New Articles

Demand for Lightweight Vehicles to Foster Automotive Applications of Carbon Fiber

carbon fiber industry

Demand for Lightweight Vehicles to Foster Automotive Applications of Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is well known for its exceptional properties, such as low thermal expansion, high-temperature tolerance, high chemical resistance, low weight to high strength ratio, high tensile strength, and high stiffness. These properties make them a highly popular material in many applications in civil engineering, sports equipment, military, motorsports, and others. Carbon fiber-based components witness robust demand from aerospace, automotive, wind energy, and other end-use industries.

In aerospace and automotive industries, there is a growing emphasis on utilizing lightweight, durable, flexible, materials, such as carbon fiber, to enhance the performance and efficiency of automobiles and aircraft and aid in achieving the emission standards set by various authorities. Owing to this, the materials are quickly replacing aluminum and steel. The global carbon fiber market size is forecast to witness notable growth over the coming years.

Demand in automotive and aerospace applications

The carbon fiber industry share from automotive applications is predicted to expand significantly in the upcoming years. In vehicles, carbon fibers, due to lightweight, high thermal stability and electrical conductivity, are used in various important components, such as disk brakes, wheels, automobile hoods, and others.

Soaring carbon fiber consumption is expected due to the increasing production of cars to cater to strong consumer demand. According to the International Organization for Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, the global production of commercial vehicles and cars was combinedly around 91.78 million in 2019.

From aerospace applications, the carbon fiber industry share is slated to witness considerable growth by 2027. The superior physical strength, low coefficient of thermal expansion, high dimensional stability, and low abrasion characteristics of carbon fibers complement their applications in aerospace antennas, aircraft brakes, and support structures. Recent research and development in the manufacturing process of carbon fiber composites for aerospace applications are likely to boost its consumption in the sector.

For instance, researchers at the University of Sydney have recently developed an upgraded method for recycling carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites, that retain 90% of their original strength and allow their re-utilization in modern commercial airframes.

Flourishing clean energy projects in North America

North America is slated to register a considerable share of the global carbon fiber industry by 2027. The booming wind energy sector in the region is generating strong demand for carbon fiber composites for their use in wind blades. The exceptional fatigue and corrosion resistance property of carbon composites enhance the longevity of wind blades.

Wind energy is one of the major sources of electricity generation in the United States. For instance, approximately 337.5 terawatt-hours of electricity were produced by wind power between January and December 2020, which is equal to nearly 8.42% of all generated electricity in the U.S. Growing adoption of clean energy technologies to reduce emission should positively impact carbon fiber market share across various sectors in the region.

Leading manufacturers of carbon fiber composites are Zoltek, Formosa Plastics Corp, Hexcel Corporation, Toho Tenax (Teijin), SGL Carbon SE, Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd., and Toray Industries. These prominent companies are focusing on R&D activities and leveraging advanced technologies to develop new procedures for carbon fiber manufacturing to reduce costs.

Carbon fibers are a multipurpose material, which has widespread applications across various sectors. Some of its other applications include the fabrication of carbon-fiber microelectrodes, textiles, and flexible heating.


Drilling Rig Curbs Squeeze the Global Baryte Market

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Barytes – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2020, the global baryte market fell by 15%, hampered by a severe decline seen in the oil industry, which currently consumes 80% of the total baryte output. India remained the only country to maintain 2019 production figures. While the oil industry is set to operate at minimum production levels in the medium term, alternative chemical, coating, and construction baryte applications may emerge as market drivers. 

Key Trends and Insights

In 2020, global baryte production fell by near 20% y-o-y to 7.8М tonnes (IndexBox estimates). Many baryte mining and processing companies ceased to operate following the sharp slump in demand from the oil and gas sector, which consumes 80% of global baryte output. In accordance with Baker Hughes data, the number of drilling rigs declined from 2,177 in 2019 to 1,352 in 2020, and only 1,228 rigs remained in operation in early 2021.

In most countries, baryte exports in 2020 experienced a twofold decrease. India remained the exception, compensating for the drop in exports to the U.S. by increasing export supplies to the Middle East. Despite the decrease of 2020, India and China remain the largest baryte producers in the world and continue to dominate the global exports with a combined share of 55%.

Following the slump seen in 2020, the forecast indicates that the global baryte market may reach 8M tonnes by 2030, achieving an average annual growth rate of 1.0% CAGR over the period from 2020-2030. Maintaining oil and gas drilling even at the minimum level will buoy baryte consumption. Further expansion of the market is more likely to come from the increased demand for barytes as a filler for resin, paper, linoleum, primers for vehicle coatings, and high-density concretes.

Global Baryte Consumption

The countries with the highest volumes of baryte consumption in 2020 were China (2M tonnes), the U.S. (1M tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (688K tonnes), together accounting for 51% of global consumption. These countries were followed by India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Kuwait and Iran, which accounted for a further 29%.

From 2007 to 2020, the most notable growth rate in terms of baryte consumption, amongst the key consuming countries, was attained by Kazakhstan, while baryte consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, China ($272M) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the U.S. ($133M). It was followed by Kazakhstan.

Global Baryte Imports

The U.S. (855K tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (688K tonnes) represented roughly 51% of total imports of barytes in 2020. Kuwait (218K tonnes) held the next position in the ranking, followed by the Netherlands (195K tonnes). All these countries together took near 14% share of total imports. The United Arab Emirates (106K tonnes), Russia (82K tonnes), Spain (75K tonnes), Oman (65K tonnes), Norway (61K tonnes), Azerbaijan (59K tonnes), Argentina (53K tonnes) and Indonesia (53K tonnes) held a relatively small share of total imports.

In value terms, the U.S. ($122M) constitutes the largest market for imported barytes worldwide, comprising 29% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Saudi Arabia ($59M), with a 14% share of global imports. It was followed by the Netherlands, with a 6.3% share.

In the U.S., baryte imports expanded at an average annual rate of +1.9% over 2007-2020. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Saudi Arabia (+12.0% per year) and the Netherlands (+1.9% per year).

In 2020, the average baryte import price amounted to $138 per tonne, picking up by 9.1% against the previous year. There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2020, the country with the highest price was Azerbaijan ($206 per tonne), while Kuwait ($74 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform


Benefits of using HMI for Industrial Purposes

HMI stands for Human Machine Interface. We use HMIs to control and monitor machines in any industry. It is mainly used in the manufacturing sector. Process industries massively use HMIs, such as in oil and gas and mining processes in which many operations are managed remotely from a control room. Industries have implemented HMI software where human interference with a machine or automated equipment is needed. This could be in a system, plant, building, or even a vehicle. The level of assimilation and refinement may vary, but we can use HMI for just about any application type.

Let’s come to the point and see the benefits of using hmi for industrial purposes:

Improved Productivity

A human-machine interface, i.e. HMI, improves the performance of the given task. Even if a person can perform that same task, this kind of software/device increases productivity in an enormous amount. Using an HMI facilitates more work in any industry in a short time.

 Troubleshooting with old data

The HMI system detects, have the systems inspected based on past data feed. The entire evaluation, isolation, and correction of the alarm took less time to do it manually. HMI’s makes it troubleshoot the problems in early stage.

Report generation

The creation of a perfect report and save it for data analysis is one of the crucial tasks. As a human, we can make many mistakes while recording such things. Maintenance and feeding the data for future use is something that should be done on time.


With the ability to control a device easily, their use in production and ease systems has dramatically improved people’s lives by increasing comfortability. The machine should be accessible from a long distance so that the operator can be at more ease.

Keeping Records

They have high abilities to keep records. By inserting instructions into an HMI, the system to which it is connected can automatically store the data. Such data can be utilized later for other researches, for example, troubleshooting future analysis.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things refers to a combination of devices that are all coupled to the internet. HMIs can also connect to the internet since they are devices too. This enables remote access to the devices.

Reduce the Cost of Hardware

An HMI reduces the expense that an industry acquires in terms of devices like consoles, connections, and control panels. An HMI can replace them, thus saving on costs.

Asset management

Accuracy in real-time data and reports gives managers the ability to be more efficient and make just the right maintenance plans for businesses. The drilling and fracking industries have to handle some of the most challenging circumstances in managing and observing large numbers of regularly moving assets.

Data availability

Data is an essential input when making decisions. How users utilize these records will discover the value applied to the process. The power is in the availability of data and relying on people’s abilities and skills to get insight and make enhancements. This data is available for other analysis too.

workplace injuries

Industries With the Highest Rates of Workplace Injuries

One of the concepts that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront of the public imagination is the idea of an “essential worker.” The pandemic highlighted that many professions are critical for allowing the rest of the economy and society to function properly, especially in a time of crisis. Some essential professionals like health workers and teachers were already held in high regard, but COVID-19 put a new spotlight on workers in oft-overlooked industries like grocery, elder care, and shipping and logistics.

Of course, the reason why these professions have drawn attention is the fact that workers in these fields kept working despite higher risks of virus exposure in the course of doing their jobs. Early on in the pandemic, many people were easily able to transition to working remotely, while many others saw their jobs eliminated or hours reduced as a result of COVID-19’s economic shocks. But essential workers mostly continued working in-person, all the while confronting the greater possibility of contracting COVID-19.

These varying experiences of COVID-19 across professions reflect the larger fact that every job has different levels and types of risk inherent in the work. Professions that involve manual labor or interacting with tools and machinery tend to be among the most prone to injury and illness, but no job is perfectly safe. Fortunately, however, the U.S. has seen positive trends in reducing the number and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses in recent years.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall number of cases per 100 full-time workers has been cut nearly in half over the last two decades, from 5.0 in 2003 to 2.8 in 2019. And this is part of a much longer-running trend that began with the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the early 1970s. When OSHA was created in 1971, the rate of injury and illness on the job was 11 per 100 workers, but that number has been on the decline ever since thanks to OSHA and other efforts to promote workplace safety.

Lower incidences of workplace injury and illness overall have come with a parallel reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses that inhibit the ability to work. In 2003, there were 1.5 cases per 100 workers that led to days away from work. That number dipped to 1.0 in 2011 and has remained at or below that level ever since.

Despite this progress overall, the risk profile across professions continues to vary, and the data suggest that these different risk levels are also closely correlated with income. In general, industries with lower median earnings tend to see more work-related illnesses or injuries, while industries with higher earnings tend to see fewer. This situation is likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19, as many essential professions or other jobs that have continued in-person also pay lower wages than the lower-risk white-collar jobs that were able to transition to virtual work.

To identify the industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries, researchers at Construction Coverage collected data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including each industry’s total number of cases per 100 workers, cases resulting in missed days or job transfer/restrictions, median wage, and total employment. Industries were ranked by the total number of cases per 100 workers.

Here are the industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries.

           Total  cases (per 100 workers)
Cases with days away from work (per 100 workers)
Cases with days of job transfer/restriction (per 100 workers)
Other cases (per 100 workers)
Median annual wage
Total employment
Couriers and messengers    1      8.1 3.3 2.8 2.1 $36,890 796,660
Air transportation    2      6.5 3.7 1.5 1.2 $62,480 498,830
Wood product manufacturing    3      6.1 1.8 1.7 2.6 $34,260 406,100
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries    4      6.0 1.4 1.9 2.7 $37,330 519,810
Nursing and residential care facilities    5      5.9 1.7 1.8 2.4 $30,370 3,351,090
Animal production and aquaculture    6      5.6 2.1 1.3 2.1 N/A N/A
Hospitals    7      5.5 1.3 0.9 3.3 $58,210 6,094,940
Crop production    8      5.3 1.4 1.6 2.2 N/A N/A
Support activities for agriculture and forestry    9      5.2 1.8 1.5 1.9 $26,430 382,330
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers    10      4.9 1.6 1.7 1.6 $29,830 1,311,670
Warehousing and storage    11      4.8 1.9 1.7 1.2 $36,170 1,214,230
General merchandise stores    12      4.6 1.2 1.6 1.8 $25,310 3,129,540
Fishing, hunting and trapping    13      4.6 2.3 N/A 1.5 N/A N/A
Primary metal manufacturing    14      4.4 1.2 1.5 1.7 $44,520 385,910
Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing    15      4.3 1.3 1.6 1.4 $38,680 282,110


*Incidence rates represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:

economic development


A debate that has gained some steam with the global pandemic is whether government agencies or nonprofits that seek to help stimulate national, state and local economies should give incentives to companies seeking to move into or keep from fleeing their jurisdictions.

With so many people out of work and, at the time of this writing, only a faint hope from a vaccination solution, it is small wonder that economic development entities and the incentives they offer have lost favor.

However, if we are ever to get back to some semblance of “normal,” we are going to need jobs to fill because heaven knows there are plenty of people desperately seeking employment.

Despite the pandemic, economic development efforts continued throughout 2020, as witnessed by the month-by-month breakdown that follows. Because not all the projects that follow made hard numbers available, we can only say that, should they all come to fruition, they will generate multi-billions of dollars in local economic activity and tens of thousands of jobs.

When you compare that promise with the amounts that were laid out to lure or keep the businesses, you may dare to consider them smart investments. Read on to see if you agree.

JANUARY: Global Aerospace and Defense Tech Giant Expands in Utah 

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) announced that Northrop Grumman will expand its global aerospace and defense operations by more than 1 million square feet in Weber County, which is promised up to 2,250 jobs and $380 million in capital investment over the next two decades.

Northrop, which is Utah’s largest security and defense company already, is eligible to earn back 30 percent of the new state taxes they will pay as part of a 20-year deal, which is expected to generate nearly $200 million in new tax revenues and jobs “for generations to come,” according to GOED Executive Director Val Hale.

The deal is a “significant win for Northern Utah,” says Theresa A. Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “. . . On a broader level, we as Utahans can be proud of what this means in terms of national defense and global security.”

Another Notable January Deal: LLFlex, a leader in packaging materials and industrial laminate solutions, will invest $7.6 million to locate a facility in High Point, North Carolina, that will create 46 new jobs in Guilford County, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company’s decision, which was juiced by $90,000 from the One North Carolina Fund. Partnering with the state commerce department in the deal were the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, City of High Point, High Point Economic Development Corp., Guilford County Economic Development Alliance and Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

FEBRUARY: Sherwin-Williams Paints Downtown Cleveland Green

The Sherwin-Williams Co. revealed its plans for a new downtown Cleveland headquarters and a research and development (R&D) center in Brecksville, in a set of projects expected to bring hundreds of new jobs and a corporate investment of at least $600 million to Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

The paint company’s HQ is targeted at 1 million square feet, while the R&D center will be about half that size. The earliest Sherwin-Williams is expected to move into the new buildings is 2023. 

More than $760 million in incentives from JobsOhio and other cities, county and state agencies were used to keep the $51 billion, publicly-traded company (and its 6,000 jobs) in Ohio, where about 4,400 of those workers are located in the state’s Northeast region. The R&D facility should add just more than 300 jobs in Brecksville.

“We are pleased to be a partner with Sherwin-Williams on this highly competitive project,” Governor Mike DeWine said in the company’s news release. “The state of Ohio, JobsOhio and our regional and local economic development partners have been focused on keeping one of Ohio’s leading companies right here where they belong.”

Team NEO, the local economic development organization that serves as JobsOhio’s arm in the region; the Greater Cleveland Partnership, which is the local chamber of commerce; the Downtown Cleveland Alliance; and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port all worked on the deal.

Another Notable February Deal: Publix broke ground on a new, 940,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center in Greensboro, North Carolina, where up to 1,000 new jobs are anticipated to be created across the region by 2025. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Publix Super Markets CEO Todd Jones participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. “We appreciate Publix choosing to grow jobs and put down stronger roots in Guilford County and the Piedmont Triad with this new distribution facility,” Cooper said at the time. “North Carolina will continue to strengthen our workforce to attract more good jobs here in our state.” 

MARCH: USDA Offers FREE Money for Rural Economic Development

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced that USDA would accept the Fiscal Year 2020 applications for grants to help strengthen the rural economy.

Available under the Rural Community Development Initiative, the grants aim to help improve housing and community facilities and to implement community and economic development projects in rural areas.

Electronic applications that had to be filed by May 13, 2020, needed to show that aid seekers could provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies. The USDA also encouraged applicants to support Trump Administration goals to combat substance use disorder, including opioid misuse, in high-risk rural communities by strengthening the capacity to address prevention, treatment and/or recovery.

APRIL: Chewy Takes a Bite Out of the Pandemic in North Carolina

Despite COVID-19, the Rowan County Economic Development Commission could point to several successful projects in 2020, including the grand opening of online pet supply retailer Chewy’s new fulfillment center in Salisbury, North Carolina, on April 6.

The largest economic development project in Rowan County history would include a 700,000-square-foot facility, $55 million in capital investment and at least 1,200 new jobs. Chewy’s distribution center was the ninth in the U.S. but the first in North Carolina. 

“The combination of Salisbury’s great labor market and available real estate and positioning in the right part of the country for our network made it a great match,” said Gregg Walsh, Chewy’s vice president of fulfillment center human resources. “We’ve scaled the site from our first hiring group, which was 20 team members, and we’re now over 1,200. We’re expecting to hire another 200 or more positions.” 

MAY: Lightweight Auto and Aerospace Parts Supplier Lands in Indiana

Yajima Industry Co. Ltd., a Japanese specialty company in lightweight automotive and aerospace products and components, announced it would open its U.S. headquarters in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. worked with Yajima on an incentive package, but the company was also attracted to its location in the Purdue Research Park and near one of its clients, Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA), the home of North American production for the Ascent, Impreza, Legacy and Outback models. 

“Yajima’s decision to make Indiana its U.S. headquarters supports the long-standing tradition of Japanese manufacturers choosing to grow in our state,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “The establishment of Yajima USA in Purdue Research Park is the perfect match with its proximity to SIA, the Indiana Manufacturing Institute and other aerospace and automotive manufacturing companies. Yajima USA joins more than 300 Japanese business facilities in the state, and we’re excited to watch them grow their operations and workforce in West Lafayette.”

JUNE: Gulf Island Expands Shipyard Workforce in Louisiana

Discussions about the expansion that began this month between Louisiana Economic Development and Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. bore fruit in 2020, when Governor John Bel Edwards and company President and CEO Richard W. Heo made a joint announcement regarding Gulf Island’s Shipyard Division workforce near Houma. 

The company vowed to create 106 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $48,000, plus benefits, to accommodate orders for marine vessel construction from clients that include the U.S. Navy and the National Science Foundation.

Louisiana Economic Development estimated the project would also result in 123 new indirect jobs, for a total of 229 new jobs for Terrebonne Parish and the Bayou Region. Gulf Island also is retaining 308 existing jobs at its Shipyard Division facility along the Houma Navigation Canal.

To secure the project, the state offered a competitive incentive package that included the Quality Jobs Program as well as the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program for the past 11 years. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.

“This announcement underscores the importance of working with our existing industry base to help them grow and add more good-paying, skilled jobs in our community,” said Matt Rookard, CEO of the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority. “Gulf Island’s investment will have positive effects through the local economy.”

JULY: Tesla Brings $1.1 Billion “Gamechanger” to Texas

Electric automaker Tesla’s announcement that it will build a $1.1 billion gigafactory in Travis County, Texas, not only brought the prospect of 5,000 new jobs that start at $35,000 annually but Business Facilities Magazine’s 2020 Deal of the Year Gold Award to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber’s Opportunity Austin team worked tirelessly with Tesla and our government and community partners to make this deal a reality,” said Opportunity Austin Chair Gary Farmer. “Giga Texas is a true gamechanger for our region and is much deserving of this national attention.”

It certainly caught the attention of Texas Governor Gregg Abbott. 

“Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the world, and we are proud to welcome its team to the State of Texas,” he said. “Texas has the best workforce in the nation, and we’ve built an economic environment that allows companies like Tesla to innovate and succeed. Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texas economy the strongest in the nation and will create thousands of jobs for hardworking Texans. I look forward to the tremendous benefits that Tesla’s investment will bring to Central Texas and to the entire state.”

The factory, which is being built on a 2,100-acre plot in southeastern Travis County, will produce Tesla’s Model T SUV and the upcoming Cybertruck electric pickup when it is at full capacity in 2023.

Other Notable July Deals: Business Facilities Magazine recognized multiple deals in 2020, but for some reason, several were bunched in July. Its Bronze Award winner was Fortune 500 healthcare insurance company Centene’s Regional Headquarters, a 1-million-square-foot campus that will bring 3,237 new jobs to the University City neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina, which was also Business Facilities’ 2020 State of the Year. The Centene project was a collaborative effort between the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College, University of North Carolina Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. Business Facilities also gave honorable mentions to two other deals in July: Tech consulting giant Accenture Federal Services’ opening of an Advanced Technology Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and an 820,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center coming to Pflugerville, Texas.

AUGUST: OmniTRAX Project Maximizes Chicago Area Intermodal

OmniTRAX, one of the fastest-growing railroads in North America and an affiliate of Denver-based The Broe Group, worked with the nonprofit Calumet Area Industrial Commission to launch its Rail-Ready Sites program at the Chicago Rail Link (CRL). 

The Rail-Ready Sites program connects customers looking to maximize supply chain performance with rail-served properties. The first project with Calumet focuses on two sites that total 156 acres and are ideal locations for automotive manufacturing, steel fabricators and finishers, food processing and distribution and building materials suppliers. But the partners say they plan to look at other nearby sites in the future.  

“The greater Calumet area has one of the best trained and most experienced workforces in the country, and has the lowest cost of doing business in an otherwise expensive region,” explained Ted Stalnos, president and CEO of Calumet Area Industrial Commission. “The CAIC can help companies navigate potential environmental incentives, financing and government regulations so they can find the rail-served facility of their dreams.” 

In 2020, OmniTRAX also worked with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the City of Peru to bring Rail-Ready to the Illinois Railway as well as the Greater Brownsville Economic Development Corp. of Texas to take the program to the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway. 

“Brownsville offers companies a great location with access to Latin America via rail, highway and sea, and has a cost of doing business that is 20 percent lower than the rest of the country,” explained Mario Lozoya, executive director and CEO of the Greater Brownsville Economic Development Corp. “Combine that with our young and skilled workforce, which includes participants in our award-winning ‘We Grow your Own’ training program, and the OmniTRAX Rail-Ready Sites program is sure to be a great success for Brownsville.” 

SEPTEMBER: Transmission Line Will Bring $8 Billion in Investment to Kansas

A new transmission line connected to the Grain Belt Express will bring thousands of jobs and $8 billion in investment to Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly announced.

“Kansas is uniquely positioned to be a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of clean and renewable energy,” Kelly said. “The Grain Belt Express will be instrumental in helping to power Kansas and other states, and will bring nearly 1,000 jobs and billions in economic investment and energy savings to our state. My administration is committed to rebuilding our foundation and supporting key investments that will continue to boost economic development, recruit businesses, foster a healthy workforce, and produce sustained growth.”

Invergy, the state’s partner on the project, produced an analysis that claims the 800-mile-long transmission line should bring 22,525 jobs over a three-year construction period and create 968 permanent jobs to the state. It’s also projected to save $7 billion in electricity costs to consumers in Kansas and Missouri through the year 2045. The Grain Belt Express will begin in Spearville, Kansas, and eventually make its way through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. 

Other Notable September Deals: The Ohio Tax Credit Authority awarded Ultium Cells LLC, a joint electric car battery venture between General Motors and South Korea’s LG Chem, a 1.95 percent, 15-year job creation tax credit on $45 million in new payroll. The company expects to create 1,000 jobs by December 2026 at the $2.3 billion plant, under construction on 158 acres immediately adjacent to the automaker’s former assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. “In order to generate an acceptable rate of return and give the Lordstown location a competitive advantage, this JCTC (job creation tax credit) is a major factor in the company’s decision to move forward in Ohio,” said Tony Ciambrone with JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development agency, which successfully fought off a bid by Georgia to get the Ultium facility. Leisure Pools and Spas North America, Inc., a leading fiberglass in-ground pool manufacturer, revealed plans to establish operations in Marion County, South Carolina. The $6.1 million investment is expected to create 200 new jobs, according to the Coordinating Council for Economic Development, which approved has approved a job development project for the fiberglass swimming pool company.

OCTOBER: West Virginia Becomes Home of Virgin Hyperloop Certification Center

“Today is one of the most exciting days in Virgin Hyperloop’s history,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. “The Hyperloop Certification Center is the start of the hyperloop journey for West Virginia, for the United States, and for the world. We’re one step closer to making hyperloop travel a reality for people everywhere.”

Business Facilities Magazine bestowed a 2020 Deal of the Year honorable mention to the Charleston, West Virginia, project that will create thousands of new jobs across construction, manufacturing, operations and high-tech sectors.

“For years, I have been saying that West Virginia is the best-kept secret on the East Coast, and it’s true,” said Governor Jim Justice. “Just look at this announcement and all it will bring to our state–investment, jobs and tremendous growth. It’s a true honor and privilege to be selected as the site for the Hyperloop Certification Center and lead the nation in this next step forward for transportation. When we approached Virgin Hyperloop, I told them that we would do everything we could to bring this opportunity to West Virginia. We look forward to working with the Virgin Hyperloop team to create a lasting partnership for years to come.”

Other Notable October Deals: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and General Motors officials announced that the automaker will invest nearly $2 billion in its Spring Hill manufacturing plant to build fully electric vehicles, including the all-new, luxury Cadillac LYRIQ. That added to the more than $2.3 billion GM has invested in the Spring Hill manufacturing plant since 2010. According to the Center for Automotive Research, GM’s employment in Tennessee produces a 6.8 employment multiplier, which means there are 5.8 other jobs in the Tennessee economy for every direct GM hourly and salaried job in the state. Motion Industries, Inc., a leading distributor of maintenance, repair and operation replacement parts, held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its planned shop facility in Irondale, Alabama. When completed, the $11.2 million 104,000 square-foot building will house Motion’s area fluid power shop, hose and rubber shop, and engineering department. 

NOVEMBER: Renewable Fuels Complex Comes to Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards boasted about Grön Fuels’ proposed renewable fuels complex in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana, having earned Louisiana Economic Development the No. 2 Economic Development Deal of 2020 from Business Facilities Magazine.

The governor earned those bragging rights: The $9.2 billion project, which would ultimately produce low-carbon diesel fuel from renewable feedstocks, is expected to bring with it 1,025 direct jobs—with an average annual salary of $98,595, plus benefits.

 “This Silver Award in Business Facilities’ Deal of the Year competition recognizes our commitment to next-generation projects that will meet the growing global demand for renewable transportation fuels,” Edwards said at the time. “We look forward to Grön Fuels’ final investment decision as Louisiana’s next significant climate-forward project.”

Business Facilities was not the only magazine to recognize the Grön Fuels’ project, which received a national CiCi Award for Corporate Investment from Trade & Industry Development.

Other Notable November Deals: This time, both deals are in the same state (New Mexico) and industry (defense and aerospace). Group Orion announced plans to build on 4.1 million square feet and employ 1,000 at Albuquerque’s Aviation Center of Excellence, a former north/south runway that was decommissioned in 2012. And the U.S. Air Force is preparing to build MaxQ at Kirkland, a new mixed-use development on Kirtland Air Force Base. “We like to say, ‘Albuquerque is the Place for Space,’” says Danielle Casey, president and CEO of Albuquerque Economic Development. “The global space economy is expected to grow to $3 trillion by 2045. No other region has the assets that greater Albuquerque does, and we are ready and excited to see the sector grow. And of course, the region boasts miles and miles of wide-open space for people to explore and enjoy, a new top consideration for skilled workers in the COVID era, who can work from anywhere and select their ideal quality of place.”

DECEMBER: New Industrial Terminal Aims to Make Georgia a 2021 Dealmaker

The new SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex in Savannah, Georgia, offers 

one mile of deepwater frontage on the Savannah River’s main shipping channel as well as direct rail, quality roads and existing infrastructure. 

The sustainable, multi-use, multi-tenant industrial facility will be a major long-term economic driver for Georgia, creating 1,700-plus new high-wage jobs in a Federal Opportunity Zone and generating an estimated annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion, according to SeaPoint officials.

The complex has also been designed with environmental responsibility as a core value, they add as they point to these attractions:

-More than 600 developable acres of land providing exceptional opportunities for national and international manufacturers and logistics-dependent operations. 

-A multi-tenant model that promotes synergies between companies that result in more sustainable and efficient operations. 

-Solar, steam, compressed air, electricity, security and other services available on-site.

-A Cleantech Campus @SeaPoint project that aims to transform an existing 60,000-square-foot R&D building onsite into a creative hub for companies and organizations focused on clean technologies related to manufacturing, warehousing and logistics. 

compaction Construction workers

Cities With the Most Construction Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has had sweeping impacts on the economy and virtually every industry sector. While the construction industry has weathered the storm better than some hard-hit industries—such as leisure and hospitality—construction is facing some unique challenges. Construction companies are currently contending with project cancellations and delays, supply chain disruptions, and COVID infections among workers. Some parts of the country are more reliant on the construction industry than others, and some are facing worse COVID outbreaks and more stringent business restrictions, meaning the pandemic’s impact on the construction industry has had differential geographic impacts. While construction jobs account for 5.2 percent of all jobs nationally (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), some cities rely more heavily on the construction industry for employment.

Historically, construction employment tends to follow the business cycle, fluctuating with economic expansions and recessions. During the Great Recession that lasted from late-2007 to mid-2009, construction employment fell by 20 percent and then continued to fall until early 2010. It then steadily increased until early 2020. Along with overall employment, employment in the construction industry fell sharply in the spring during the early stages of the pandemic. It started rebounding in May but is still below pre-pandemic levels. Compared to a year ago, construction employment is currently down 2.4 percent.

Construction employment varies substantially on a geographic level. Some cities and states are much more reliant on the construction industry than others, with some areas employing large shares of construction workers. The West tends to depend more heavily on the construction industry while the Midwest and Northeast have lower shares of construction employment. At the state level, Wyoming and Utah boast the largest shares of employment in construction, at 8.5 and 7.6 percent, respectively. Connecticut has the lowest share of employment in construction in the country at just 3.6 percent.

Compared to a year ago, most states experienced declines in construction employment. Down 25 percent from the end of 2019, Vermont had the largest drop in construction employment out of all states. Some states, including Virginia and Missouri, saw employment in construction increase from 2019. Construction employment grew by 5.7 percent in Virginia and by 8 percent in Missouri.

To find the metros with the most construction workers, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the share of employment in construction. Researchers also calculated the construction employment share compared to the national average, the total number of construction employees, and the year-over-year change in construction employment.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the most construction workers.

Metro Rank Share of employment in construction Share of employment in construction (compared to average) Total number of construction employees Year-over-year change in construction employment


Lake Charles, LA     1 19.0% +267.9% 18,600 -16.2%
Baton Rouge, LA     2 11.8% +129.3% 46,800 -3.7%
Vallejo, CA     3 9.7% +87.4% 12,800 -3.8%
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA     4 8.6% +65.9% 16,600 -5.1%
Coeur d’Alene, ID     5 8.0% +54.3% 5,200 -13.3%
Salem, OR     6 7.7% +49.5% 12,300 -1.6%
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA     7 7.5% +44.5% 23,600 -6.7%
Casper, WY     8 7.5% +45.5% 2,800 0.0%
Reno, NV     9 7.4% +43.3% 17,800 -2.7%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA     10 7.3% +41.8% 107,300 +1.9%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV     11 7.3% +41.2% 68,800 -6.6%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX     12 7.2% +39.5% 220,000 -9.3%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL     13 7.0% +35.5% 85,500 -2.8%
San Rafael, CA     14 7.0% +36.1% 7,600 -2.6%
Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA     15 6.9% +33.2% 107,200 +1.6%
United States     – 5.2% N/A 7,430,000 -2.4%


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:


3 Ways Data Analysis Improves Manufacturing

Data Analysis is the process of inspecting, transforming, cleansing, and modeling information. The goal is to discover useful details that inform decision making. Businesses use it to statistically and logically find ways to improve their products and services.

With accurate data analysis, manufacturers can streamline their operations and do away with old ways of doing things. But most companies still haven’t understood the impact well-analyzed information can have on their business. This article outlines three ways data analysis improves manufacturing.

Increase in Energy Efficiency

According to Friendly Power, the United States manufacturing sector accounted for 32% of all energy consumption across industries in 2018. The industrial sector consumed approximately 27 000 trillion BTU that year. Fuel manufacturing processes accounted for a considerable part of that figure.

It calls for a need for reduced energy consumption by manufacturers. The best way to achieve this is for companies to become smarter energy managers. While they have been working towards this goal, there is a need for manufacturers to do more.

Data analysis shows companies diverse ways of improving energy efficiency and reducing consumption. They can achieve this by following a systematic or holistic approach.

With small investments and fewer larger investments, manufacturers can reduce their energy consumption. Analyzing information will help companies understand the ways they expend energy.

Real-time data analysis helps plant managers monitor excess usage and untimely consumption. It allows them to prioritize specific energy retrofits. It works for promoting and implementing behavioral changes in employees. Additionally, manufacturers will set informed and achievable energy-saving goals and reduce costs.

Improved Equipment Maintenance and Less Downtime

One thing that slows down and affects manufacturers is equipment breakdown and high downtime. Machines get built for optimal efficiency, but sometimes, several factors affect the way they work. Some of these problems are poor installation, misuse, and lack of downtime coordination.

Companies can prevent this by effectively gathering data. The combination of IoT systems and robust predictive analytics in manufacturing helps manufacturers gain real-time insight. It shows them how well equipment functions on a micro and macro scale.

Data analysis helps manufacturers schedule hours and days for a checkup to keep machines from breaking down. Predictive data allows companies to keep using their machinery until they have to carry out maintenance. It means that they are pre-informed on when they need to check their equipment.

This dramatically helps improve the manufacturing process. The maintenance crew will only work when needed, thereby freeing up personnel for other duties. Data analysis prevents excess troubleshooting and allows the facility to function more efficiently.

On the downtime, analyzing information ahead of time reduces it. Knowing the right steps to take ensures that the machinery functions when it should prevent production lags. A company with non-functioning equipment will lose money and may not meet up with demand.

Boosts Business Operations and Improves Time Management

Aside from the first two benefits of data analysis, it improves business operations and time management. Manufacturers who gather and analyze information can better plan their day-to-day manufacturing process.

It helps companies with their targets and prioritizes activities based on their importance level and urgency. Site managers get a granular vision into the operational insights of their industry. It increases security augmentation, process monitoring, and controls employees’ behavior and working hours.

Data analysis helps a manufacturing company be where it should be at a particular time. It keeps them from falling behind by effectively managing their time and ensuring that every moment counts.

When site managers know when their equipment is most likely to need maintenance, they will not waste time worrying about it. They’ll focus on their work. Accurate data analysis means knowing what problems are likely to arise and making plans ahead to fix them.

Other Ways Data Analysis Improves Manufacturing

The three benefits mentioned above are not exhaustive of the ways data analysis improves manufacturing. Manufacturers who invest in gathering information as do get to understand their business’s supply side.

Every manufacturing business’s essence is to meet demand and make a profit. To do the latter, companies must minimize manufacturing costs. A crucial part of achieving this is following and tracking supplies to ensure that manufacturers do not pay any extra cents.

Data analysis helps manufacturers follow their supplies and every part of the manufacturing process. This way, they can account for every material delivered and make adjustments where needed.

Tracking records helps manufacturers discover unworkable components ahead of time and prevent product failure. It creates better demand forecasts. It means a manufacturing company will predict when the need for their product will go up and effectively meet it.

Demand data is vital for two reasons. First, it guides the production chain, and second, it prevents storing goods for a long time in warehouses. Most companies use information from previous years and sales to make predictions of this nature.

However, it is better to combine past and predictive data in making demand projections and manufacturing plans. By doing this, manufacturer’s reduce their risk and production waste.

Furthermore, data analysis means that business owners will make all manufacturing decisions based on strategic information. Site managers will only make choices that will improve the manufacturing line and their staff’s overall welfare. They will ensure efficient arrangement structures in warehouses and better product flow management.

The Takeaway!

No matter the industry a business belongs to, data analysis is vital, and the manufacturing industry is no different. There are so many aspects of production that the only way to keep track and avoid mistakes is by collecting data.

Knowing when to expect trouble and putting things in place to prevent them is an effective way to improve the manufacturing process. It also helps to know what to produce, when, and who to manufacture for. It ensures that companies pay attention to energy conservation and educate their employees on it.

Finally, companies that capitalize on data analysis have increased efficiency and productivity. They understand their clients and market more, maximize profit, and streamline their supply chains.



When it comes to business, some choices are easier to make than others, but one choice that makes sense is choosing Texas for your business operations. That’s why site location assistance firm, Global Site Location Industries, launched its Choose Texas initiative.

The Choose Texas program helps companies ensure a smooth facility expansion within the State of Texas by connecting growing companies to local economic development corporations with opportunities. Communities part of the program are prepared to offer strategic sites, economic incentives, and competitive assets to businesses looking to relocate.

But why Choose Texas? After all, you have many choices for your business location. Let the member communities of the Choose Texas program tell you why the choice to relocate your business to the great state of Texas may be the easiest—and best—decision you’ll ever make.


Mike Running, executive director of the Dumas Economic Development Corporation, says that companies have relocated to Dumas because of the city’s business diversity. Dumas, whose leading industries are education, healthcare, and social services, is also known for its logistics sector and the largest rail car park in the United States.

According to Running, site selectors considering larger cities in Texas such as San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, can benefit from relocation to smaller cities like Dumas because Dumas in particular offers unique partnerships to businesses in their targeted industries that simply aren’t possible in other communities.

As for businesses that have recently benefited from Dumas’ pro-business climate, Running says premium pet food manufacturer Life’s Abundance recently moved to Dumas and is almost finished building a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in the city’s business park. According to Running, the city was able to offer Life’s Abundance discounted space, a sales tax rebate, and land. The company is now considering plans to expand in Dumas.

But it isn’t just land and incentives that make doing business in Dumas an attractive offer for businesses, it’s the willingness of organizations like the Dumas Economic Development Corporation to nurture new businesses long after they’ve settled in the community. Says Running, “There is no other state that compares to our pro-business and servants attitude when it comes to business recruitment and retention. We sincerely care for our businesses and are willing to go out of the way to help them succeed.”


Home to the world’s largest dairy and a thriving energy and agribusiness sector, not far north of San Antonio sits Boerne / Kendall County, Texas. When you ask Alison Church, COO of the Boerne / Kendall County Economic Development Corporation why businesses should consider relocating to Boerne / Kendall County, she first cites the city’s “unmatched quality of life and proximity to larger markets.” In fact, according to Church, the city benefits from the workforce of larger cities such as San Antonio because employees headed to the county don’t have to deal with the traffic of the larger metropolitan areas.

Church says this has also benefited businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic because many business leaders have learned that it’s no longer necessary to do business in larger cities and can downsize to locations that have a smaller footprint and are less expensive. Workers can work remotely, and businesses can downsize their workforce if need be. In Boerne / Kendall County, the community has a large fiber optic presence, making remote work easier for businesses.

Boerne / Kendall County has a thriving agricultural technology sector, as well as construction and design sectors. O.W. Lee, a high-end patio furniture manufacturer, recently relocated to Boerne / Kendall County from out of state, and according to Church, this opens doors for complementary businesses to move to the area. Says Church, “We can coordinate with [business] owners to find out what other industries or types of businesses they will need to help them be more successful.”

As for why businesses should choose Texas, Church cites the state’s largely rural atmosphere as a benefit, as it enables businesses to expand while having access to an abundance of economic development incentives.


About 30 miles east of the New Mexico border sits Andrews, Texas. The small city has a population of just over 14,000, but while it may seem small, Andrews’ size works in its favor when it comes to business. Much like its fellow Choose Texas counterparts, Andrews avoids the congestion and higher fees of nearby major metropolitan areas. The city’s highly skilled workforce is also a big draw, says Andrews Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Morse Haynes. “Andrews has a quality workforce, and we provide a great quality of life for a rural community,” says Haynes.

That workforce combined with the city’s oil-adjacent location makes it a hidden gem in East Texas. Seated in the Permian Basin, Andrews is well-equipped to host businesses that serve the oil and gas industry. According to Haynes, the city has recently welcomed two oilfield services companies into their Business Park West location, and they have recently inked a deal with a meat processing facility. 

Haynes says land is available at either of the city’s business parks, and relocation assistance is available with job-based incentives. He adds that negotiations are under way for a third business park in Andrews. 

“Texas is a business-friendly state with low taxes, communities that are preparing for growth (such as Andrews), and a great place to live and do business,” says Haynes.


Located just West of Texarkana, Texas, TexAmericas Center is a Redevelopment Authority that operates as a traditional development and management company but has the capabilities of a municipality. TexAmericas Center offers many benefits including the lowest cost structure for taxes, in the state of Texas. Additionally, their tax savings, real estate prices, utilities, and labor rates are some of the lowest in Texas, says Texamericas Center Customer Engagement Specialist, Ruthie Jackson.

According to Jackson, TexAmericas Center is well equipped to host “both light and heavy manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, food and beverage processing, paper and wood products manufacturing and defense.” TexAmericas Center is especially ideal for defense, as it is seated adjacent to the Red River Army Depot.

Another benefit of rural site selection? According to Jackson, the COVID-19 pandemic plays a big role. “With the global pandemic, rural areas are at a lower risk,” she explains.

Recent additions to TexAmericas Center include Lockheed Martin, Rowe Casa, a local organics company, Project Safe Harbor, a 177,000-square-foot warehouse for a component part manufacturer, and a warehouse expansion for Loc Performance, an existing tenant who in addition to expanding their warehouse added 20 jobs to their previous workforce of 25.

So, what makes choosing Texas such an excellent decision for site selectors? “As the ninth-largest economy among the nations of the world and home to 50 Fortune 500 headquarters, the State of Texas offers companies one of the most favorable business climates in the nation,” says Jackson.


Positioned between Houston and New Orleans, Louisiana, Orange County, Texas, offers unprecedented access to major waterways, ports and Interstate 10. The county, which is not far from major oil, gas and manufacturing markets along the Gulf Coast, boasts of thriving retail, construction and hospitality sectors.

Orange County is also home to Lamar State College Orange, which helps create the skilled workforce the region is known for. The county offers workforce development resources to assist businesses and workers by training them on the skills they need to make area businesses a success. Says Orange County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jessica Hill, “When locating in a smaller community versus a large metropolitan area, not only will the company be lowering operating costs, but they will also be providing quality jobs for the citizens of the community. Orange County citizens place a very high value on jobs, and they realize the importance of bringing good companies with great jobs to the community.”

Recent additions to the business community in Orange County include an incoming H-E-B grocery store, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, clothing and retail establishments and even a winery.

According to Hill, these businesses have chosen Texas and more specifically, Orange County, because of the county and state’s absence of both corporate and individual income tax, as well as  their “highly-skilled, well-educated workforce, and simplified state regulations.” 

Says Hill, “The Texas economy continues to grow and diversify each year, strongly in part to the lack of red tape giving companies an opportunity to strategize for faster growth.”


Just an hour northwest of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, Bowie, Texas, is situated halfway between DFW and Wichita Falls, Texas. Despite a rural setting, Bowie offers all of the amenities of larger nearby cities, without the traffic and stress of big city living. In fact, according to Janis Crawley, Executive Director of the Bowie Economic Development Corporation, that reduction of stress makes a big difference when it comes to the workforce, as less-stressed workers means higher productivity. Lower stress, combined with a highly skilled labor force at lower employment wages, makes Bowie the perfect alternative to big city business operations.

Another benefit of small towns like Bowie is their lower overall cost of doing business.  According to Crawley, businesses relocating to Bowie benefit from lower front-end costs due to ample land availability, lower wages, lower energy costs and the same infrastructure and incentives as larger cities. “We also offer additional incentives that most larger communities will not consider,” says Crawley.

She says Bowie works well for companies with fewer than 100 employees, and the city’s current projects include a $2.2 million expansion at one of the town’s existing manufacturing companies, a downtown expansion that includes office buildings, retail and restaurant space, and a $600,000 office complex. 

“We are looking to attract professionals—from the metroplex and other larger communities—who want to lower their overhead cost and increase their ROI,” Crawley says.  


Just 15 minutes east of Downtown Dallas sits Sunnyvale, Texas. This up-and-coming suburban community isn’t just a great place to do business, it’s a great place to live, too, says Burton Barr, Director of Economic Development for the Sunnyvale Economic Development Corporation. The city was acknowledged as one of the “Best Suburbs of 2014” by D Magazine.

As far as doing business in Sunnyvale goes, the city offers a small-town environment with a strong industrial presence, including manufacturing centers, a Baylor Scott & White hospital and medical center, and retail and commercial sites. The city is poised for future growth, with available space along Highway 80, Collins Road, Clay Road and Belt Line Road. The city is also preparing for more growth with the expansions of roadways, waterways and wastewater improvements.

New projects in Sunnyvale include an incoming 643,000-square-foot light industrial / logistics center, as well as incoming restaurants including Chick-Fil-A and Whataburger. 

Barr believes the success of Texas in attracting new business is its pro-business attitude. “In addition to local incentives, we have many economic development tools and incentives offered through the Office of the Governor,” says Barr. “Texas also enjoys a diverse workforce and lower cost of living than many other states.”


Located between the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area and Texarkana, Texas, Sulphur Springs is providing what they call “the best of both worlds” – close enough for the fun of city life, but in a peaceful rural setting.

With six build-to-suit business parks (some within city limits), the Sulphur Springs Economic Development Corporation recently completed several roads and updated the infrastructure in two of those parks.  

The city is also invested in its workforce, with job training through the Higher Education Center, which can offer immediate training for employees and continuous programs for staff.

Sulphur Springs is already home to businesses such as Diversified Food Systems, Plant Process, Ocean Spray, Saputo and BEF Foods. Raven Industries recently began construction on an expansion to their existing facility.


The “pumpkin capital of Texas,” as it is sometimes referred to, Floydada is a heavily agricultural community located in West Texas. This rural community is home to ample cropland, farming pumpkins, grain sorghum, wheat and cotton.

The town has a population of just 3,038 but offers a strong workforce development program through the Floydada Professional Development Center and the Floydada Economic Development Corporation. Other education incentives include financial assistance for programs such as the Skills Development Fund and the Self-Sufficiency Fund, provided by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Floydada is currently planning a business park that will host both retail and office space.


Located in Denton County, Texas, not far from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Northlake is seated along Highway 35W, which runs from Laredo, Texas, to Minnesota and offers easy access throughout the DFW metropolitan area.

Former ranchland, Northlake has experienced tremendous growth since the city was established in 1960. The city’s Pathway to 2040 plans for more growth, including more agricultural development in keeping with the city’s agricultural roots. There are hopes to attract businesses that serve agricultural communities such as tractor repair and commercial green housing operations.

According to the Pathway to 2040 plan, the city would also like an esteemed university to establish an agricultural program within the fringes of the city, such as along FM 156.


Not far from the Austin, Texas, metropolitan area, Leander sits in the state’s Hill Country area, known for its rolling hills and beautiful scenery. With more than 63,000 residents, Leander is the 37th fastest growing city in the United States.

This affordable small city provides award-winning land planning initiatives and is poised for more future growth. Leander is home to businesses such as H-E-B Grocery Co., Leander Independent School District, Casa Costa Bake Shop and HL Chapman Pipeline Construction, Inc. The city’s proximity to Austin also poises them nearby to corporations such as Apple, Dell, IBM and Samsung Semiconductor.

The city also benefits from many nearby colleges and universities, including the University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College.


Halfway between Houston and the Dallas / Fort Worth metro area sits Grapeland, Texas. The small, rural community offers many benefits to incoming businesses that Mayor Balis Dailey says simply can’t be found in larger cities. According to Dailey, just a few of the benefits of doing business in Grapeland include a welcoming community, many logistics options, low risk of adverse risk, and a high-quality labor force. 

Grapeland also offers ample space for growth and many shovel-ready sites. The town has access to trucking, air, rail, U.S. highways and Gulf shipping ports.

Grapeland is already home to several major manufacturers, including Nucor-Vulcraft, a steel products manufacturer that makes products Dailey says can be used for construction of facilities for incoming businesses. Furthermore, the company’s trucking operations allow for other businesses to partner with them on backhauling, reducing transportation costs.

Why should businesses avoid selecting sites in larger cities? It’s all about the overcrowding that already exists—and will continue to get worse as growth continues, Dailey says.

“Unfortunately, these locations have expanded to the point of severe infrastructure limitations and extremely high cost for land and development cost. While these problems are now major, they will become worse in the future. This impacts the bottom line,” Dailey says.

“To change the negative impacts of locating in the metro areas, companies should begin to see rural development as the future site locations for industry. The future of a company’s long-range growth will be enhanced by considering the rural areas such as East Texas, specifically Grapeland, Texas.”


You’re choosing a state with lower taxes, a highly skilled workforce, lower land and utility costs and dedicated economic development organizations that can help you achieve your business goals.

When it comes to making site location decisions for your growing company, the Choose Texas site location team is ready to take your business to the next level.

Partnering with Choose Texas provides you free site location services and a team of area experts ready to maximize Texas’s growth climate for your business. The Choose Texas team has 25 years of partnerships across the state, so if you know what your business needs, the professionals with Choose Texas know where and how to find it.

Get in contact with Choose Texas Project Director, Brooke Edwards, to discuss an upcoming project or specific site needs for a new facility by calling 469-778-2606 or emailing

You can also visit for more information.


The New Normal in Manufacturing – A Digitized Future

We can learn a lot from history. In the face of a global pandemic that has upended the business world, the measures taken in the short-term will lead to significant shifts that will last for decades.

We saw how the Great Depression dramatically changed the role of government within financial markets. Likewise, how the Great Recession of 2007-08 created a shift in value from ownership to experiences.

The global pandemic has already introduced and accelerated several trends that will likely become entrenched into our daily lives for years to come. We see a virtual shift happening with consumer trends like work-from-home, video communication, online purchasing, e-learning, streaming services, and more taking hold.

This is the new normal in which we live, work, and trade. And it’s here to stay. For manufacturers, the new normal is an opportunity to address short-term challenges and lay the groundwork for future resilience.

Acceleration of Industry 4.0

COVID-19 created immediate challenges for manufacturers.

1. Consumer demand shocks in both volume and variety of manufactured goods

2. Workforce shifts with social distancing regulations, hygiene mandates, and employee health-related absences

3. Supply chain fragility resulting in raw material and finished good shortages, impacts to just-in-time production processes, and stockouts

To address these short-term issues, manufacturers undertook various initiatives to build supply chain resiliencies to improve visibility, diversify their supply chains through reshoring, and deploying innovative technologies.

It’s fair to say that the pandemic is the catalyst that pushed the smart factory vision (Industry 4.0) forward faster.

Manufacturers are now able to gain a competitive advantage by adapting and building on this new normal. According to Bain & Company, “For companies willing to take the right actions during this critical recovery phase: the rewards may prove transformative, propelling them into the ranks of true performance leaders.”

The Future of Manufacturing Looks Digitized

A McKinsey survey of manufacturers found that:

-93% of manufacturing and supply-chain leaders plan to focus on the resilience of their supply chain

-39% have already implemented a nerve-center/control-tower approach to increase end-to-end transparency in their supply chain

-A quarter are fast-tracking automation programs to address worker shortages

-90% plan to invest in talent for digitization

As manufacturers look to advance their long-term strategies of building supply chain resiliency, reshoring production, introducing new distribution strategies, and implementing Industry 4.0 technologies, the key to success will be creating a digital muscle.

Supply chain resiliency – manufacturers must establish end-to-end visibility of the supply chain to improve resiliency. Enhanced visibility is made possible through technology, such as manufacturing execution systems, that can deliver network agility and visibility, digital collaboration, insights for decision-making, and team empowerment.

Reshoring – to reshore production, effective inventory management and supply chain tools that provide tracking and authentication are necessary. Automation of manufacturing processes will also be essential to make reshoring economical and attract technology-savvy workers.

New Distribution Strategies – direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies have proven valuable during the pandemic. While it will take a cultural change to implement D2C in manufacturing, it will also require integrating technology systems, such as warehouse management systems and manufacturing execution systems.

Industry 4.0 technologies – manufacturers have rapidly deployed technologies that have better positioned them in the new normal. These technologies include 5G connectivity, IoT sensors, advanced automation, AI-powered analytics, and robotics solutions. With many of these rollouts completed in record time, manufacturers need to keep their eye on the big picture and look to further optimize these systems to increase efficiencies and transform capabilities across the supply chain.

A Partner for Your Digital Journey

At Generix Group North America, we are experts in creating efficiencies across the entire supply chain. With over 20 years of experience and a global team of 600+ experts, our series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite can help build the resilience and visibility your organization needs across your manufacturing operations and supply chain.

Our solutions are in use around the world by more than 6,000 customers and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

You can also read our eBook, Manufacturing and the New Normal: Moving Forward from 2020, to learn more about how digitization will prepare your manufacturing organization for the future.


Doug Mefford has more than 25 years experience in the Supply Chain industry.  His diverse background includes roles across many operational functions, from inventory control to operational leadership within an Omni Channel distribution operation.  Additionally, within the software space he has held roles including quality and business analyst, design lead and product management.  He brings his cross functional experience in supply chain operations and software product delivery to bear in helping define the direction for Generix Group North America’s Solochain WMS. Prior to his time at Generix, Mefford was the operations manager for the Dallas Cowboys for eight years, overseeing their warehouse operations, retail distribution, silk screen manufacturing and direct-to-consumer order fulfillment. Doug studied at Northern Illinois University, and is greatly involved in the Illinois Special Olympics

air quality

A Healthier Warehouse Starts with Better Indoor Air Quality

While the “new normal” is still evolving, one thing is certain: We need to continue to focus on how we design and maintain indoor environments. Businesses need to keep occupant well-being and productivity top of mind while minimizing potential risks.

Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) has always been a priority for building operators but until recently many occupants were unaware or less concerned about how IAQ impacted their experience. The World Green Building Council notes IAQ is just one of “a range of tools and strategies” that should be employed to make buildings safer, but adds, “It is clear that an effective approach should…encompass an increased focus on the monitoring and management of air quality.” To this end, warehouses and distribution centers across the globe have taken steps to review current systems and implement new in-building technologies that improve ventilation, air quality, humidity, pressure, and safety.

While every building has some level of these functions, they may not be optimized for occupant comfort and wellbeing. With the holiday season, many warehouses and distribution centers schedule a higher-than-normal volume of employees to stay on track during the busiest time of the year. Air quality is essential to a healthy building, and it is especially important when there is an increase in the number of building occupants. IAQ can impact occupant wellbeing and productivity, energy efficiency, and potentially even real estate value.

As building owners and operators look to provide safer and healthier work environments for their employees, a good place to start is with a building audit. An audit will reveal whether installed systems are operating properly and confirm the facility is meeting ASHRAE standards for a healthier environment based on the type of building and its existing systems.

Aligning with ASHRAE Building Readiness recommendations, building operators should consider the following tips to improve IAQ:

-Increase outdoor air ventilation (use caution in highly polluted areas)

-Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV)

-Open minimum outdoor air dampers — as much as 100% — to eliminate recirculation

-Consider portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters

-Consider UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) to protect occupants from radiation, particularly in high-risk spaces (e.g., break rooms or locker rooms)

-Consider altering equipment operating schedules to flush buildings with fresh air for two hours before and after occupancy

Following the audit, building operators should assess areas throughout the building to implement improvements or adjustments. Some improvement options include:

Electronic air cleaners (EACs): An electronic air cleaner is a device that uses an electric charge to remove impurities — either solid particles or liquid droplets — from the air. The EAC functions by applying energy only to the particulate matter to be collected, without significantly impeding the flow of air. They are installed at the point of air intake in an HVAC system, and maintenance of commercial EACs is often tool-free and relatively simple, due to components like removable grills for prefilter and electronic cell cleaning and replacement.

Ventilation controls: Proper air exchange can help dispel odors, chemicals, and carbon dioxide while balancing energy use and reducing disease transmission Building control products like actuators and economizers can bring in the right amount of fresh air based on environmental conditions, as well as meet building regulations. Newer economizers offer onboard fault detection and diagnostics to reduce service and commissioning time for maintenance professionals.

Humidity sensors: Humidity sensors can help gain real-time measurements and keep humidity at optimized levels. Humidity control is not just about occupant comfort. High humidity can promote bacteria and mold growth as well as conditions for dust mites, while low humidity can cause dry, itchy skin and upper respiratory irritations. ASHRAE research found that keeping relative humidity in the 40% to 60% range is optimal to decreasing occupant exposure to infectious particles and reducing virus transmission.

Pressurization controls: Maintaining proper pressurization in critical spaces, including restrooms, can help reduce pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can be present in indoor air. Pressurization can also be used to contain air in a quarantined space or isolate and protect clean spaces. Pressure sensors provide low-maintenance measurement and control.

UV systems: UV systems use ultraviolet light to damage the DNA structure of microorganisms at the cellular level and has been shown in laboratory tests to inactivate certain viral, bacterial and fungal organisms, making them less likely to replicate and potentially cause disease. UV systems can be installed at HVAC coils or with an EAC to deactivate biological contaminants growing on cooling coils, preventing pathogens from spreading to building occupants.

According to the World Green Building Council, while buildings themselves cannot solve all of our current challenges, they play a crucial role in employee wellbeing. Warehouse and distribution center owners and operators must make IAQ a priority — now and in the future — to ensure healthier indoor environments for employees and keep business moving.