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2014 "Top Five" Ports Award Winners

Click Organization to View Profile Write-Up

City of Rochester, New Hampshire    

EDC of Florida's Space Coast

Northeastern Strategic Alliance

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED

Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport and the Economic Development Alliance of Brazoria County

City of Rochester Economic Development
Rochester, NH

The City of Rochester led the Response and Recruitment Team for the Albany & Safran Aerospace Facility project which celebrated their grand opening in March 2014. The city persevered during a two year selection and negotiation process while managing a complex package of deliverables. Today a state-of-the-art aerospace composites facility more than 8 acres in size is creating new technology to make composite engine components for the next-generation LEAP Engine.

“Larger states can offer financial incentives that vastly overwhelm what the Granite State can offer, but New Hampshire’s smallness was its strength”, said Joseph Morone, Albany International President and CEO. “In Albany International’s case, personally committed leaders, an innovative and willing educational system, and a unique quality of life outweighed enormous tax breaks.”

Critical to the site selection process was the ability to deliver 500 employees trained in composites materials manufacturing. The development team brought together Great Bay Community College and the two aerospace manufacturers to close the gap in specific training, lab training facilities. The result is ATAC (Advanced Technology & Academic Center), open since Q1 of 2013, and now expanding so more area firms can utilize the training facility. It will deliver 500 new skilled employees to Albany and Safran over the next 5 years.  

In Rochester, Albany has two manufacturing facilities, with potential to expand. They have 383 employees and anticipate hiring 162 in the next few months. Direct manufacturing employment by 2020 is estimated at 1,190 jobs. Albany invested $24 million in equipment for the LEAP project. Safran utilizes 50 acres for the new 345,000 facility, projecting upwards of 500 employees in that plant. CAPEX will be $38 M and $50 M over a three year period for 2012-14.

This project represents a “new normal” in economic development, where public-private partnerships are utilized to meet long-term business needs. Vice President Joe Biden visited Rochester and pointed to what is happening between Great Bay Community College, Albany International, Safran, USA, the City of Rochester, and the State of New Hampshire is a "perfect example of how to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and keep them here”.

Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast
Rockledge, FL

For the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast, 2014 will undoubtedly go down as an iconic period that helped solidify the community’s rebound as a diversified hotspot for aerospace, aviation, defense and manufacturing companies. Marquee projects from Aviation leaders Embraer and Northrop Grumman helped create national headlines for this community.

But the organization’s success goes beyond marquee projects.  During the year back to back announcements were being made, including:

  • Boeing & the U.S Air Force will locate the X-37B orbital test vehicle at Kennedy Space Center. This program will generate high-tech engineering and manufacturing support jobs. 
  • North American Surveillance Systems chose Titusville Space Coast Regional Airport. It came with a $1.3 million investment on building construction and $380,000 on equipment for manufacturing, research and design and office operations, and 20 jobs with an average wage of $75,000.
  • Northrop Grumman will invest $500 million at Melbourne International Airport.  The project announced 1,800 jobs at full capacity.  With an average wage of $100,000, this is one of the largest economic development projects in the country when combining all factors.
  • Vision Systems Manufacturing Facility had its grand opening in Melbourne; establishing it’s first U.S. foreign direct investment. This project announced 40 jobs with a capital investment of $1.2 million.
  • Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA held its grand opening at Melbourne International Airport unveiling its 75,436 square foot facility which brought with it a potential of 200 jobs with an average wage of $70,000 per year. 

In addition to project announcements, the EDC also provides innovative programs to existing industry; such as GO Contracts (Government Contracting Opportunities online) which has resulted in over $6 million in new contract awards to local industry. There is a great deal of business activity taking place on the Space Coast and the EDC has its finger on the pulse of it all.

Expansion Solutions was honored to give its Top Five Aviation & Aerospace /Defense Award 2014 to EDC of Florida's Space Coast. This was an earned and very well deserved award given to one of the top economic development commissions in the country.

North Eastern Strategic Alliance
Florence, SC

The NESA region is taking flight with aerospace

Take some of the world’s best workforce training operations, a low cost of doing business and a speed to market that’s second to none and you’ve got the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) region of South Carolina.

The NESA region – home to one of the lowest corporate income tax rates, expansive incentives and low utility rates – is the prime location for the aviation and aerospace industry due to our extensive infrastructure, close proximity to the Ports of Charleston, Wilmington, Georgetown and Savannah, and competitive land and labor costs. 

Turbine suppliers, Landing gear assemblers, tubing systems manufacturers and other companies are finding their home in the NESA region, becoming one of the many tendrils that feed the state’s ever increasing aerospace industry.

The NESA region’s workforce stands as one of the top reasons aerospace vendors have chosen to located with the region, with top flight workforce training and readiness programs that position companies with a ready to go workforce on day one of operations.

The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) is the first facility of its kind in the United States. The facility provides the support needed by area and future industries to advance the region's ability to provide a highly trained workforce.  Made possible by partnerships with businesses and industries, this facility features an Advanced Manufacturing Center, a 3-D/Virtual Reality Center and a National Robotics Center.  SiMT offers open-enrollment, on-site and customized training as well as manufacturing startup assistance and consulting services, giving companies the advantage of a great workforce on day one.

The region also boasts one of the top aerospace sites in the southeast in the strategically located Myrtle Beach International Technology & Aerospace Park (ITAP) is the region's new hub for the aerospace and technology industry.  ITAP is a prime 450 acre aerospace, technology and aviation park, just off one of the longest runways on the East Coast, at more than 9500 ft.

Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED)
Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties

Located just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky has become a thriving ecosystem of opportunity. With immediate access to an international airport, major U.S. interstates, shipping hubs and freight services to global supply chains, the Northern Kentucky region provides a direct connection to markets across the globe. The region is an enticing location for logistics and warehouse distribution operations because of DHL’s operation at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which is one of the largest cargo hubs in the United States.

Distribution, logistics and e-commerce companies move products to international destinations very quickly due in large part to excellent services provided by DHL, which has expanded several times at CVG since 2009. More than 90 percent of all items shipped by DHL in North America travel through the carrier's "superhub" at CVG. A four-year, $105 million facilities expansion, completed in 2013, added a 180,000-square-foot package-sorting facility increasing cargo-handling space to 605,000 square feet.

In 2014, CVG was recognized with the Air Cargo Award of Excellence, in the category of Airports North American 400,000 – 999,999 tons, at the International Air Transport Association (IATA World Cargo Symposium). The airport achieved a superior overall rating from the readers of Air Cargo World magazine.

On average, 35 – 40 DHL flights land each night at CVG bringing cargo in and out of Northern Kentucky. Currently, DHL has about 2,000 local employees working at CVG and company officials have said they expect to add several hundred more jobs in the coming years. To support the international shipping giant’s operations, Southern Air Cargo moved its headquarters to CVG in 2013.

Both local businesses and international corporations recognize Northern Kentucky’s advantages and are growing their operations. Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, has 2,000 full time employees; Groupon Goods, Inc. opened a state-of-the-art warehouse in 2013; eBay Enterprises opened its third location in Northern Kentucky in October 2014, and Teespring announced plans to create up to 299 new jobs and invest nearly $22 million in September 2014. The Commonwealth’s tax structure, skilled labor and strong shipping hubs help make Northern Kentucky an ideal location for these companies.

To encourage investment and job growth, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development offers a variety of aggressive incentive and assistance programs through city and county governments for qualifying companies. For more information, visit

Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport and The Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County
Angleton, TX

Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport is a major force for economic development in Brazoria County.   The ideal location, (45 miles north of Houston) a 7,000 ft. runway, Foreign Trade Zone, ILS and many other modern airport amenities, has prompted unprecedented growth at the airport and in Brazoria County. 

From 2011-2014 there have been more than 29 industrial expansion projects announced, producing over 21,000 new jobs with a total direct capital investment of $28.5 billion!  Examples of companies expanding include: the Dow Chemical Company (multiple projects), BASF (multiple projects), Phillips 66 (multiple projects), Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Schlumberger Technology Corp., Freeport LNG (multiple projects), Cyanco International, INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA, Performance Contractors (multiple projects), Airgas, Air Liquide, Nalco, Apache Oil Company, Phillips 66 Pipeline Company and many others with more on the way!

The airport continues to grow with the local businesses and economy.  In an effort to accommodate the needs of their rapidly-growing County and businesses within, the airport continues to make improvements by adding facilities that support local business and transient aviation.

There are over 100 acres available for development at the airport.  Many opportunities for both aviation and non-aviation use exist.  Property for development is available with taxiway and runway access as well as Business Park and good road access. Brazoria County offers very competitive lease rates and terms for this property as well as opportunities for incentives for qualifying projects.  As a result, top firms are taking advantage of this business-friendly climate.


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