quickly,” said Andrea Schruijer, executive director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority.
Key industries in Valdosta-Lowndes County include advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics and agribusiness and food processing.
Valdosta-Lowndes County serves as an economic, service, professional, retail, healthcare and tourism hub for a 15- to 18-county region that includes South Georgia and North Florida.
With eight industrial parks, Valdosta-Lowndes County, GA has the perfect fit for almost any industry. Each park has its own unique attributes, from rail served for plastics and manufacturing to parks situated near I-75 and just north of I-10 for distribution and service industries. Three of the industrial parks—Bassford Business Park, Miller Business Park and Westside Business Park—are recognized as GRAD sites, Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development.
Valdosta-Lowndes is home to thriving K-12 education systems that continue to provide excellent education opportunities to the county’s future workforce. It is also home to five higher education institutions, including Valdosta State University (VSU) and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
VSU is home to more than 12,500 students and incorporates state of the art technology and a next-generation approach to learning and leading in a global world. Students can earn Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in more than 90 different programs of study, and while a majority of VSU students are from Georgia, the university’s 2020 enrollment included students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 65 different countries.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is one of the nation’s fastest growing public two-year colleges and helps its 6,000 students hit the ground running in a relentless global marketplace. Wiregrass offers a full slate of programs (e.g., Digital Media, Tech and Industry, Business, Professional and Healthcare) while collaborating with local employers in targeted workforce training.
Valdosta-Lowndes County has a favorable business climate, as Georgia is a right to work state; fast-track permitting; competitive warehouse cost; and low property tax rates.
Valdosta-Lowndes County is a great place to do business and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA) is here to help your business succeed. Whether you are expanding, relocating or just starting up, VLCDA is here to build a groundbreaking community.