Quality of Life: Working Where It’s Great To Live

Take our quality of life tour and paddle your way through our showcase of locations that have it all: a live/work/play balance with lots of choices for the live and play parts.


https://businessfacilities.com/2021/08/quality-of-life-working-where-its-great-to-live/
Take our quality of life tour and paddle your way through our showcase of locations that have it all: a live/work/play balance with lots of choices for the live and play parts.
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Quality of Life: Working Where It’s Great To Live

Take our quality of life tour and paddle your way through our showcase of locations that have it all: a live/work/play balance with lots of choices for the live and play parts.

Quality of Life: Working Where It’s Great To Live

By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2021 Issue

The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to rethink just about everything we do. It also has accelerated tectonic shifts in our cultural landscape, mostly for the better. We’re not going to use the word “woke”—which has become a political pejorative—but it does seem like most of us have abruptly woken up in the middle of a nightmare with the same epiphanies.

Before this plague invaded the United States, our wealth, talent and opportunities were mostly clustered in our urban metropolises. As the pandemic (hopefully) withers, the national shortage of skilled workers has been revealed like the bed of a dry lake in a drought. With EDOs across the nation leading the way, we are embracing a commitment to a diaspora of opportunity: diverse, inclusive and equity-driven, which is the only way to build a sustainable workforce that keeps the U.S. numero uno in global competitiveness.

quality of life
(Photo: Queen Anne’s County)

Millennials were already migrating to smaller places before this crisis; as we’ve said many times on our pages this year, they’re looking for affordable places with a superior quality of life that enables a better work/life balance (emphasis on the forward slash) with a 24/7 live/work/play environment. Getting locked in a remote location for a year (our houses) proves we can all do this. Turn the page and discover a future that has a lot of fresh air and fun.

[Baby Boomers can pause here and declare: we tried to convince everybody to join the “counter-culture,” but the suits made us cut our hair. Boomers: get over it!]

ARIZONA IS ASCENDING

If a state’s economic momentum could be captured on paper, you’d need a skyscraper to chart Arizona’s meteoric rise.

Since 2015, the Grand Canyon state has logged some of the fastest growth in sought-after technology and manufacturing sectors. Now, after a record-setting year and slew of recent pro-growth policy enactments, Arizona’s potential is bigger than ever.

Most states understandably experienced a manufacturing slowdown over last year. Arizona wasn’t one of them. The state saw the third-fastest manufacturing job growth in 2020 (Cyberstates), which comes on top of the third-fastest manufacturing job growth from 2015-2019 (EMSI).

While impressive, these figures likely will pale in comparison to the growth expected over the next decade and beyond. Over the last 14 months, Arizona landed two of the biggest advanced manufacturing announcements in the world.

In May 2020, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) made global shockwaves when it selected Phoenix as the site of the company’s new microchip fabrication facility. At $12 billion, the company’s investment will lead to the direct creation of more than 1,600 high-tech jobs as well as thousands of additional jobs for suppliers in the state.

quality of life
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey joins Intel for the announcement of its $20 billion investment to build two new semiconductor fabs in Chandler, Arizona. (Photo: Arizona Commerce)

More recently, leading U.S. chipmaker Intel announced in March 2021 a new $20 billion investment to build two new semiconductor fabs east of Phoenix, leading to 3,000 new jobs. Intel’s expansion in Chandler, Arizona—where it operates four high-tech fabs already—represents the largest private sector investment in state history.

How does one state land not one but two of the world’s largest semiconductor investments ever in just 10 months? Industry leaders point to a robust and high-tech workforce, ample energy, plenty of open space along with miles of modern transportation infrastructure, an environment relatively free of natural disasters and a thriving innovation ecosystem that includes some of the world’s top research universities. Forward-thinking state leadership also plays a central role.

Over recent years, Arizona has cemented a reputation as a low-cost business destination that offers plentiful opportunity. Lawmakers and the state’s governor, Doug Ducey, took this approach a giant step further last month with the passage of the state’s first-ever flat income tax. A recent study by conservative economists predict the historic tax reform package, which also lowered rates on corporate and industrial property, will drive growth for decades to come, including the addition of more than 250,000 jobs and over $30 billion in personal income than otherwise would have been created.

The bold reform is the equivalent of adding rocket boosters to a vehicle already cruising at maximum speed.

Readers would be mistaken to assume Arizona’s high-tech growth is limited to its largest metro area. For example, few industries are at the forefront of technology and innovation like the electric vehicle industry, and few states are drawing more of this industry than Arizona. Over the last 16 months, Arizona has witnessed three electric vehicle (EV) assembly facility groundbreakings, two which took place in Pinal County, which sits just south of Phoenix.

In December 2020, Lucid Motors announced completion of its one million square foot EV assembly facility, the first factory in the U.S. built from the ground up for the purpose of making electric vehicles. The company’s more than $700 million capital investment is expected to create more than 2,000 local jobs.

Lucid is in the vanguard of what one national outlet called, “a modern-day salon of EV innovators” in Arizona. The company is joined by other EV manufacturers such as Nikola, Atlis Motors and ElectraMeccanica, as well as recent supply chain additions such as UACJ Whitehall, an EV auto parts maker locating in Flagstaff, and Li-Cycle, a lithium battery recycler coming to Gilbert. These advancing projects represent thousands of high-tech jobs, with likely many more on the way.

Helping fill these positions with ready talent is the advanced manufacturing training center known as “Drive48,” located in Coolidge, Arizona near the sites of Lucid and Nikola’s planned facilities. The training site, which offers students instruction in advanced automotive assembly, is the product of a unique collaboration of government, academia and industry leaders, and represents a model workforce innovation.

It is innovation like this that keeps Arizona topping charts among talent rankings. Labor market analyst Emsi ranked the Phoenix metro area no. 1—again—on its 2020 Talent Attraction Scorecard for the region’s ability to attract and retain high-quality workers. This ranking was driven by Phoenix’s no. 1 regional competitiveness score and 18 percent growth in skilled jobs.

These types of rankings may have some observers asking, what comes next? In Arizona, that answer comes in the form of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, automated vehicles, the Internet of Things, freshwater science, renewable energy, quantum computing, smart materials, nanosatellites and more.

CLARINGTON, CANADA: EMBEDDED IN HISTORY, DEFINED BY DIVERSITY

Located within the Greater Toronto Area, in Ontario, Canada, the Municipality of Clarington is the gateway to opportunity, for residents and for business. Clarington is conveniently located along the shores of Lake Ontario with close proximity to major highway systems. With convenient access to cottage living 60 minutes north and city life in Toronto 40 minutes east, Clarington is a community of communities, with four urban areas and 14 hamlets, all showcasing unique character and providing a sought-after quality of life and activities for all ages.

With 35,750 households and a population recently exceeding 100,000, Clarington is a community embedded in history and defined by diversity. Being the largest geographic area in the Greater Toronto Horseshoe Area (236 square miles), the community has integrated a mix of urban and rural living, business diversity, various housing options and several community attractions.

Clarington offers the best of city living, including good jobs, improved access to major city centers, and a wider choice of affordable housing options. It also has greenbelt protected farmlands, waterfront trails alongside Lake Ontario and close access to fishing, hiking, boating and mountain biking opportunities of the Oak Ridges Moraine, a 730-square-mile expanse of rolling hills and river valleys just north of the community.

Offering a variety of recreational opportunities, Clarington is home to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and NASCAR Truck Series, two private harbors, camping resorts, a Provincial park and conservation areas. Residents and visitors enjoy going to multiple farm markets, u-pick farms, community festivals and fairs, and the popular Jungle Cat World Zoo and Brimacombe Ski Facility.

A major employer, Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington Nuclear station provides approximately 20 percent of Ontario’s current electricity demand—enough energy to serve a city of 2 million people. The municipality is also proud to have over 400 working farms, over 100 manufacturers, 20 tourist attractions and over 4,000 retail, personal and professional services. A community with 97 percent of businesses under 20 employees, Clarington also offers a blend of vibrant historic downtown cores which is another key defining feature of the municipality.

Despite the COVID-19 emergency order in March of 2020, Clarington continued to see building permit applications and the strong building activity has continued into 2021. Clarington’s total building permit value increased by 205.7 percent in 2020. According to statistics released by Google in April 2021, Clarington is in the top three regions in Canada in which Canadians have been searching for houses online over the past year. People are looking for lifestyle outside of city centers. The municipality is uniquely positioned for future growth and the pandemic has not deterred the builder’s desire to invest in the community. Major infrastructure projects such as the newly completed Highway 407 extension and the proposed GO Transit Lakeshore East line expansion will provide a strong connection to the Greater Toronto Area.

Other major economic drivers include the future construction of the Ontario Power Generation Corporate Campus headquarters, a 200,000-square-foot facility bringing over 2,500 employees to the community by 2024. Another major project is East Penn Canada, a 200,000-square-foot national battery distribution facility opening fall of 2021, and the recently opened 300,000-square-foot Toyota Eastern Canada Parts Distribution Centre.

Clarington is taking actions to respond to a changing climate. Since May 2019, the Municipal Interdepartmental Climate Change Working Group (ICCWG) and the Energy and Climate Change Response Coordinator have been working to strengthen municipal policies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, identify and reduce climate change-related risks and vulnerabilities, improve corporate resilience to climate change and safeguard community wellbeing. Throughout 2020 the Municipality continued to develop the Clarington Corporate Climate Action Plan (CCCAP). The CCCAP identifies 115 actions to respond to climate risks. In January 2020, Clarington received notice of its successful application to the Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Program, for the installation of community Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations.

PERFECT WORK-LIFE BALANCE IN FLAGSTAFF, AZ

Flagstaff is a community that exemplifies and brings to life the term “quality of life.”

Flagstaff, home to Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College and 75,000 residents, is a four-season community. Gateway to the Grand Canyon, the only level 1 trauma unit in Northern Arizona, America’s First S.T.E.M. City and the First International Dark Skies Community, Flagstaff is home to one of the top 50 High Schools in the U.S. (BASIS Flagstaff #47) and a new Commercial Driver’s License Certificate program through the Coconino Community College.

Between July 1 and October 24, a total of 59 separate days of events and festivals will bring people together to enjoy life in Northern Arizona for events ranging from Heritage Festivals of Art & Culture (Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Yavapai, Apache, Havasupai) to the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival to the Flagstaff Pro Rodeo.

All of that, and a short commute time of 16 minutes. That means whether you are working in one of the four astronomical entities like the Lowell Observatory, or in one of the growing number of bio-medical research and design companies like W.L. Gore & Associates or Machine Solutions, or in the world’s largest manufacturer of ice cream cones known as Joy Cone Company, when you get home 16 minutes after leaving work, you are that much closer to getting onto the 56 miles of trails within the city limits. Those trails can take you to Lake Mary for an afternoon of fishing or paddle boarding, or if you are feeling ambitious, those trails also connect into the Arizona Trail which can take you to Utah or to Mexico…literally. Or you may simply wish to meet a friend at one of the eight breweries in town.

Lowell Observatory, Arizona
Lowell Observatory, one of the four astronomical entities close to Flagstaff. (Photo: Lowell Observatory)

Sitting at an elevation of ~7,000 feet, Flagstaff is an ideal elevation for high altitude training. HYPO2 is a sport management organization centered around a world-renowned altitude training program and a collaboration of best-in-class high performance sport professionals. HYPO2 has been a member of the elite, Olympic sport community for over a decade, working closely with the finest amateur and professional athletes, teams, National Governing Bodies and National Sport Federations anywhere in the world. And as part of the International Association of Sports Performance Centres (the only member organization in the U.S. other than the U.S. Olympic Training Centers), HYPO2 works to provide opportunities that enhance training for high performance sports worldwide and help set the standard in the global high performance training site community.

Two businesses recently worked with Jack Fitchett, Business Attraction Manager for the City of Flagstaff (ChooseFlagstaff.com), and decided to make the move to Flagstaff.

UACJ Whitehall Industries, a global leader in automotive manufacturing, made the decision to Choose Flagstaff and is the largest new business to come to the City in the last five decades. Whitehall is a major supplier of components for electric-vehicle OEMs, including Tesla, Lucid Motors and Rivian. Whitehall plans to bring in over $60 million in capital investment and 350 jobs over the next three years.

Key attractions bringing Whitehall to Flagstaff were the immense quality of life the community enjoys, Flagstaff’s highly educated workforce and access to two major highways and an airport—and supportive economic development staff made their decision that much easier.

Another newcomer to Flagstaff is Katalyst Space Technologies, a growing satellite maintenance business that has recently secured contracts and partnerships with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Katalyst plans to have 30+ employees in the next two years and has just moved into their new home at the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technology (NACET).

Katalyst’s was a natural fit for the impressive aerospace assets in the Flagstaff area, including Lowell Observatory and USGS, which coupled with Northern Arizona University (NAU) will help provide the expertise and partnerships their business so greatly wanted.

The City of Flagstaff’s Job Creation Incentive program helped supply Katalyst with funds to make the move and assisted in solidifying their decision to grow their business in Flagstaff.

MISSOURI: MORE THAN EXPECTED

As the workforce evolves and professionals have new expectations for their work-life balance, certain states are leaping ahead of others in their quest to attract and retain top talent and companies. Missouri is one of the leading states. Its natural beauty, rich culture and affordability are just a few of the many reasons businesses and talent find unmatched success in the state.

Missouri was recently listed among the top growth states in the U.S. in a U-Haul study that analyzed data for U.S. migration trends in 2020. The state is a leading destination for people searching for a central location that offers all four seasons, a vast array of landscapes and communities, and plenty of fun and adventure at an extremely low cost.

In Missouri, the combination of multiple landscapes and outdoor recreation offer the opportunity to unplug and unwind. Diverse offerings include rivers, lakes and even caves. The state’s 91 state parks and historic sites span nearly 160,000 acres combined. People in Missouri enjoy activities like fishing, camping, hiking, biking, golfing, hunting, boating, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. The Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri boasts 1,150 miles of shoreline—more than the entire coast of California. Missouri’s 240-mile Katy Trail bisects the entire state and spotlights charming communities along the way. After a hard day’s work of building the future of innovation at leading companies in the state, people in Missouri can open their front door and kick back and relax at the lake, float the extensive network of rivers or take a leisurely walk on a beautiful trail.

Great art, legendary music and world-class theater take center stage across the state. The acclaimed Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the St. Louis Art Museum highlight artwork from around the world.

The state offers an eclectic mix of music, as well as museums and events, that showcase Missouri’s contributions to jazz, blues, ragtime, bluegrass, rock and roll, country and more. Branson has been dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World” and offers Broadway-style shows that attract millions of visitors every year. People in Missouri can catch a show at the opulent Fabulous Fox Theatre or The Muny, the country’s largest and oldest outdoor musical theater. The stunning Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presents an array of music and dance performances. And Missouri hosts several annual film festivals.

Missouri is home to numerous world-class universities and learning centers—providing residents with the highest level of education. For those seeking a four-year degree, there’s no shortage of prestigious universities to choose from. Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri University of Science & Technology (S&T), University of Missouri, Truman State University and many others offer various degrees and provide Missourians with unlimited access to top programs in the U.S. Employers in the state find the best talent in Missouri thanks to support from the state’s new strategic approach to workforce development. In fact, Missouri ranks second in the U.S. for completed apprenticeships according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Nature isn’t the only thing you can connect with in Missouri. The state is dedicated to increasing broadband connectivity among its residents. Over the last two years, connectivity has increased by 7,000 households, businesses and farms with state investment and another 95,000 households underway with federal investments, allowing more students to participate in remote learning, and giving more adults the ability to engage in remote work. The state is currently working with the FCC on their Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which provides a stipend for citizens who cannot afford internet service.

When Missourians step away from school and work, they’re greeted by award-winning theme parks, aquariums and zoos that are perfect for visitors of all ages. Thrill seekers can find plenty of roller coasters, zip lines, parasailing and other action-packed activities. Silver Dollar City and the Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson, Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in St. Louis and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City are just a few of the family-focused attractions people enjoy in the Show-Me State. No trip to St. Louis is complete without a visit to the Gateway Arch—now a national park. Zoos in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield are sure to appeal to animal lovers.

From world-famous barbecue to fine dining, there’s no shortage of ways to satisfy appetites. Great barbecue can be found throughout Missouri. Kansas City even has a barbecue app to help folks sample their way through the city. Tasty treats like toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake were invented and perfected in St. Louis. Award-winning chefs are serving up an abundance of gourmet burgers, succulent steaks and great pizza across the state. With more than 125 wineries and dozens of breweries and distilleries, it’s easy to enjoy a Missouri-made beverage. Missouri’s wine industry is extremely fruitful. The state is a regular supplier of grapes to California wine makers and even saved the French wine industry in the 1800s. Today, Missouri benefits from numerous wine trails, while also being the home of Anheuser-Busch and boasting a growing craft beer industry.

Missouri has welcomed new investment from dozens of companies recently. From Accenture Federal Services’ new Advanced Technology Center that created 1,400 new tech jobs, to Swift Prepared Foods opening two new food facilities and investing $253+ million in the state, several companies are making the move to Missouri.

Missouri has the perfect mix of both urban and rural culture—ensuring there is something for everyone. The industrialized cities of St. Louis and Kansas City with their large millennial populations give way to farming communities and picturesque riverfront towns like Hannibal, the birthplace of Mark Twain.

The list of household names that are headquartered in the state or doing innovative work in Missouri is extensive. For example, cutting-edge tech is taking place at Cerner, Centene and World Wide Technology. Boeing’s defense, space and security division has 16,000 employees in Missouri, designing and building the world’s most advanced aircraft. The state is leading the way in agtech with companies like Bayer Crop Science, Boehringer Ingelheim, BASF and DuPont located in Missouri. Fintech giants such as Square, Wells Fargo and Stifel call Missouri home. And Bass Pro Shops, Edward Jones, Emerson, Hallmark, H&R Block, Leggett & Platt and O’Reilly are just a few of the powerhouses headquartered in the state.

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY: COASTAL GEM IN MARYLAND

If you are at all familiar with Maryland then you would also be familiar with the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States and home to seafood delicacies like Rockfish (a kind of large-mouth bass), Blue Crabs and Oysters (among many others). The Bay is an ideal playground for sailing, powerboating and small craft paddlers where mariners can find shallow coves as well as wide open bay waters. It’s a place of deep-rooted history and diverse opportunities for outdoor adventure that have been captured by authors like James Mitchener.

The Chesapeake Bay is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the “Delmarva” peninsula which includes parts of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, and the state of Delaware. The first settlement in what is now Maryland was established on Kent Island because of its easy accessibility and ideal proximity to trading along the bay and its thousands of miles of tributaries.

In 1952 this central location along the Chesapeake Bay became the location of the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge, or the “Chesapeake Bay Bridge”, spanning 4.3 miles across the bay, and at the time of completion was the largest continuous over-water steel structure. The bridge connects major transportation networks, including U.S. Route 50 which travels from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and U.S. Route 301 connecting Wilmington, DE and other northern points to the southern states.

Since the bay bridge construction these highway connections have meant significant commercial and residential growth for the area of Queen Anne’s County, MD. The county has become a location with easy connectivity to Wilmington, DE (40 miles), Washington, D.C. (35 miles), Baltimore, MD (35 miles), Philadelphia, PA (75 miles) and other points further north and south. The community, while rooted in a rural Chesapeake lifestyle, enjoys a direct connection with major markets, and so experiences the best of both worlds. Over time a local talent base of highly skilled commuters has accumulated but are now clamoring to work closer to home.

Many have come to experience the “Eastern Shore” lifestyle by commuting from or visiting its shores. Now many are discovering the benefits of also locating their businesses in the county. There are several opportunities to relocate to existing leasable spaces in one of several business parks. There are also several large parcels zoned for industrial uses available in prime transportation hubs. The area along the Rt. 50 corridor, a stopping off point for travelers on their way to and from the beach, offers a prime opportunity with high visibility to the 75,000 vehicles traveling through Queen Anne’s County on a daily basis.

Queen Anne’s County, MD is an ideal choice for businesses seeking a prime, and also affordable, location compared to most metropolitan regions. The county boasts NO business personal property tax and has the second lowest county tax in the state of Maryland at 0.85 percent. The average cost per acre for industrial land is $225,000 and the average rent per square foot for warehouse/industrial space is $7. It is also the only county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to be part of the Baltimore-Towson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

The local public school system includes 14 schools serving 7,778 students and has one of the highest concentrations of top rated public schools in Maryland, based on combined math and reading proficiency test scores. Average math proficiency scores are 13 percent higher than the state of Maryland average and reading proficiency is 12 percent higher. Schools in Queen Anne’s County rank in the top 20 percent of Maryland public schools. (Based on 2021 Public School Review). The community also has two private schools, including one serving special education students at the high school level.

Drawing from a young talent pool that spans the Mid-Atlantic, the county is within arm’s reach of nearby universities such as the U.S. Naval Academy, St. John’s College, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, American University, Salisbury University and many, many others. The region’s local community college is located within Queen Anne’s, serving a local five-county area.

The communities of Kent Island, Centreville, Church Hill, Queen Anne and Sudlersville offer a variety of different community vibes from suburban to rural. The local farmer’s market, restaurant & pub or downtown festival are where community comes together. Queen Anne’s has been a melting pot of new and old residents since 1952 and so inherently welcomes and engages new residents and businesses seeking the “Eastern Shore” lifestyle.

Whether you have a growing family or are nearing retirement, Queen Anne’s County offers the best of both worlds—proximity and quality of life.

ROSWELL, NM: FUN THAT IS OUT OF THIS WORLD

Besides Aliens, Roswell, New Mexico sees a lot of visitors from all over the country all year long. And of course, the most famous event is the Amazing Roswell UFO Festival, which takes place annually in July and coincides with the anniversary of the reported alien spacecraft landing here in 1947. From music to film to food to recreation, Roswell has community events for everyone. The city also hosts the largest 4-on-4 Charity Flag Football Tournament in the world; Hike it & Spike is held on Memorial Day weekend every year.

In Roswell, it is always a good time to enjoy the great outdoors. From hiking to playing golf to camping, you can always find something fun to do here. There are 36 public recreational spaces just within the Roswell city limits, including more than 11 miles of recreational trails and the 15-acre J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary & Nature Center. The city’s zoo and several museums are great places to explore. The city’s parks feature sports fields, courts and facilities, as well as playgrounds and picnic tables and grills for relaxation and family fun. More outdoor adventure can be found just a short drive away at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park, which are both located in the county. Just 14 miles southeast of Roswell, Bottomless Lakes State Park is your place for bottomless fun. Enjoy non-motorized boating in your kayak or canoe, camp, fish, picnic, swim, hike, go birding or even scuba dive. The unique lakes at this park are sinkholes, ranging from 17 to 90 feet deep.

When winter arrives, the fun here just doesn’t stop. If skiing, snowboarding or tubing is your thing, Roswell is just a short drive from Sierra Blanca. With a 12,000-foot elevation and an annual snowfall of more than 15 feet, the mountain is the southernmost ski area in the nation. They have 55 ski runs and hiking trails ranging from beginner to expert. This mountain community also boasts several lakes for fishing, boating and camping, as well as great shopping choices.

Roswell is the county seat of Chaves County and home to 48,163 people. Chaves County’s population totals 66,257, with Roswell serving the needs of the county’s citizens. Roswell is centrally located in the Pecos Valley and is the hub of Southeastern New Mexico with a diverse economy consisting of aviation, agriculture, manufacturing and healthcare, and driven further by energy and tourism. Roswell is the gateway to the Permian Basin, home to oil and gas country. The low cost of living, low property tax rates and terrific weather make Roswell a great place to call home.

Great transportation access with four-lane highways in every direction, Roswell is also served by both BNSF Railways and commercial air service with daily direct flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Phoenix on American Airlines.

The Roswell Air Center is the largest commercial aviation industry in the Southwest. It has a 13,000-foot runway and is one of the largest used plane parking lots in the world with 4,000 acres. There are three Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) companies at the Roswell Air Center: CAVU, Aersale and General Airframe Support. Dean Baldwin Aircraft provides commercial and military aircraft painting services. Recently, Arizona-based Ascent Aviation Services announced plans to build a new wide-body hangar and hire 360 employees for airplane repair and maintenance services.

Yes, there is water! Some may think of Southeast New Mexico as an arid desert, but in Roswell-Chaves County, there is an abundant water supply. This fortunate community sits atop one of the naturally recharging aquifers in the United States. In addition, Roswell is home to Leprino Foods, one of the largest mozzarella cheese manufacturing plants in the world. Chaves County is a dairy state leader with about 75,950 milk cows and 38 dairies. Fairlife also has a production facility located here. The county also leads in hay and pecan production, corn and cannabis.

Red Mountain Arsenal, an ammunition manufacturer, is in full production here, as is USA Beef Packing, a local beef and bison packing plant which produces products for several local and national distribution centers.

There are six high schools in Roswell as well as three high schools in the lower valley. Also located in Roswell is Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell (ENMU-Roswell), which provides high quality and affordable education, while helping create the workforce companies need in the community. More than 80 certificate and associate degree programs are available in a wide range of academic transfer and career-oriented programs. The only FAA Part 147 Airframe and Powerplant training program in Southeast New Mexico is on their campus. And, there are two full-service regional hospitals with a wide range of medical clinics and capacity to serve the healthcare needs of residents.

Roswell is the best place to visit and set-up shop in southeast New Mexico. A friendly and pro-business region, it is the place for economic opportunity with an amazing quality of place and life.

CULTURE MEETS COMMERCE IN TOMBALL, TX

Small-town charm and big-city amenities are the perfect pairing in Tomball, Texas. Benefiting from a premier location, just 30 minutes north of Houston, Tomball excels at blending lifestyle and economic opportunity. Businesses and residents alike realize Tomball’s welcoming environment and expansive offerings make for the ideal home. Tomball offers something for everyone.

Tomball’s attractive quality of life originates at the heart of the city, Old Town Tomball. With more than a century’s worth of history, Old Town Tomball exudes character. Tomball celebrates its history, culture and spirit with more than 20 annual festivals and parades, an active food and entertainment scene and quaint shops and family businesses in a walkable downtown.

Old Town Tomball is a hub for culture and commerce with countless places to eat, shop, relax and explore. A “foodie destination,” Tomball is home to a diverse sampling of cuisines ranging from German to Tex-Mex to barbecue and more. The weekly Tomball Farmer’s Market in Old Town Tomball regularly attracts hundreds of residents and visitors to discover and taste exciting foods sourced by local vendors.

With daily events along the streets of Old Town Tomball, the area has grown into a destination for businesses wanting to be in the middle of the action. Key investments are bringing anchor businesses and infrastructure improvements to the city center. These carefully designed projects drive commerce while protecting the historical charm of the district.

Helping to drive commerce and quality of life in Tomball are several key infrastructure projects. Ideally situated between the expanded Tomball Parkway and recently completed Grand Parkway, Tomball is connected in all directions. Extensions and expansions of roads inside Tomball, such as South Persimmon Street and Medical Complex Drive, continue to help businesses and residents navigate their way to major thoroughfares, limiting commute times and improving logistics.

Tomball businesses and residents can access the nation and the world with short distances to major air and seaports. Tomball is less than an hour from one of the country’s busiest seaports, Port Houston. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway travels from Port Houston to Tomball.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), roughly 30 minutes from Tomball, has more than 25 airlines and nearly 70 international destinations. David Wayne Hooks Airport, right down the road from Old Town Tomball, gives businesses a nearby option for chartered flights and fixed-based operator (FBO) services.

Tomball’s widespread charm and advanced accessibility has led to massive residential growth. The demand for homes is being met with crucial developments across Tomball. Nearly 2,000 new homes and more than a dozen neighborhoods are presently being constructed and developed.

With so many people flocking to Tomball for its premier lifestyle and endless opportunity, its population is expected to nearly double by 2030, from around 12,000 to more than 20,000. The area immediately surrounding Tomball will likely see its population surpass 100,000 within five years.

Many companies are following population trends and discovering that Tomball is the place to be. Companies moving to Tomball often credit their move to employees wanting to live in and around Tomball.

Business-friendly and prepared for growth, Tomball provides a welcoming atmosphere for companies of all sizes. In addition to development in Old Town Tomball, there are several business hubs in Tomball.

Tomball’s economic engine is the 99.5-acre Tomball Business & Technology Park. Fully served with all utilities and off-site detention, the Park is mere minutes from Tomball’s major thoroughfares. Operated by the Tomball Economic Development Corporation (TEDC), the Master-planned and deed-restricted light industrial Park utilizes flexible lot sizes and competitive pricing to stand out.

Several new projects highlight the desirability and diversity of the Park. A unique project sure to enhance quality of life in Tomball is Paradigm Brewing’s 10,500-square-foot brewery that is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2021. Online shoppers are excited that E-commerce jewelry company, Kinsley Armelle, calls the Park home. Subsea power cable company, JDR Cable Systems, recently opened its corporate and United States headquarters in the Park.

The TEDC plans to turn an existing industrial park into a master-planned, mixed-use development. South Live Oak Industrial Park, located directly off Main Street near downtown, provides a premier location near Tomball’s vast amenities. The 6.2-acre development offers exciting potential for businesses, residents and visitors.

Premier educational options also play a key role in Tomball’s excellent quality of life. Tomball Independent School District is among the highest-rated districts in Texas, as evidenced by its “A” grade in the Texas Education Agency’s most recent accountability ratings. Lone Star College-Tomball, a member of the nationally ranked community college system, educates thousands of students with direct placement into the workforce. Tomball ISD, Lone Star College and the TEDC partner together to promote workforce development with initiatives such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) camps and career fairs.

TUCSON, AZ: RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES

Those who live and work in Tucson boast the obvious—great weather, outdoor recreation opportunities, amazing food, etc.—but those who call it home know there’s more to it than hiking and tacos. With a population of more than 500,000 and a metro statistical area of over one million, Tucson is ripe with opportunities.

Home to the University of Arizona, a leading public university in research and development, Tucson boasts a burgeoning talent pipeline in key industries. With a growing tech sector, a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and longstanding strengths in high-paying industries like aerospace and defense, manufacturing and logistics, and biotech and healthcare, Tucson’s potential is simply unmatched.

Isaac Figueroa, 33, is a Tucson native and Director of Leasing and Sales at Larsen Baker, LLC. Having grown up here and now working to market the city to developers, he has a deep familiarity with the area and has seen it through the process of its ongoing revitalization. He enjoys Tucson’s affordability, recreational opportunities and the feeling of connectedness provided by the Tucson community.

When asked why he chose to stay in Tucson, Figueroa said the city “is a great place for young professionals. It’s affordable, so your money goes far, and you always find yourself in a room with someone you know. It’s the smallest big city there is. And for my work specifically, Tucson has gotten a lot of attention lately, so I see a lot of potential for the commercial real estate industry here.”

In 2020, Tucson was recognized by Moody’s Analytics as one of the 10 best cities in the U.S. to recover from the pandemic, and was identified by the Site Selector’s Guild as one of the top mid-sized U.S. cities for new projects, drawing more attention to the area and sparking the interest of developers and investors. In 2021, Tucson was recognized as the 4th most affordable city in the U.S. and 5th best city for remote workers by Move.org and Forbes, respectively. Most recently, Tucson landed a spot on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Hot List as a must-see destination, and Tucson was named the 20th best city in the U.S. in this year’s Resonance Report, ascending 21 places from its 2020 ranking.

It’s not all about new investment, though. Tucson has long been a hub for aerospace and defense. Home to the likes of Raytheon, Bombardier and Universal Avionics, there have been and continue to be opportunities in these key industries for young professionals.

In 2019, Raytheon expanded its Tucson headquarters, adding 1400 new jobs. The company is the area’s largest private employer, and continues to attract new talent to the region, retain existing talent and encourage workforce development programming that supports its long-term needs.

Kristen Fulmer, 29, moved to Tucson in 2018 from Cleveland, Ohio after completing her degree in engineering. Fulmer is a Thermal Analysis and Test Engineer at Raytheon Missile Defense, and sees herself staying in Tucson for the long haul.

“Living in Tucson has made me more adventurous,” Fulmer said. I’ve always been an advocate for the outdoors but living here has really amplified that. When I’m not working, I hike, bike, climb, kayak and enjoy brunches and lunches at local restaurants. I’m very fortunate to have my dream job and to be paid a salary that allows me the personal financial freedom to support my interests and hobbies, and to work for a company that emphasizes work/life balance. I plan to stay here for a while—my career is growing, and with the mild winters, constant sunshine, access to the outdoors and the local culture, Tucson checks all the boxes for me.”

Tucson is also a hub for transportation and logistics, and manufacturing. In 2019, autonomous trucking pioneer, TuSimple, expanded its headquarters in Tucson. The company, founded in Tucson, went public in 2021 and continues to grow. In the manufacturing space, Caterpillar relocated its Surface Mining and Technology headquarters to Tucson from Illinois in 2018, and Tucson companies like Edmund Optics and CSI Global are in the middle of expansion projects as well.

Jon Bloot, 25, is a Test Engineer at Caterpillar, and moved to Tucson from Southern California in 2019. He plans to stay here long-term, noting the potential he sees for the region as a reason to stay put.

“Tucson continues to grow in a way that I find sustainable and respectful,” Bloot said. “On the west side, the
Mercado District continues to ‘build with culture,’ as the buildings are all unique and built with accessibility in mind for both the streetcar and bicycles. I appreciate that the continued development doesn’t feel like Tucson is turning into a big city and still offers room to breathe.”

“Personally, I see the growth as an opportunity in my position with Caterpillar. With the recent completion of our downtown office, the range of engineering positions offered is quite broad for those looking to diversify their experience in that field.”

Tucson’s young professionals are diverse in their backgrounds and professional interests, but all agree that Tucson is a place where they can thrive, both in their work and personal lives. In addition to opportunities for professional growth, they point to recreational activities, the local culture and the ease with which one can make connections in the community as reasons to continue to call Tucson home.

BUILD AND GROW IN WEST VIRGINIA

There is no better place to build and grow a business in the Eastern United States than West Virginia, #YesWV. Here’s why:

To many, West Virginia is one of the East Coast’s best kept secrets, and for good reason. West Virginia has been a leading energy state for decades, but the Mountain State has diversified its economy and new opportunities continue to emerge. From Aerospace to Automotive, Defense to Information Technology, Building Products to Manufacturing, thriving industries have taken a foothold here and are only getting better. Companies, whether they are starting or expanding their operations, are already benefiting from the opportunities found in West Virginia. Industry giants such as Virgin Hyperloop, Bombardier, Toyota, NGK Spark Plugs, Procter & Gamble and Northrop Grumman have chosen West Virginia for their facilities.

West Virginia
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries located in Bridgeport, WV. (Photo: West Virginia Development Office)

Why did they choose West Virginia, you might ask? Allow us to explain.

Affordability and Prime Location

Not only is West Virginia’s cost of doing business among the lowest in the country, but the prime location puts you close to supply hubs, distribution bases and customer markets. West Virginia is within a day’s drive of half the U.S. population and a third of the Canadian market.

From home-grown businesses to international corporations that have invested here, many companies are still finding out that West Virginia is a place that feels like home. Just ask Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc. After 25 years in the state, this company is a great example of a business reaping benefits from saying #YesWV.

Pro-Business Climate and World Class Workforce

At the end of the day, your bottom line drives your business. Leaders in West Virginia work hard to foster a climate that supports both new and existing business. Additionally, you’ll discover a workforce with the work ethic and skills needed to move your business forward. West Virginia’s workforce recently recorded the lowest manufacturing turnover rate in the country. In fact, the loyal workforce is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the state.

For example, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, an aerospace company that provides comprehensive critical operational, engineering and customer support solutions for the global regional aircraft industry, chose its site in West Virginia because of the traditionally strong work ethic of the people and the pro-business environment. The company employs over 500 West Virginians and says their employees’ quality of work and attitude is unbeatable.

Educational Workforce

West Virginia offers specialized education and training to support workforce development needs now and into the future. The state has an array of training tools such as the Governor’s Guaranteed WorkForce Development Program, apprenticeship programs and industry/education partnerships. West Virginia recently authorized tuition grants to high school graduates to pursue studies that meet identified workforce needs.

In 2020, Virgin Hyperloop announced the location of its Hyperloop Certification Center in Grant and Tucker counties. The innovative facility will be used to test a new high-speed transportation form that can transport passengers and cargo at airline speeds at a fraction of the cost of air travel using pressurized pods that move through a vacuum tube at speeds exceeding 600-miles-per-hour. In addition to bringing jobs to the state, Virgin Hyperloop will allow student engineers to become educated in these new technologies and see an increase in future job prospects within their home state. Because Virgin Hyperloop said #YesWV, students in West Virginia have a once in a lifetime opportunity for hands on experiences with one of the world’s most innovative companies.

Quality of Life

West Virginia residents know it’s not just the gorgeous landscape, authentic hospitality, colorful culture and dynamic heritage that make West Virginia unique. Top-ranked universities, fulfilling careers, award-winning health institutions, thriving arts communities and ample outdoor recreation activities are just a few elements that draw people to the Mountain State. Statistically, the cost of living in West Virginia is 14 percent below the national average.

quality of life
Charleston, WV. (Photo: West Virginia Development Office)

There’s always fun to be had in the Mountain State. Residents and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, golfing, boating, skiing and so much more. West Virginia is home to world-class whitewater rafting and one of the largest ATV trail systems in the country. With over 40 state parks and forests to discover, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to find ample diversion from the grind of the work week. Not to mention, West Virginia’s New River (among the oldest rivers on the continent), in the southern part of the state, was recently designated as a national park and reserve, creating even more excitement for this spectacular destination.

As you might be able to conclude, outdoor enthusiasm is something West Virginians are very passionate about. Love for the state’s outdoor oasis and the desire to keep public land clean is carried over into businesses as well. Entsorga West Virginia, located in Martinsburg, is an advanced resource recovery manufacturer that collects municipal solid waste, recycles unseparated consumer materials and converts what is left behind into a clean, alternative fuel source. This cutting-edge company does more than sort trash. Entsorga is home to the nation’s first High Efficiency Biological Treatment facility (HEBioT™) and it’s helping save the planet.

Join the ranks of other great companies who call West Virginia home. Check out all the latest news related to West Virginia economic development by visiting WestVirginia.gov, so you too can say #YesWV.

10 WAYS AMARILLO CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED

Amarillo, TX is full of opportunities for businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs. Amarillo has previously been cited as one of the best places to start a business, one of the best places to live and work and an economic powerhouse of TX.

Amarillo wants to help you and your business succeed. That’s why the city’s high standards for business resources match its high quality of living.

Whether you are looking to move your operations, expand your company or start a brand-new enterprise, here are 10 ways Amarillo can help your business grow and thrive.

1. Tax Benefits 

In addition to Texas not having a personal income tax, state property or unitary tax, Amarillo has several tax benefits.

  • A “Freeport” designation exempts businesses from inventory property taxes of goods exported.
  • The sales tax rate is 6.25 percent, with Amarillo assessing an additional 2 percent. This tax is levied on the sale, rental and use of most tangible property, labor and selected services.
  • The corporate franchise tax rate is 0.95 percent for most entities. Qualified wholesalers and retailers pay 0.475 percent and entities with $10 million or less in total revenue (annualized per 12-month period on which a report is to be based) pay 0.575 percent.

2. Land to Grow Your Business

The city of Amarillo is made up of 90.3 square miles in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. The Amarillo EDC owns and operates two business parks and one research park located in the Amarillo city limits. These two factors provide endless opportunities for business relocation and expansion.

3. Financing and Incentives

The Amarillo EDC offers myriad financing options and incentives to businesses, including:

  • Corporate Relocation
  • Business Retention & Expansion
  • Possibility for Tax Abatements
  • New Market Tax Credit
  • Job Creation Incentive Grant
  • Tax Enterprise Zone
  • Skills Training
  • Foreign Trade Zone 252
  • Small Business Support
  • Small Business Interest Rebates
  • Small Business Administration 504 Loans
  • Community Development Micro-Loans

4. Talented Workforce

Amarillo is the hub for employment opportunities and education in its 26-county labor area. The labor force is young, educated, non-unionized and appreciative of Amarillo’s quality of life.

  • Amarillo’s workforce is projected to grow 16.79 percent across industries annually through 2028.
  • Amarillo’s labor participation rate exceeds national and state averages.
  • The Amarillo EDC creates and supports ongoing training programs with local organizations to produce specialized training programs to meet the specific needs of local employers.

5. Higher Education

Amarillo boasts three higher education institutions, which allow for a steady pipeline of highly equipped employees in a variety of fields from agriculture, technology, medicine and liberal arts. Additionally, these institutions are committed to professional development of current employees.

  • West Texas A&M University: This four-year public university in Canyon, Texas, has been recognized for its strides in mechanical engineering, agricultural sciences and more. Nearly 10,000 students are enrolled in its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. It is also home to both the WT Enterprise Center, a nationally recognized business development incubator, and the Small Business Development Center.
  • Amarillo College: This two-year community college serves more than 10,000 students. In addition to its four Amarillo campuses, it has two campuses outside of Amarillo and a number of accredited online degree programs. Its downtown campus serves the business community and functions as the premier training and professional development center.
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: This university boasts comprehensive programs in a variety of health-related fields, including pharmacy, family medicine, nursing and veterinary science, as well as internationally recognized scientists and award-winning faculty.

6. Healthy Work-Live Balance

Workers who have a healthy work-life balance are less likely to suffer from stress and more likely to achieve overall happiness in their lives. Additionally, a healthy work-life balance improves productivity levels at work.

In Amarillo, you don’t have to sacrifice your family or personal life for your career. Amarillo offers a low cost of living, affordable housing, short commute times, outdoor recreation and a strong arts and entertainment community.

7. Training, Educational Opportunities 

Amarillo offers entrepreneurs and business professionals a wide range of training and educational opportunities, including:

  • Small Business Development Center
  • Skills Training
  • Nationally Recognized Higher Education Institutions

8. Wire Accelerator Program

The WIRE Accelerator Program offers 13 weeks of programming, seed capital for development, over $1 million in perks and a Demo Day for startups to pitch their company to investors for additional investment. Each year the cohort is made up of high-growth technology companies that are put through intensive training.

9. Community Banks

Amarillo is supported by a wide variety of community banks. These banks are local to the Texas Panhandle area and offer an array of benefits, such as:

  • Every dollar deposited at a community bank supports local borrowers to purchase cars, homes and businesses.
  • Community banks know their customers and take pride in building relationships with their customers
    and community.
  • Amarillo community banks have the flexibility to adapt to Amarillo’s business climate and have weathered the storm of tough economic conditions and banking regulations.

In Amarillo, banking is more than financial transactions; it’s built on trust, community and personal relationships. Many of the city’s bankers live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same church and have children who attend the same schools as their customers.

10. Supportive Community

Amarillo is made up of a supportive and dedicated community of business professionals and leaders that all work together to make Amarillo a great place to work and live.

Want to learn more about corporate expansion and quality of life?

Check out all the latest news related to quality of life and its impact on economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.

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