By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2022 Issue
Business Facilities: Please tell us about Abilene and what the city offers to business.
Misty Mayo: While Abilene has a population of 126,518, we are the hub city to a 19-county region with a skilled labor shed of over 140,000 and a retail trade area of over 300,000. We are strategically located in the south-central United States directly on I-20 and just two and half hours from the Dallas/Fort Worth metro. As far as our workforce, landscape, and the diverse array of companies Abilene boasts, we are a premier location for business expansion.
Additionally, Abilene has three universities, a technical college, a community college, and a health sciences center to support the future needs of our businesses. We are also home to Dyess Air Force Base, one of the city’s largest employers, which brings a diverse veteran workforce population to our community.
BF: What is a recent notable relocation or expansion project in Abilene?
MM: 2021 and 2022 proved to be historic for our community, including the attraction of the largest projects in terms of capital investment in the Development Corporation of Abilene’s 33-year history. Last year, Great Lakes Cheese broke ground on its $184.5 million cheese packaging and distribution plant. The 286,500 square foot state-of-the-art facility will create over 500 jobs and is estimated to provide a $3.48 billion economic impact for Abilene and Texas over the next 10 years. Great Lakes Cheese’s generational commitment to Abilene will make a transformational impact on our community for years.
Another monumental project was Lancium, an energy technology and infrastructure company. (See sidebar.) Their $2.4 billion project will develop an 800-acre data center campus. Company leaders attributed Abilene’s ideal location, proximity to abundant wind and solar generation, and its high-quality workforce as just a few of the reasons they chose our community for their Clean Compute Campus.
These expansion projects are one of many examples of the opportunities the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) is tasked to find and win for our community. I am always honored to explain how each project will positively impact the families of the Abilene community for generations to come.
BF: Tell us about an incentive or program that’s having an impact.
MM: As the economic development driver of Abilene, our mission is to lead economic growth by attracting and sustaining industries that support job creation, foster strong business, and ensure a prosperous community. We have core goals that drive our mission, of which business retention and expansion and workforce development are two critical goals.
Our commitment to our existing companies is why we developed a customized Business Retention and Expansion program designed to ensure Abilene’s existing companies continue to connect, grow, and prosper here. We work to create a culture that engages existing targeted-industry business as the catalyst for sustain and growing Abilene’s economic base.
To support our current and prospective businesses and grow the local workforce organically, we focus on implementing innovative workforce initiatives to support our Type A companies. The Development Corporation of Abilene has created a Manufacturing Certification that will be facilitated through Texas State Technical College, Hardin-Simmons University, and the Texas Manufacturers Assistance Center. This custom curriculum will be available to our local Type A employers to develop qualified, trained workers to fill their manufacturing jobs. Our pipeline of powerful professionals will continue to grow as interested workers can be trained at no cost to them while working.
BF: What does the future hold? What else should readers know about Abilene, TX? What should they know about the Development Corporation of Abilene?
MM: I believe the future is bright for Abilene. We are aggressively working to attract and retain companies in the Abilene region that have shared qualities and common goals for our community and workforce development. For example, we partnered with Great Lakes Cheese to help design a custom curriculum through the Development Corporation of Abilene’s Manufacturing Certificate, so graduating high school students can qualify for employment immediately while continuing their training.
The net we are casting is global in reach as we continue to spread the word about what makes Abilene the premier location for business expansion. Globalization and targeting emerging technologies are top priorities. Ultimately, we want companies to come to Abilene and benefit from the qualities that make our community a wonderful place to live, learn, work, and prosper.
Lancium Breaks Ground
Earlier this month, Houston-based Lancium held a groundbreaking celebration for its flagship Clean Compute Campus in Abilene, TX. The energy technology and infrastructure company expects to invest around $2.4 billion to build a large scale, renewable energy powered data center campus on approximately 800 acres in the City of Abilene and Taylor County. The goal is to balance the state’s energy grid and encourage development of renewable power. The project, the largest in Abilene and Taylor County history, will begin at 200 megawatts with an expansion capacity to over a 1 gigawatt.
“We are very proud to be part of the community and build one of our flagship Clean Campuses in Abilene,” said Michael McNamara, Co-founder and CEO of Lancium. “We chose Abilene for our second Clean Campus because of its ideal location, proximity to abundant wind and solar generation, high-quality workforce and the opportunities to grow in the future. We want to thank the city, county and all of the members of the economic development team that worked together to help make this significant milestone possible.”
Lancium is a leader in green, low-cost infrastructure whose solutions help ensure that renewable energy can power the future. The company uses its proprietary Smart Response™ software to enable the campus to act as a “Controllable Load Resource,” which allows the grid to absorb more renewable energy. This Clean Compute Campus is expected to solidify the region as a major provider of renewable energy, while simultaneously hosting Bitcoin mining and other energy-intensive applications. It will initially contain approximately 100,000 square feet of industrial electric services equipment and data servers.
Each and every day, the Development Corporation of Abilene is focused on creating the Abilene of the future. As Texas experiences major growth, I am confident that the strong culture and commitment of this community will continue to shine brightly to companies who look to call Abilene home.