Advanced Manufacturing: Manufacturing Muscle Joins The Fight

In locations throughout the nation, advanced manufacturing facilities and resources are being enlisted in the fight against COVID-19.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2020 Issue

The National Association of Manufacturers has released the results of its most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. Manufacturers reported a boost in optimism—up from 33.9 percent in Q2, which was the lowest reading since the first quarter of 2009. The survey also found that a significant number of manufacturers used the federal liquidity programs that the NAM advanced early in this pandemic. The data shows:

  • 72 percent of manufacturers that faced negative cash flow impacts due to COVID-19 used the Paycheck Protection Program, Main Street Lending Program or other liquidity program.
  • Nearly 92 percent of manufacturers that used federal liquidity programs said those funds were helpful in keeping their business afloat, retaining workforce or meeting other necessary expenses.
  • 66 percent of manufacturers are positive about their company’s outlook, a great improvement from the Q2 results. Still, the outlook remains below the historical average of 74.4 percent, and 62 percent of manufacturers expect their firm’s revenues will not get back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2021 or later.

According to NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, “Congress and the administration have acted on more than five dozen of the policy provisions that the NAM made in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan.’ “Without the bipartisan relief legislation signed into law earlier this year, this rise in optimism would not have been possible. But for our industry to truly recover and to keep our economy growing, further bipartisan congressional action is needed,” Timmons added in the NAM press release.

The introduction of NAM’s American Renewal Action Plan stated that manufacturers have mobilized to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in ways “unseen in modern history. The industry has been on the front lines as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, supplying health care workers, working toward treatments and producing Americans’ daily needs.”

NAM’s policy statement continued, “Manufacturing has long been the backbone of the American economy, and our future success will depend on manufacturing’s resiliency. For the recovery phase, policymakers must provide the tools needed to restart our economy, including strong liability protections. And for long-term renewal, we must set the stage for long-term growth, which will include historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, robust workforce training, regulatory improvements and more. The road ahead is not easy. Bringing our $22 trillion economy out of our ‘induced coma’ is a herculean task for the ages. This challenge will require our policymakers to innovate and act boldly.”


As COVID-19 swept the nation, the Greater Rochester, NY region swiftly moved to meet market demand. Expert talent worked from world-class facilities to aid the United States’ response spanning early detection methods, testing production and vaccine trials. These contributions reinforced the region as a reliable hub for innovative talent and technologies needed for manufacturers to build resilience, regain momentum and drive expansion.

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IDEX Health & Sciences’ 100,000-square-foot facility in Greater Rochester capitalizes on a regional ecosystem of specialized talent, leading universities and a network of supporting businesses. (Photo: Greater Rochester Enterprise)

In 2018, IDEX Health & Sciences opened a state-of-the-art facility in Rochester for manufacturing as well as research and development of next-generation DNA sequencing technology. Their investment in Greater Rochester, NY paid dividends in the fight to flatten the curve. Its researchers were among the first to identify patients infected with the coronavirus.

According to IDEX Health & Sciences, its 100,000-square-foot facility capitalizes on a regional ecosystem of specialized talent, leading universities and a network of supporting businesses. Their example underscores the deep capabilities and robust capacity available in Greater Rochester, NY to help manufacturers launch new innovations and pursue strategic growth.

The region’s talent pipeline powers capacity for creating products that solve complex challenges. Greater Rochester, NY includes 120 companies in optics, photonics and imaging; more than 250 companies in food and beverage manufacturing; and global leaders in life sciences such as Bausch and Lomb, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, CooperVision and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Anchored by 19 colleges and universities, Greater Rochester, NY leads the U.S. among large metros for degrees in STEM programs such as physical sciences and mathematics. In total, the nine-county region confers degrees to about 19,000 graduates each year. Sponsored research at University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology annually totals close to $500 million.

The availability of talent enriches the region’s workforce of more than 624,000, which ranks first in the U.S. for patents per 1,000 workers. This capacity provides manufacturers with a competitive advantage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing-related employment in Greater Rochester, NY exceeds the national average.

These assets have cultivated the region into a well-diversified economy. No longer a big company town, approximately 97 percent of businesses in Greater Rochester, NY employ fewer than 100 workers. Manufacturers in Greater Rochester, NY also gain access to infrastructure as specialized as its talent.

Li-Cycle Incorporated, a North American lithium-ion battery resource recovery company, announced a $175 million expansion of its Rochester-based operations. The project will occupy 15.4 acres at Eastman Business Park, which offered the existing infrastructure needed to efficiently process materials from lithium-ion batteries. Li-Cycle will add at least 100 new jobs to a growing roster of 114 companies and 6,000 employees at Eastman Business Park. Other tenants include Plug Power, DuPont, and LiDestri Food and Drink.

The region features FDA-approved facilities for manufacturing Class 1 and 2 medical devices. Notable operators include Baxter Healthcare, Carestream Health, Unither Pharmaceuticals and Rӧchling. Other companies address a global supply chain with production, packaging, fulfillment and logistic services. Manufacturers can locally source custom equipment and parts such as automation machines, plastic components and engineered materials.

The region’s production capacity is further enhanced by companies shaping the future of manufacturing. Fast-growing firms are modernizing how manufacturers strengthen the output of people and processes. They include software companies with platforms for industrial internet of things (IIoT) applications. These offerings help manufacturers boost efficiency, lower cost and improve quality.

Emerging IIoT capabilities from the region include artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, sensor technology, cybersecurity and robotics. These developments continue to earn the region new expansion and attraction projects. ComTec Solutions, an IT managed services and ERP firm, doubled the size of its existing facility. Security Risk Advisors, a cybersecurity firm, selected Rochester for a new office citing the talent from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Panasonic recently opened a marquee facility in downtown Rochester. Their platforms give manufacturers real-time visibility and control over their operations. “The talent, energy and innovation here is second to none,” said George E. Daddis, Jr. PhD, vice president, Panasonic. The company grew by 20 percent within its first year due in large part to the availability of talent in software and hardware engineering.

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George E. Daddis, Jr. PhD, vice president, Panasonic, at the ribbon-cutting for Panasonic’s new facility in downtown Rochester, NY. Panasonic’s platforms give manufacturers real-time visibility and control over their operations. (Photo: Greater Rochester Enterprise)

According to Dana Mehnert, president, communication systems, L3Harris Technologies, “From drone research to advanced communications, optronics and image sciences, this region is defining cutting-edge future technologies.”

L3Harris continues to expand its Rochester operation. Over the past year, L3Harris hired 541 employees with more than 125 positions still open.

The talent and technologies available to manufacturers in Greater Rochester, NY provide executives with powerful options to advance their business strategies. Moreover, the region provides a competitive cost of business to boost their bottom lines. According to CBRE, Greater Rochester, NY features commercial real estate at rates 49 percent lower than the U.S. average. The region’s availability of high-tech talent comes with an added bonus for balance sheets—firms with 50 or more employees can make annual profits of at least $1 million versus high-cost markets like Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

For advanced manufacturers, Greater Rochester, NY provides the amenities of a major market with the connectivity of a smaller-sized city. David Munson, president, Rochester Institute of Technology, captures the region’s essence well, “We have inherited an exceptional quality of life thanks to an impressive cluster of cultural organizations, unparalleled natural resources and a resilient and welcoming spirit of community.”


Around the globe, Michigan is known for what it can make, as home to a skilled workforce and an unparalleled work ethic, and the state is continuing to build on its rich manufacturing heritage.

From ranking #1 in the nation for automotive and mobility R&D, with 73 percent of total U.S. spending taking place in the state, to being home to 96 of the top 100 suppliers and nearly 19 percent of all U.S. auto production—more than any other state—Michigan is changing the way things are made in the 21st century, using its deep-rooted technological know-how to develop innovative, high-tech products of the future as it prepares for Industry 4.0.

As one of the states most impacted by COVID-19, Michigan’s legacy of resilience, innovation and Midwestern ingenuity emerged, unleashing the state’s ‘Arsenal of Innovation’ to combat the spread of the virus.

The Big 3 Automakers—General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—stepped up in a big way, retooling their manufacturing capabilities to produce millions of personal protection equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers and patients. Likewise, a number of small and mid-sized manufacturers played critical roles, leveraging state-led grants and support programs to fill shortages of necessary health and human service supplies. Commonwealth Sewing Co. and the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC) added medical gowns and surgical masks as permanent fixtures to their high-capacity garment manufacturing operations. TentCraft had never manufactured health products, but pivoted operations to make PPE. As they move toward recovery efforts, Michigan manufacturing companies are applying their new knowledge and resources to innovative business models, creating a more resilient economy.

Even in the face of a global pandemic, the state of Michigan’s advanced manufacturing industry remains strong, with a robust skilled workforce that’s leading the way. But a skills gap remains. According to the World Economic Forum, 65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in fields that currently do not exist. Home to the 5th largest advanced manufacturing workforce in the country, with more than 66,000 workers employed in advanced manufacturing industries in 2019, Michigan is working to ensure that its workforce is prepared to meet the rapidly developing technology needs of the future, helping companies and employees stay compliant, up-to-date and innovative.

In May of this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan Workforce Development Board responsible for the development and continuous improvement of the workforce development system in Michigan, to achieve her goal of helping 60 percent of the State’s workforce achieve a post secondary degree or certification by 2030. Additionally, the Jobs Ready Michigan program, through the Michigan Strategic Fund, is helping meet the talent needs of companies expanding or relocating to Michigan by addressing the costs associated with recruiting and training individuals for occupations that are high-wage, high-skill or high demand.

Tier 1 auto supplier Detroit Manufacturing Systems, LLC recently received a Jobs Ready Michigan program performance-based grant that will help transform the company’s existing and new workforce into the next generation of skilled workers. This investment in new technology will result in skilled operators of advanced machinery and equipment, robotics and other automation technology.

Michigan also boasts the highest concentration of engineers in the nation, along with a skilled workforce and pipeline of talent, which are all incentives for companies looking to invest in the state. In fact, Michigan saw the best single-year improvements in Chief Executives’ 2020 Best and Worst States for Business rankings, in part due to its advantages of engineering and manufacturing talent.

In Michigan, advanced manufacturing focuses on manufacturing related to defense, advanced materials like plastics and lightweight carbons, and machinery manufacturing for automation and robotics. Michigan boasts the highest military vehicle production in the U.S., with 37 percent of total contracts in the country. Michigan also ranks #4 in the nation and #1 in the Midwest for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness, as an ideal location for aerospace supply chain and engineering companies to deliver solutions for the industry.

Research facilities in Michigan, like Lightweight Innovation for Tomorrow (LIFT) and Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), are unlocking the next phase of demand for plastics. And, nearly 45,000 workers were employed in advanced materials industries in Michigan in 2019, helping the state become the third largest advanced materials workforce in the nation.

Business Facilities consistently ranks Michigan #1 in automotive manufacturing in its annual state rankings. Home to clusters of automotive manufacturers, suppliers and R&D facilities, Michigan generates an atmosphere of collaboration and productivity to lead the next generation of transportation technology. Major recent investments from FCA, Ford, Nexient and KLA are supporting automotive manufacturing in Michigan and solidifying its spot as home for the future of mobility innovation.

Michigan also has an opportunity to become a global leader in the implementation of Industry 4.0 with more than 13,000 workers employed in industries related to Industry 4.0 and automation, the most in the nation.

Manufacturing is in Michigan’s DNA, but it is not immune to the effects Industry 4.0 will bring about. By investing in education, encouraging more workers to pursue manufacturing jobs and upskilling professionals, the State can ensure its workforce is prepared to meet the technology needs of Industry 4.0. Michigan is taking the proactive steps now to ensure it continues to be a leader in advanced manufacturing of the future.


Kentucky’s combination of nationally low business costs, robust supplier networks, a highly skilled workforce and world-class logistics capabilities make the state a national leader in manufacturing.

These advantages are major reasons why—even amid the global pandemic and all its economic strife—one of the world’s largest packaging companies is building a $147 million, state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, KY.

Kentucky helped beverage can manufacturer CROWN Cork & Seal USA, a subsidiary of Crown Holdings Inc., move from the conceptual stage to breaking ground on the plant in record time. Company representatives first made contact with the state in mid-December and, a mere two months later, announced the project publicly.

In February, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated the high-quality opportunities the project will create for Kentuckians, while also laying out a few reasons why the state will help the company thrive.

“In choosing to build in Kentucky, Crown Holdings gains access to a variety of assets that will make this advanced manufacturing facility a success for decades to come,” Gov. Beshear said. “With its first plant in Kentucky, Crown will have a skilled and ready workforce, a plentiful supply of beverage can stock, a location with quick access to key markets and a world-class logistics and distribution industry. Further, Kentucky’s higher education and workforce development resources will assure Crown can build a pipeline of well-trained employees.”

As the first major project to materialize under the Beshear administration, Crown promises to create 126 well-paying, full-time jobs for Kentuckians, and its 327,000-square-foot Bowling Green plant will initially produce 1.3 billion cans per year at a rate of 2,800 cans per minute.

In March, when the factory is expected to open, it will join roughly 4,500 other manufacturing facilities in the state, which employ about 260,000 people. With more than 13 percent of its workforce in manufacturing, Kentucky ranks well above the national average of 8.5 percent, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Kentucky’s aforementioned unique combination of advantages allow manufacturers to achieve optimal levels of success.

The Bluegrass State features some of the lowest industrial electricity rates in the nation, helping manufacturers increase their profit margins. Low-cost energy is one of many factors that help companies maintain a healthy bottom line in Kentucky, which is why the state ranked first nationally for cost of doing business in CNBC’s 2019 list of America’s Top States for Business. For the ranking, CNBC looked at each state’s tax climate, available incentives for businesses, utility costs, the cost of wages and rental costs for office and industrial space.

Additionally, Kentucky’s manufacturers benefit from easy access to input materials, including the state’s abundance of aluminum and steel. The state’s array of primary metals producers help to power a dominant automotive industry in Kentucky, which rolls out more passenger vehicles per capita than any other state and ranks third overall in the category.

Complementing these strengths is Kentucky’ ideal central geographic location, propelling the state to become a logistics leader. The state’s borders lie within a day’s drive, or a two-hour flight, of more than two-thirds the U.S. population and buying power. It’s also the only U.S. state with three major air cargo hubs (operated by UPS, DHL and the most recent addition, Amazon). These hubs give businesses in the state top-notch access to markets, enabling them to ship products virtually anywhere in the world overnight.

Manufacturers’ commitment to investing and creating jobs in Kentucky has remained strong, even throughout the economic uncertainty prompted by COVID-19. Since Gov. Beshear took office in December, manufacturers have announced roughly $1.2 billion of planned investment expected to create nearly 4,000 full-time, Kentucky-resident jobs across the coming years.

As Kentucky works to build back stronger than ever in a post-COVID-19 world, manufacturing will remain a lynchpin in the state’s economy, and leaders understand the importance of laying the groundwork for progress.

A number of initiatives are in place to create pipelines of trained, skilled individuals to fill Kentucky’s advanced manufacturing jobs of the future. Among them is the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME), a partnership with regional manufacturers to provide apprenticeship-style training for students while preparing them for well-paying careers with the state’s producers.

Additionally, Kentucky has over 330 available industrial sites, 16 of which are certified Build-Ready while over 200 are Shovel-Ready. The state also currently has 362 buildings available: 252 industrial buildings, 120 office buildings and 32 retail spaces. To promote Kentucky’s available sites and buildings and attract new development, the state recently revamped its site selection platform,, which now allows visitors to compare and assess properties, workforce information and communities, plus much more. [This section was written by David Hamilton.]


Advanced manufacturing comes in all shapes and sizes. Nowhere is that more apparent than in southern Indiana, where opportunity abounds for the manufacturing sector.

“More than 30 percent of our workforce is employed in manufacturing, so advanced manufacturing certainly is key for our county and region, as well as the state of Indiana in general,” said Jim Plump, Executive Director of the Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. (JCIDC).

Over the last 25 years, industrial growth from both international and domestic companies has boomed, local officials say, from automotive suppliers to pharmaceuticals, plastic injection molding, agricultural equipment and food processing.

Nearby Jennings County tells the same story.

“Jennings County is home to many diverse small and large employers,” said Kathy Ertel, Executive Director, Jennings County Economic Development Commission. “This year, we’re celebrating 30 years of supporting economic growth and prosperity with a focus on building upon the strong relationships within the community and neighboring communities. Workforce/talent does not recognize county lines and we are striving to develop regional collaborations to support our companies’ strategic growth plans.”

The two counties sit in what’s known locally as the golden triangle—an hour’s drive from the Midwest transit hubs of Indianapolis; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky with access to some of the largest shipping, logistics, grocery, appliance and consumer packaged goods companies in the world.

Local electric utility providers are leading the charge to get the word out on just how well positioned their communities are for industrial growth. One local electric cooperative, Jackson County REMC, is working with Hoosier Energy, the REMC’s generation and transmission provider, to proactively identify greenfield sites ideally suited for industrial expansion. Hoosier Energy, whose 18-member electric cooperatives serve 59 counties in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois, partnered with Verisite (a Ginovus,

Plaka + Associates and Veridus Group partnership) to conduct an in-depth site readiness analysis of 10 greenfield sites within Southern Indiana’s golden triangle. Evaluation criteria center on community readiness as well as classic prerequisites such as minimum acreage, zoning status, availability, land cost, proximity to transportation and a robust utility infrastructure.

For Jackson County REMC, the deep dive comes at an opportune time. While most of the manufacturing in Jackson County centers on automotive, injection molding, sawmills and large-scale egg farm production, the area is poised to welcome additional industrial development, said Mark McKinney, CEO of Jackson County REMC.

“That’s why this project is so important. Taking a deep dive to identify sites that might not be on a site selector’s radar helps us show what we have to offer,” McKinney said.

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Pleasant Grove Substation provides reliable power to advanced manufacturers in Jackson County. (Photo: Jackson County REMC)

“We’re identifying sites that are within a geographic region with excellent opportunities. They are well located, well priced, with ample utility capacity in communities prepared to respond to a project’s potential,” said Leslie Wagner, Senior Principal at Ginovus a national site selection firm.

The top three sit in McKinney’s 1,400-square-mile service territory.

One of the area’s strongest attributes, McKinney says, will be its 2,000-mile fiber optic network, which will be completed in 2021. “The pandemic really exposed the digital divide in rural America,” McKinney noted. “While we provide cost competitive and reliable electric service, what makes us unique is that we have a robust fiber optic network within our electric service territory. We can easily accommodate a broadband connection. A high-tech industry will not have to worry about access to the internet, the speeds or redundancy.”

Neither would their workers. “If a company located to our area, their employees living here would have access to 1 gigabyte per second broadband speeds over a fiber optic connection through our fiber-to-home project,” he added.

Hoosier Energy’s at-cost service, in turn, helps members such as Jackson County REMC maintain a competitive advantage, says Jeremy Sowders, Economic Development Manager. An economic development rider (EDR) offers significant discounts on an industrial consumer’s electric bill for the first six years of a project, he said. Hoosier Energy offers a market-based rate for large projects—20 megawatts or more. Additionally, the generation and transmission cooperative offers renewable energy options to help companies meet their renewable energy and carbon reduction goals through renewable energy credits (RECs). Other renewable options include co-op built and owned projects on or off-site, or project analysis for self-built projects and carbon calculations.

This market-driven strategy in partnership with its members and local communities has resulted in more than $8.25 billion in new investments in the last two decades alone, Sowders said, creating more than 34,000 new jobs since 2000.

Such commitment to community is one of the most differentiating factors that separates the Southern Indiana sites from others, said Courtney Zaugg, Plaka + Associates Founder.

“Taking a proactive deep dive with a holistic view—looking at a project from the engineering perspective—is essential. But it’s community readiness and dedicated resources that get a project over the finish line,” she said.

[This section was written by Mary Lynn Beaver.]


With a strong economic base in manufacturing, Oswego County is equipped with modern industrial infrastructure, including heavy power and gas. Coupled with plentiful water and wastewater options, this infrastructure provides flexibility for light- to heavy-industrial uses.

Oswego County also has Greenfield sites available that are ready to build on. Within the county’s industrial parks, all sites have utilities and other necessary infrastructure in place. Select sites within the industrial parks have had comprehensive site profiles performed. These profiles expedite the selection process by eliminating much of the due diligence work for the potential purchaser.

Oswego County has many options for multimodal transport of raw materials, parts and products. The various combinations of transport are ideal for materials import and product export.

As a designated Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), Oswego County is designed for the convenient and cost effective production of goods.

Oswego County offers convenient access to Interstates 81 and 90 which provide north/south and east/west movement. Over 25 carriers provide both local and long-distance trucking to and from Oswego County. Connecting lines enable transport to every major U.S. market. Local carriers provide transloading from truck to rail and offer myriad warehouse storage options, including dry, climate controlled and frozen.

The Port of Oswego, a deep-water port on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, provides a major logistical advantage to industry in Oswego County and the Central New York region. As the first port of call and hub in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, it is part of over 2,300 miles of water transportation from Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean. The Port of Oswego provides on-dock rail and truck loading, making for a smooth transition of goods to market. Recent upgrades to the Port’s security system allow the Port to handle high-security shipments. Future expansion includes the development of an inland port.

CSX offers daily rail transportation to Oswego County. Rail service is available throughout the County, with direct access at several sites and industrial parks. With a nearby regional switching yard, CSX provides access to more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, plus 70 ocean, lake and river ports. Coupled with nationwide transloading and warehousing, CSX makes rail a very viable transportation option for Oswego County businesses.

Syracuse Hancock International Airport is within minutes of Oswego County. In addition to worldwide passenger transport, Hancock has facilities for air freight transport, which includes a 53,000-square-foot cargo building. The Oswego County Airport boasts two 5,200-foot paved runways ideal for business, industry and private aviation.

Oswego County, NY
HealthWay workers assembling filtration units in Oswego County, NY. (Photo: Oswego County)

All of these advantages have contributed to the attraction and growth of small to large manufacturers alike. Multiple manufacturing companies have invested in Oswego County over the past several years. Two of the most recent projects, presented below, represent an investment of over $12 million and the creation of over 125 new jobs.

EJ USA, a global manufacturer of construction castings and other infrastructure products, recently built a brand new 71,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Oswego County. The new facility represents an investment of over $9 million and 90 new jobs in the county. The facility will act as their Northeast U.S. hub of operations.

HealthWay, a global manufacturer of residential and industrial air filtration systems, is growing rapidly. They are adding over 30,000 square feet across their facilities in Pulaski, NY. The expansion represents an over $2.8 million investment and will create 40 new jobs.

Despite the challenges manufacturers have recently faced, including rising tariffs and the pandemic, Oswego County manufacturers have forged ahead with tenacity and creativity. Combining that unshakable mindset with a skilled workforce, collaborative support system and modern infrastructure, Oswego County provides major competitive advantages for the manufacturing industry.


Palm Beach County is the gateway to delivering high tech innovation to the world—from a wonderful place to call home. It is at the forefront of producing high tech products—and has been since the IBM Personal Computer was created here in Boca Raton. It is home to diverse industries that produce everything from sophisticated aviation and marine components, to biomedical devices and pharmaceuticals, IT hardware and software, food and beverages and much more.

In fact, just during the month of August, Amazon announced a new one million-square-foot facility in Palm Beach County, which will include cutting-edge technologies to distribute large products. Another tech giant, ADT, headquartered in Boca Raton, unveiled a new partnership with Google to create the next generation of smart home security solutions.

Palm Beach Gardens
The Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens serves as the world headquarters for Carrier, the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration giant. (Photo: Enterprise Florida)

Manufacturing, infotech, aviation, aerospace and engineering are all sectors that have a large presence in Palm Beach County. Thanks in part to pro-business policies, strong workforce and trade infrastructure, Palm Beach County’s top industries fall within the high-tech category.

Palm Beach County is home to some of the world’s largest cell tower companies all located within miles from each other in Boca Raton. This demonstrates the deep roots of technology manufactured throughout the County.

Palm Beach County also is a recognized national leader in Aviation/Aerospace/ Engineering (A/A/E) with the titans of the aviation industry located here, including Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, Sikorsky, Northrop Grumman and more.

Other well-known companies that call Palm Beach County home include Florida Crystals, Florida Power & Light, G4S Secure Solutions, Modernizing Medicine, SBA Communications, GeoGlobal Partners, Solartech Universal, SV Microwave, Tellus Products, Wafer World and so much more.

Aerojet Rocketdyne in West Palm Beach employs approximately 500 people, building high-performance rocket engines and advanced high-mach-number propulsion for a variety of government and industry customers. Another global leader located here is SV Microwave, which designs and manufactures RF connectors, cable assemblies and passive components for U.S. and international customers.

The Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens serves as the world headquarters for Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies for people and the planet. The Center for Intelligent Buildings meets the highest standards for green design and operation. It was the first commercial building in Florida to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum V4 certification. Carrier is among Florida’s largest publicly traded companies, based on revenue, and has around 53,000 global employees.

Palm Beach County is the only place in the world where a Max Planck Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, the world’s top two research institutions according to Nature Index, reside together on Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Jupiter campus. Also on the campus is FAU’s Brain Institute, which is a Nikon Center of Excellence, offering a large collection of microscopy resources. Together, these partnerships have created cures and manufactured world-changing technologies.

NextEra Energy, headquartered in Juno Beach, is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy. It’s been ranked in the top 20 for innovation in the world and has about $55 billion in new infrastructure investments planned through 2022 across America. The company’s principal subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, is the largest energy company in the nation and recently launched 35 Mules, a program to help launch innovative startups on site at FPL’s headquarters.

Florida Crystals, a vertically integrated agricultural company headquartered in Belle Glade, has a state-of-the-art complex that is among the largest specialty sugar facilities in the world. The mill is powered by renewable energy and doesn’t rely on public systems for its water supply or treatment.

By locating to Palm Beach County, companies gain access to the entire South Florida Region, including 6.5 million potential consumers, a labor force of 3.1 million people, three international airports, three seaports, 2,000 daily direct flights, 375,000 higher education students and 809,000 k-12 students.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB), Palm Beach County’s official economic development organization, works closely with these companies to ensure they thrive and have the resources needed to continue growing.

In fact, since October 2019, the Business Development Board has facilitated 23 corporate relocations and expansions, which created 2,487 high salary jobs, occupying 1.6 million square feet of space, and a capital investment of $126.3 million.


The City of Vacaville has developed a new Advanced Manufacturing Initiative to attract more manufacturers. It has beefed up economic development staff; streamlined the approval process; and is working with elected officials to develop incentives to encourage investment in the community.

Vacaville has been under the radar for a while now. A quiet, best-kept secret, slowly building a strong base of companies and preparing the next-generation workforce to become the next major advanced manufacturing hub in the United States.

And we’re ready for growth.

Vacaville’s been busy getting a multitude of manufacturing facilities ready for you to occupy, while at the same time getting over 1.6 million square feet of future space entitled and ready to build.

Vacaville is centrally located in Northern California, a short drive from the Central Bay Area, Silicon Valley and the state capital in Sacramento. With exceptional proximity to the Napa Valley Wine Country, Lake Berryessa and Tahoe, and the lowest land and housing cost in the Bay Area, Vacaville provides a unique business environment and a quality of life that’s the envy of many communities.

Vacaville’s location means it’s a few miles away from some of the most influential educational institutions in the United States. UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Stanford are close by, and in the City’s own backyard, Solano College offers an Advanced Manufacturing curriculum. Together these institutions are producing the engineers, technicians and production workforce you need.

And while Vacaville is growing—over 100,000 people call the City home—it’s managed to keep that small-town feel and charm that makes it unique in so many ways. A variety of restaurants fill the downtown area and a multitude of shopping choices, both specialty and outlets, are available. When you’re not working, there’s hiking, rock climbing, biking and more within Vacaville; any number of outdoor activities are just a short drive away.

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