Alabama - More than 300 automotive-related companies - including Mercedes, Honda, and Hyundai - have operations in Alabama, a 286 percent increase over the last 15 years. Among those serving that industry, South Korea-based Sejin Co., a major manufacturer of molded auto parts, is opening a $30 million, 300-employee plant in Dadeville. Sejin Alabama will produce injection-molded interior and exterior parts for Hyundai, Kia, and other automobile manufacturers. And Hyundai supplier Mobis Alabama is investing $55.6 million and ramping up employment by 140 people in an expansion of its Montgomery chassis plant.
Alternative energy is a rapidly emerging industry in Alabama. Gulf Coast Energy, for example, is building a $75 million biodiesel and ethanol plant in Livingston. The company expects to produce about 100 million gallons of ethanol from wood waste when the plant is fully operational. Feedstock can consist of any carbon-based product such as wood, switch grass, corn stalks, or even household garbage.
Indiana - According to Manufacturers' News Inc., Indiana is ninth in the nation for manufacturing employment, with 11,022 manufacturers employing 661,733 workers. The state is well-known for transportation equipment, which represents 16 percent of the state's total manufacturing employment. A new Indiana University report indicates Indiana gained more than 5,000 jobs in 2007 created by foreign direct investment - mostly in the automotive manufacturing industry.
Several big automotive projects are leading the way. Chrysler Group and German transmission manufacturer Getrag are investing $455 million in Tipton County to build a new plant. "We appreciate the support from state and local officials in bringing this investment to Indiana," says Richard Chow-Wah, a vice president for Chrysler Group. "We will create a state-of-the art facility to manufacture fuel-efficient, dual-clutch transmissions." GETRAG has operational leadership of the plant that will ultimately employ 1,400.
And in other auto-related news, TS Tech North America has broken ground on a $32.8 million, 200,000-square-foot facility in New Castle that will produce about 800 seats per day for Honda. The incentive package from the state included up to $2.4 million in tax credits and $645,000 in grants.
Maryland - One of Maryland's strongest industries is financial services. Almost 14,000 financial firms are located here, including Bank of America, Chevy Chase Bank, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Mortgage, Toyota Financial Services, and Wachovia Bank.
Morgan Stanley has been awarded $4 million in state grants to expand its Baltimore operations into Harbor Point, a 27-acre redevelopment in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In return, Morgan Stanley is investing $21 million and adding 900 workers at the 277,000-square-foot facility.
Merkle, a database marketing company, is establishing its headquarters at Columbia Gateway, a corporate business park in Columbia, Howard County. The company's $65 million investment includes two buildings and a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art data center. "Our new headquarters places Merkle in an area with a strong talent base of highly skilled professionals, with ample room for our future growth plans," says Merkle President David Williams.
With its central East Coast location and outstanding transportation infrastructure, Maryland is also a choice spot for warehousing/distribution operations. Costco Wholesale Corp., for example, is constructing a $50 million state-of-the-art distribution center in Frederick that will ultimately employ 300 people.
Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Department of Commerce reports investment by new and expanding manufacturers and processors totaled over $1.3 billion in 2007. Over the next three years about 7,300 jobs will be created by 21 new and 56 expanding manufacturing firms. Oklahoma is a leading manufacturer of tires, heavy construction equipment, construction materials, and plastics. Energy is another key sector - more than 85,000 oil and natural gas wells operate within the state.
Tiger Truck is spending $22 million on a 112,000-square-foot facility in Poteau for assembling off-road vehicles. Tiger will receive accelerated depreciation benefits on the building and equipment and other tax exemptions. "State officials quickly mobilized to meet our needs in such a way that little time has been lost from our original aggressive schedule," indicates Michael S. Ward, CEO of Tiger Truck.
Utah-based Sinclair Oil Corp.'s $1 billion investment in its Tulsa refinery will boost capacity by 60 percent and nearly double the company's work force. Sinclair will also add additional units to convert low-grade sour crude from Canadian oil sands into diesel fuel and gasoline. The three-year expansion project requires four million man-hours of construction and will add $45 million to the Tulsa economy.
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