Wednesday, January 14, 2015

VIEW FROM THE TOP: Doing Your Diligence – Foregoing Assumptions, by Courtney Dunbar

Economic Development Leader, Industrial Site Consulting Team
One of the hottest economic development trends right now involves site certification. Site certification involves identifying a list of diligence factors, assessing a site for assets and deficiencies, curing deficiencies, and then preparing the site to accommodate prospective users.

While site certification programs are helpful in quickly identifying site attributes, these programs were never intended to be all-encompassing. The programs just weren't designed to replace thoroughly assessing a site for suitability to specific, individual users. That responsibility resides with the site selector and the company to make the decision on the location for the business' new home. Site selection decisions are optimally made following a thorough site diligence investigation.

Why Diligence Matters
The average American will state that the largest capital investment they will make in their lifetime will be their homes. Now, if you own a home, consider all of the diligence you underwent in making the decision to purchase. You likely checked the school district, the transportation routes to areas of personal significance, the home's condition, the property's suitability, the property tax rates, and the proximity to services. Diligence matters.

Now, consider the site selection process for an industry. Company representatives are making multimillion- if not multibillion-dollar capital investments when they invest in a site. The products they produce require significant infrastructure support and capacity.

Labor matters. Roads matter. Rail matters. Zoning matters. Other analytical site preparedness items matter. Timeliness to market is paramount. An underestimation of a site's ability to serve specific industrial needs can result in catastrophic outcomes, including closures, layoffs, or worse. Diligence matters.

It is critical for companies to thoroughly perform the due diligence and planning of industrial sites as part of the location decision-making process. Companies simply cannot afford to take a risk on a "maybe this site can serve" or "we think we can obtain property control. Absolutely, without a doubt, risk avoidance in the form of site preparedness is crucial to site selection decisions.

No Shortcuts
Site selection has evolved considerably over the last few decades. As companies have become more efficient in their processes, the timelines for selecting new sites have become shorter. The shortened duration of time to vet sites under consideration can lead site selectors and company decision-makers toward a path of least resistance, creating an environment where important site attributes are missed prior to selecting the final site for development. This mistake can lead to costly development delays and missed opportunities. As many as 75 different site and community attributes may be needed to provide an in-depth analysis of a company's ability to function at optimum efficiency. Identifying the risk-to-development factors is not only wise, but also assists the site selector and company in playing the selection game intelligently.

Additionally, thorough site diligence provides site selectors and companies with the ability to save critical resources by limiting the amount of land purchased to the amount of land needed; the means to determine how their sites will serve their facilities and if the sites are zoned properly to protect them from adjacent users; as well as the ability to negotiate incentives that provide the most impact. Foregoing assumptions on site preparedness and practicing thorough site diligence is crucial to successful development.

Courtney Dunbar has 17+ years of combined career experiences in economic development and project funding. In her current role as economic development leader, she is actively engaged in industrial site planning, community planning, economic analysis, and identification of project funding options.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Good Economic News - Over 8,000 New Jobs!

Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, financial giant Wells Fargo will expand and add 83 workers.

In Boone County, Indiana, IT firm Smart IT will open and create 85 jobs. Congrats to economic developer and Brand Acceleration client Molly Whitehead on a job well done.

Food maker Archer Daniels Midland will open in Erlanger, Kentucky, creating 200 jobs.

In Sherman, Texas, Renew Blue Industries will open a recycling facility and hire 100 people.

In Laurens County, South Carolina, packaging products maker CCL Label DES will expand and create 98 jobs.

At three locations in Michigan, electric motor maker Brose New Boston, Inc. will expand and add 475 workers.

In Plantersville, Mississippi, furniture maker OptimComfort, Inc. will open and hire 70 people.

In Bluffton, Indiana, electric motor maker Bluffton Motor Works will expand and add 70 workers.

In Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Mid-Continent Nail Corporation will expand and create 91 jobs.

Transportation industry products maker Hubner Manufacturing Corporation will expand and hire 50 people in Charleston County, South Carolina.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Honeywell will expand and add 60 workers.

E-commerce provider Memory Ventures will open in Fishers, Indiana, creating 134 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Tim Gropp.

In Beloit, Wisconsin, Chicago Fittings will open and hire 20 people.

Tosaf USA, a maker of advanced polymers, will open in Gaston County, North Carolina, creating 75 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Donny Hicks.

In Venore, Tennessee, Yamaha Jet Boat Manufacturing USA, Inc. will expand and add 150 workers.

In Louden County, Virginia, medical device maker K2M Group Holdings, Inc. will expand and add 97 workers.

Limestone Quarrier Indiana Limestone Company will expand in Oolitic and Bloomington, Indiana, creating 75 jobs.

In Iowa, soybean processor Ag Processing, Inc. will expand and hire 20 workers.

In Calcasieu, Louisiana, Venture Global LNG will open a liquefied natural gas facility and hire 100 people.

In Putnam County, Indiana, Scorpion Protective Coatings, Inc. will expand and create 25 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Bill Dory.

Safety Training Services, Inc. a training firm, will expand in Lake County, Indiana, creating 16 jobs.

Packaging maker Sigma Packaging, LLC will expand in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, creating 43 jobs.

In Clinton, Tennessee, 3M Company will locate a facility and create 100 jobs.

In Columbus, Ohio, online retailer, will open a fulfillment center and hire 40 people.

Plastics maker Suburban Plastics will expand in Grenada, Mississippi, creating 60 jobs.

In Augusta County, Virginia, heat exchanger maker Provides Metalmeccanica SrL will open and hire 45 people.

Industrial contractor Reinicke Athens, Inc. will open in Laurens County, South Carolina, creating 30 jobs.

In Coldwater, Michigan, pork processing firm Clemens Food Group will open and hire 800 people.

Healthcare company Cardinal Health will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana, creating 85 jobs.

In Oxford, Mississippi, mortgage technology provider FNC, Inc. will open and hire 310 employees.

Machining company UPS Midstream will open in Jena, Louisiana, creating 95 jobs.

In Schuykill County, Pennsylvania, consulting firm TruBridge will open and hire 100 workers.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, insurance provider Conner Insurance, Inc. will expand and create 23 jobs.

In Greenwood County, South Carolina, wood pellet maker Portucel, SA will open and create 70 jobs.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, electronic heath record provider iSALUS will expand and add 136 employees.

Lear Corporation, an auto component supplier, will expand in Portage, Indiana, creating 96 jobs.

In Jackson, Tennessee, Orchid Orthopedic Solutions Alabama, LLC will expand and hire 35 people.

Coatings maker Mankiewicz Coatings, LLC will expand in Charleston, South Carolina, creating 15 jobs.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Iowa Brewing Company will open and hire 16 people.

Automotive supplier M-TEK will open in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, creating 100 jobs.

IT provider CloudBlue will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana, creating 50 jobs.

In Wake County, North Carolina, Overland Contracting, Inc., an engineering and construction firm, will open and hire 89 people.

At two locations in Michigan, robotic assembly line maker The Paslin Company will open in Harris County, Georgia, hiring 90 people.

In Fargo, North Dakota, business services provider Integreon will expand and hire 100 people.

Healthcare provider Edmedics LLC will expand in Louisville, Kentucky, creating 17 jobs.

In Spencer, Iowa, Simonsen Iron Works will open and hire 28 people.

Real estate firm Kite Realty Group will expand and hire 69 people in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Materials handling company Coperion Corporation will expand in Wythe County, Virginia, creating 22 jobs.

In Ponchtoula, Louisiana, Elmer Chocolate Manufacturing will expand and create 20 jobs.

Logistics services provider Hyundai Glovis Georgia will open in Harris County, Georgia, hiring 190 people.

Software provider Adminovate, Inc. will expand and create 81 jobs in Philadelphis, Pennsylvania.

In Bowling Green, Kentucky, brake maker Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake will open and hire 75 workers.

Mining equipment maker Deister Machine Company will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana, creating 110 jobs.

In Minden, Nebraska, Royal Engineered Composites will expand and hire 30 workers.

In Warsaw, Kentucky, pet food maker FreshChoice Complete Diet Products will open and hire 22 people.

Grain Processing Corporation, a maker of corn products, will expand in Washington, Indiana, creating 16 jobs.

In South Bend, Indiana, molded rubber products maker South Bend Modern Molding will expand and hire 80 people.

In Clark County, Indiana, NIBCO, Inc., a maker of valves and fittings, will expand and add 40 workers.

Retailer Target Corporation  will open a fulfillment center in Memphis, Tennessee, creating 400 jobs.

In Livonia, Michigan, insurance technology firm David Corporation will expand and hire 26 people.

Wood products maker Cox Industries, Inc. will expand and hire 60 people in Orangeburg County, South Carolina.

IT services provider Thomas Automation Management LLC will expand in Carroll County, Virginia, creating 15 jobs.

In Middlebury, Indiana, trailer maker Grand Design RV will expand and create 330 jobs.

Power distribution maker Universal Electric Corporation will expand in Washington County, Pennsylvania, creating 300 jobs.

Auto components maker Haring will open a facility in Hartwell, Georgia, creating 800 jobs.

Fresh produce distributor Castellini Group will open in Clayton County, Georgia, creating 300 jobs.

Kindred Healthcare will expand and hire 500 people in Louisville, Kentucky.

Total Jobs Announcements: 8,153

Jim Walton
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana:
Office: 317.536.6255
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service website development, marketing communications, branding, and public relations firm with a focus on economic and community development.

What Do You Do When Your Unemployment Rate is Very Low?

Workforce development may not be enough

By: Jim Walton
It’s New Year ’s Day, and as I sit alone in the early morning darkness, I can’t help but think about my many blessings. I’m also reminded of our military personnel who are away from their families during the holidays. They risk everything and we have so much.

Our nation faces many challenges. Foes from faraway places would like nothing more than to see this great nation stumble and fall. Fortunately, the energy and resilience of the American people, with our many liberties, are more influential than any opponent. Through the rugged determination and down-right stubbornness of company leaders and workers across this great nation, our economy is once again rising and generating jobs and prosperity for our people.

Who would have thought, two years ago, that we would be facing a skilled workforce shortage in 2015? Some call it a crisis, but current and prospective employers are shifting their gaze more toward the availability of workforce than just about any location qualifier.

As the economic recovery gathers momentum, some communities face a new challenge, a serious shortage of the most demanded skills. Some argue that there may not really be a shortage, that the real barrier to a qualified workforce may be the willingness of employers to pay higher wages. That’s nothing new, though. Basic capitalistic principles dictate that supply and demand will force wage adjustments.

The threshold, it appears, is at the 5% unemployment rate. Considering the widely-held belief that 4% of the traditional workforce doesn’t want to work, the remaining 1% leaves many communities unable to meet basic employer needs. If your community unemployment rate is near 5%, you may be “at or near capacity.”

A race to educate
As I travel the country, meeting with economic developers, community leaders, and educators, I’ve seen a rapid expansion in workforce development and training programs. Beginning in middle schools and high schools, and continuing in higher education facilities, educators are racing to train welders, CNC operators, warehouse workers, healthcare professionals, and others. Sadly, a few schools are still focusing on low-demand skills that were taught in the past, doing a significant disservice to students and the community. The more successful community colleges and other higher education institutions are those focused on skills demanded by existing and targeted industries.

Workforce attraction may be required
There are times, amazingly, when communities must launch a strategic campaign to attract the skilled workers needed to meet employer needs. We’ve seen a huge jump in such requests at the Brand Acceleration offices. Our approach is to clearly identify needs, along with area growth trends, and then craft a campaign to locate and communicate with prospective employees and residents. Since this is an area where precious resources could be wasted, we often partner with professionals who are experts in workforce trends.

One challenge with a workforce attraction campaign is that it could create an air of desperation that could be off-putting to target audiences. Our message strategists manage the delicate balance between employment and lifestyle messaging, creating an attractive community buzz.

If your area unemployment rate is nearing 5%, then we should talk. It’s better to explore activities now than to wait for a crisis situation when you realize your community cannot meet the basic needs of attrition, an expansion, or attraction project.

Best wishes for an amazing 2015,

Jim Walton
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana:
Office: 317.536.6255
Cell: 317.523.7380

Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and website development firm with a focus on community and economic development.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Good Economic News - Nearly 11,000 Jobs Announced!

Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have come our way in recent weeks.

In Jay County, Indiana, injection molder Carrera Manufacturing, Inc. will expand and add 102 workers. Congrats to economic developer Bill Bradley.

Agricultural products maker Monsanto Company will expand in Muscatine, Iowa, creating 51 jobs.

Professional and technology services provider Serco, Inc. will expand in Lawton, Oklahoma, creating 475 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Barry Albrecht on a job well done.

In Cabarrus County, North Carolina, Gordon Food Service will open a distribution center and hire 275 workers.

Auto parts maker LTC Roll & Engineering Co., Inc. will open an operation in St. Clair County, Michigan, creating 90 jobs.

Burkert Fluid Control Systems will expand in Huntersville, North Carolina, creating 61 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Ryan McDaniels.

In Ascension and St. Charles Parishes, Louisiana, Momentum Specialty Chemicals, Inc. will expand and create 140 jobs.

Oak Valley Hardwoods, Inc. will expand in Graham County, North Carolina, creating 114 jobs.

In Sanford, Florida, adhesive sealant maker Hernon Manufacturing will expand and add 20 workers.

Tire maker Bridgestone Americas, Inc. will open a new headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, creating 607 jobs.

In Fayette County, Pennsylvania, The Boeing Company will expand and create 168 jobs.

In Johnson County, Indiana, CNC machining provider CL Tech, Inc. will expand and add 30 workers. Congrats to economic developer Cheryl Morphew.

At the Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma, Linde Process Plants will expand and add 20 workers.

In Lake Mary, Florida, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas will open its headquarters and create 100 jobs.

In Atlanta, Georgia, Greenway Health, LLC, a health information provider, will open and create 150 jobs.

In Clarendon County, South Carolina, lift maker Peak Cord will open and create 59 jobs.

Steel maker Valbruna Slater Stainless, Inc. will expand in Adams County, Indiana, creating 45 jobs.

In Randolph County, North Carolina, plastic injection molder Technimark will expand and add 160 workers.

Dairy producer owned Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative will expand in Luana, Iowa, creating 10 jobs.

Mobile home builder Live Oak Homes will expand and create 200 jobs in Coffee County, Georgia.

In Clarksdale, Mississippi, bag maker Drumheller Packaging will expand and create 20 jobs.

Wire and cable maker Southwire Company will expand and hire 105 workers in Bremen, Indiana.

Audio products maker Harman International Industries is building a headquarters in Novi, Michigan, where it will employ up to 1,000 people.

Siligan Plastics will open a facility in Erie County, Pennsylvania, creating 30 jobs.

Auto components maker Linamar North Carolina, Inc. will expand in Buncombe County, North Carolina, adding 150 workers.

Mining company Romarco Minerals, Inc. will open in Lancaster County, South Carolina, adding 270 employees.

In Mentone, Indiana, crop service provider North Central Cooperative, Inc. will expand and create 15 jobs.

In Lewisburg, Tennessee, tank refurbisher Ditech Testing will open and hire 77 people.

In Bay County, Michigan, auto parts maker Mando America Corporation will expand and add 25 workers.

Original Footwear will open in Morristown, Tennessee, creating 182 jobs.

In Floyd County, Indiana, pool mmaker Chester Pool Systems, Inc. will expand and hire 21 workers.

In Keokuk, Iowa, biotech company VAMA will expand and add 45 workers.

In South Elgin, Illinois, food maker Fuji Food Products, Inc. will expand and create 110 jobs.

Oxford Pharmaceuticals, LLC will open in Birmingham, Alabama, creating 200 jobs.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, CTL Engineering of Indiana, Inc. will expand and hire 25 people.

IT services provider UNISYS will locate in Richmond County, Georgia, creating 52 jobs.

In Lenoir County, North Carolina, chemical maker DuPont will expand and hire 18 people.

In Saginaw County, Michigan, Fullerton Tool Company will expand and hire 58 people.

Glass maker Guardian Industries will expand in Galax, Virginia, creating 30 jobs.

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota drivetrain maker TEAM Industries will expand and hire 16 workers.

Healthcare services provider McKesson Medical-Surgical will expand and hire 225 people.

In Jefferson County, Indiana, vehicle lighting maker Grote Industries, LLC will expand and add 33 employees. Congrats to economic developer Nathan Hadley.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Printfly Corporatin, a provider of printing services, will open and create 53 jobs.

Auto component maker Fisher Dynamics will open a facility in Evansville, Indiana, creating 169 jobs.

Online retailer Inc. will open a facility in Illinois, creating 1,000 jobs.

In Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Nestle Waters North America will open a bottling facility and hire 40 people.

STEC USA, an auto component maker, will open a facility in Madison Heights, Michigan, creating 176 jobs.

Wire maker Zapp Precision Wire will expand in Summerville, South Carolina, adding 20 workers.

In Hickman, Kentucky, Riverine Fisheries International, LLC will open a processing operation and hire 110 people.

Rubber coated materials maker Wilverine Advanced Materials will expand and hire 93 people in Montgomery County, Virginia.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, data protection firm Code42 will open and hire 400 people.

In Laurens County, Georgia, die maker AWEBA Group will open and create 52 jobs.

In Vanderburgh County, Indiana, mining support provider Pillar Innovations, LLC will expand and create 15 jobs.

Rail tank maker Vertex Rail will open in Wilmington, North Carolina, creating 1,300 jobs.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, association management firm Raybourn Group will expand and add 35 employees.

Providence Foods, LLC will open a facility in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, creating 65 jobs.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, logistics provider XTL, Inc. will open and hire 50 people.

Furniture maker Kimball International will consolidate two operations in Dubois County, Indiana, adding 160 workers.

In Tuscola, Illinois, Cronus Fertilizers will open a facility and hire 175 people.

Garden products maker FoxFarm Soil and Fertilizer Company will open in Anderson County, South Carolina, creating 27 jobs.

IT delivery provider Cognizant will open in Charlotte, North Carolina, creating 500 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Jeff Edge.

In Chester, Pennsylvania, engineering firm Day & Zimmerman will open and create 98 jobs.

Industrial coatings maker Baril Coatings USA, LLC will expand and create 16 jobs in Steuben County, Indiana.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ClearEdge Wholesale Glass will open and hire 120 people.

In Morgan County, Georgia, flooring maker Mannington Mills will expand and hore 200 workers.

Auto parts maker OTICS USA, Inc. will open a facility in Sevierville, Tennessee and hire 117 people.

Health care services provider Aperture Credentialing will expand in Louisville, Kentucky, creating 30 jobs.

Lighting maker Amerlux has relocated to Oakland, New Jersey, creating 250 jobs.

In Kosciusko County, Indiana, orthopedics maker Alpha Manufacturing & Design, LLC will expand and hire 32 people.

Modular home maker Apex Homes of PA will expand in Middleburg, Pennsylvania, creating 60 jobs.

Total Jobs Announcements: 10,947

Jim Walton
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana:
Office: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380

Brand Acceleration is a full-service website development, marketing communications, branding, and public relations firm with a focus on economic and community development.