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 Feature Industry Articles 
Tuesday, January 07 2020
Economic Trends in the Plastics and Related Industries

By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President, Camoin 310

Stop. Look around you. Somewhere very near you right now is plastic. It could be a piece in your computer or phone, on your desk or chair, or within your flooring.  Simply said, plastic is part of the many products we see and use every day and therefore critical to our economy.

In this article we examine plastics and plastic-related industries. First, we provide an overview of key economic performance data and trends for the industries and examine how plastics connects with and impact other industries through supply chains. We then present key factors that impact growth and investment in plastics.  Finally using a case example in Northwest Pennsylvania, we provide guidance to business and economic developers on how they can support and attract investment, businesses, and employment in their region.

Posted by: AT 11:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 07 2020
The Ideal Location? Options Vastly Vary for Medical Device Manufacturers

By Mark R. Smith, Contributing Writer

For medical device manufacturers, deciding where to locate may be relatively easy. Or it may be require an especially deep dive into the worlds of workforce, access, suppliers and tax breaks.

Or it could be somewhere in between; generally speaking, they might locate just about anywhere. They could mean nestling nicely within a sparsely populated rural county with interstate or port access; or perhaps settling within a dynamic cluster in a region where the companies and other entities feed off of each other.

For a lower tech operation, that can simply mean locating where it can easily obtain basic materials, like wood or plastic, for low cost; another firm may make acutely refined high tech devices and need to locate near the company’s research and development facility or a major medical center. Then comes the angle of what state tax advantages may be available.

In the end, figuring out why exactly where in the U.S. one of the 6,500 medical device manufacturers sets up shop in a $380 billion industry (both figures according to can be a fascinating aspect of a complicated yet, sometimes not sector of the manufacturing industry.  

Posted by: AT 11:25 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 07 2020
The State of Logistics Management

By Adam Robinson, Director of Marketing & Digital Marketing Consultant at Cerasis

With advancing demands of consumers and the steady growth of eCommerce, shippers and carriers are working to build better relationships and optimize operations. Unfortunately, the modern supply chain remains brittle, subject to the slightest of changes that could spell its doom.

While that paints a dire picture, supply chain leaders have another option; they can turn to tactical logistics management and develop responsive, adaptive processes. Of course, tactical logistics management is difficult at best, so let’s take a closer look at its challenges and opportunities.  

With that in mind, shippers need to understand the problems arising within the industry, particularly increasing demand and strained capacity, as well as why tactical management holds the answer.

Posted by: AT 10:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 07 2020
Don't Shrug It Off

By Michael D. White, author and freelance writer

Cyberattacks have become an almost daily occurrence affecting a broad spectrum of businesses and industries from healthcare and finance to aerospace and manufacturing with threats such as so-called phishing and malware attacks serving as the weapon-of-choice for cyber criminals seeking access to steal and misuse valuable and sensitive data. Merely having a presence online potentially puts a ‘welcome’ sign in your shop window for those who are up to no good.

In fact, according to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, while it takes an average of $2.4 million and 50 days to repair a cyberattack for a large company, a small or medium-sized business could, quite literally, with costs of repair topping $200,000 and an equal amount of time, be wiped out.

Posted by: AT 10:03 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 07 2020
Increasing the Economy by an Average of $32.5 Million Per Data Center

A data center is a secure facility that hosts a multitude of servers, routers, switches, and other computing equipment used in high volume data storage and processing. Data centers are the heart of today's online services including apps, emails, streaming, online shopping, banking and much more. Data centers are providing highly reliable and secure cloud hosting solutions 24 hours per day, seven days a week and 365 days a year - simultaneously to thousands of global customers and should be designed with the highest uptime and efficiency possible. Data centers help their customers maximize availability, performance and security as well as comply with strict security and compliance requirements. Located in highly secure, not easily visible or accessible locations, data centers are a critical part of our society, business and the world.

As the consumption and the creation of data multiplies at exponential rates, so does the demand for data centers and colocation facilities. These data centers provide critical network connectivity points, provide hosting services for private and public cloud options, or host variations of enterprise data.

Posted by: AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 29 2019
Economic Trends in the Oil, Gas and Coal Industries

By Jim Damicis and Bethany Meys, Camoin 310


Oil, gas and coal have been drivers of the U.S. economy from the beginning stages of the industrial economy and have continued through the transition to the high-tech, knowledgeable economy. They are also key parts of emerging industry trends impacting the economy of tomorrow. In this article we examine the oil, gas, and coal industries and first provide an overview of key economic performance data and trends. We also examine how these three industries impact other industries through supply and value chains. We conclude with what all this means for economic and business developers including for those within communities that do not have extraction related or even process related concentrations in these industries.

Oil, gas, and coal are significant to the economy on two fronts. On their own they create direct economic output. This includes direct jobs, sales, and exports. They also create impact by providing the resources to generate energy used by other industries, as well as an input to downstream markets including distributors, processors, and manufacturers. In the case of manufacturers, oil, gas, and coal are used for both energy and as an input to manufacturing of plastics, rubber, chemicals, as well as other products. This further contributes to job, sales and exports.

Posted by: AT 12:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 29 2019
 U.S. Healthcare: The Century's Newest Economic Leader 

By Lisa A. Bastian, President, Bastian PR

Among old-guard and emerging U.S. economic development clusters, the mammoth, ever-changing healthcare industry is one of the “healthiest” of them all. 

While it doesn’t generate the same media buzz as the private space exploration, cryptocurrency or AI industries, it does do one thing they won’t ever do: reflect a community’s genuine level of quality of life. Since wellness and health are central to human happiness, the availability of good healthcare promotes populations of people who are more productive, live longer, and contribute to society. 

Moreover, as the healthcare industry’s above-average wages affect how other industries keep and attract high-wage workers, it’s clear why healthcare is a sought-after economic development “anchor” by community and business leaders alike nationwide. 

Posted by: AT 08:08 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 28 2019
The Evolution of Site Readiness Programs

By Phil Schneider, President, Schneider Strategy Consulting LLC

Site readiness programs have steadily progressed over the 20 years since their debut on the economic development and site selection stage, evolving from a unique competitive advantage to nearly an expectation. Programs of one type or another have been established in 36 states as a response to site selector’s ever-increasing need for speed, data accuracy/transparency, and gaining early insight into a potential site’s strengths and challenges. Greenfield sites with little or no previously completed due diligence require an increasingly unacceptable amount of time, effort and expense for companies in the site selection process.  Therefore, the growing expectation is that properties submitted as potential candidates for a site selection project will come complete with a full set of site and supporting infrastructure data.  

But as site readiness programs have become more ubiquitous, so has the discussion and debate amongst site selectors with regard to these programs’ effectiveness and even their meaning.  What does “certified” or “shovel-ready” actually mean for any particular site selection project (spoiler alert: sometimes not much) and why does the meaning of certified or shovel-ready vary so much from program to program?  Site selectors want to know: how will any given site readiness program actually apply to my project, its industry or function, or even within the geography where we are searching? 

Posted by: AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 28 2019
A Site Selector's Perspective on Offshore Investment in the U.S. for the Food and Beverage Industry

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and, Kyle Johnson, Location Consultant, the Austin Company

In recent years, Austin Consulting (Austin) has seen a change in offshore investment for the food and beverage industry. Although there is still strong investment into the U.S. by European and Asian food and beverage companies, there has been growing investment by firms from Central and South America as well. There are countless reasons why companies in Central and South America would choose the U.S. for a new plant location, but recent client feedback states that growing consumer demand for diverse food products, changes to trade agreements, and a large consumer base rank highly as driving factors for a U.S. location.

Among the offshore food and beverage companies Austin works with, many are entering the U.S. for the first time and require assistance to become more familiar with the level of effort and analysis required for finding a new location in the U.S. Typically, offshore food and beverage companies establish their presence in the U.S. market by first importing their products and when product demand reaches a high enough level, then interest in a permanent U.S. location naturally follows. At this point, the search for a suitable location begins and Austin works with clients, so they become familiar with rules, regulations, costs, processes, and other necessary components to locate a property and successfully operate a facility in the U.S.

Posted by: AT 11:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 28 2019
Advanced Manufacturing: The New 'Industrial Revolution'

By Michael D. White, author and freelance writer

There is an old adage that nothing is really new. And, in fact, it really isn’t.

The screw, the wheel, the inclined plane, the stirrup, movable type, the assembly line were all lauded as “uses of innovative technology to improve products or processes.”

What were then seen as innovations, we see today as the cutting-edge integration of new technologies, processes and methods into the production and design of products in an effort to remain competitive and add value. We call it advanced manufacturing.

Generally speaking, organizations across a wide spectrum of industries are implementing advanced manufacturing processes into innovative, affordable, and reliable products with technologically complex levels of design.

Posted by: AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
How Rapidly Changing Technology is Impacting Location Decisions in the Logistics Industry

By Jeannette T. Goldsmith,  Vice President, Strategic Development Group

“Every company is a technology company.”  I can’t remember who said this first or where I heard it, but there is no doubt that this statement is true. Even with the inevitability of it, we continue our collective hand-wringing about the move to greater automation and artificial intelligence on the manufacturing floor. There can be little doubt, however, that technology has already resulted in dramatic shifts in the transportation and logistics industry. These shifts have affected all facets of the industry including warehousing, distribution channels, fleets, and workforce. Strategic Development Group has seen how these changes are impacting the way in which companies select new locations for their logistics business.

Autonomous Vehicles and Drone Delivery
Perhaps the “sexiest” technology trend in the logistics industry is the use of autonomous vehicles and drones in the movement of products. While I am fascinated by the potential for autonomous vehicles, I have my doubts about how fast this technology will be adapted. There are two reasons for my hypothesis.  

Posted by: AT 11:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
Ports Take Advantage of FTZ Alternative Site Framework for Economic Development

By Meredith Martino, AAPA

A consumer in the market for new pair of eyeglasses might find interesting a banner ad on a website touting designer eyewear at a discounted price. The promise might sound too good to be true to the average shopper, but the reality is one that is not only possible but actually is encouraged by a growingly popular new option under a decades-old U.S. government program. By utilizing some of the benefits of a FTZ and taking advantage of the program’s Alternative Site Framework (ASF), a U.S.-based producer could incorporate well-known designer frames and cases manufactured overseas into a finished product that could be passed onto a U.S. consumer at a lower cost.

Vision care products manufacturer is doing just that. Founder and CEO Roger Hardy saw a business opportunity in the markups charged by opticians and optical stores and passed onto consumers. He created a business-to-consumer model that would keep costs down for the end user of the vision products. The Canadian-based company continues to grow, reaching consumers throughout the world.

Posted by: AT 11:27 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
Outdoor Recreation Tourism - The Motor Driving Rural Economies of the Future?

By Rachel Selsky, AICP, Camoin310

Many medical experts tout the benefits of getting outside on a regular, but have you ever considered the potential benefits of focusing your economic development efforts outside as well? It may not be a bad idea considering that the United States has seen an increase in overall participation in outdoor recreation activities, typically categorized as motorized or non-motorized, over the past few decades. 

While non-motorized outdoor recreation activities like hiking and biking are well documented and studied in relation to growth, economic impact, attraction strategies and the benefits to communities, motorized outdoor recreation activities are generally thought of as a smaller component of the overall industry and are somewhat less studied. As more rural communities begin to promote outdoor recreation tourism as a component of their economic development strategies, it is increasingly important to understand the full spectrum of opportunities related to outdoor tourism, including those within the motorized recreation sectors and how to best encourage and support their growth. 

Posted by: AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
The Right Location for Metal Fabrication? Near You

By Mark R. Smith, Contributing Writer

The fabricated metal industry is, in a way, similar to other industries, perhaps like the printing industry. That’s to say, the products each produces seem ubiquitous.

During the average person’s stops during the day, you may well see printed items: books, publications, brochures, folders, bills, mail, business cards, labels, etc. That list could go on, as it can for metal fabrication. Think about desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, door latches and handles, screws and nails, faucets, railings, hangers, etc.

You get it.

The point is in both industries, raw materials, software, equipment, deep thought and some elbow grease are required to create an infinite amount of finished products that many of we human beings use daily.

Posted by: AT 11:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
The Next Digital Economy

By Don A. Holbrook

Economic development has traditionally been slow to respond to trends and then when they do they are usually behind the wave. The same could be said of the approach by in large for attracting investment into the Digital Media Age. Too many of the legislated programs in the USA, this vision is Films and Digital Productions of Film based industries in the world of the silver screen old school images of Hollywood productions.

George Gilder recently wrote his latest prediction on this real topic of Digital Media and/or the Digital Economy, called “Life After Google.” States such as Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey pop up on the first page of Google searches under this subject, but the links lead to film credits for the most part. This old school vision is not where the hotbed of growth is occurring and/or going to continue to grow.

Posted by: AT 10:50 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
​​​​​​​Making Your Next Back Office Location a Success

By Dennis J. Donovan, Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting


Back offices comprise an agglomeration of support activities that are pivotal to successful operation of corporate (and not-for-profit) enterprises. These business units typically support c-suite and client interfacing operations.  Among functions usually associated with a back office are accounting, payroll, recruiting, planning, inventory management, procurement, regulatory compliance, supply chain management, market research, document management, transaction processing, inside sales, customer service, and IT help desk.

This article addresses the keys to optimal geographic deployment for back office entities. Up first is a brief discussion on strategic considerations that proceed an initiative to uncover the ultimate location. Then we outline the key elements involved in establishing the framework for a back-office location analysis. Subsequently, the multi-phase process that should be followed to land in the best spot is outlined.

Posted by: AT 10:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 30 2019
Business Aviation Embraces Technologies for Cleaner, More Efficient Travel

By Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

Business aviation has long been a valuable tool for connecting companies and communities of all sizes across the nation and throughout the world. The industry also continues to embrace new technologies offering the potential to not only increase the level of productivity that business aviation may provide, but also to perform these roles with an even greater emphasis on sustainability.

This is a very exciting time, and not only for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and members that already utilize business aviation to increase their efficiency and competitiveness. Citizens, service providers and urban planners in communities large and small also stand to benefit, as these developments offer the promise to advance metropolitan transportation infrastructure, emergency response and quality of life considerations across the country and around the world. Urban Air Mobility May Revolutionize Intercity Transportation Over the past few years, a new transportation segment has emerged alongside more traditional business aircraft and rotorcraft seen at NBAA-sponsored events. Urban air mobility (UAM) aims to revolutionize travel across large metroplexes, utilizing optionally piloted and even fully autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles to transport on-demand passengers and cargo.

Posted by: AT 10:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 29 2019
Putting Down Roots In the Ag Industry

By Mark R. Smith, Contributing Writer, Expansion Solutions Magazine

Site selection professionals and their clients who are working to locate a growing agriculture-based business know making that major move dictates understanding a few facts before key decisions are made.

Since an agriculture businesses might need land, and lots of it − or at least be in a market with a multitude of farms − they’ll see that land is cheaper in less-densely populated areas, for a reason: perhaps the lack a strong workforce and relatively few educational opportunities, or connectivity problems and a lack of amenities in a given locales. Or a combination thereof.

Then comes the more recent but growing issue of climate change, which can work for or against a company.

Posted by: AT 11:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 29 2019
Locating High Technology Operations

By Dennis J. Donovan, Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting (WDGC)

This article addresses location dynamics within the high technology sector. The term high-tech is rather amorphous. Broadly speaking it can apply to any industry wherein advanced technology (such as Industry 4.0) is widely utilized. To provide a pragmatic framework for illuminating site selection strategy and trends we will adopt a more nuanced definition of high technology. Essentially high tech embraces a group of industries characterized by a rapid pace of innovation. These industries typically involve a high concentration of workers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). For purposes of this article high-technology industries include the following:

Posted by: AT 05:55 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 29 2019
Recent and Emerging Trends in Forestry and Lumber

By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President, Camoin Associates

To understand economies and industry sectors related to forestry and lumber it is important to first understand the significance of forests to the U.S. economy. Forests after all are where wood comes from. “Global forestry issues are of considerable significance to the United States, which has five percent of the Earth’s population and consumes an estimated 28 percent of the Earth’s industrial wood products. Although domestic timber inventory is only 10 percent of the Earth’s total, 96 percent of U.S. consumption of industrial wood comes from domestic supplies.1” In the U.S., the majority of the forests are privately owned with an estimated 58 percent of forest acreage owned privately by corporations or individuals; however, ownership patterns are quite diverse with public forests dominant in the West and private forests dominant in the East. Private industrial forest ownership is concentrated in the South, Pacific, Northwest, upper Lake States, and northern New England2.

Source:  U.S. Forest Service-

Posted by: AT 02:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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