Tuesday, December 21, 2010

EDC releases Dates for Inaugural Economic Development Citizen Academy

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation has released the schedule for the inaugural Economic Development Citizen Academy. The schedule is as follows:

January 27, 2011 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Commerce Center- topics include an overview of the Owensboro economy and new business attraction

February 17, 2011 6:30 to 8:30 at the Advanced Technology Center at OCTC- topics include existing industry retention and workforce development

March 17, 2011 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Centre for Business and Research- topics include business startup and incubation and placemaking

The Academy is an effort to continue to encourage public involvement and understanding of economic development. EDC President/CEO Nick Brake said over 20 citizens have already signed up for the program, but spaces remain.

The program is modeled on the successful Citizen Academy programs used by the City of Owensboro and the Owensboro Police Department.

The sessions will offer comprehensive insight into the strategies and ideas of modern economic development. Participants will get a behind the scenes view of the economic development process, dialogue with leaders from local businesses about the regional economy and visit amenities such as the Centre for Business and Research.

The EDC anticipates offering the academy program annually. For more information or to sign up for the Economic Development Citizen’s Academy visit http://edc.owensboro.com/about/Citizen_Academy or call 926-4339.

Friday, December 10, 2010

OMHS "healthy" and growing contributor to the Owensboro economy

Owensboro Medical Health System is in stronger financial shape than it was a year ago, according to the consolidated financial statement released at its annual Report to the Community on Wednesday morning at the HealthPark.

OMHS showed a profit of $40.1 million in the fiscal year ending May 31, up $27 million from $13 million profit the previous fiscal year. Additionally, OMHS' investment portfolio showed an increase of $56 million as the market improved over the previous year.

Hospital officials also gave an update into the construction of their new facility on the east side of town. Concrete was recently poured on the second story and workers say they're on schedule to finish in early 2013.

Jeff Barber, the hospital's CEO says they have more than 3,200 employees, but that number should go up dramatically once the new facility is complete.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kentucky United Meets with Site Selectors in Indianapolis

Kentucky United, a partnership of local economic development agencies and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, hosted a meeting of site selectors recently in Indianapolis.

Site selectors are consultants that assist companies in finding a competitive location of company relocations or expansions.

Larry Hayes, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development spoke to the group at lunch. "Kentucky is open for business and willing to work hard to help meet the needs of new or growing companies."

Nick Brake, President of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation said the event was well attended. "We took the opportunity to promote many of the good things going on in Kentucky and our local communities to site consultants from several nationally respected firms."

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Location:E Maryland St,Indianapolis,United States

Farmers Market Moving Downtown

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - The farmers market in Owensboro may move to a new location that officials say will make it more convenient and provide a better shopping experience.

The same consultants conducting a feasibility study on the Bluegrass Museum will also make a site plan on moving the Farmer's Market Downtown.

City leaders say they are looking into having the market on the north end of the state office building property.

One idea is to build a long pavilion with a canopy. County officials discussed funding the project $25,000 to get electricity and water lines to the facility once built.

Other funding will come from the state and ag-extension agency. The industrial development authority believes moving the farmer's market downtown will draw big crowds and become an asset to downtown's environment.

Many shoppers say the market's current location on old Hartford road is too far away.

Owensboro resident Shawn McHenry says, "It's kind of far out and it's really not accessible to a lot of people here in town and I think downtown it's on more of a bus route and for people that can walk can get to it."

Owensboro resident John Storm says, "I live on third street so it's not that far from my house anyway so it would be a great location for me."

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Kentucky Export Initiative Designed to Increase Exports among Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the launch of the Governor’s Kentucky Export Initiative, an initiative designed to increase exporting activity among small and medium-sized businesses. The statewide program, which is loosely modeled on the National Export Initiative announced earlier this year, will leverage the existing efforts of Kentucky’s leading international trade organizations, as well as create new opportunities for education and market exploration.

“For many small businesses, accessing markets outside the United States, which represents 95 percent of the world’s customers and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power, is a key element to growth and prosperity,” said Gov. Beshear. “With the right assistance and guidance, many more Kentucky companies can grow and create jobs through beginning or expanded exporting activity. Our goal is to provide that needed assistance through the Kentucky Export Initiative.”

The Kentucky Export Initiative is composed of six alliance members, all engaged in providing international trade assistance and expertise to Kentucky businesses. They include: the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; the Kentucky World Trade Center; the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association; and the U.S. Chamber’s TradeRoots program. Additionally, a growing list of strategic partners will work with the alliance members to further support the initiative.

Alliance members and strategic partners will join forces to educate qualified small and medium-sized businesses about the impact of exporting, as well as provide information on new markets; identify potential distributors, agents and end-users; and assist with compliance, logistics, legal issues and more.

“We are grateful for the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission and look forward to working together to make sure that Kentucky’s Appalachian companies have the opportunities they need to be successful in the global marketplace,” added Gov. Beshear.

Informational seminars will be held in various communities beginning in January 2011, followed by a series of in-depth training programs on the fundamentals of exporting. Additional information about the Governor’s Kentucky Export Initiative, including details on upcoming events can be found at www.kyexports.com.

AT&T Announces Service Enhancement and Investment in Region

Officials from AT&T AT&T will join officials from the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation and other community leaders to announce investments and service enhancements being made in the Greater Owensboro region.

The announcement will take place on Monday, December 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the Centre for Business and Research at 1010 Allen Street in Owensboro. The public is invited.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Building Demolition gives Owensboro a "Clean Site" on the Ohio River

The buildings on the Green River Steel site were recently demolished
The 91 acre Ohio River site in Owensboro that was once the Green River Steel Mill is now a clean site ready for development.

The Owensboro Riverport Authority, the owner of the property on the east side of Owensboro, recently had three massive buildings demolished and removed.

The Riverport also completed environmental remediation on the property to enhance the marketability of the location for industrial development.

The site offers river and rail access to the CSX main line. It is directly off of US Highway 60 and less than a mile from an interchange to the Interstate 65- Interstate 64 Connector, currently under construction.

More information about the site is available at http://www.thinkkentucky.com/edis/PDF/Site/AM059-005.pdf

Workforce Aligned High School Academies

Community Campus: Workforce Aligned Academies

Friday, November 26, 2010

Economic and Education Leaders Create Workforce-Aligned Academies

Leaders from regional school districts and the Owensboro Community and Technical College will join economic development officials, regional employers and community leaders to kick off the Community Campus program, an innovative high school reform model that will create five workforce-aligned academies utilizing the community as the campus.

The five workforce academies are in Health and Life Sciences; Construction, Trades and Energy; Science, Technology and Engineering; Business and Entrepreneurship; and the Arts.

The announcement will take place on Monday, November 29 at 10 a.m. in the Advanced Technology Center at the Owensboro Community and Technical College.  A meeting of parents and students interested in participating in one of the five academies will take place on Monday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Blandford Lecture Hall at OCTC.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Owensboro Unemployment at Lowest Level in Two Years

The Owensboro MSA monthly unemployment rate in September dropped to 8.6 percent, the lowest level since December 2008.  At its peak during the recession, regional unemployment hit 11 percent, but remained lower than the state and national levels throughout most of the recession.  

"We are starting to see the effects of much of the positive economic activity from earlier in the year," said EDC President/CEO Nick Brake.  "We are in the midst of a building boom with multiple private and public projects that are putting people to work in construction.  Much of this construction will translate to jobs in the coming year in the financial industry and health care."

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for September was 9.1 percent.  The rate for Kentucky was 9.8 percent.

Despite the Bumpy Economy it is a Year to be Thankful in Owensboro

US Bank Construction in Mid America Airpark
While the national recession has reared its ugly head in Owensboro through 2010, on the balance this thanksgiving is a time to be thankful that our region is prospering with an unprecedented wave of building projects spurring economic activity, job creation, and enthusiasm that will hopefully translate into more good news in 2011.

The nearly $1 billion worth of construction projects currently underway include the following:

KBP Expansion

  • the construction of the new US Bank Mortgage Processing Center in the Mid-America Airpark that will add 500 jobs in 2011;
  • the new OMHS, which will add at least 300 health care workers in the coming years;
  • an addition to Kentucky BioProcessing, part of the $17 million contract with the Department of Defense;
  • the $37 million completion of the US 60 bypass, which provide a four lane connection between I-64 and I-65;
  • a new National Guard Armory at the Owensboro-Daviess County Airport;
  • New Hospital Construction 
  • the $40 million riverfront development project, which coupled with the $79 million locally funded downtown revitalization package will totally transform the riverfront and downtown Owensboro in the coming years. 
Riverfront Development Project
All total these projects are creating 10,000 construction jobs this year and in 2011.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bill Monroe, bluegrass music and Owensboro to be featured on Times Square billboard

OWENSBORO, Ky. — The late father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, will be playing soon in New York's Times Square to promote the Kentucky celebration of the centennial of his birth.
The convention and visitors bureau for Owensboro and Daviess County, Ky., is putting a 15-second ad on a digital full-motion billboard on New York's 42nd Street.

Visitors bureau executive director Karen Miller told the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro that the spot will feature Monroe, bluegrass music and Owensboro and will run 18 times a day for 48 days at a cost of $15,000.

It will run from Nov. 15 to Jan. 1, times that will cover the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration.

Online: Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau's new website, www.BillMonroe100birthday.com.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Owensboro’s KBP is building a biotech mousetrap

In his "Beyond 5 Percent" Blog, OMHS President Dr. Jeff Barber offered some excellent insight about the work of Kentucky BioProcessing in creating a plant pharmaceutical cluster in Owensboro:

To paraphrase the famous quotation, Owensboro’s KBP is building a better biotech mousetrap, and it looks like the world may soon beat a path right to its door. In fact, large corporations, international governments, and even the U.S. Department of Defense are already knocking. I am confident KBP will succeed, and when that happens, we could be witnessing the birth of a new industry in our region, one that could completely reinvent the local economy. Here’s what my friend and colleague Hugh Haydon, KBP chair, says about this endeavor.

“I’m convinced that this venture is about more than KBP or OMHS. It’s about Owensboro demonstrating the vision and ability to establish a foothold in a very significant industrial sector, the way other areas built an automobile industry or Silicon Valley.”

Bold thoughts, indeed, but take a look at what KBP is doing, and you’ll see why the future seems so optimistic.

The next generation of drugs and vaccines, forecasts say, will increasingly utilize proteins derived from various biological production systems. In fact, a version of the tobacco plant so long associated with our region is the basis for just such a system. This plant is already playing a key role as researchers discover new ways to produce critical proteins through the use of genetic enhancements.

But here’s the challenge: should a breakthrough discovery be made or a vaccine be invented, how would you harvest proteins on a scale large enough for mass production? Lab results are wonderful, but replicating them on a commercial scale presents a completely different challenge, one that is usually time-consuming and extremely expensive.

Click here too read the rest of Dr. Barber's Blog.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Architect chosen for convention center

Virginia Beach Convention Center designed by Trahan Architects
 The architectural firm that led the $200 million renovation of the Louisiana Superdome after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and also designed the $212 million Virginia Beach Convention Center was selected Thursday to design the downtown Owensboro convention and events center.

Trahan Architects of Baton Rogue, La., and Chicago was chosen from among 26 firms that sought to design the $27 million Owensboro facility that will sit near the Ohio River on the site of the former Executive Inn Rivermont.

Trahan's fee has not been determined. Negotiations to determine how much money Trahan will be paid to design the building, either on a percentage of construction cost or flat fee basis, will begin now and take up to six weeks to complete, Downtown Development Director Fred Reeves said.

But Trahan will actually begin working on the convention center design immediately, Reeves said.

At a meeting Thursday morning at City Hall, the Downtown Events Center Steering Committee voted unanimously to recommend Trahan to design the facility. Immediately following that meeting, the Owensboro-Daviess County Industrial Development Authority met and approved the steering committee's recommendation.

Trey Trahan, principal architect in charge, Leigh Breslau, project architect, and Brad McWhirter, project manager, all of Trahan, were on hand for the meeting. David Gamble, principal architect of the urban design firm Gamble Associates of Boston, and Edward Kruger, architect and project manager for Bravura Architects of Louisville, were also at the meeting.

Gamble Associates, which specializes in urban design, and Bravura are among the several firms that will team with Trahan on the Owensboro project. Bravura has a history with several downtown Louisville projects.

Daviess County Judge-Executive Reid Haire, chairman of the steering committee and a member of the subcommittee that recommended Trahan to the full committee, said Trahan was the clear choice of the subcommittee.

Four firms were brought to Owensboro for interviews.

"At the end of two days, the subcommittee was unanimous for this firm," Haire said. "We were extremely excited and energized by them."

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne, a subcommittee member, echoed Haire. "This is a very exciting day," Payne said. "We are finally launching a project to replace the Executive Inn Rivermont and put something back on the river."

Barry Alberts, managing partner of CityVisions, the consulting firm that is assisting the steering committee throughout the planning and construction of the convention and events center, praised the selection of Trahan. "You really did find a firm that was right for your aspirations," he said.

Breslau, who led the design work on Millennium Park in Chicago, said the design for the convention center would be done by the fall of next year, making it possible to put the project out for construction bids in early 2012.

"We understand the urgency of the project," Breslau said. "As early as the fall of 2011 our documents will be complete. ... That is quick."

Trey Trahan said the team his company has assembled will focus on authentic architecture that reflects the identity of the community.

"We believe in embedding ourselves in the community with real, authentic architecture that is informed by the people," he said. "It will truly represent the community."

Breslau said the company intends to learn more about the area's history, culture, ecosystem, environment, important and historic buildings, the downtown revitalization project, traffic patterns and parking as it develops a design unique to Owensboro.

Trahan did not list any local partners, while some other firms did, Haire said. But Haire said the preparation Trahan put in gave it an advantage.

"With their ties to the southern part of the United States and their Chicago involvement ... we have some of the brightest individuals in the country to make this project succeed," he said.

Reeves would not identify the other three finalists for the design contract. Only one of the 26 proposals had a local firm playing a lead role, but several of the proposals contained involvement of local companies.

Breslau led the design team for the 1.3-million-square-foot Zhongshan International Exhibition Center in southern China, the $254 million McCormick Place Phase 2 convention center expansion plan in Chicago (1.6 million square feet), the 800,000-sqaure-foot Suzhou, China, International Expo Center and the 558,000-square-foot Tanguu Hotel and Conference Center in Tianjin, China.

CityVisions and partner consulting firm ConsultEcon of Boston have recommended a convention center containing up to 138,350 square feet and featuring a 40,000-square-foot, dividable convention space, four ballrooms totaling 14,000 square feet, a room overlooking the Ohio River and a lecture hall with tiered seating.

The request for qualifications from architects contained six specific goals for the convention center. They are:

* To create a highly competitive public assembly venue that will provide modern, state-of-the-art meeting and exhibition facilities superior to comparable communities in the region and attract the potential markets as specified in the feasibility study.

* To contribute to the transformation of the former Executive Inn site and reconnect this portion of downtown with the river.

* To institute a strong visual and pedestrian axis along Veterans Boulevard to the RiverPark Center that reinforces the downtown core.

* To serve as an icon for the community that celebrates the vision, vitality and progress of Owensboro's downtown revitalization.

* To optimize the efficiency of the facility's operations and maintenance.

* To emphasize sustainability and environmentally responsible construction and operational materials and systems.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Editorial: Insight Needed into Economic Efforts

Messenger-Inquirer Editorial, October 23, 2010:

The economic downturn has turned up the rhetoric this campaign season about job creation through economic development -- even more so than during a typical year. Owensboro and Daviess County have fared better than many similar communities during this recession, though has still suffered from job loss and the sagging economy.

Economic development is a broad term that encompasses everything from direct incentives to bring companies to an area to more indirect methods that encourage the development or retention of businesses. Elected officials and candidates routinely state that economic development is a priority, but often that assertion is accompanied by few specifics.

Though generally agreed upon as the top goal for any community, many in the public know little about what generally and specifically economic development entails, or how to go about spurring on the economy, encouraging job growth and actively recruiting business.

That makes a new citizens academy established by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. an asset for this community and its understanding of how to approach economic development. EDC officials announced this week they will mirror citizens academy programs at the city and the Owensboro Police Department, with sessions beginning in January.

Because economic development is a diverse and broad field, any effort that better explains the processes this community uses to help propel the economy and encourage job creation is a benefit. Hopefully the sessions will offer more in-depth explanations of programs and processes like the ones used to help bring a new U.S. Bank Home Mortgage facility to Owensboro and with it up to 500 jobs. The public would do well to understand the variety of factors that go into promoting job creation and the attraction of new companies, like those factors at work in the downtown master plan and the "place-making" initiative.

Many of the deals worked out between the EDC and private businesses take place away from the public eye, often for good reason. Economic development officials frequently hold back details as deals are in the works -- perhaps unnecessarily sometimes -- and there is frequently little public understanding of how these deals are crafted.

But these deals routinely involve the use of the public's tax dollars, and this academy can bring a greater understanding to the public of why such incentives are needed, how the public investment is determined, and what the long-term payoff might be. At the very least, the opportunity for the public to learn more about economic development is likely to generate more interest in these activities in the future.

Economic development has changed in the past several decades, with a shift in focus away from attracting large-scale industrial companies as the economy itself has changed.

"Economic development" will continue to be a popular catch phrase, particularly for those running for office. A program like this can help ensure voters can better challenge candidates on what they mean by economic development, and how to bring it about.

This new citizens academy program should allow the public to better understand how this community can adapt to a changing economy, and can encourage residents to be more involved in the broader economic goals of where they live.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Owensboro’s Share of New Kentucky Jobs, Investment and Economic Development Projects Increases

Greater Owensboro’s share of Kentucky economic development projects, jobs created and investment has increased over the past five years, according to data collected from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for the 2010 “We the People” Town Meeting.

Since 2006 the region has had 51 projects that have created 2,859 jobs and brought $301 million in new investment. The region's share of projects compared to the rest of the state increased by 31 percent since 2006 when compared to the first five years of the decade.

The Owensboro region share of jobs increased by 104 percent from 2.4 percent share of all new Kentucky jobs from 2000-2005 to 4.9 percent of all jobs created in Kentucky since 2006. The area's share of investment during that same time increased by 72 percent.

New manufacturing locations have declined statewide this decade compared to the last, yet Owensboro's share of new manufacturing jobs and new plants has remained the same from 2000-2010 compared to the 1990s.

In Kentucky overall, new manufacturing locations went from 727 projects in the 1990s to 342 projects since 2000. Owensboro’s share remained relatively constant, from 21 projects in the 1990s (2.8% of all state projects) to 9 since 2000 (2.6% of state projects.

Owensboro's share of new manufacturing jobs from 2006-2010 compared to the first five years of the decade remained steady at around 3 percent share of all new manufacturing jobs in Kentucky.
The data on economic development projects was collected by the EDC from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, KBIIS Location/Expansion Database available at think.kentucky.com. The data collected for the Greater Owensboro region include counties where the EDC markets industrial property, including Daviess, Hancock, and Ohio counties.

Funding for economic development in Owensboro has increased in the past five years, including higher levels of private investment. Despite these increases, funding for economic development in Owensboro is still lower than most of Owensboro’s peer and benchmark regions.

In the past five years, the EDC budget has increased from $348,000 in 2005-2006 to nearly $600,000 in 2010-2011. Private investment has doubled from $100,000 in 2006 to $190,000 in 2010. The EDC has also succeeded in obtaining state funding for the newly created eMerging Ventures Innovation Center, which is part of the state network of 13 innovation and commercialization centers focusing on business startup and high tech development.

A survey, conducted by the EDC, of the economic development funding of Owensboro’s 10 peer and benchmark regions indicated that EDC ranked 7th in overall funding. The average level of funding for the 10 regions, including Owensboro, is $829,000 annually, compared to the 2010 EDC budget of $596,000. The top two regions were Dubuque, IA and Kokomo, IN which spend $1.7 million and $1.3 million respectively on economic development each year.

Despite the funding challenges, Owensboro ranked among the top of its peers in five year job growth (3rd), job growth over the past year (3rd), and the retention of manufacturing jobs (2nd).

To access the complete report on Kentucky Business Location and Expansion Data and Economic Development Funding, please visit http://edc.owensboro.com/data/Reports_Documents_and_Data

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Survey shows more than half of Kentucky manufacturers plan to hire in 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2010) — Gov. Beshear today announced that 57 percent of Kentucky manufacturers surveyed for the recently conducted 2010 Annual Manufacturing Wage and Benefits Survey said they are planning to hire between one and 19 employees in 2011, a 16 percent jump from last year’s results. The annual report, sponsored by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), was released today.

“The results of this survey are good news for Kentucky businesses and Kentucky families,” said Gov. Beshear. “Growth in the manufacturing industry will be critical to Kentucky recovering from the global economic crisis, and this survey shows that manufacturers find Kentucky a positive place to do business. In addition, businesses across Kentucky are able to maintain or add new jobs by taking advantage of the new incentives the state offers under my administration.”

The survey showed that, for the first time, the average annual wage of manufacturing employees in Kentucky broke the $50,000 mark. Manufacturing employees made an average of $51,771 in 2010, up from $48,277 in the 2008-2009 survey, for an increase of 7.2 percent. Compared to 2010, the average annual manufacturing wage has jumped from $34,736 in 2000, and it has increased each year since 2000. Sixty-three percent of the 177 manufacturing job categories recorded a higher average wage in the 2010 survey.

“The fact that wages went up 7.2 percent from the last survey was a positive surprise,” said Shawn Herbig, president of IQS Research. “It shows that employers are working to keep the staff they have by compensating them appropriately.”

IQS Research of Louisville collaborated with KAM on the development of the wage and benefits survey for Kentucky’s manufacturing community. The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, South Central Kentucky Regional Economic Development Partnership and the Central Kentucky Career Center also supported the survey this year.

“The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) clearly understands the importance of helping the Commonwealth’s manufacturing community control costs, especially when making hiring and promotion decisions,” stated Greg Higdon, KAM president & CEO. “KAM's 99th annual Wage & Benefits Survey Report is a valuable tool manufacturers can use in their efforts to compensate employees in a fair and competitive manner.”

“This study represents more than 31,000 salary and hourly manufacturing employees and 202 companies in Kentucky. It gives us a valuable snapshot of what is happening and helps us measure the vitality of the sector in Kentucky. It shows that manufacturing is moving forward cautiously from the recession and making plans to hire in the next year, which is a positive,” said Beth Brinly, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Investment.

In addition to the statewide report, the Department of Workforce Investment worked with KAM to produce a set of regional reports. The information gives manufacturers timely and accurate wage and benefits information such as paid vacation and sick time, health insurance and overtime pay when making hiring and promotion decisions.

To conduct the survey, IQS Research e-mailed invitations to Kentucky manufacturers. Information was collected and compiled during July and August 2010. The number of companies participating in the report rose from 147 in the last survey to 202 this year. Of the employers who participated, 55 percent said that they had fewer than 100 employees. All of the information provided in the report is in aggregate form, so as to not identify individual companies.

In addition to wage and benefits information, for the first time in the survey’s 99-year history questions were included about green jobs and what Kentucky manufacturers are doing or planning to do to make companies more environmentally friendly.

The number of companies that are currently producing green products is 43 percent, while 40 percent are in the process of developing new green products. In addition, 69 percent of employers are educating and training their workforce on ways to use energy more efficiently, reduce pollution, conserve natural resources and be more cost effective.

“The survey found some very interesting trends happening in green jobs across the state. This study indicates that Kentucky manufacturers are recognizing the importance of green technology and manufacturing for future growth and that’s exciting,” said Brinly.

Questions about benefits showed that 80 percent of the companies provide nine or more paid holidays per year. Health insurance was offered by about 97 percent of employers surveyed.

Companies were also asked about hiring temporary workers. About 68 percent of the employers currently use temporary staff as compared to 65 percent in the last report. In the 2010 survey, about 41 percent said they plan to hire temporary workers in the future as compared to 3.4 percent of employers surveyed in the last report.

The manufacturing sector employs more than 212,000 people in Kentucky as of August 2010, according to the Department of Workforce Investment.

Visit www.KAManufacturers.com or call 502-352-2485 for information on how to purchase a copy of the 2010 KAM Wage and Benefits Survey report.

EDC encourages Public Involvement with Economic Development Citizen Academy

In an effort to continue to encourage public involvement and understanding of economic development, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation will launch an Economic Development Citizen’s Academy this winter. 

The program is modeled on the successful Citizen Academy programs used by the City of Owensboro and the Owensboro Police Department.   The Economic Development Citizen Academy will consist of three two-hour sessions scheduled from January to March 2011. 

“The board and staff of the EDC are very committed to public participation in the economic development,” said EDC Board Chair Rod Kuegel.  “This Citizen Academy is a direct outgrowth of the public process we used in creating our most recent strategic plan.  The EDC currently has a greater level of public input and participation than any other time in the history of the organization.”

The sessions will offer comprehensive insight into the strategies and ideas of modern economic development.  Participants will get a behind the scenes view of the economic development process, dialogue with leaders from local businesses about the regional economy and visit amenities such as the Centre for Business and Research. 

“Economic development has evolved and changed significantly over the past decade,” said EDC President Nick Brake.   “In a more global, yet increasingly networked world, many of these changes mean that the average citizen sitting at the computer screen can be involved in our efforts to promote the region.  We are hoping to encourage more citizens to learn about economic development so that we can create ambassadors that can tell our story in a whole new way."

The EDC anticipates offering the academy program annually.   For more information or to sign up for the Economic Development Citizen’s Academy visit edc.owensboro.com or call 926-4339.

EDC encourages Public Involvement with Economic Development Citizen Academy

In an effort to continue to encourage public involvement and understanding of economic development, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation will launch an Economic Development Citizen’s Academy this winter.

The program is modeled on the successful Citizen Academy programs used by the City of Owensboro and the Owensboro Police Department.   The Economic Development Citizen Academy will consist of three two-hour sessions scheduled from January to March 2011. 

“The board and staff of the EDC are very committed to public participation in the economic development,” said EDC Board Chair Rod Kuegel.  “This Citizen Academy is a direct outgrowth of the public process we used in creating our most recent strategic plan.  The EDC currently has a greater level of public input and participation than any other time in the history of the organization.”

The sessions will offer comprehensive insight into the strategies and ideas of modern economic development.  Participants will get a behind the scenes view of the economic development process, dialogue with leaders from local businesses about the regional economy and visit amenities such as the Centre for Business and Research. 

“Economic development has evolved and changed significantly over the past decade,” said EDC President Nick Brake.   “In a more global, yet increasingly networked world, many of these changes mean that the average citizen sitting at the computer screen can be involved in our efforts to promote the region.  We are hoping to encourage more citizens to learn about economic development so that we can create ambassadors that can tell our story in a whole new way."

The EDC anticipates offering the academy program annually.   For more information or to sign up for the Economic Development Citizen’s Academy visit edc.owensboro.com or call 926-4339.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Achieving the "Bilbao Effect" in Owensboro

As community leaders in Owensboro are focusing on the design of the newly planned Downtown Events Center and contemplating ideas for a new version of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, how important is the design of these amenities to the overall success of revitalizing the downtown and the overall region?

Just ask the once declining city of Bilbao, Spain.   This sleepy, seaside, former industrial city in Northern Spain gets a new museum housed in a building already called--on its completion at the end of the 20th century--the most important building of the 21st. The museum is Frank Gehry's Guggenheim. Virtually overnight, the small city became one of the most popular destinations in Europe. From all reports, Bilbao is rapidly metamorphosing from a sort of one-hit wonder to a genuinely vibrant city with restaurants, nightlife, theatre, and art. Gehry's radical, shimmering metal building has become a source of immense civic pride.

Called the "Bilbao Effect," great architecture should be the centerpiece of urban space. Whether religious, governmental, commercial, or cultural, buildings define their cities.  This is our chance to have a world class building on the world class river that runs through this city.   Given the strength of the proposals and the architectural talent from around the country interested in the project-- world class is possible.  Such a "Bilbao effect" could benefit the region culturally and economically for a long time to come.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Louisville, Owensboro will cooperate to grow life-science companies

Nucleus, the life-sciences initiative of the University of Louisville Foundation, and Owensboro economic development officials will cooperate to form and grow high-tech and life science companies.

Under an arrangement announced Wednesday, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. will introduce companies interested in aging and long-term care technologies to Nucleus for help analyzing business opportunities. Louisville is home to several major long-term care companies, and Nucleus is establishing the International Center for Long Term Care Innovation in Louisville.
Nucleus will introduce Louisville companies with technologies in the areas of plant-made drugs and food sciences to the Owensboro agency for similar business-growth services.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hollison Technologies Announces Issuance of Core Patent for Food Safety

OWENSBORO, KY--(Marketwire - October 6, 2010) - Hollison Technologies, provider of products and services to the food industry to detect and track contaminants in the food supply chain, today announced that it has been awarded US patent number 7,807,344 on October 5, 2010 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The patent covers the collection, detection and identification of contaminants in particulate food including food commodities, food intermediates and finished food products. This approach enables the particulate food to be sampled much more effectively and efficiently than the traditional approaches used currently.

The contaminants can be biological, chemical or radiological in nature and may typically include E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella, as well as many others, such as aflatoxin.

The technique is applicable to a wide variety of particulate foods including, grains, rice, wheat, finished cereals, dry pet foods, pepper, nuts, spices, and coffee.
About Hollison Technologies

Hollison Technologies is focused on providing breakthrough solutions for ensuring and maintaining food safety. Hollison provides unique products and services for food protection and the detection of contaminants in the food supply chain including, but not limited to, farms, bulk storage facilities, commodity transportation, food processing, food distribution and point of consumption. The company offers capabilities for the protection of the entire food supply chain with the detection and identification of chemical, biological and radiological contamination in food commodities, processed food and beverages. Hollison has developed a proprietary secure web-based food tracking capability for use with its breakthrough sampling and detection technologies to offer complete chain-of-custody information complete with available contamination test data.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Five Key Trends for Local Economic Development

Leo Vazquez, from the Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, offered some insight into trends we are likely to see in the world of economic development over the next decade that are worth repeating.

Five Key Trends for Local Economic Development in the 2010s

The arts as engines for the creative and experience economies. According to a report to be published soon by Arts Build Communities, there was a 10% jump in the number of people working in the creative sector between 1998 and 2007. Most are probably not artists, but rather the people whose work supports the arts: administrators, blue-collar workers, manufacturers of creative products. The arts are at the heart of two other growing economic trends -- the creative economy and the experience economy. The creative economy includes scientific innovation and cultural products for export (Think Ipads, Droids and the new medicines you see on TV.) The experience economy includes all those retailers, businesses and places people are willing to pay more money to because of the experience they provide. (That's why the Mall of America has an amusement park in the center, and not just more chain stores.)

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Attracting and retaining creative sector professionals through place- and community-building efforts; place marketing efforts; providing more flex space; whether your community feels inviting to creative professionals.

The growth of "free agent" nation. Self-employed workers accounted for about 30% of the job growth in the United States between 1998 and 2008. While the number of employees in businesses grew 10% in that time, the number of self-employed workers grew 26%. (See the County Business Patterns database for more information). In 2008, about 15% of 142.2 million jobs in the United States were held by self-employed workers.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Business assistance and development strategies targeted to micro-entrepreneurs; live-work spaces clustered in downtown settings; cooperatives, and other structures that help businesses share resources.

Ethnic minority communities as emerging markets. Ethnic minority communities had about 23% of the nation's $10.7 trillion in buying power in 2009, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. While the total amount of disposable income in the United States had been growing through most of this decade, the buying power of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and multiracial Americans grew faster than that of non-Hispanic Whites. Those trends are likely to increase as the nation gets more diverse.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Place marketing and business development geared to ethnic communities; developing more culturally competent placebuilding and economic development professionals.

Green industries replacing gray industries. It may be a decade or more before alternative energy producers and manufacturers of green products become a major source of jobs in many communities. Placebuilders who plan for these uses now will have a tremendous advantage. Whether green or gray, industrial uses need large, affordable spaces and the ability to easily move large amounts of goods. (That's why so many 19th and early 20th century factories in city neighborhoods have become loft housing).

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Preserving existing industrial and warehousing areas; landbanking; encouraging the transitional use of light industrial spaces as artisan work/live spaces, server farms, or retail/commercial storage facilities.

Transnational communities as market expanders. From classic port-of-entry cities to small farming towns, continued immigration is having a bigger impact on America. One of those impacts is economic: It is easier for money and goods to flow between countries. Communities that participate in transnational economies can significantly expand their market area while minimizing competition with its neighbors. In an age where the Internet and lower costs in other countries are challenging brick-and-mortar American businesses, this is a way for communities of any size to bring more wealth into its borders.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Building relationships with immigrant groups in and around your community; encouraging the use of light industrial facilities for import, export or assembly of materials; promoting community building efforts that make immigrants feel more welcome in a place.

These trends have influenced our work in crafting a new economic development strategy in Owensboro based largely on talent and quality of place.

Click here to read more or follow this blog.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Completion construction of bypass extension to start next spring

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the second and final phase of construction on the 2.1 mile U.S. 60 bypass extension will start next spring with a May bid letting. That means the entire project could be done by mid to late 2013.

Phase I construction from U.S. 60 East to Hwy. 144 began last year and is expected to be completed by late 2011. The entire project has been largely funded by federal transportation dollars.

Completion of the bypass extension will open a new 100-mile, four-lane corridor between I-64 in southern Indiana and I-65 near Bowling Green with the summer 2011 opening of the new U.S. 231 in Spencer County, IN, the bypass extension and the existing Natcher Parkway.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Detroit and Economic Development

I spent the better part of the week in Detroit with several of my economic development colleagues from around Kentucky selling the Bluegrass state to companies in Michigan and Canada. While together with so many economic development pros who have made their life's work helping build and grow communities, we could not help being struck by many of the problems Detroit is experiencing. Let's be clear Detroit is not in an economic downturn, they are in a modern Great Depression of the magnitude of the 1930s.

I have visited several major cities in the past 18 months, no major city looks more beleaguered than Detroit. Nearly one million people have left since Detroit was at it's peak population mid-century. Detroit is the first major US city to see it's population drop below 1 million.

Not a single national grocery chain operates in City today. And perhaps the most recognizable informal measure of disposable income, Detroit has only four Starbucks in the city. By comparison, Owensboro currently has four Starbucks operations.

Mayor David Bing estimates that the real unemployment rate in Detroit is close to 50 percent, since so many have given up trying to find work. Just 10 percent of adults have a college degree, 30 percent are on food stamps. There are an estimated 62,000 vacant lots or uninhabited buildings, the total of which would occupy the entire city of Boston.

Two key development issues have plagued Detroit, both of them are a result of the automobile. The first has been their dependence on that single industry without significant diversification for decades. That dependence also lead the city adopt a development pattern based on the automobile, suburban sprawl. The development handicapped the urban core and created a major void in the center of the city. To crawl back, Detroit will need to focus more on it's center.

Detroit has also suffered because, in the current age of talent and innovation driven economy, their two world class universities are out in the hinterland to the east and west of the city. Pittsburgh was able to successfully reinvent itself from a rust belt steel town to a vibrant and hip city through it's focus on education and quality of place. It did so largely due to Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. Today, this poster child of a blue collar town is more known for it's innovative health care and computer science than it's steel.

Richard Florida in his latest book the Great Reset, highlighted many bright spots for the Greater Detroit region going forward. Despite the challenge of proximity, Michigan and Michigan State are world class universities and still home to some of the best engineers and designers in the automotive industry. The region is pinning much hope on this position as innovator in the automotive industry as it changes in the future.

The region is also looking to become a logistics center, with a truly world class airport--that recently captured a large share of jobs from Kentucky with the expanded Delta hub at DTW.

Finally, it is joining some other prominent cities, including Pittsburgh, in the "shrinking cities" movement, focusing it's future not on growth, but quality. Quality of place through redeveloping blighted properties and quality of education.

These are lessons we are focused on here in Owensboro-- quality of place, cultivating talent, industry diversification and redeveloping the center. Thankfully, despite our challenges, we are ahead of the game--especially compared to rust belt regions large and small like Detroit.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Owensboro participates in Kentucky United Economic Development Mission to Michigan and Canada

Through a partnership with KentuckyUnited, GO-EDC recently participated in a marketing mission to Michigan and Canada. The EDC joined with approximately 20 economic development professionals from throughout the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to meet with site selectors and prospective companies in the Greater Detroit area, other parts of Michigan, northern Ohio, and Canada about the opportunities available in Kentucky, especially in the automotive parts supplier industry.

This is the first Marketing Mission KentuckyUnited has sponsored in the Greater Detroit area. The visits to over 35 companies and site selectors have increased the awareness of the state and given the EDC an opportunity to tell decision makers about Kentucky’s new incentive programs.

The meetings may result in several potential projects, some of which have a direct interest in Owensboro.

Over the next few weeks, GO-EDC will conduct further follow up marketing to these prospective companies and consultants.

Owensboro has a great story to tell and the EDC is committed to getting the word out to businesses on the opportunities available in this region!

For more information about KentuckyUnited visit www.kentuckyunitedonline.org/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Economic Gardening: Growing Jobs by Supporting Entrepreneurs and High Growth Firms

Economic gardening is a hot topic in economic development practice, and it is not just another passing fad. The idea originated in Littleton, Colorado over 20 years ago.

The program is based on the premise that economies are best grown internally by nurturing high growth firms. Economic gardening has seen a significant amount of success and gained national attention. Economic gardening programs have been implemented in numerous other communities, both large and small; urban and rural. The state of Florida has also adopted this concept as part of a statewide economic growth strategy.

Since 1987 the Littleton job base grew from 15,000 to over 30,000. Their sales tax base expanded from $6 million to over $20 million. In that time, the community has not recruited a single company or spent a penny on incentive packages.

The foundations of economic gardening as a new approach to economic development were built carefully using the best business and economic research and engaging many of the top minds working both in the business world and academia. At its core, economic gardening focuses on the idea that economies are driven by entrepreneurial growth.

From an economic development organization perspective, economic gardening uses three basic rules to support businesses in any given community: providing information, development of infrastructure supporting an entrepreneurial eco-system, and nurturing connections and networks that are critical to business success. In the focus on Stage II companies, the economic development organization must think and act differently in helping businesses use very sophisticated tools including the following:

database searches
geographic information systems
search engine optimization
web marketing
social media and research tools
network mapping

Economic gardening also focuses on front-end strategic issues of businesses, such as

core strategy
market dynamics
teamwork and human resources

Economic gardening is not a quick fix-- it is not a silver bullet. It is a long-term strategy. It is a lifestyle change rather than a fad diet.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

High Growth, Stage II Companies, Part II

In the previous blog, we looked at the importance of high growth, Stage II companies as the engines of job creation.

Stage II companies are among the most important in the economy. They are also among the most ignored. They are critical because they are powerhouses when it comes to job creation. Second stage companies are privately held enterprises that have 10 to 99 employees, annual revenues ranging from $1 million to $50 million, and the intent and capacity for further growth.

According to research by youreconomy.org, in 1993-2007, second stage companies represented only 11.8 percent of all resident companies in the United States, but generated 34 percent of positive job growth. Second stagers also attract money. Venture funds and angel investors follow success. The more successful high growth companies in any given region, the more attractive the region will be to investors at all levels. They also make the region far more attractive to other companies, adding to a regional business attraction strategy by building up the region's existing business base.

Owensboro has built up an infrastructure to provide support for business startups through the eMerging Ventures program and provides services for existing businesses, so support for Stage II companies is a natural outgrowth of the two.

According to data on youreconomy.org, the jobs in the Owensboro region created by Stage II companies has lagged behind the national pace since 2005 (0% of jobs in Daviess County compared to 24% nationally). This is a critical reason why the EDC is putting so much emphasis on support for Stage II companies through a program called "economic gardening."

NEXT: What does a Stage II Company program look like? We will review the successful "economic gardening" programs.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

High Growth Stage II Firms: the Key to Job Growth

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is embarking on a new strategy to focus on high growth Stage II companies. This blog by Dan Gundersen, Senior Advisor, published by the International Economic Development Council, offers a good overview as to why Stage II companies will be such an important focus in the new EDC Strategic Plan.

"What kinds of businesses create the most new jobs? Most likely, your answer is that small businesses create the most new jobs. Yes, they do – but historically, they also lose the most jobs.

The most important and overlooked concept in modern economic development is net new jobs – those jobs that remain once we subtract all the jobs lost when firms contract, migrate, and close. These net new jobs are overwhelmingly generated through the sustained profitable expansion of existing companies, also known as ‘high-growth' or Stage II firms.

You might respond that high-growth businesses are start-ups and small businesses, usually technology-based enterprises. They tend to be located in or near metropolitan areas to have access to transportation infrastructure, dense labor pools, and thick supplier and customer networks.

Question those assumptions

But here's a reality check: High-growth businesses are usually at least ten years old and have more than 50 employees; rarely are they start-ups or very small firms. Perhaps most surprising, they are much more likely to be found in traditional industries than in high-tech industry clusters.

Why? Nearly every industry segment has one or two dominant firms that provide the most competitive products and services, and thereby reap the lion's share of sales and profit growth, even during recessions. This success fuels extraordinary job creation.

These exceptional firms grow throughout the nation, regardless of local infrastructure or labor markets. They tend to hire new employees based more on drive and desire to grow with the firm than education level or current technical skill-sets. Many are owned and managed by minorities and women entrepreneurs. Their growth increases the equity of job creation because opportunities are widely shared across all demographic groups in our society.

The most comprehensive research of high-growth businesses in the nation was conducted recently in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When I was COO at the Department of Community and Economic Development, we sponsored early research to drill down on the factors for regional prosperity. Dr. Gary Kunkle led this massive effort to analyze the growth of more than half a million firms by integrating proprietary and non-proprietary databases over a multi-year period. It was hard, complex work conducted over several years, and included personal visits and surveys of CEOs at 600 high-growth firms.

The results showed that one percent of firms in the economy generated over 90 percent of the state's net new jobs. Every county with at least 10,000 residents had one or more high-growth businesses.

What do high-growth firms need?

Dr. Kunkle's work for Pennsylvania also found that exceptional growth causes challenges that transcend industry and location. CEOs of high-growth firms routinely struggle with common problems – such as funding expansion, developing management talent, and overcoming delays due to permitting processes. These difficulties slow growth and reduce long-term job creation.

High-growth business owners are simply too busy to seek public notice or assistance. In fact, they have surprisingly few places to turn for help. They typically avoid standard chamber networking events and are much more concerned with managing rapid growth than dialing for incentive dollars or pushing political buttons to advocate for tax cuts and credits. They are effectively 'under the radar' of most economic development efforts.

In an era when performance matters and jobs are scarce, the economic development profession must include efforts that focus on what works – fostering the green shoots of success that already exist. To advance the agenda of job creation, we must learn from and replicate the secrets of those businesses that produce 90 percent of the net new jobs in every community.

Sure, scouring data sets to understand growth trends and find high-growth firms can require technical skills and expertise, not unlike industry cluster analyses and other market studies. But once you identify these exceptional firms, you will then be in an excellent position to engage them. In time, you might realize that you can improve your effectiveness by modifying your organization's services and introducing new approaches to better help these and other firms sustain profitable job growth."

COMING NEXT: Why Owensboro needs to focus on Stage II firms, a look at the data.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Efforts to Revitalize Owensboro Getting Noticed

Veteran economic development consultant and expert Ed Morrison with the Purdue Center for Regional Development cited the rebuilding of Owensboro on his EDPro Blog that is a staple for economic development professionals and site selectors.

Morrison's entry from September 5 follows:

"Over the past two decades, Owensboro, Kentucky has quietly been putting itself on the map. An urban design firm, engaged in redesigning the Owensboro downtown, provides a look inside the process. Out of the decline of the past, Owensboro has been designing around a new narrative:

The slow death of the Executive Inn ushered in a new era of culture in Owensboro with a nationally recognized symphony, an “off-Broadway” River Park Performing Arts Center, and a new reputation for festivals including the nationally recognized Mystery Writers’ Festival.

If you work in a smaller city and are looking for a good model to follow, put Owensboro on your list to visit."

Visit the EDPro Blog by clicking here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

EDC releases New Economic Development Strategy

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation released its vision to guide the economic growth of the region over the next five years.

The GO-EDC Board kicked off the 2010-2015 Strategic Planning process in June 2010 with meetings that included community leaders, elected officials and candidates, investors, and stakeholder groups. The EDC also hosted two public input sessions and distributed a survey online and through its Facebook site to solicit public comment and feedback.

The plan developed is well researched, more comprehensive, and involved a greater level of public input and participation that any other in the history of the organization. Based on the evaluation of data, public input and feedback gathered, the strategy will consist of a three pronged emphasis focusing on the following:

TALENT- Developing, Attracting, and Retaining Talent

INDUSTRY AND INNOVATION- Providing Support for Existing and Emerging Industry Clusters

PLACE- Creating a Quality of Place that Meets the Needs of Current and Future Residents

The following are five key highlights of the new plan.

1. Existing Industry will remain a high priority. Most jobs created in any given region come from existing employers. We have been successful in retaining jobs, particularly compared to peer regions and the rest of the country. We will continue to focus on supporting our existing employers to help them grow and prosper in our region. .

2. Continue efforts to target and recruit industry. EDC has been a partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and other Kentucky communities in a program called Kentucky United. EDC will participate in at least two trade missions this year, including a visit to Detroit later this month to meet with companies in Michigan interested in potentially relocating to Kentucky. These efforts will also include a continuation of our partnership in Hancock County and the potential new industrial site along the river.

3. EDC will continue to build on the work done in the 2006 Strategic Plan to promote innovation, technology based company development and entrepreneurship. These efforts will continue support for Kentucky BioProcessing and the Centre for Business and Research. A new aspect of this work will include support for Stage II Companies, growing companies that create a majority of the jobs in the national economy, but create very few jobs in the region.

4. The EDC will focus on two new initiatives dealing with talent attraction and workforce development. The first is "Owensboro U," an effort in conjunction with local colleges to market Owensboro as a college town with college town amenities. The second is workforce aligned high school programs, which will create joint programs in the life sciences, manufacturing, health care and other areas with available jobs in the coming years.

5. Continue to focus on quality of place amenities such as those being developed as part of the downtown plan. Much of this work will focus on developing a research corridor between the Carnegie Village area and the OMHS Parrish Ave site. The plan also suggests a comprehensive master plan for the newly developing I-64/ I-65 corridor where the new OMHS campus will be located.

To read more about the EDC Strategic Plan please visit:


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New jobs expected to go to the highly skilled

By Christopher S. Rugaber and Michael Liedtke, Associated Press
Published: Monday, September 6, 2010 12:05 AM CDT

Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay -- or none at all.

Job creation will likely remain weak for months or even years. But once employers do step up hiring, some economists expect job openings to fall mainly into two categories of roughly equal numbers:

* Professional fields with higher pay. Think lawyers, research scientists and software engineers.

* Lower-skill and lower-paying jobs, like home health care aides and store clerks.

And those in between? Their outlook is bleaker. Economists foresee fewer moderately paid factory supervisors, postal workers and office administrators.

That's the sobering message American workers face as they celebrate Labor Day at a time of high unemployment, scant hiring and a widespread loss of job security. Not until 2014 or later is the nation expected to have regained all, or nearly all, the 8.4 million jobs lost to the recession. Millions of lost jobs in real estate, for example, aren't likely to be restored this decade, if ever.

On Friday, the government said the August unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6 percent. Not enough jobs were created to absorb the growing number of people seeking work. The unemployment rate has exceeded 9 percent for 16 months, the longest such stretch in nearly 30 years.

The crisis poses a threat to President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, whose hold on the House and Senate appears to be at increasing risk because of voter discontent.

Even when the job market picks up, many people will be left behind. The threat stems, in part, from the economy's continuing shift from one driven by manufacturing to one fueled by service industries.

Pay for future service-sector jobs will tend to vary from very high to very low. At the same time, the number of middle-income service-sector jobs will shrink, according to government projections. Any job that can be automated or outsourced overseas is likely to continue to decline.

The service sector's growth could also magnify the nation's income inequality, with more people either affluent or financially squeezed. The nation isn't educating enough people for the higher-skilled service-sector jobs of the future, economists warn.

"There will be jobs," says Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist. "The big question is what they are going to pay, and what kind of lives they will allow people to lead? This will be a big issue for how broad a middle class we are going to have."

On one point there's broad agreement: Of 8 million-plus jobs lost to the recession -- in fields like manufacturing, real estate and financial services -- many, perhaps most, aren't coming back.

In their place will be jobs in health care, information technology and statistical analysis. Some of the new positions will require complex skills or higher education. Others won't -- but they won't pay very much, either.

"Our occupational structure is really becoming bifurcated," says Richard Florida, a professor at University of Toronto. "We're becoming more of a divided nation by the work we do."

By 2018, the government forecasts a net total of 15.3 million new jobs. If that proves true, unemployment would drop far closer to a historical norm of 5 percent.

Nearly all the new jobs will be in the service sector, the Labor Department says. The nation's 78 million baby boomers will need more health care services as they age, for example. Demand for medical jobs will rise. And innovations in high technology and alternative energy are likely to spur growth in occupations that don't yet exist.

Hiring can't come fast enough for the 14.9 million unemployed Americans. Counting part-time employees who would prefer full-time jobs, plus out-of-work people who have stopped looking for jobs, the number of "underemployed" is 26.2 million.

Manufacturing has shed 2 million jobs since the recession began. Construction has lost 1.9 million, financial services 651,000.

But the biggest factor has been the bust in real estate. The vanished jobs range from construction workers and furniture makers to loan officers, appraisers and material suppliers. Moody's Analytics estimates the total number of housing-related jobs lost at 2.4 million. When you include commercial real estate, the number is far higher.

One of them is Martha Escobar, who last month lost her $13.50-an-hour job cleaning an office tower owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Century City, Calif. She was one of 16 janitors, mostly single mothers, who lost jobs as part of the real estate crunch that's squeezed landlords.

Some of them traveled to New York on Thursday to try to pressure JPMorgan to get its cleaning contractor to take them back, given that the bank earned $8.1 billion during the first half of this year.

"I don't know what I am going to do if I can't get my job back," Escobar, 41, said.

JPMorgan Chase spokesman Gary Kishner said the bank has no say over the layoffs, which he said are handled by the building's cleaning contractor.

On top of real estate-related job losses, manufacturing is likely to keep shedding jobs, sending lower-skilled work overseas. Millions who worked in those fields will need to find jobs in higher-skilled or lower-paying occupations.

"The big fear is the country is simply not preparing workers for the kind of skills that the country is going to need," says Gautam Godhwani, CEO of SimplyHired.com, which tracks job listings.

These sectors likely to grow fastest, according to economists and government projections:


The sector is expected to be the leading job generator, adding 4 million by 2018, according to Labor Department data. An aging population requires more doctors and nurses, physical therapists, home health aides and pharmacists.

Many of these jobs will pay well. Physical therapists averaged about $76,000 last year, according to the department's data. Others pay far less. Home health care aides earned an average of just $21,600.

Home health care and personal care aides are expected to add about 900,000 jobs by 2018 -- 50 percent more than in 2008.

Jennifer Gamboa of Body Dynamics Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based physical therapy firm, says the drive to reduce health care costs should benefit her profession, which can treat pain less expensively than surgery. Gamboa plans to add two employees in the next year.

* INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Technology could be an economic elixir as computers and online networks expand ways to automate services, distribute media and communicate.

Companies will need people to build and secure those networks. That should boost the number of programmers, network administrators and security specialists by 45 percent to 2.1 million by 2018, the government forecasts. Most of these jobs will provide above-average pay.

Technology pay averaged $84,400 in 2008 -- nearly double the average private-sector pay of $45,400, according to an analysis of the most recent full-year data by the TechAmerica Foundation, a research group.

* NEW INDUSTRIES: Deepak Advani, an IBM executive, has a title he says didn't exist five years ago: "Vice president of predictive analytics."

Companies and government agencies have amassed data on behavior ranging from shopping habits to criminal activity. Predictive analytics is the art of determining what to do with that data. How should workers' time be deployed? How best to target customers? Such jobs could grow 20 percent by 2018, the government predicts.

Still, economists say more will be needed to boost job growth. The answer may be some technological breakthrough akin to the personal computer or the Internet.

"Most big booms come from a particular sector that moves the rest of the economy," said Richard Freeman, a Harvard labor economist.

Technology spurred job growth after the 1982 and 1991 recessions. The PC became revolutionary in the early 1980s. Internet use exploded after the Mosaic Web browser was introduced in 1994. Housing eventually lifted employment after the 2001 dot-com bust.

"There's a lack of clarity on what the next big thing is going to be this time," said David Card, an economics professor at the University of California.

Until there is, many people will have to lower expectations and living standards as they enter fields with less pay and less job stability, said Dan Finnigan, CEO of online employment service Jobvite.

"People who are unemployed have to embrace this future that they are going to have many jobs," he said. "We will always be working on the next gig."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Security Bank Expands Its Owensboro Headquarters, Adds 25 Jobs

Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company and community officials in Owensboro to announce the expansion of First Security Bank of Owensboro’s headquarters operation. The project will entail the creation of 25 new full-time financial sector jobs and a capital investment of nearly $4.3 million in the Commonwealth.

“The expansion of First Security Bank of Owensboro’s headquarters operation is yet another positive example of Owensboro’s recent growth in the financial sector,” said Gov. Beshear. “The addition of 25 new full-time jobs and a near $4.3 million investment will provide a significant boost to the local economy. We are pleased to partner with First Security Bank to make this expansion possible.”

The expansion is the result of First Security Bank’s recent purchase of five banking offices of Integra Bank, an Indiana-based financial institution. The bank plans to relocate its current headquarters operation into a new facility, located at 313 Frederica Street, which will result in more than double the amount of space dedicated to the company’s growth.

“We believe our recent branch acquisition represents the first of many good things to come for First Security Bank,” said M. Lynn Cooper, president and CEO of First Security Bank. “We are excited to receive the state and community support in our efforts to grow our franchise. We need additional space to take care of our rapid growth and this building purchase and expansion will provide a long-term strategic answer to our space needs. Additionally, we are committed to assisting Owensboro in its downtown growth initiative and felt we can best do so by remaining in Owensboro, Kentucky, and specifically downtown, thus creating new jobs and enhanced facilities to better serve our customers.”

First Security Bank of Owensboro’s expansion was encouraged by the approval of state tax incentives up to $250,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program (KBI). The performance-based incentive, which was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, can be earned by First Security Bank over a 10-year period through wage assessments.

“Construction of the First Security Bank Corporate Headquarters in Owensboro is great news for the economy and the revitalization efforts of our downtown,” said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. “We are pleased to once again be working with Gov. Beshear to bring more jobs to the city of Owensboro.”

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Widening of Panama Canal could benefit Owensboro's ports

The $5.2 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed in 2014, "will fundamentally change world commerce," the president of Kentuckians for Better Transportation said Wednesday.

Stan Lampe told the Green River Area Development District's board of directors that in the past shipments from Asia were placed in containers, shipped to the West Coast and then sent by rail to the Midwest and East Coast.

But a new lane of traffic will be opened in the Panama Canal in four years with a new set of locks, which will double the canal's capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

Cargo from Asia will then be able to pass through the canal and unload along the Gulf Coast onto smaller vessels that will take the containers up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, he said.

"This area of the state is prepared and ready for it," Lampe said. "In Owensboro, you have both private and public ports. That's a good thing. Container cargo is coming to your doorstep very soon. That's nothing but good for you."

"Anyone who waits until 2014 to start on this will probably be left behind," Ed Riney, president of the Owensboro Riverport, said later.

The port has been discussing building a slackwater harbor -- an inland channel for unloading barges -- for a container cargo operation for several years.

Riney said the port has completed several studies on what it would need to do to build a slackwater harbor and where to do it. And a preliminary design of the harbor is in the works.

But cost is an important factor, he said.

A slackwater harbor is likely to cost $20 million or more, Riney said. But such a harbor could handle up to six barges at a time, rather than handling one barge at a time on the river.

"But I don't know if we can afford it," Riney said.

The way the riverport envisions the system is barges could bring in containers and repackage the products there. Then, the repackaged product could be shipped by rail, truck or air.

Owensboro could become "a key intermodal hub for cargo," Riney said last year.

"It's far-fetched at this point, but the potential of containers is very significant for economic development," he said at the time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

OMHS, U of L receive Funding for Researcher in Plant Therapeutics

The Owensboro Cancer Research Program will be receiving more than $4 million in funds from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and Kentucky's Bucks for Brains program to expand research faculty in plant made pharmaceuticals.

The University of Louisville announced Thursday morning that it received a $3.15 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center and cancer research taking place in Owensboro. That grant will be paired with the state funding to total $4.5 million for the Owensboro Cancer Research Program, according to a UofL press release.

"This funding will continue to support Owensboro's efforts to be the world center of plant therapeutics used in the treatment of diseases like cancer and HIV," said U of L president Jim Ramsey at a news conference in Owensboro. "The funding from the Helmsley Trust and Bucks for Brains will enable U of L to leverage the world's best talent in the plant pharmaceutical industry in Owensboro, Kentucky."

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

EDC Addressing Lack of 3G Coverage in Owensboro

Owensboro and Daviess County have been left behind when it comes to having competitive wireless broadband access. Our lack of third-generation (3G) service from AT&T has put us in a very troubling position and if a solution is not found soon it could have an impact on our local and regional economies.

AT&T says that it now offers 3G service in more than 370 metropolitan areas around the United States. Owensboro is one of the largest metro areas in the US without 3G wireless coverage. The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is requesting that AT&T, the FCC and our Congressional delegation to help us solve this problem.

Access to fast, reliable and affordable 3G service is absolutely essential in today’s competitive marketplace. Local businesses such as US Bank, organizations like the Owensboro Medical Health System, and Owensboro’s new high tech incubator, the Centre for Business and Research, desperately need the service to expand and grow their operations.

We strongly believe in regional economic development, but this is difficult when we are not on the same playing field as our partners in greater Evansville-Henderson-Madisonville, all of which have 3G coverage. The lack of coverage in Owensboro and Daviess County compared to our regional partners is stark and very disconcerting.

The EDC has asked AT&T why Owensboro and Daviess County have been left behind and we’ve learned that they are as frustrated as we are. It seems that the FCC ordered AT&T to divest the wireless spectrum to support 3G that it owned in this area as part of a recent merger agreement. Now, AT&T is stuck trying to buy new spectrum on the open market from a competitor, which is never easy.

It seems that our lack of 3G service is an unintended consequence of the federal government forcing AT&T to divest its spectrum.

With the growing use of wireless technologies for devices like the iPhone and iPad, 3G wireless is now a bare minimum quality of life issue. The EDC respectfully requests that the FCC and AT&T resolve their spectrum issues and promptly bring 3G coverage to Owensboro.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Owensboro one of 60 US metros to post two months of positive job growth

Owensboro is one of just 37 southern metropolitan regions and 65 US metros to post two or more months of job growth in the first part of 2010, according to a study released by Garner Economics.

The Owensboro MSA had year-over-year employment growth of 0.2 percent in April and 1.6 percent in May.

Elizabethtown and Lexington were the only other Kentucky metros to experience two or more months of employment gains. Only one of Owensboro's peer regions, Elmira, NY, have experienced job growth thus far in 2010. The report uses employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from January through May 2010 for all 372 US metropolitan regions.

Garner Economics is an Atlanta-based economic development analytics research agency. The full report is available at the following link.

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Location:U.S. 431,Owensboro,United States

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

EDC Economic Development Priority Survey

As part of the EDC Strategic Planning process, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation are seeking public input regarding regional economic development priorities. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey of EDC priorities at the link found below.

This is a direct link to the survey: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=KMIOFF_d0781698

The survey can also be completed on the EDC Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Greater-Owensboro-Economic-Development-Corp/

Monday, July 19, 2010

EDC Holding Public Input Meeting July 26

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is holding a second meeting to garner public input for its strategic plan and economic development strategy on July 26 at 6 pm at the Owensboro Police Department Community Room.

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Region of Opportunity Team (ROOT) formed after the We the People town meeting event in November 2007. ROOT has been meeting since that event supporting projects and community discussion on economic development.

The meeting will follow a format similar to the first EDC public input meeting in June. An added bonus to this meeting will be an optional walking tour of the Carnegie Village area and a tour of the Centre for Business and Research, the 40,000 square foot business accelerator located on Allen Street-- one block from the OPD.

The EDC presentation and public input session will begin at 6 pm, the walking tour is expected to begin around 7:30 pm. The public is invited.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Emerging Ventures, SCORE and GRADD to Host Social Networking Seminar

The eMerging Ventures Center for Innovation, the Daviess County chapter of SCORE and the Green River Area Development District are hosting a free two hour seminar to help you best utilize social networking to build your business. In the first hour you will learn the basics of using Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools that can help you communicate with your customers/clients and grow your business. The second hour will be hosted by Agent511's Ankur Gopal who will provide tips and advanced techniques that will get your business noticed. Participants are asked to bring their laptop computers. Our goal will be for you to create and have in place a ready to use social networking strategy for your business before you leave.

The seminar will take place on July 27th at 5:15pm at GRADD's offices in Owensboro on Highway 60 West. Participants are encouraged to pre-register by calling GRADD at 270-926-4433 or by going to the GRADD web site, www.gradd.org.