Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Communities differ in use of economic development incentives to attract companies

By: Ryan Schuster, Prairie Business Magazine

Nationwide the use of incentives is intensifying, sweetening the pot for companies looking for prospective sites to house operations ranging from manufacturing to customer service and back office support. Many communities and states have upped the ante to win the economic development sweepstakes at all costs. While most cities in the region have been fairly conservative, some mostly smaller communities have been more aggressive in attempts to lure factories, jobs and increased tax revenue. More here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

E-Mail is Marketing Channel of Choice

E-mail remains the marketing channel of choice for many companies.

According to Forrester Research's “U.S. Email Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014,” published in June, 66% of 286 U.S. e-mail marketers surveyed in the JupiterResearch/ClickZ E-Mail Marketing Executive Survey agreed that e-mail is the most cost-effective marketing tool at their company.

Marketers said they enjoy an ROI that is two to three times higher with e-mail than with any other form of direct marketing, according to the Forrester report. Not surprising, e-mail spending is forecast to grow at a 10.8% compound annual growth rate from 2009 to 2014, the report found.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Report to help city sharpen focus

The Wichita Eagle

Which industries should Wichita try to recruit and how can it get them?

Answering those questions will be at the heart of a consultant's report the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition has commissioned.

The coalition has hired Site Selection Group of Dallas. The study likely will cost about $70,000, plus travel expenses, said coalition president Vicki Pratt Gerbino.

The coalition will use funds already supplied by the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

The study comes five years after a similar study by Whittaker Associates.

King White, president of Site Selection Group, said competitive communities need to hone their approach regularly.

Some suggestions in the Whittaker report, such as chasing automobile parts plants, are no longer viable. New industries, such as alternative energy, weren't even mentioned.

"Most of these studies are done every three to five years, and five is on the outside, so you're definitely due," White said. "With all the changes that are occurring in the economic conditions and the global marketplace, you need to do this sooner rather than later."

Gerbino said the new study would take a fresh look at:

* Wichita's assets and liabilities in attracting companies

* Which industries it makes sense to pursue

* How best to pursue them

* Which companies to contact

She said she hopes to gain insight into the underlying issue of how some communities move away from dependence on one industry, while other communities never do.

She said North Carolina and South Carolina have been able to diversify away from the textile industry into a wide range of well-paying sectors.

But states such as Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are now suffering deeply because of their dependence on the auto industry, despite attempts to diversify.

Gerbino particularly liked that Site Selection Group spends most of its time advising companies on where to move factories and other facilities.

This study will allow the coalition to chase the right projects more effectively for Wichita's long-term future, said Lyndon Wells, the coalition's board chairman.

"This allows us to take more of a rifle-shot approach," he said.

Clean-energy jobs touch off bidding wars between states

By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

When Arizona economic development officials look across their state, they envision the Saudi Arabia of solar.

The state has sun, land, workers and proximity to California, the biggest solar market in the U.S.

Yet for years, Arizona has failed to attract the big solar manufacturers that build the mirrors, panels and other components for solar equipment. In the past three years, about 50 renewable-energy companies considered Arizona but opted to put plants — and jobs — in other states, says Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

"We've lost every one of the projects to incentives offered by other states," Broome says.

Arizona hopes to improve its odds in what's become a pitched battle among states to nab renewable-energy companies, including those in the solar, wind and biomass sectors. Come January, Arizona will have $350 million in new incentives at its disposal to woo renewable-energy firms.

Renewable energy has emerged as the new frontier in economic development in the U.S. And states, such as Arizona, are rolling out tax breaks, job training and cash to try to capture a piece of the action and the job growth it promises.

"This is definitely the industry of the year from an economic-development standpoint," says William Becker, CEO of Incentives Advisors, which helps firms access and manage state incentives. "I've never seen such a rapid increase in the number of state programs for one industry."

The fervor is driven by expectations of increasing demand for renewable energy. States, especially California, are extending big incentives to consumers and businesses to go green. Two dozen states require electricity providers to supply more power from renewables, and a handful of other states have set renewable goals. Meanwhile, billions of dollars in venture capital is going to so-called clean-tech start-ups in everything from alternative fuels to energy storage and generation. The federal government has also dedicated more than $100 billion to the clean-tech industry via grants, loan guarantees and other incentives, says consulting firm Ernst & Young.

The payout is jobs. The Obama administration estimates that jobs in energy and environmental-related occupations will grow 52% from 2000 through 2016 vs. 14% for other occupations.

An even bigger economic payout comes when one new plant or industry attracts others. Spain's Gamesa opened its first wind-turbine plant in Pennsylvania in 2006. Forty companies in the state now make wind industry products, says John Hanger, secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Protection. Five years ago, "There were next to none," he says.

'Like going after Google'

The competition for clean-tech jobs has pitted neighbor against neighbor. "All of the states are competing, and some are out ahead of others," says Shawn Lesser, industry consultant at Sustainable World Capital.

Arizona's Broome need only look next door to New Mexico to see the new giant solar manufacturer, Schott Solar, that he wanted. In July, Schott closed a 225-employee plant in Massachusetts to streamline its manufacturing given the new New Mexico plant. Earlier this year, New York lured a future manufacturing plant and the corporate headquarters of SpectraWatt, a solar-cell maker, from Oregon.

Texas, which gave power-storage company Xtreme Power $2 million in seed money in 2007, stands to lose the bulk of Xtreme's future manufacturing to Michigan. There, the 100-employee Xtreme and a business partner are positioned for more than $100 million in state tax incentives to manufacture in a former Ford Motor plant — assuming federal incentives and private capital can also be raised.

"We pay more for these types of companies than we pay for anything else right now," says Adam Tkaczuk, industry specialist for New York state's Empire State Development. "It's like going after Google."

To lure Xtreme, Michigan lawmakers dropped the bar on how many jobs the project needed to create to get all the incentives. Initially, 2,000 jobs — 500 each year for four years — was the mark. That dropped later to 500 total. One factor in the change? Other states bidding for the venture had been "far more liberal," says Phil Horlock, CEO of Ford Motor Land Development, which is selling the land.

Xtreme's CEO, Carlos Coe, says he's confident the project will create more than 2,000 jobs. Yet Xtreme didn't want to take the risk of having to repay the state if it fell short. At the 500-job mark, that risk is minimal. "We didn't want to risk having to owe the state," Coe says. "That's not a good way to run a business."

States are using more than money to lure companies.

In Massachusetts, legislation is pending to streamline the process to site and permit wind-power developments. In 2008, New Mexico landed solar component maker Schott with an incentive package worth about $130 million. Building inspectors also were dedicated to the plant so that construction never had to wait for inspections, says Gerald Fine, CEO of Schott North America. That helped Schott get the plant running in less than a year — at least six months faster than normal, Fine says.

"When you're in a growth industry, that's what you want," he says. Schott employs 300 at the plant with expectations of up to 1,500 jobs.

Tennessee recently landed two production plants worth $1 billion from Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie. Part of the state's sales pitch? It'll offset the cost of any future tax on carbon emissions for clean-energy companies.

The threat of a potential tax was the state's "biggest obstacle" to attract the companies, says Matt Kisber of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Hemlock CEO Rick Doornbos says his main goal was to assure a low cost structure so that Hemlock can compete years from now with global rivals, including those in China.

Jobs don't always materialize

Many states require companies to produce a certain number of jobs over a certain time to get incentives. Some also require that the jobs pay a certain rate.

To be eligible for Arizona's new income tax credit, firms must pay at least 51% of their new full-time employees at least 125% of the median income in Arizona.

Last year, Oregon beefed up requirements for renewable-energy companies receiving a 50% tax credit to offset capital costs. The credits can be cut or denied if enough jobs don't materialize.

In the past, the state sometimes lost the value of its credits if a company closed its plant quickly, says Michael Grainey, renewable-energy adviser for the Oregon Business Development Department. "This is as close as we can get to a guarantee that the state gets a benefit," he says.

The cost of failed incentives runs high. In Michigan, just one-third of the jobs promised by companies getting state business-tax breaks from 1995 to the end of 2004 ever materialized, says a new study from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.

The recession and other market forces have already spurred layoffs in the sector. Wind turbine maker Gamesa employs 850 in Pennsylvania, down from about 1,200 a year ago, spokesman Michael Peck says. To comply with its state package, Gamesa committed to create 1,200 jobs by 2012, which it still expects to do, Peck says.

Even with the layoffs, Peck says Gamesa's investment has "exceeded all expectations."

That won't always be the case, says Steve Voeller, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, a lobbying group. He expects many failures in the renewable-energy sector.

Instead of lowering taxes for one industry, states should cut taxes for all to increase their competitiveness, he says.

"Lawmakers are in no position to decide what's the next great industry," Voeller says. "There's a reason that the renewable-energy industry requires a lot of subsidies. It's not competitive."

Economic development officials counter that there's little choice but to offer incentives if other states do. Last year, Pennsylvania set up a $650 million fund to compete for renewable-energy development, Pennsylvania's Hanger says.

"Within 10 or 20 years, there'll be hundreds of thousands of people making solar equipment. The only question is where," Hanger says. "You either get in the game or go to a beach and watch the world go by."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Are Economic Developers Using Social Media?

By Jessica Tuquero

With its increasing influence among the general population, social media has grown past its reputation as entertainment for college students to become a valuable tool for businesses to effectively communicate and exchange information.

As a result, we’ve seen an increasing interest in social media among economic development professionals. And while this year revealed more organizations using social networking sites than ever before, many wonder how their peers are managing the rapidly changing tool.

IEDC and Development Counsellors International (DCI) partnered earlier this month to survey economic development organizations on their use of social media. A total of 307 IEDC members answered the survey, with 57 percent responding that they currently use social media in their communication efforts. Of this group, the majority are new to the game, with 63 percent reporting that they have been using social media for less than a year.

We have detailed four key findings from the survey below. For the purpose of this study, social media is defined as “online tools that allow groups of people to interact with one another by exchanging content, opinions and insight.”

1. Economic developers favor using social media internally – communicating within their own region or within their own organization – rather than externally with a national/international audience.

While social media breaks geographic barriers of communication, most organizations choose to target key regional allies such as local businesses, public leaders, colleges/universities and local media.

The most common information shared when communicating regionally includes:

1. organizational news (28 percent),
2. business development projects (21 percent), and
3. information on programs that support local businesses (19 percent).

When done well, a strong online community is built, and the organization is in continuing dialogue with its regional allies.

2. LinkedIn is considered the most valuable tool in economic development marketing.

LinkedIn—a professional networking site with 45 million users from over 150 different industries—rated the highest in value when communicating with individuals both within an organization’s region (33 percent) and outside of the region (40 percent). (IEDC has an active LinkedIn group, if you haven’t joined yet.)

The site allows users to communicate directly with their target markets with the understanding that the interaction is for professional reasons. Heavy involvement in group chat threads, industry-specific Q&A forums and profile applications help raise a region’s profile.

Facebook came in second in value, with 30 percent of the respondents seeing it as valuable for communicating on the regional level, and 23 percent seeing the site as valuable to communicate on a national/international level.

3. Social media is expected to become a major component in future marketing plans.

When asked to rate the importance of social media within their current marketing plan on a 1-to-5 scale (1 = “least important”; 5 = “most important”), less than 20 percent of those surveyed rated social media as a “4” or “5.” But when asked, “How important will it become in the next three years?,” over 50 percent of those surveyed selected “4” or “5.”

4. Role models are emerging.

While social media is a relatively new marketing tactic, there are organizations that are embracing it and using the online tools at an advanced level.

When asked, “Which economic development organizations do you find use social media most effectively?,” multiple respondents cited the following four examples:

• Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce (
• Indy Partnership (
• Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (
• Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (

Interested in learning more? Visit and click on the “IEDC-DCI Release Social Media Survey” banner at the top of the homepage to download a copy of “A Snapshot of the ED Profession’s Growing Embrace of Social Media.”

Jessica Tuquero is Account Supervisor of Development Counsellors International (DCI), a firm that specializes in economic development and tourism marketing.

Hummer buyer says it likely will locate headquarters in southeast Michigan near Detroit

Associated Press

09/22/09 5:00 PM EDT DETROIT — The Chinese company that's in the running to buy Hummer from General Motors Co. likely will locate the brand's corporate headquarters near Detroit, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Nick Richards says Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp., which is still negotiating to buy the brand, initially will employ about 100 people at the headquarters with plans to grow that to 300.

The headquarters would house global design, engineering, product planning, purchasing, sales, service, marketing and financing, Richards said. The company plans to invest $9.4 million over five years, he said.

The Michigan Economic Development Authority on Monday approved a $20.6 million state tax credit over 10 years to lure the company to Michigan. According to a memo filed with the authority, Hummer is considering sites in Detroit and suburban Auburn Hills, both of which have indicated they would grant tax abatements. Hummer also considered sites in South Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee.

The tax credit is contingent on Sichuan Tengzhong closing the deal for Hummer with GM, although the memo says all definitive documents for the sale have been signed by GM and Sichuan Tengzhong.

The memo says the Hummer headquarters also would create another 641 jobs with other companies and generate $36.6 million in additional revenue for the state, excluding the tax break costs.

The company will decide on the headquarters' location by Oct. 31, the memo says.

The Hummer brand features large off-road vehicles that initially were developed for military use. GM wants to sell the brand because it loses money, but Hummer has a highly rated dealership network that Sichuan Tengzhong may be after.

Sichuan Tengzhong is a little-known Chinese truck and industrial equipment maker. The sale could still be blocked by Chinese regulators who are questioning its wisdom.

Tengzhong's CEO, Yang Yi, has said the company will maintain Hummer's headquarters and operations in the U.S., while investing in research and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Tengzhong is likely benefiting from heavy stimulus spending on construction projects in China and from rebuilding after last year's earthquake in Sichuan, given the company's specialization in construction equipment and heavy trucks.

Tengzhong earlier said it broke ground on a 3.5 billion yuan ($500 million) factory to make oil field equipment.

Sichuan Tengzhong spokesman Tim Payne said negotiations are still under way to close the deal with GM.

"We're confident we'll get there one day. These things take some time," Payne said from Beijing. "It's a deal in a complicated environment."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Effort launched to attract companies' headquarters to Greenville complex

Public, private push on to fill South Financial complex

By Rudolph Bell
Business writer

Everyone from state Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor to Greenville Mayor Knox White has signed on to a push to fill the corporate headquarters complex along Interstate 85 that The South Financial Group built then decided not to occupy.

Taylor visited the property, and the Upstate Alliance, the regional economic development organization, showed it to site consultants and real estate brokers. There’s also a Web site offering a virtual tour in case prospects can’t inspect the complex in person.

Veteran site consultant Jeannette Goldsmith of Greenville said communities that expect to win the intense competition for headquarters relocations must adopt a deliberate strategy and execute it with vigor.

“Companies aren’t just going to wake up one day and say, ‘You know, I really think we ought to move our headquarters to South Carolina.’ If that’s what we’re waiting on, it won’t happen,” Goldsmith said.

She pointed to Tennessee, which spent years courting Nissan before the Japanese carmaker decided to move its North American headquarters to Nashville from Los Angeles in 2005.

Goldsmith, who represented Nissan in the move, said Tennessee first identified the best prospects among the companies that were already doing business in the state and worked to strengthen its relationships with them. Those included Nissan because of its longtime plant in Smyrna, outside of Nashville.

Tennessee’s efforts also included a new incentive especially for recruiting headquarters – a credit against the corporate income tax that allows companies to recoup relocation expenses.

If South Carolina is making similar efforts, Goldsmith said she’s not aware of it.

South Carolina has a different kind of tax credit aimed at headquarters, but it’s “kind of confusing and not very useful,” she said. More here.

EDC 'gun' loaded: Projects in barrel, waiting for turn in U.S. economy

Managing Editor

The economic development gun is loaded with potential projects, a Wapakoneta business leader says, but site selection consultants and company executives are cautious to pull the trigger in light of current economic conditions.

Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) Executive Director Greg Myers, who recently attended a conference in Chicago as a member of the Dayton Development Coalition, said he hoped to gain valuable information and an advantage at the site consultant conference in Chicago, although WAEDC still continues to get leads from its site consulting firm ROI of Montreal.

“The consultants in Chicago said there are still projects that are being discussed and research being done, but very few are what they call ‘pulling the trigger on a project,’ actually saying they are going to purchase this piece of ground or this building and we are going to move forward right now,” Myers said. “It is like everybody is still very tentative as to what they may do in the future.”

The nation’s recession is likely causing executives to be cautious, although world-wide economic indicators are showing signs the recession is loosening its grip.

Seven members of the Dayton Development Coalition attended the conference and visited with executives from 12 firms. Members spent between an hour and 90 minutes.

Myers explained the benefits to them of the West Central Ohio Industrial Center, the Job Ready Sites industrial park.

With the economic climate, Myers said he believes executives are checking their prognostications and continuing to research potential project sites.

“I think they are looking more in-depth at what tax incentives are available and what type of tax reform has been done in the past few years,” Myers said. “We stressed how much Ohio has accomplished, noting of the seven Midwestern states that Ohio has the lowest corporate operating taxes now.

“We wanted them all to know that, we wanted them all to understand that and were factoring that into their matrix of which site provides the most benefit to the client,” he said.

The time spent with site consultants and executives in Chicago permitted Myers and others of the coalition to inquire how they could better assist them.

He said company representatives gave them a series of pointers, with their first two pieces of advice focused on the labor market. Site consultants and company executives wanted a list of human resource managers in the community so they could learn more about the employment patterns, quality of work force and the overall employment atmosphere.

They also sought names of staffing agencies they could contact about the local labor force.

WAEDC’s consulting firm ROI executives also continue to update Myers on businesses seeking sites, but their clients’ hesitancy matches those feelings shared by executives at the conference.

Myers said the majority of leads coming from ROI are from Europe whose “company executives are thinking about either establishing or expanding a U.S. presence, but they, too, are waiting to see what happens in the next six months to a year.”

Former Nebraskans say jobs would bring them back

By NATE JENKINS , 09.14.09, 11:41 AM EDT

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Luring former Nebraskans back to the state may not require slick ad campaigns or overcoming negative perceptions of nasty weather and the like.

It seems good jobs may trump all else, a recent study by Gallup suggests.

State officials say they are pleasantly surprised at how many former Nebraskans, especially younger ones, appear willing to move back to the state only if they could find a good job.

A little more than half of the 2,400 people interviewed as part of Gallup study said they would be willing to return to Nebraska for a good job.

"The truth is, for those people with a reasonable chance of moving back - including young people - there's really just one issue: Can they find a good job?" said Glenn Phelps, an expert on labor migration and job creation at Gallup.

State officials released a copy of the study to The Associated Press.

Gallup officials stress that the study was not a scientific survey with a representative sample of all Nebraskans who have moved from the state, and was only for internal use by state officials.

State officials say the survey also highlights the problem of a lack of one-stop job shopping for jobs available in Nebraska.

While there may be more job information at people's fingertips than ever, they say, it can be hard to know what Web sites to peruse, or who to call. Companies often pick one of the many ways that now exist to advertise jobs - from national job-search Web sites, to their own Web sites, to local newspapers.

"Too often now, you have to know what companies exist and then learn how that company advertises its job openings," said Dan Curran with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

"This isn't going to be easy," Curran said of compiling openings for a wide variety of jobs across the state into one or two Web sites. "How do you create an information portal and not put someone out?" like another job-search site in the state, he said.

The state hopes sometime this fall to have answers to help lure former residents home.

A marketing plan to draw people back to Nebraska is also expected to be crafted, and community groups will be encouraged to keep in touch with people after they leave Nebraska. The hope is that doing so will help encourage former Nebraskans to return.

"A lot of high-school information disappears with the senior class," Curran said. "But if that information is retained, you can keep a line of communication and let people know what opportunities are available."

One of the recommendations Gallup gave the state was that if people get help finding a job in Nebraska "all else can be managed."

The notion that non-work-related factors should be emphasized when trying to attract people, especially the younger crowd, has become popular among urban planners and economic-development officials in recent years.

Curran said the study is promising because it points to more clear-cut solution for the state as it competes against others that pour millions of dollars into ads touting "cool" features like mountain ranges.

"What the study tells us is you need to communicate that you have good jobs available all over the state," Curran said.

Risk-takers key to Asheville's revitalization

Randy Hammer

As Pat Whalen likes to tell it, there were more pigeons than people in downtown Asheville 20-25 years ago.

Today, it's hard to imagine that places like the Grove Arcade, Malaprop's Bookstore, The Laughing Seed Café and the Haywood Park Inn were boarded-up buildings.

Whalen, who runs the development company Public Interest Projects, says the right combination of entrepreneurs and opportunities came together in the late '80s and early '90s to create a downtown revival that has been celebrated by urban planners and municipal governments across the country.

Whalen is frequently invited to give PowerPoint presentations to business and development groups about the revitalization of Asheville. The slide that particularly grabs people's attention is the one from the Census Bureau showing that downtown grew by 65 percent between 1990 and 2000. Most cities our size grew by just 9 percent that decade.

Last week, the Citizen-Times ran an excellent series by reporter Mark Barrett that chronicled not only the revitalization of the '90s, but also the ups and downs of Asheville's economy since the 1920s.

He also showed how the heiress Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil had an entrepreneurial spirit. When she needed to raise some money a year after the stock market crash of 1929, she opened the Biltmore House and grounds to adults willing to pay $2 a visit. It worked. More than 40,000 people toured the estate. Today, about a million visit each year.

While our current economic struggles, as well as the bust in the 1920s, played out in cities across the country, the downtown revival that took place in the late 1980s and '90s was unique to Asheville.

Much of the credit for the turnaround that began 25 years ago belongs to Julian Price and Roger McGuire, who have since passed away. They had a vision of what a boarded-up Asheville could be and provided people like Whalen and developer Chuck Tessier the capital to buy and renovate some of the city's abandoned buildings and landmarks.

Then the entrepreneurs, the risk-takers, stepped in, and while there were still more pigeons than people on the sidewalks, opened downtown businesses. More here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kentucky: Future Bets Include Alternative Energy and Revamped Auto Manufacturing

Mali R. Schantz-Feld (Aug/Sep 09)

Kentucky’s large automotive sector — which includes Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and upwards of 400 auto industry suppliers — is steering the state around the nation’s economic speed bumps. Larry Hayes, Acting Secretary for Economic Development, says that the Bluegrass State’s future development plans combine production of current models with strategies for the car of the future, with an emphasis on clean energy sources provided by battery technology. A new national Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center is in the works in Lexington, funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and the Argonne National Laboratory.

General Electric (GE) is also is expanding in an energy-saving direction, with 400 new jobs in Louisville expected from the planned manufacturing of an environmentally friendly water heater (pictured, above); production is expected by 2011. “We chose Kentucky for the manufacturing of GE’s new hybrid electric water heater for a variety of reasons,” says Kim Freeman, public relations manager for GE Consumer and Industrial.

“We currently have a manufacturing facility in Kentucky, and the current work force is well trained and well qualified. In addition, Kentucky provided worker training assistance that will help us hire and train additional workers to make the product. Also, Kentucky and Louisville offered us a package of financial incentives that made it attractive to GE to manufacture the hybrid electric water heater in Kentucky.”

Northern Kentucky is home to more than 500 manufacturers in diverse sectors such as aerospace, machine tool, automotive, plastics, and the food industry. Dan Tobergte, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED), says the region is strategically focused on attracting advanced manufacturing, technology and life sciences, professional office, and aviation companies “Our efforts have been highly successful, with companies like Toyota’s North American Headquarters for Engineering & Manufacturing in Erlanger, Fidelity Investments choosing Covington for its Midwest campus, Lafarge’s largest drywall plant in the world in Campbell County, and Perot Systems housing a data center in Florence.”

Also in that part of the state, BlueStar, an international distributor of point-of-sale, RFID and automatic identification devices, relocated its global headquarters of to a 150,000-square-foot facility in Hebron. “Northern Kentucky is centrally located for our distribution and travel needs,” says Mark Fraker, the company’s vice president of marketing. “The work force here is well educated and trained and Northern Kentucky is a very affordable place to do business.” Hebron will also see new investment from Andrews Electronics, a provider of consumer electronic parts distribution and reverse logistics, which earlier this year announced a 73,500-square-foot operation.

Kentucky legislators have also reacted to the need to provide incentives for companies that may explore other states for better deals. Hayes says that the state legislature recently updated economic incentive programs to give greater flexibility to work with the existing manufacturing base. “Some of our greatest assets are in our existing industries,” he says. To help the state stay competitive and prevent relocations to other states, one part of the legislation amends the Kentucky Reinvestment Act to assist existing manufacturers making significant capital investments to retool their Kentucky facilities.

Dayton groups to open Israeli office

Dayton Business Journal

Dayton-area officials plan to launch an office in Haifa, Israel as a way to boost aerospace and high-tech development work in the Dayton region.

The city of Dayton, Montgomery County and the Dayton Development Coalition announced Wednesday they were teaming up to open the new office as they signed an economic development agreement with Haifa officials. A delegation from Haifa has been in town to mark the formal launch of the new relationship.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said $350,000 in private donations has been raised to staff a one-person office and Haifa officials plan to provide some in-kind support for office space. The Dayton delegate in Haifa will work to “marry” companies from Haifa and the Dayton region. A board will be seated to oversee the initiative and Foley expects the office to open by the start of 2010.

“Our goal is to give this thing three good years,” Foley said. “We think that having somebody on the ground in Israel, given what we know about all of the opportunities that are there, is a strategy that has great promise. Our communities have a lot in common, good way to help each other.”

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