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Andrew Krongold Named Partner at Spinnaker Investment Group

Andrew Krongold Named Partner at Spinnaker Investment Group

Vice President of Investments Andrew Krongold has been named partner in Spinnaker Investment Group, announced company CEO and Chief Investment Officer Morgan Christen. Krongold joins Christen and company president Joseph Stapleton as partners in the seven-member firm, which has more than $330 Million in assets under management.

Krongold has served as Vice President since the firm’s launch in 2016, providing CFO-level services for businesses and individuals such as customized investment management, life insurance, pension plans, and executive compensation solutions. At Spinnaker he provides leadership on the firm’s investment committee and guides marketing and technological innovation efforts.  He holds numerous licenses and professional designations, including Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor.

“We are proud to welcome Andrew as an equity partner of Spinnaker Investment Group,” Christen said.  “He is one of the big reasons we have been named among Orange County’s fastest-growing companies for two years in a row.  Andrew not only continues to provide his clients with world-class financial services but also is a valued community leader making a difference in Southern California.”

Krongold developed a passion for investments and teaching others about investing at an early age. He made his first stock purchase at 13 and chose wealth management as a career path soon after graduating from high school.  “As a kid I was fascinated with the idea that you could buy a piece of a large company,” he said.

Trading stocks and managing 401k plans early on provided great perspective on the highs and lows investors experience, he added.  “Having personally experienced the emotions associated with both making and losing money, I knew I wanted to join a firm that was independent and focused on the needs of clients, rather than be obliged to sell the financial products offered by a large institutional firm,” said Krongold.

Andrew is active in the community of Orange County where he is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, a Board member for the NextGen division of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, and a board member of the Tocqueville Society of Orange County United Way. In 2019, Krongold was named one of “40 under 40” by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of his accomplishments and service.

A graduate from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Krongold and his wife are residents of Costa Mesa, Calif.

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About Spinnaker Investment Group, LLC:

Spinnaker Investment Group, LLC is a privately owned, boutique Investment Company that cares deeply about its clients and is committed to helping them realize their financial independence.   The company’s mission is to deliver the highest level of comprehensive wealth management service, helping customers achieve their financial goals and ultimately establish a safe, secure future.   With more than 30 years of combined investment experience, the Spinnaker team supports this mission by providing expert financial planning, wealth planning, retirement planning, asset management, securities and insurance.  For more information, visit www.SpinnInvest.com.

site selection

Our Annual Governer’s Cup Ranks Top 10 Southern States for Site Selection Incentives

A funny thing happened on the way to compiling Global Trade’s latest Annual Governor’s Cup feature on state site selection incentives: the preponderance of states from the South that offer more attractive benefits than just about anywhere else in the country.

Rather than cast the net wide enough to include non-southern states for the sake of comprehensiveness, we decided to this year focus more strongly on the country’s hottest region. There are 16 states in the American South, and based on data and statistics from the U.S. government and various business, industry and media entities, we have ranked the top 10.

It must be mentioned that differing sources had Tennessee and Georgia as the top state among all 50 when it comes to site selection incentives. We did not flip a coin but instead gave The Volunteer State the ever-so-slight edge based on the quality of incentives offered. Really, you would do well to start up or relocate in either state or, heck, any of the 10 that follow.

1. TENNESSEE

Capital: Nashville

Population: 6.77 million

GDP: $287.77 billion (2-16)

Largest cities: Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga

Targeted industries: Business Services, Chemicals, Plastics & Rubber, Food & Agribusiness, Distribution & Logistics, Aerospace & Defense, Transportation, Healthcare & Medical Devices, Energy Technology, Automotive, Advanced Manufacturing

Site location success story: Amazon opening a major operations and logistics office hub in Nashville that creates 5,000 high paying jobs and pumps $230 million into the local economy.

Key agency: Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development

Key site-selection incentives:

*Fast Track Economic Development Fund, which provides grants to local communities to reimburse companies for eligible expenditures not covered by infrastructure or job training grants, including relocation of equipment, temporary office space, capital improvements and retrofitting.

*Job Tax Credit of $4,500 per job to offset up to 50 percent of franchise and excise taxes (F&E) in any given year with a carry forward for up to 15 years so long as businesses create at least 25 net new full-time positions within a 36 month period and invest at least $500,000 in a qualified business enterprise.

*Enhanced Job Tax Credit, which allows an additional annual credit for locations/expansions in designated Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 Enhancement Counties and can offset up to 100 percent of F&E liability.

*Industrial Machinery Tax Credit of 1-10 percent for the purchase, third party installation and repair of qualified industrial machinery used in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution and at headquarters and call centers.

*Sales and Use Tax Exemptions at headquarters or for industrial machinery and reduced sales tax rates for utilities at qualified call centers, data centers and warehousing, distribution and manufacturing facilities.

*Research and Development sales tax exemption.

*FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program for new or expanding companies that provide funding to support the training of net new full-time employees.

*Export Assistance that includes networking, training and free planning services and trade and travel assistance.

2. GEORGIA

Capital: Atlanta

Population: 10.52 million (2018)

GDP: $461.1 billion (2016)

Largest cities: Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta, Macon

Targeted industries: Call Centers, Cybersecurity, Financial Technology, Food Processing, Logistics, Automotive, Life Sciences, Aerospace, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Headquarters

Site location success story: Brazil’s Guidoni Group, which is one of the leading producers and exporters of ornamental stones in the world, locating a manufacturing facility in McRae-Helena that creates 455 jobs and invests $96 million. The project is slated to open in 2020’s third quarter.

Key agency: Georgia Department of Economic Development

Key site selection incentives:

*No real or personal property tax, no state property tax on inventory and 5.75 percent corporate income tax.

*Inventory Tax Exemption, where counties and municipalities have the option of enacting a local property tax exemption for four classes of inventory at 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 percent of the value.

*Investment Tax Credit for companies to upgrade or expand as long as they have operated a manufacturing or telecommunications facility (including corporate office and other support facilities) for at least three years in the state.

*Mega Project Tax Credit, which is available for companies that employ at least 1,800 net new employees, and either invest a minimum of $450 million or have a minimum annual payroll of $150 million.

*Port Tax Credit Bonus rewards new or expanding companies that increase imports or exports through a Georgia deepwater port by at least 10 percent over the previous or base year. It can be used with the Job Tax Credit program or the Investment Tax Credit program.

*Quality Jobs Tax Credit for jobs that pay higher-than-average wages.

*Research & Development Tax Credit for Georgia companies performing qualified research and development in manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting,

warehousing & distribution. R&D, processing and tourism.

3. SOUTH CAROLINA

Capital: Columbia

Population: 5 million (2017)

GDP: $183.8 billion (2016)

Largest cities: Charleston, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant

Targeted industries: Advanced Materials, Distribution & Logistics, Aerospace, Automotive, Office/Shared Services, Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing

Site location success story: AIRSYS Cooling Technologies Inc., global information, communication and technology cooling solution provider, establishing operations in Spartanburg County, where more than $5 million is to be invested and 116 new jobs created.

Key agency: South Carolina Department of Commerce

Key site-selection incentives:

*Economic Development Set-Aside Program that assists companies in locating or expanding in South Carolina by providing financial assistance for road or site improvements and other costs related to business location or expansion.

*Single Factor Sales Apportionment for a company whose primary business in the state is manufacturing, distribution or selling or dealing intangible personal property. The apportionment formula is advantageous for a company whose majority of sales occur outside of South Carolina.

*Corporate Headquarters Credit of 20 percent based on the cost of the actual portion of the facility dedicated to the headquarters operation or direct lease costs for the first five years of operation.

*Credit for Revitalization of Abandoned Buildings, of which at least 66 percent has been closed continuously or otherwise nonoperational for at least five years.

*Fee-in-lieu of Property Taxes may be offered by a county to companies with a total investment of $2.5 million or greater on new buildings and equipment.

*Investment Tax Credit that allows manufacturers a one-time corporate income tax credit for a company’s investment in new production equipment.

*Job Development Credit that can refund a portion of state withholding tax liability for 10-15 years.

*Port Volume Increase Credit for manufacturers, distributors or entities engaged in freight forwarding, freight handling, goods processing, cross-docking, transloading or wholesaling of goods that use state port facilities and increase base port cargo volume by at least 5 percent over base-year totals.

*Research & Development Tax Credit equal to 5 percent of the taxpayer’s qualified research expenses in the state.

4. NORTH CAROLINA

Capital: Raleigh

Population: 10.2 million (2017)

GDP: $538.3 billion (2017)

Largest cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham

Targeted industries: Biotech & Pharmaceuticals, Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Agribusiness & Food Processing, Business & Financial Services, Information & Communication Technology, Truck & Heavy Equipment

Site location success story: Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, investing $57 million to establish a filling and packaging line for the company’s RotaTeq vaccine and create 55 jobs in Wilson.

Key agency: Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Key site-selection incentives:

*Job Development Investment Grant that provides cash grants to new and expanding businesses to help offset the cost of locating or expanding in North Carolina.

*One North Carolina Fund that allows the governor to respond quickly to competitive job-creation projects that do also require a local match.

*Building Reuse Programs for renovation and upfitting vacant industrial and commercial buildings.

*Singles Sales Factor Apportionment that determines how much of a corporation’s income is subject to state tax based solely on its revenue from sales located in or sourced to North Carolina.

*Sales and Use Tax Exemptions for specified manufacturing, fulfillment, data centers and more.

5. ALABAMA

Capital: Montgomery

Population: 4.87 million (2017)

GDP: $211 billion (2017)

Largest cities: Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile

Targeted industries: Aerospace/Defense Manufacturing, Automotive Manufacturing, Chemical Manufacturing, Agricultural Products/Food Production Manufacturing, Steel/Metal Manufacturing, Distribution & Logistics, Information Technology

Site location success story: Airbus’ first single-aisle A220 passenger jet rolling out this year at its second Mobile campus, which opened last year.

Key agency: Economic Development Partnership of Alabama

Key site-selection incentives:

*Alabama Department of Commerce’s Certified Capital Company (CAPCO) Program offers an alternative to conventional bank financing to accommodate a slightly higher risk profile and provide a more flexible structure for growing businesses in the state.

*Industrial Revenue Bonds, which are tax-exempt and issued at rates lower than conventional sources, may be used as long-term financing of up to 100 percent of a project for acquisition of land, buildings, site preparation and improvements; building, furnishing and filling structures; and “soft costs” such as architectural and engineering, interest incurred during construction, cost associated with bond issuance, etc.

*Investment Credit for a qualifying project for up to 10 years and can be taken against the Alabama income tax liability and/or utility tax liability.

*Jobs Credit annual cash rebate up to 3 percent of the previous year’s gross payroll (not including fringe benefits) for eligible employees for up to 10 years. The rebate rises if at least 12 percent of employees are veterans.

6. TEXAS

Capital: Austin

Population: 28.3 million (2017)

GDP: $1.7 trillion (2017)

Largest cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin

Targeted industries: Advanced Technologies & Manufacturing, Energy, Information & Computer Technology, Petroleum Refining & Chemical Products, Biotech & Life Sciences, Aerospace & Defense

Site location success story: United Alloy Inc., a serial production metal fabrication and powder coating company, building its new state-of-the-art, 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on a 27-acre site in Seguin, which benefits from at least 100 new jobs and $35 million in total capital investment over a three-year period.

Key agency: The Governor’s Office of Economic Development & Tourism | Gov.texas.gov/business | (512) 936-0100

Key site-selection incentives:

*Capital Access Program financing for small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits which face barriers to accessing capital or fall outside of guidelines of conventional lending.

*Industrial Revenue Bonds that provide tax-exempt financing for land and depreciable property for eligible industrial or manufacturing projects.

*Spaceport Trust Fund financial support for the development of infrastructure necessary or useful for establishing a spaceport in Texas.

*Texas Enterprise Fund awards “deal-closing” cash grants to companies considering a new project for which one Texas site is competing with other out-of-state sites.

*Texas Product Development & Small Business Incubator Fund long-term, asset-backed loans to product development companies and small business incubators/accelerators located in Texas.

*Business Relocation Tax Deduction & Exemption for qualified businesses relocating to Texas.

*Renewable Energy Incentives for any qualifying Texas business that exclusively manufactures, sells or installs wind or solar energy devices.

*State Sales & Use Tax Exemptions for rented, leased or purchased machinery, equipment, replacement parts and accessories that have a useful life of more than one year or 12 months, and that are used or consumed in the manufacturing, processing, fabricating or repairing of tangible personal property for ultimate sale.

*Texas Economic Development Act incentives for large-scale manufacturing, research and development and other large capital investment projects that locate in Texas.

*Texas Enterprise Zone Program state sales and use tax refunds for private investment and job creation in economically distressed areas of the state.

*Texas Research & Development Tax Credit sales tax exemption when buying materials, software and equipment directly used in qualified R&D purposes.

 7. KENTUCKY

Capital: Frankfort

Population: 4.45 million (2017)

GDP: $202.5 billion (2017)

Largest cities: Louisville, Lexington-Fayette, Bowling Green, Owensboro

Targeted industries: Automotive Related Engineering & Manufacturing; Aerospace; Advanced Manufacturing; Logistics & Distribution; Food & Beverage; Aluminum & Steel Related Manufacturing; Chemicals, Plastic & Rubber

Site location success story: The first Kentucky operation for Precision Pulley & Idler, a supplier of idlers, pulleys, bearings and other products for the major bulk and material handling components industries. The $10.75 million production facility in Maysville creates more than 100 full-time jobs over the next decade.

Key agency: Kentucky Association for Economic Development

Key site-selection incentives:

*Direct Loan Program loans at below-market interest rates for fixed asset financing for agribusiness, tourism, industrial ventures or the service industry. Retail projects are not eligible.

*Industrial Revenue Bonds to finance manufacturing projects and their warehousing areas, major transportation and communication facilities, most health care facilities, and mineral extraction and processing projects.

*Kentucky Enterprise Fund and Rural Innovation Fund seed-stage capital for companies that are commercializing a technology-based product or process.

*Kentucky New Energy Ventures Fund seed stage capital to support the development and commercialization of alternative fuel and renewable energy products, processes and services.

*Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative and Small Business Loan Program loans for small businesses engaged in manufacturing, agribusiness or service and technology.

*Angel Investment Tax Credit of up to 50 percent of an investment in Kentucky small businesses; the investor and business much each apply.

*Kentucky Business Investment Program income tax credits and wage assessments to new and existing agribusinesses, regional and national headquarters, manufacturing companies, alternative fuel, gasification, energy-efficient alternative fuels, renewable energy production companies, carbon dioxide transmission pipelines and non-retail service or technology related companies that locate or expand operations in Kentucky.

*Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act tax breaks for new or expanded companies engaged in manufacturing, non-retail service or technology activities, agribusiness, headquarters operations, alternative fuel, gasification, energy-efficient alternative fuels, renewable energy production companies, carbon dioxide transmission pipelines, or tourism attraction project in Kentucky.

*Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act tax credits for the rehabilitation of manufacturing or coal mining and processing operations that are in imminent danger of permanently closing or that have closed temporarily.

8. VIRGINIA

Capital: Richmond

Population: 8.47 million (2017)

GDP: $508.7 billion (2017)

Largest cities: Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond

Targeted industries: Cyber Security, ­ Software Publishing, Data Centers, Information/Communications Technologies, Corporate Services, ­ Headquarters, Supply Chain Management, Food & Beverage Processing, Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Automotive, Wood Products, Life Sciences, Unmanned Systems

Site location success story: Cascades, a Canadian packaging and tissue products producer, paid $40 million and plans to invest up to $300 million more to replace the Bear Island paper mill that shut down in Hanover County in 2017. The facility that’s planned to reopen in 2021 will employ 140 workers.

Key agency: Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Key site-selection incentives:

*Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant for those locating significant headquarters, administrative or service sector operations in the state.

*Virginia Investment Performance Grant for companies involved in added capacity, modernization, increased productivity or the creation, development and utilization of advanced technology.

*Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program for companies that locate new maritime-related employment centers or expand existing centers in the Commonwealth that foster the port’s growth.

*Virginia Small Business Financing Authority programs for small businesses that need access to capital for growth and expansion.

*Rail Industrial Access Program connecting businesses to freight rail service by funding the construction or improvement of railroad tracks and facilities to serve industrial or commercial sites where freight rail service is currently needed or anticipated in the future.

*Corporate Income Tax Credits for multiple industry and business sectors.

*Property Tax Exemptions for multiple types of industry and business property, equipment and tools.

*Sales & Use Tax Exemptions on gross receipts derived from retail sales or leases of tangible personal property, unless the retail sales or leases are specifically exempt by law.

9. MISSISSIPPI

Capital: Jackson

Population: 2.98 million (2017)

GDP: $111.7 billion (2017)

Largest cities: Jackson, Gulfport, Southaven, Hattiesburg

Targeted industries: Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Shipbuilding, Agribusiness, Automotive, Forestry & Energy, Healthcare

Site location success story: Amazon leasing a 1 million-square-foot facility in DeSoto County’s Olive Branch for a fulfillment center that brings 500 new full-time jobs. Just 11 months ago, Amazon disclosed plans for its Marshall County fulfillment center that’s employing 850 workers.

Key agency: Mississippi Economic Development Council

Key site-selection incentives:

*Development Infrastructure Grant Program to finance infrastructure projects for manufacturers, warehouses and distribution centers, research and development facilities, telecommunications and data processing facilities and national or regional headquarters.

*Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Program for businesses and other eligible entities that are increasing energy efficiency in their buildings, equipment and processes.

*Standard Property Tax Exemptions that local governing authorities may grant businesses locating or expanding in their areas for up to 10 years.

*Industrial Revenue Bond Program to finance companies’ location or expansion projects in the state.

*Advantage Jobs Incentive Program for businesses that create new, high-quality jobs through locating or expanding in the state.

*Growth and Prosperity Program state income tax, franchise tax and property tax exemptions for up to 10 years, as well as a sales and use tax exemption on equipment and machinery purchased during initial construction or an expansion at an approved facility.

*Jobs Tax Credit equal to a percentage of payroll for each newly created job for a five-year period for eligible businesses.

*Mississippi Aerospace Initiative Incentives Program is a 10-year income and franchise tax exemption and a sales and use tax exemption for the start-up of a new facility or expansion of an existing facility that manufactures or assemble products for use in—or that provides research and development or training services to—the aerospace industry.

*Mississippi Clean Energy Initiative Program is a 10-year income and franchise tax exemption and a sales and use tax exemption for the start-up of a new—or expansion of an existing—clean energy business.

*Mississippi Data Center Incentives for a business enterprise certified by the state as a data center.

*National or Regional Headquarters Sales Tax Exemption for an eligible business that creates or expands its national or regional headquarters in the state.

*Property Tax Exemption for Industrial Revenue Bond Financing.

*Property Tax Exemption on In-State Inventory (finished goods that will remain in the state).

*Research and Development Skills Tax Credit for a five-year period for each position requiring R&D skills.

10. LOUISIANA

Capital: Baton Rouge

Population: 4.68 million (2017)

GDP: $246.3 billion (2017)

Largest cities: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie

Targeted industries: Software Development, Energy, Automotive, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, Process Industries, Agribusiness, Water Management, Entertainment

Site location success story: Testronic, a leading quality assurance firm in the digital gaming industry, launching a new 150-job testing facility in New Orleans that will result in another 169 new indirect jobs, for a total of 319 new jobs in New Orleans and the Southeast Region.

Key agency: Louisiana Economic Development

Key site-selection incentives:

*Competitive Projects Property Tax Exemption for non-manufacturing industry sectors, including corporate headquarters, distribution facilities, data services facilities, research and development operations, and digital media and software development centers.

*Economic Development Award Program financial assistance to influence a company’s decision to locate, relocate, maintain, rebuild and/or expand its business operations in Louisiana.

*Industrial Tax Exemption Program, which offers an attractive tax incentive for manufacturers who make a commitment to jobs and payroll in the state.

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, BusinessFacilities.com, Site Selection Group, Area Development.

 

houston

America’s Best Cities: Houston Tops Global Trade’s Seventh Annual Roundup

For Global Trade’s seventh annual list of America’s Best Cities, we have crunched the numbers from various public and private sources regarding ports, education, utilities, NAFTA access, export assistance, intermodal access, skilled workforce, transportation, workforce development programs and quality of life.

We ranked the 10 best cities for each related category, awarding points that ultimately put Houston, Texas, over the top as America’s Best City.

Houston is used to topping such lists, as we note with its separate No. 1 ranking on the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data for the nation’s 392 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Incidentally, that government data showed U.S. metro areas exported a significant $1.5 trillion in merchandise across the world in 2018, a $110.3 billion (or 8.1 percent) increase from the year before. Of the 259 metropolitan areas that reported positive export growth, 94 reached record levels.

“The Trump Administration is committed to addressing trade imbalances, breaking down trade barriers, and providing U.S. companies with new reach in foreign markets,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan. “With this increase in exports over the last year and the continued work of the Commercial Service, it is a fruitful time for American businesses.”

Charts throughout this section show the top cities and their rankings overall and in key areas, while honorably mentioned are the top 10 cities to watch, any of which could be on the way to leading a future Global Trade list of America’s Best Cities. But first, here are the top 20 cities, with their rankings, overall scores and some details about what made them leaders.

1. Houston

Overall score: 44

Top category: Education and Colleges (No. 1)

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area also topped the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data for the nation’s 392 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. That Texas metropolitan area had $120.7 billion in goods exports while also showing the highest annual dollar growth in exports, expanding $25 billion from 2017 to ’18.

2. Minneapolis

Overall score: 38

Top category: Skilled/Educated Workforce (No. 4)

Eight miles west of Minneapolis is Minnetonka, which is home to a key player in the region’s beefy export data. Cargill Inc. reported global beef sales helped lead the nation’s largest privately held company to a $915 million profit for the quarter ended Aug. 31. Minnesotans can moo about state exports rising 10 percent to a record $23 billion in 2018, outpacing the nation’s 8 percent jump.

3. Chicago

Overall score: 37

Top category: Transportation Infrastructure (No. 5)

Trading defines Chicago’s importance as a major international city, with two of the biggest commodity exchanges based there. With exports of $47.3 billion, the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin (Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin) Metropolitan Statistical Area was fifth the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data for the nation’s 392 MSAs.

4. New York

Overall score: 32

Top category: Capable, Connected and Logistically Viable Ports (No. 1)

“If you want to start a business, create a new product or have a big idea, New York City is the place to be,” then-mayor Michael Bloomberg said in 2012. That remains true today of the world’s epicenter of finance, communication and culture. The New York-Newark-Jersey City (New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania) Metropolitan Statistical Area came in second in the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data for the nation’s 392 MSAs, with exports of $97.7 billion.

5. Seattle

Overall score: 29

Top category: Transportation Infrastructure (No. 4)

About 70 percent of the Port of Seattle’s containerized cargo originates in, or is destined for, regions of the country outside the Pacific Northwest, making Seattle a trade gateway of regional, national and international significance. That’s partly due to being closer to Asia and Alaska than any other major U.S. seaport and also to two major U.S. railroads being within two miles of container terminals, and two major interstate highways just minutes from all terminals. With exports of $59.7 billion, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA came in fourth in the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data rankings.

6. Los Angeles

Overall score: 27

Top category: Transportation Infrastructure (No. 3)

Home to Hollywood, Los Angeles means showbiz, with movie studios, TV stations, and more. Its West Coast location also makes it a key hub for trade with Asia. With exports of $64.8 billion, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan Statistical Area was third in the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s 2018 goods export data for the nation’s 392 MSAs.

7. San Francisco

Overall score: 25

Top category: Education and Colleges (No. 7)

San Francisco has a long history as an international gateway and is one of the major global business centers in the U.S.; its home to international companies such as Kikkomann (Japan), GCL Solar (China), Aegon (Netherlands), Deutsche Bank (Germany) and Globant (Argentina). ‘Frisco has also gained an international reputation as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, with many global brands having been founded there, including GAP, Levi Strauss, URS Corp., Gensler, Salesforce and Twitter.

8. Atlanta

Overall score: 20

Top categories: Transportation Infrastructure and Intermodal Access (No. 2)

“Hot-lanta” was the 16th largest exporter in the U.S. in 2016, with a 7 percent increase over the previous year leading to $20.5 billion in the total Atlanta goods export value. What’s more, that represented a whopping 80 percent jump in export growth from 2006.

9. New Orleans

Overall score: 19

Top category: Capable, Connected and Logistically Viable Ports (No. 9)

Ports situated along the Mississippi River—from Baton Rouge to Myrtle Grove—are close enough together (some are even adjacent) to act as one large port complex often referred to the New Orleans Port Region. The region brings together all modes of transportation (ocean, barge, rail and truck) to link ports 228 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico with the gulf, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Panama Canal. The Port of South Louisiana moves more tonnage than any other North American port.

10. Austin

Overall score: 17

Top category: Skilled/Educated Workforce (No. 8)

You likely know that Austin is the state capital of Texas, home to the University of Texas flagship campus and the site of a thriving art, film, music and cultural scene. What you may not know is, with a population of more than 945,000 people, the Austin-Round Rock area is the 28th largest exporter in the U.S., exporting about $10.1 billion in goods and services annually.

11. Boston

Overall score: 15

Top category: Skilled/Educated Workforce (No. 5)

With M.I.T. and Harvard’s intellectual capital and strong financial markets, Boston possesses a wealth of infrastructure to accommodate global traders. The transportation infrastructure alone, which hubs six New England states, includes a deepwater port, three interstates, Amtrak and Conrail railroads and busy Logan Airport.

12. Omaha and Savannah

Overall score: 14 each

Top Omaha category: Developed Workforce/Development Programs (No. 4)

Top Savannah category: Intermodal Access (No. 6)

Greater Omaha is growing places. Over the past 10 years, exports in that region of Nebraska have increased by $1.9 billion, growing an average of 0.9 percent each year. Despite Savannah’s East Coast location, the historic Georgia city’s top trade lane for both export and import cargo is northeast Asia.

13. Denver

Overall score: 13

Top categories: Skilled/Educated Workforce and  Developed Workforce/Development Programs (No. 1)

Colorado exports increased 3.3 percent in 2018 to $8.32 billion, up from $8.06 billion in 2017. Being strategically located between Canada and Mexico allows metropolitan Denver to capitalize on NAFTA opportunities. That explains why Canada, with $1.4 billion in 2018 export value, and Mexico, which was just behind at $1.3 billion, are Colorado’s largest trading partners.

14. Jacksonville and Milwaukee

Overall score: 12 each

Top Jacksonville category: Capable, Connected and Logistically Viable Ports (No. 5)

Top Milwaukee category: Export Assistance (No. 2)

JAXPORT, as the cool kids call the Port of Jacksonville, annually ranks with nearby Brunswick, Georgia, and Baltimore as being among the top three U.S. ports in roll-on, roll-off vehicle shipments. High and heavy shipments are also growing at JAXPORT. With more than 2 million people and 50,000 businesses, the seven-county Milwaukee Region, which is centrally located on the Great Lakes, has a reputation for innovation, quality, ease and choice. In 2018, Wisconsin goods exports were $22.7 billion, an increase of 10 percent ($2.1 billion) from its export level in 2008.

15. Boise

Overall score: 11

Top category: Best City to Live in (No. 4)

Given Idaho’s population of 1.754 million people, its total $4 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $2,300 for each Gem State resident. Most of that export activity is centered in Boise, which is experiencing a boom due to its affordability and quality of life.

16. Charleston, Detroit, Washington, D.C.

Overall score: 10 each

Top Charleston category: Capable, Connected and Logistically Viable Ports (No. 4)

Top Detroit category: NAFTA Access (No. 10)

Top Washington, D.C., category: Education and Colleges (No. 4)

Ranking as the country’s fastest-growing mid-sized metro for aircraft manufacturing, Charleston is flying high in the aerospace sector. Already home to aerospace leaders like Boeing and SKF Aero Bearing, Charleston in June was revealed to be French aerospace supplier AHG Fasteners-USA’s U.S. operations hub. AHG is the sixth company to locate in the historic South Carolina region as part of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s Landing Pad program, which assists global companies entering the U.S. market.

The hub for America’s automotive industry—thanks to three major automobile businesses with headquarters within principal city Detroit’s metropolitan area—Michigan shipped $57.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That made Michigan America’s seventh-biggest exporting state behind Texas, California, New York, Washington, Louisiana and Illinois. Washington, D.C., was the top-ranked city on the 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, followed by Copenhagen, Oslo, Vienna and Zurich.

The GTCI report, which includes a special focus on the encouraging, nurturing and developing of entrepreneurial talent, attributed the strong performance of the nation’s capital to its steady economy, dynamic population, outstanding infrastructure and connectivity, highly-skilled workforce and world-class education.

Roberto Muñoz

Banking and Community Leader Roberto Muñoz Re-elected 2020 Chairman of the World Trade Center Miami

The World Trade Center Miami Board of Directors announced that Roberto R. Muñoz, current chairman was re-elected to serve again as Chairman for 2020. Mr. Muñoz is President, Miami-Dade Market for First Horizon Bank.

“On behalf of our fellow Directors, we extend our warmest congratulations to Chairman Roberto Muñoz upon his re-election” said Ivan Barrios, incoming President and CEO of the World Trade Center Miami. “Mr. Muñoz is an excellent leader with deep experience and contacts in our community together his keen knowledge in global finance and commerce”. Charlotte Gallogly, President and COO said “Mr. Muñoz skillful leadership, Board support, and great dedication and vision allowed for significant positive change to occur during this past year that included the election of Ivan Barrios as President and CEO. As a result, we expect to see significant growth to continue in the coming years”. Ivan Barrios stated, “We are fortunate to have such a talented group of Directors providing the guidance that supports our mission to promote two-way trade and facilitate international commerce in South Florida”.

“I am grateful to my fellow Directors for their vote of confidence and I’m honored to continue to lead once again as Chairman” said Muñoz”. “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow board members and management to enhance our not-for-profit business organization as a growth platform for Miami’s international trade and logistics community. World Trade Center plays an important role in supporting global trade, Miami-Dade’s largest employment sector and proud to serve in this important effort”.

Muñoz is president of the Miami-Dade market and Commercial Banking and Wealth Management executive for First Horizon Bank, a $43.0 billion financial institution headquartered in Memphis TN. He is also a leader in numerous professional and civic organizations including serving as secretary on the executive board of the Mami-Dade Beacon Council; treasurer and finance committee chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and former chairman and president of the Florida International Bankers Association. Muñoz is an executive board member and vice president of finance for the Boy Scouts of America, South Florida Council; an executive board member of The Center for Financial Training Southeastern; board advisor at the Center for Leadership at Florida International University; and board member of the Chapman Partnership. Mr. Muñoz is a former treasurer and executive board member of the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Miami and the Hong Kong Business Association of Florida.

In 2015 Muñoz was awarded by Governor Rick Scott as a “Florida Business Ambassador” and in 1994 sworn in by Governor Lawton Chiles as founding Board member and vice chairman of the Florida Film and Television Investment Board in Tallassee. Muñoz was elected to the Distinguished Alumni Halls of Fame at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University and has received various awards including the Life Time Achievement and Distinguished Citizens award by The Boy Scouts of America, South Florida Council, as well as, The Man of the Year, and Philanthropist of the Year awards by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida to name a few.

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The World Trade Center Miami (WTCM) is a leading global trade organization, whose roots go back to 1971. The WTCM has generated more than $3.8 billion in international sales over the past 30 years and stimulated the creation of thousands of new jobs. The WTCM is a member of the World Trade Center Association in New York, a global network of more than 325 centers in 91 countries.

global trade

Global Trade: 2019 Wrap-Up and 2020 Forecast

Looking back at this year, 2019 saw a multitude of global economic growth disruptors from the escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China, to Germany’s manufacturing and automotive decline and Brexit.

Consequentially, global trade growth has almost come to a standstill, and while it’s not quite at recession levels, nearly every market and sector, as well as businesses within those sectors, have felt the impact of policies and decision making.

Even with the possibility that trade growth could rebound in 2020 to a modest 1.5%, economic policy uncertainty remains high and if it abates, it is likely only to do so to a limited extent into 2020. What factors are at play? Let’s take a look.

Trade war with China. Despite the recent conclusion of ‘phase one’ of a U.S.-China trade deal, uncertainty remains high. The underlying reason for the trade war is not resolved and is unlikely to be resolved soon either: it regards fundamental issues such as the influence of China on the global economy and theft of intellectual property. Although tensions may temporarily soften, as they seem to do now, we see no end in sight for the trade war with China and with the current administration in the White House for one more year, another rocky year is forecasted. The trade war alone is affecting no more than almost 3% of global trade — currently approximately $550 billion of goods — but it is sending a ripple effect around the globe from business investment to value chains and trade flows. If it expands to other economies in Asia and Europe, which is very possible, we could see an even more pronounced slowing in trade.

Brexit. The self-imposed economic hardship has caused much uncertainty and plummeting fixed investments in the business sector. With Boris Johnson elected to Prime Minister in the December election and Brexit a certainty come January 31, policy uncertainty has been lessened, but some will remain until a new trade relationship with the EU is shaped. While the clout of those favoring a no-deal Brexit has been diminished, a no-deal Brexit is still possible. If this occurs, it would throw chaos into supply chains across Europe.

Business insolvencies and market pressure. The U.S. is expected to lead the number of business insolvencies with a 3.9% increase in 2020, far above the global average of 2.6% expected next year. This is due to the fact that there’s been lower business investment, lower external demand (especially from China), and higher import and labor costs. Those sectors feeling the most pressure include steel, which is dealing with an overcapacity issue, automotive, and businesses dealing in aircraft, which have seen a 20% market share loss. U.S. businesses dealing in vegetable and animal products and agriculture won’t see any relief soon either, and all U.S. businesses that have typically relied on imports from China (as well as businesses in China relying on imports from the U.S.) are now facing higher costs, which are resulting in insolvencies.

Despite all the economic doom and gloom, there are a few bright spots. Indeed, the ‘phase one’ agreement between the U.S. and China provides at least hope. Moreover, the U.S. signed trade agreements with Japan, Canada, and Mexico, and a few countries, like India and China, which are pulling their weight with a 6% GDP growth rate, are providing some positive impact on the global figure as they continue to grow at rapid pace, that is to say above 5% per annum.

Further, the consumer outlook looks positive with household consumption in both North America and Europe ending on a high note, thanks to low unemployment. Unfortunately, this alone cannot support economic growth. Low-interest rates and the amount of money floating around the U.S. as well as Europe could give rise to turmoil in the markets and the economy – both pillars of global growth – and any detriment to consumer confidence could put the economy in a downward spiral, reversing the modest growth expectations set for 2020.

There is much at stake and a low likelihood of that changing for 2020. If economic and political developments continue to sour, economic growth could be hampered even more than it already is.

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John Lorié is Chief Economist at Atradius Credit Insurance, having joined the company in April 2011. He is also affiliated to the University of Amsterdam as a researcher. Previously, he was Senior Vice President at ABN AMRO, where he worked for more than 20 years in a variety of roles. He started his career in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. John holds a PHD in international economics, masters’ degrees in economics (honours) and tax economics as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

business

Why these Elite Lone Star State Cities are Right for Your Business

When it comes to site selection, there are a lot of big choices to be made. From locating a city with a business-friendly environment to selecting the perfect site to build your business, it can be hard to find a place that has everything you need if you go it alone. But that’s not a problem when you “Choose Texas.” The Choose Texas program wants to help you make the easiest choice you’ll ever make: to choose to relocate or expand in the Lone Star State.

The Choose Texas program helps new or expanding businesses looking to relocate in the state by introducing them to cities or towns that match their individual needs. Always free for businesses, the Choose Texas program can help with locating incentives, finding properties and getting valuable facetime with local economic development professionals. For more than 25 years, the team at Choose Texas has been helping new and expanding businesses relocate to Texas, all the while helping grow the economy within the state. 

Whether you’re already considering a move to Texas or are just beginning your site selection journey, these Texas communities are eager to tell you why Choosing Texas is right for your business.

CENTRAL TEXAS

Belton

Located along the I-35 corridor between Waco and Austin, Belton has a population of just under 22,000 and access to a regional population of over 450,000. With current major industries that include military, government, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and medical, the Belton area boasts a young, skilled workforce that is perfect for shift and part-time labor. Belton is also close to Fort Hood, the largest U.S. Army training post in the country, with more than 900 retiring soldiers each month—many of whom elect to remain in the Belton area after discharge.

Ana Borchardt, director of Business Expansion and Retention for the Belton Economic Development Corp., cites the hospitable climate in Texas among the many things that make it prime for incoming businesses. “In most parts of the state, the climate allows for higher productivity, housing costs are mostly below the national average, and the people are friendly,” explains Borchardt. “In addition, the Texas hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and the Gulf Coast shoreline offer many outdoor recreational opportunities.” Belton is no exception. With its captivating scenery, highly rated schools and low crime-rate, the city is poised to welcome a variety of incoming businesses.

Mexia

Located along US 84 in the heart of the “Texas Triangle,” Mexia is just 90 miles south of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, and it connects to San Antonio, Houston and Austin via state and interstate highways, making it an ideal distribution hub. In fact, you can reach 93 percent of the U.S. population within 48 hours of Mexia.

Additionally, Mexia boasts a skilled workforce, with access to a more than 40-mile-wide labor pool of over 85,000 workers. Mexia workers excel in manufacturing, customer service administration and distribution, and local workforce training programs such as the Texas Workforce CommissionHeart of Texas Workforce and the Skills Development Fund can assist with training the next generation of employees for incoming businesses.

Click here to listen to their latest podcast.

NORTH TEXAS

Bowie

Just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in the famed Red River Valley area of Texas sits Bowie. Positioned at the crossroads of US 81, US 287 and TX 59, Bowie is just 90 minutes from downtown Dallas, an hour from Fort Worth and under an hour from Wichita Falls. With a variety of available properties and workforce development programs at the ready, Bowie can help your incoming business get off the ground running. 

A designated 4A and 4B sales tax community, Bowie offers incoming businesses a one-stop-shop for economic development. The city of just over 5,500 provides site selectors with a lower cost of doing business, along with highly rated schools, excellent healthcare and a thriving business community.

Corsicana

Located 58 miles south of downtown Dallas, Corsicana has made a name for itself, especially in the food manufacturing industries. Formerly the home of Wolf Chili, Corsicana today boasts the Collin Street Bakery, a famous fruitcake bakery, and Russell Stover. It is also where distribution centers for retail giants like Kohl’s and Home Depot are located. Though the city is outside of the traffic and congestion of its neighbors, thanks to its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area Corsicana benefits from the convenience and access to the city but provides businesses and residents with lower operational costs than the big city. 

Commercial flyers are just one hour away from DFW International airport, and those looking for cargo airports are within 75 minutes of Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Just 200 miles from the Port of Houston and 230 from the Port of Beaumont, Corsicana is convenient to ocean freight terminals. It is also accessible by rail, with service from the Union Pacific and Burlington North Santa Fe railroads. It is also just over 30 minutes to the Union Pacific Dallas Intermodal Terminal.

TexAmericas Center

The New Boston, Texas-based TexAmericas Center is one of the largest industrial centers in the Americas. Located just 15 miles west of Texarkana, the center boasts 12,000 acres with 3,000,000 square feet of industrial space, and it is the lowest aggregate mile location in Texas to reach the North American market.

TexAmericas Center Executive Vice President Eric Voyles believes businesses should Choose Texas because of the state’s diverse economy “where many industries can flourish.” According to Voyles, his center prides itself on working with small to medium-sized companies that may not have otherwise gotten a chance—and helping them flourish in a competitive marketplace. “We know these companies are growing and need to move quickly,” says Voyles. “They have opportunity NOW, and our focus is on providing speed-to-market real estate solutions. The match is perfect, and TexAmericas Center has developed a niche of meeting the needs of these often-overlooked employers.”

That’s a sentiment that Voyles says rings true throughout Texas and the Choose Texas partners. “Texas and many of its communities have invested in themselves in order to make choosing the right location less risky, especially when it comes to workforce development decisions. TexAmericas Center prides itself on being a ‘can-do’ company. We actively challenge the companies we work with to ask us to help solve their business problems.” 

 Cedar Hill

Just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas, Cedar Hill is a rising star in the economic development marketplace. Cedar Hill offers incoming businesses low taxes, low costs of living and a skilled workforce of more than 1 million people within a 30-minute commute. Cedar Hill hosts over 3 million square feet of retail and class-A office space, all without the cost and congestion of larger nearby cities.

Andy Buffington, Marketing and Research manager with the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corp., says site selectors should bring their businesses to Texas because the of the state’s reputation as a growth leader, especially when it comes to business incentives. “It’s estimated the state spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on business incentives,” says Buffington. “Texas also offers a variety of non-profit and government-backed programs for assisting small businesses with funding, coupled with the fact that neither corporate nor personal income tax are put on enterprise.”

DeSoto

Not far south from downtown Dallas, DeSoto is a uniquely poised city with the benefits of access to the big city and major highways, but without the higher cost of doing business in a metropolitan area. DeSoto currently has more than 400 acres of shovel-ready land, and 93 percent of U.S. markets are within two days or less via truck from the city of just over 56,000. With 90 percent of DeSoto’s workforce holding a high school diploma or higher, it’s no wonder that the city boasts a low 5 percent unemployment rate for its labor force of nearly 30,000. In fact, DeSoto’s labor force is growing faster than the national average.

 Joe Newman, CEO of the DeSoto Economic Development Corp., believes that the labor force and partnerships with organizations such as the Texas Workforce Commission are just a few of the key reasons businesses are so eager to call Texas home. That, coupled with a little help from their friends. “Oftentimes large companies see what their peers in other industries are doing and inquire as to why that firm moved,” Newman says. “Most often it is logistics or workforce, and most communities offer attractive incentives to justify such a move. As more and more companies move to Texas, it causes a synergy that attracts others.”

GULF COAST

 Brazoria County

One of the fastest-growing counties in Texas is home to the Brazoria County Alliance, an organization that was formed to “promote and diversify” the county’s economic base and attract high-wage jobs. 

Located in the southeast part of the state in the Houston statistical area, Brazoria County has a population of more than 313,000.

 Matagorda County

Beautiful Matagorda County is halfway between Galveston and Corpus Christi and just 65 miles from the Houston metropolitan area. The county boasts a population of more than 36,000 with a total workforce population of over 18,000. The average household income of Matagorda County residents is $40,860, and the major industries include education, healthcare, farming, ranching, seafood, petroleum, manufacturing, pipeline and production among others.

The county, which is part of a growing energy cluster, is seeking retail and residential partners to help fill the growing needs for the workforce of the future and for the tourism industry for beachfront needs. The county is home to the Port of Palacios, which boasts one of the largest shrimping fleets in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Port of Bay City, which is home to a terminal turning basin and includes a modern concrete dock, metal shed and liquid cargo dock. With a 200-foot-wide channel and an average depth of 12 feet, the Port Turning Basin and Terminal Facility are conveniently located 15 miles from the Colorado River locks at the ICW.

EAST TEXAS

Grapeland/Crockett

Named for the legendary David Crockett, who is said to have camped in the town on his way to The Alamo, Crockett, Texas is the Houston County seat. Today, the storied town of 23,000 is more than just a stop along the way; it’s home to a thriving community with industries ranging from manufacturing to logistics.

In fact, Grapeland/Crockett is in an ideal position for your business’ logistics needs of the future. With projected area growth of 25 million more people to the Texas Triangle area in the next 30 years, Grapeland/Crockett provides a low traffic impact that will likely avoid the bottlenecks and traffic congestion that is projected for other nearby areas. Plus, with its proximity to highways US 287, TX 19 and Highways 21, 7 and 9, it has access all its own.

Mount Pleasant

Located in Titus County, Mount Pleasant has a population of 32,000. Thanks to its proximity to major transportation routes, the community owes much of its success to the transportation industry as well as the people working behind the scenes to ensure that sector’s success.

 Also known for its timber and poultry industries, Mount Pleasant is currently working to expand its workforce repertoire through a partnership between the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corp. and the local community college system. Called the Manufacturing Technology Training Center, this workforce education program trains students in entrepreneurial skills that will help ensure Mount Pleasant remains a leader in Texas business for years to come.

WEST TEXAS

Floydada

Located in Floyd County, Floydada is known as the Pumpkin Capital of Texas. With high premiums on education, Floydada is the only city in the state that has the honor of their schools being Apple Computers’ distinguished schools. 

Floydada also has many free workforce training programs for residents that are run through the Floydada Professional Development Center and the Floydada Economic Development Corporation. Employers can even request financial assistance to train workers through the Skills Development Fund and the Self-Sufficiency Fund as administered by the Texas Workforce Commission

Seminole

Located at the northern portion of the Permian Basin and along the southern portion of the agricultural South Plains of Texas, Seminole is best known for its agriculture and oil and steel production. The town has a highly skilled workforce with expertise in fields ranging from metal and woodworking to carpentry and construction.  

A family-oriented community, Seminole also boasts a low crime rate and diverse business community.

Andrews

A city experiencing tremendous transformation, Andrews was initially built on oil and has since become one of the “most progressive” communities in West Texas, diversifying its portfolio of businesses in recent years. “Andrews is in the middle of the shale oil boom and we provide a great location for companies to set up business and serve clients all over the Permian Basin,” says Morse Haynes, executive director of Economic Development for Andrews.

 With significant investments in the city and education system, Andrews is now a modernized community poised to take on new businesses, but with expertise in everything from manufacturing to energy to chemicals. It is that very investment in the Texas workforce that Haynes believes is what sets the state apart from other states. “Texas has over 14 million productive workers along with top-notch schools that continue to grow our workforce,” he says. That, combined with the world’s most diverse economy, “provides job opportunities and a quality of life second to none.”

 Stamford

Part of the Rolling Plains area of Texas, Stamford has a population of just over 3,000 people. Located along US Highway 277, the small town has a strong economy in agriculture and natural resources.

Named in 1900 for the Stamford, Connecticut, birthplace of Central Texas Railroad President Henry King McHarg, the town today boasts a convenient location that is desirable to incoming businesses. Just 41 miles north of Abilene, and fewer than 150 miles west of Fort Worth, Stamford is close to both DFW International airport and the DFW Metroplex. It is also under 150 miles southeast of Lubbock.

Dumas

Located in Moore County, Dumas is halfway between Dallas and Denver, Colorado, and just 45 miles north of Amarillo. With just over 14,691 people, Dumas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S., and it leads the state in retail growth. Dumas counts as major industries beef slaughtering, chemicals, gas and oil. 

The city places a high premium on education, with a branch of Amarillo College located in town as well as the North Plains Opportunity Center, a training center for  at-risk students and continuing education.

Check out their GT Podcast here. 

NORTHWEST TEXAS 

 Amarillo

The largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is the 14th most populous city in the state, with a population of approximately 276,000 in its metropolitan area. Amarillo boasts a young, educated and non-unionized labor force that grew by more than 15 percent from 2000 to 2011. 

Amarillo prides itself on being able to match incoming businesses with valuable incentives and a skilled workforce, and it offers a number of workforce training programs.

Canadian-Hemphill County

Referred to as the “Oasis of the High Plains,” Canadian-Hemphill County is situated on the Oklahoma border. Founded in 1876, the county was named for Judge John Hemphill. The name Canadian comes from the Canadian River, a nearby tributary of the Arkansas River. Though Canadian-Hemphill County has a population of fewer than 11,000 people, it has a lot to offer incoming businesses, including available land, incentives and access to workforce training programs. 

“Simply put, Texas is open for business,” says Shane Spencer, executive director at the Canadian Hemphill County Economic Development Corporation. “Its lower tax rates and lack of personal income tax make Texas great for employers.” And that includes smaller communities, like Canadian-Hemphill County. “Texas consistently has a growing economy,” Spencer says. “It is such a huge state, there is plenty of room to grow and also to reuse sites for new companies.”

 With connections to nearby highways such as US 60, US 83 and Highway 33, Canadian-Hemphill County is well connected to the rest of Texas and Oklahoma. “Texas has a huge interstate system and roads that are built to carry those across the country,” says Spencer. “The Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston areas can support global sized companies with large amounts employees, and our other towns and cities can play host to smaller ones.”

But don’t let the size of those smaller cities and towns fool you. As Spencer notes, smaller infrastructure doesn’t equate to slower service. “Companies continue to take advantage of Texas’ business climate because of ease and speed of getting a company up and running. Also, infrastructure is always growing to allow expansion of businesses.” Ultimately, Spencer believes when it comes down to it, it’s the people of Texas that make doing business there so much better than anywhere else. “When your employees are happy, the company performs well. Companies have discovered that there are a lot of happy workers in Texas!”

Click here to listen to their GT Podcast.

Shamrock

The first Route 66-city in Texas upon eastern approach, Shamrock is home to not just the famous historic U-Drop Inn but to a vibrant, thriving West Texas community. Located at the intersections of I-40 (Route 66) and 83, the city of just under 2,000 residents is a well-connected cultural hub in the Panhandle, with landmarks, museums and a famous St. Patrick’s Day festival that is so big it’s considered the official St. Patrick’s Day Celebration of the State of Texas.

With more than 600 hotel rooms, the city is well equipped to handle tourism and visiting business guests. It is also a notable hunting community. Shamrock is just 90 minutes from Amarillo (along I-40), three hours to Lubbock and about two-and-a-half hours to Oklahoma City.

SOUTH TEXAS

Harlingen

Located in the Rio Grande Valley, along the border of Mexico, Harlingen, was recently named the No. 1 Least Expensive Urban Area in the U.S. by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Though not a household name, Harlingen has become somewhat of a “best kept secret,” with an economic climate that’s heating up as the city continues to attract more businesses thanks to its proximity to the border. But besides location, Harlingen offers incentives and workforce training programs from South Texas that make it a bargain for many incoming businesses.

“Texas is so appealing to many people because of our diversity in climate, culture, geography and much more,” says Raudel Garza, the manager and CEO of the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation. “Our workforce training partners such as Texas State Technical College, with campuses throughout the state, work locally to help solve labor requirements for companies. Local utility companies along with the Texas Department of Transportation invest in Texas to improve access to electricity, clean water, great highways, rail and so much more. Texas has everything a growing company needs to succeed, from a young trainable diverse workforce to easy access to markets.”

But, according to Garza, the reason businesses are flocking to Texas is that the state has more to offer than just business incentives. “Texans enjoy all the amenities of both big city life and country living,” he explains “Large companies know about our standard of living and they understand that Texas is drawing people in because of all they can do here—not only during work hours but also when one is at home or nearby at play. Companies want a reliable labor force, and Texas provides all the amenities such a labor force wants, thus keeping people happy and productive.”

Orange County

Located in the southeast corner of Texas, Orange County has a population of more than 81,000. Orange County’s major industries include petroleum, rice farming, shrimping, paper milling and recently, shipbreaking. The county provides workers with training programs and opportunities to help advance skills zero in on the specific industries that help the county thrive. Orange County is home to a workforce of 39,824 workers, with an unemployment rate of just 5.5 percent.

With its convenient border location, Orange County is close to navigable waterways, major railways, interstate highways and the Louisiana border. As for air travel, Orange County has access to 18 airports within 50 miles, including Orange County Airport and Lake Charles Regional Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

SOUTHWEST TEXAS

Boerne-Kendall County

With a growing population that currently exceeds 46,000, Boerne-Kendall County is projected to expand by 24 percent over the next five years. The seventh fastest growing county in the U.S., and the third fastest growing in Texas, Boerne-Kendall County is already home to a vast multi-skilled, multi-cultural workforce with above average levels of education. Boerne-Kendall County workers have a strong background in biosciences, aerospace, cybersecurity, renewable energy, military and more.

The county is also conveniently located just 10 miles north of San Antonio, and it is central to numerous highways that lead to the Dallas and Austin metropolitan areas, as well as the Texas coast. Within 50 miles of Boerne-Kendall County, there are 25 colleges, universities and trade schools that provide a population of nearly 150,000 college students, who add new energy to the pool of approximately 387,000 workers that already call Boerne-Kendall County home.

WEST CENTRAL TEXAS

Leander

Ranked by Forbes magazine as No. 3 in America for the Best Small Cities for Families, Leander is a northwest suburb of Austin that was also named the Fastest Growing City in the Nation with a population of over 15,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leander has all the benefits of doing business in Austin without the high overhead and traffic. Leander has its own commuter rail, a lower cost of living and an award-winning education system that consistently ranks high in Texas’ STAAR testing. The city is poised to welcome not just new businesses but a new workforce, too. With more than 14,000 new housing units expected to be built within the next decade, this dynamic community is prepared to welcome you and your business.

To learn more about doing business in Texas and how the Choose Texas team can aid in finding a new location for your expanding or relocating business, visit www.Choose-Texas.com to register your project or request information. 

small business

Three Reasons You Should Support Small Business

Small Business Saturday takes place this Saturday, November 30

Every year, when Small Business Saturday rolls around, Americans are reminded to ‘support small businesses.’ But the need for your support extends far beyond the holiday season.

American small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In fact, they make up 99.9% of the economy and employ 47.5% of the workforce.

As a small business owner, I’ve built much of my career around serving the incredible community of entrepreneurs who drive innovation and economic progress, locally and nationwide. These men and women are the hidden heroes of our neighborhoods, often putting everything on the line to provide the services and staples that we rely on…not to mention, those which make our communities unique. It is they who pass the torch of the American dream to future generations — all of whom fight to defy conventional wisdom that only half will survive their first 5 years. Make no mistake about it: they depend on your support to hold onto that dream.

Here are three reasons you should support small business, and go out of your way to contribute to Small Business Saturday every day.

Small Business Owners Drive New Jobs

It’s no secret that small businesses create new jobs, fuel economic growth, and contribute to lowering unemployment rates. Even in today’s globalized world, America’s 30.2 million small businesses still make up 99.9% of all businesses in this country, and employ 58.9 million people.

Check out ‘The Best Small Places For Business And Careers’ in Forbes, to see where our city ranks. None of us should be surprised that we have an incredible workforce; we are well below the national unemployment rate; and that most of our 16+ population is in the civilian labor force. There’s no reason not to keep this momentum going and drive more business and more jobs to our area.

Small Businesses Strengthen Communities

It’s not the megastores that give our communities vibrancy; but rather, the mom-and-pop coffee shop that serves a great cup of morning joe, the family-owned pastry shop that’s been a local staple for decades, and the go-to-guy auto mechanic that give our communities personality, and a spot on the map.

Small Business Saturday is a community-centric day, where we have the opportunity to rally around our local small companies that make our lives a little bit better. So long as the community connection created by small businesses remains strong year-round, the benefits of strengthened communities will too.

Small Businesses Empower the Next Generation

Almost all of us got our start at a small business, whether it was helping out the family, as a cashier at the local movie theatre, waiting tables, working in the local bank, or even babysitting! We learned the basic skills and requirements of the workforce: showing up on time, working hard, being accountable, and leading others (and being led). It is still incumbent upon small businesses to perform the vital role of training the next generation and offering them mentorship opportunities and ways to learn professionalism.

 Things have changed a little since my first days as a neighborhood lawn mower in my hometown. Still, today, I scout for great small businesses everywhere I go, which was why I came here. I have found that small-business owners here understand best what it takes to make an area a real community. To me and many others, that’s an important public contribution and one I hope to never live without.

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Vincent Ney is the Founder and President of Expansion Capital Group, a business dedicated to serving American small businesses by providing access to capital and other resources, so they can grow and achieve their definition of success. Since its inception, ECG has connected over 12,000 small businesses nationwide to approximately $350 million in capital.

Worried about trade wars’ impact on your supply chain? Here are three ways to manage risks.

Companies live in a world now where a tweet about tariffs and trade wars can rattle markets, prompt uncertainty, and question whether supply chains and global operations are positioned to handle the speed, unpredictability, and interconnectedness of the global economy.  The prevalence and threat of trade wars generate pervasive uncertainty across the globe- carrying wide-reaching implications for overall global growth. Increased cost of goods sold from upstream suppliers are squeezing margins and forcing global supply chains to adapt and react mid-stream. Despite a robust US economy, and general stability across global markets, the escalating trade war is increasing prices and making raw materials harder to obtain – threatening the positive trajectory of domestic and international economic activity.

How is this playing out in real time? Let’s look at an example: An automaker may have its engine manufactured in Germany, its transmission in Mexico and its GPS from South Korea with final assembly in the US. Tariffs could force automakers to move production, reducing economies of scale and increasing prices for the end consumer. Processing the resulting number of variables, scenarios, and decision matrices brought on by the trade war is a daunting challenge, to say the least.

Despite these marketplace, competitor and regulatory challenges, digital technologies, such as data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) provides companies with the resources and insights to manage risk and anticipate events. Today’s leading supply chains run on data, monitoring for risk and opportunity, and blend human and digital strategies to make decisions in real time. This is called the cognitive supply chain. It is interconnected, self-learning, predictive, adaptive and intelligent, and it can help leaders react faster to risks outside of their control. As such, here are three approaches that can help leaders manage, anticipate, and address supply chain disruptions.

Leveraging predictive analytics

Data has always been at the center of the supply chain and helps leaders make decisions. With internet of things and the growing number of connected devices, organizations can be more proactive in how they use data to enable insights.

The expanse of datasets, and increasing ease to obtain them, allows proactive organizations to leverage data to help drive their decision structure. The resulting variety of perspectives creates an opportunity to align against broader company goals. For example, how does the planned production schedule of a Swiss supplier affect my organization’s market position in Asia this holiday season? What are the potential risks, and how can they be mitigated? Data availability opens the door to these solutions. Enablers from digital technology provide:

-Digital linkage – integrated sales, production and delivery processes which have seamless flow of information.

-Control tower –visibility of all processes across the internal and external supply chain.

-Centralized collaborative e-hub – a connected ecosystem where all partners interact seamlessly with improved flow of information.

-Integrated lean logistics – applying lean principles to eliminate waste, errors and defects, minimizes lead-time and materials impacted by tariffs.

-Virtual logistics – enable on the fly deployment decisions with new logistics models.

Creating the digital twin

Today’s supply chains have growing complexities with an international network of suppliers and service markets. Efforts to integrate with external partners has led to complicated systems and processes, overwhelming supply chain leaders with data and metrics. Add in the variability of demand, and a supply chain is pushed back on its heels, reacting to demand variability. One uniquely positioned solution is called a “digital twin”.

A digital twin is a model of the supply chain. The foundation is a transparent supply chain strategy, comprised of rules on how to absorb and refine costs, or pass through to customers downstream. A digital twin uses the multi-tier supply chain data to rely upon predictive outcomes and sensory response. Uncertainties such as pending tariffs can be run through “what if” scenarios to understand the service, cost, and risk implications of changes, decisions and unexpected market conditions.

These examples are not intended to be definitive outcomes; alternatively, they allow internal and external supply chain groups the opportunity to setup a plan of action which mitigates service risk while optimizing the collective cost. Organizations must learn the discipline of using “what if” scenarios for their analysis and guide the implementation of both short term and long-term strategies and events.

For example, what is the correct level of holiday inventory investment that should be imported into the United States from China, given the potential tariff increase in the coming months? Which alternatives provide lower risk? Successful organizations will use their digital twin to move up the supplier tiers of a supply chain, and anticipate disruption, and arrange alternative routes and suppliers.

Consider managed services

Continuous investment in technology and talent with the skill and knowledge to use it can be expensive. The process engineering required to maximize ROI, along with the associating change management inevitably strains an organization’s resources. As a result, many organizations have found relief in managed services of their supply chains. It enables companies to focus on their core competencies of products and services, while contracting out the outcome: the best customer service at the optimal cost.

The consolidation of supply chain expertise into a vendor eases the necessary people, process, and technology investment. It allows organizations to shed the strain of daily variability, while maintaining the ability to make decisions and focus on the long term growth of the company. With the increasing pressure on tariffs, organizations will look to these partners to leverage their digital tools and technologies to limit the downstream effect across the supply chain.

Creating a cognitive supply chain is essential for answering the threat trade wars present. International supply chains will continue to become more expensive to maintain and manage. Businesses that are successful in meeting these complexities and adopting digital capabilities will be best equipped for the uncertainty that lies ahead.

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Mike Landry is the supply chain service line leader at Genpact, a global professional services focused on delivering digital transformation.

world trade

Simon Paris, Chair of the World Trade Board & CEO of Finastra, Provides a Snapshot of this year’s World Trade Symposium

Protecting world trade from the current vicious cycle of trade tensions makes it imperative that those in a position to effect change – public and private sectors – work together; quickly and cohesively. Chairman of the World Trade Board and CEO of Finastra, Simon Paris, discusses three ways in which committed organizations can bring about a new pro-trade paradigm, even against the backdrop of today’s protectionist narrative, to lift people out of poverty globally and enable long-term growth and prosperity for all.

Across the globe, protectionist rhetoric and policy initiatives have become increasingly normalized. Tensions and tariffs continue to escalate with the World Trade Organization estimating that $339.5bn1 in trade is now at risk from import restrictions – the second highest level ever recorded. Amidst this trend, we as business leaders, policy makers, and engaged thinkers must deepen our commitment to free and open trade benefiting communities and workers.

The path to open trade and ensuing economic growth is under shadow. The global economic uncertainty2 risk index hit an all-time high this year. Ongoing friction between the United States and China has not only caused a tangible 12% drop in US imports from China, but triggered aftershocks across other Asian economies as a result of closely integrated supply chains3. Japan and Korea have made headlines with their own trade war that risks their trade relationship worth about $85 billion a year4 and the future economic relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union amidst Brexit is uncertain.

In response free traders should commit to three acts of solidarity, with the aim of reversing – or as an absolute minimum, reducing – the pervasive change that continues to threaten trade as we know it.

Three commitments that will drive change

Firstly, we must be persistent in our reinforcement of the pro-trade narrative; uniting to protect and promote open trade as the unequivocal foundation for global prosperity and economic inclusion. Secondly, we must continue to investigate ways in which we can reduce the SME funding gap, currently estimated at $1.5 trillion5, which is precluding both innovation and financial independence on a global scale. It is imperative that we seek out new ways to free up finance or neutralize the perceived risk of lending to small firms. At a time where the least developed countries represent less than 1% of world exports6, we must find solutions that unlock the latent value within SMEs to stimulate competition, innovation and economic growth, and reduce the disparity of wealth in a sustainable way.

Finally, we must examine how open technology can act as the enabler for inclusive, sustainable trade. As global supply chains become increasingly complex, our goal should not be measured on a binary figure of turnover or profit, but on the ethical and sustainable impact of our technological innovation; our technological social responsibility (TSR). How can we use technology, collectively, to ascertain the provenance of materials, improve the health and wellbeing of workers in remote locations, reduce the cause and effects on environment pollution of long-distance transportation or minimize the impact of waste and disposal? How can we use open finance technologies – and by this, I include open systems, open software, open APIs, open standards and open partner networks – to transform supply chains and encourage the formulation of more relevant and inclusive trade models, in support of ethical trade?

Protecting against threats, known and unknown

A global marketplace helps ensure a sustainable model of financial inclusion that protects future generations against wealth disparity and isolation. I believe that it is only through a powerful combination of forward-thinking policies, collaborative mindsets and funding, underpinned by open finance technology, that we can deliver the change so desperately required, that promotes equality and opportunity, and reverses the trend of poverty and protectionism. It is time to find solutions to today’s threats to open trade and together protect against further polarization and the unseen threats of tomorrow.

Simon Paris will be opening the third World Trade Symposium, held in the Grand Hyatt, New York on 6-7 November. The event brings together policy-makers, trade finance luminaries and thought leaders to openly collaborate and effect change. Register Today!


1. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news19_e/trdev_22jul19_e.htm

2. http://policyuncertainty.com/

3. https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/international-trade-statistics-trends-in-first-quarter-2019.htm

4. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/business/japan-south-korea-trade.html

5. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spra_e/spra241_e.htm

6. https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/wts2019_e/wts2019_e.pdf

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Simon takes responsibility for Finastra’s strategic direction and growth. His leadership steers the company as it realizes its open platform vision, encouraging industry-wide collaboration to spark innovation and transform the next generation of financial services.

A firm believer in the principles of doing well by doing good, Simon chairs the World Trade Board and is passionate about how technology and open trade can drive financial inclusion and improve people’s lives.

An inspiring and trusted Fintech thought leader, Simon speaks regularly at large-scale events including the annual World Trade Symposium, Paris FinTech Forum and The Milken Asia Summit. He is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, with refreshing and candid views on equality in the workplace. He was also named in Bank Innovation’s ‘Innovators to Watch’ list for 2018.

Simon joined Finastra (formerly Misys) as President in 2015, was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2017 and became Chief Executive Officer in June 2018. He brings more than 20 years of sales, management and global leadership expertise to the company, having previously held the role of President, Industry Cloud, at SAP. Prior to that he was a senior consultant with McKinsey & Company.

He holds a degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the INSEAD Business School in France and a Bachelor’s degree in Business & European languages from the European Business School.

brazilian

New Challenges for Brazilian Markets

Usually, when we talk about Latin America one of the first markets that come to mind is Brazil.

Brazil is experiencing a unique moment never experienced before in the local economy: the lowest level of interest rate and, therefore, a large demand from investors for assets that could generate a considerable performance, in the period.

Historically, the Brazilians Investor Profile has been strongly related to a conservative shape, once the Selic rate – the country’s basic interest rate – has constantly been at comfortable levels for those people who invest in conservative products, such as Savings and Certificates of Deposit, for example. Nonetheless, this perspective has been changing since the end of 2016 with the consecutive action from the ‘Comitê de Política Monetária’ (known as COPOM – very similar to the US FOMC) in reducing the interest rate, and proportionately seeking to promote the local economy. In addition, this domestic reduction is being quite influenced by the US Federal Reserve process of cutting rates.

It is possible to observe the interest yield curve below:

For this reason, financial institutions and brokerage firms are working hard on clients ‘financial education and portfolio reformulation, in order to adapt their clients’ investment portfolio to this new stage of Brazilian Market. Most analysts and advisors are aligned and agree with the Central Bank’s official reports, betting on new interest rate cuts for 2019 and, as a result, it benefits other types of asset classes, such as the Brazilian Stock Market.

Regarding that, the Ibovespa (Índice da Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo), the main indicator of the average performance from the Brazilian stock market, at the beginning of 2019 was quoted at approximately 91,000 points and until the last day of September it had an evolution of around 15% reaching its 103,600 points, with a standard deviation of, approximately, 20%. The Index has now reached record levels. Typically, with the movement of diminishing interest rates, as any other economy, there is a natural increase in demand for this type of assets, which takes a favorable and positive aspect of the segment this year, specifically given the Pension Reform approvals and lower projections for the IPCA (Índice de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo) – Brazilian official inflation index.

The latest statistic released showed 2.89% in the 12 months through September, according to IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian government statistics agency). The Central Bank’s official year-end goal for 2019 remains 4.25%, and due to this fall in inflation expectations most economists consent to another 50 basis point cut in the Selic rate at the end of this month – precisely, the next reunion will happen in 10/29/2019 and 10/30/2019.

Essentially, for the local investor, there are several alternatives to access this market, such as Equities Funds, ETFs or Active Mutual Funds. Furthermore, the whole market is gradually seeing an increase in fundraising this type of product, this is very clear if we look through the development of new asset management firms, for instance. Consequently, the biggest challenge for the investor is to adapt themselves to this relatively new type of culture in diversifying the portfolio with risky and volatile products.