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McKinley Packaging Chooses Texas: Lancaster Plant Expansion Underway

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McKinley Packaging Chooses Texas: Lancaster Plant Expansion Underway

McKinley Packaging, a sustainably operated paper and packaging company, announced the addition of its seventh packaging plant. The 500,000 square-foot rail-served building in Lancaster, Texas will create 100 jobs in total when running at full capacity across three shifts, Monday through Friday.

“We started looking at properties back in July 2020 and decided, as a company, that Lancaster is a market we want to grow in,” explains Anthony Garcia, Vice President of Operations at McKinley Packaging.

The Lancaster expansion marks another significant milestone for the Bio Pappel subsidiary. Known as the largest manufacturer of paper and corrugated materials in Latin America, Bio Pappel launched expansion efforts in the United States seven years ago. Since then, McKinley Packaging has represented the company’s strategic growth success with its now seven plants, two paper mills, and five recycling centers across the U.S. markets.

Efforts to locate the ideal market for McKinley’s seventh packaging plant were spearheaded by Global Site Location Industries (GSLI), a Dallas-based site selection consultant and economic development marketing agency.

“GSLI’s process provided us with the opportunity to truly evaluate multiple markets that had the potential to support our company strategies, helping us identify the right location first,” Garcia adds. “In addition, GSLI was very valuable in helping us review incentive packages and navigating the negotiation process. The team providing insight on how different incentives compared across different communities as we determined location.”

Driven by its emphasis on sustainable operations and recycled materials, McKinley Packaging continues to aim for zero-discharge water operations upon reaching capacity. This is one example of how McKinley Packaging continues the “green” legacy of the company’s history.

“Mckinley Packaging has been great to assist in the finalization of their site and incentives,” adds Eric Kleinsorge, GSLI’s CEO and Chairman. “Lancaster wasn’t a “first-thought” choice, but after conducting our Road Show Tour and analysis they were definitely the right choice. Shane Shepard and his Lancaster Team were excellent and responsive when working with the city. This made a big impact for McKinley. We look forward to working with them on future expansions and are excited about the breaking ground of this new facility!”


About McKinley Packaging

McKinley Packaging is a world-class integrated paper and packaging company that is GREEN.

We operate two state-of-the-art businesses in the United States: Our first division is McKinley Paper, which has two paper-producing facilities in New Mexico and Washington. Our second division is McKinley Packaging, with facilities in California, Georgia, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.  McKinley Company is part of Bio Pappel which is the largest manufacturer of paper and paper products in Mexico and Latin America.

About Global Site Location Industries, GSLI

Global Site Location Industries, LLC (formerly known as the World Economic Development Alliance) is a site location firm founded in 1994. GSLI has helped over 1,200 companies identify economic development professionals that could assist them with their site location decisions. We have over 75 site location expert offices nationwide. We use Project Qualification Team to conduct our initial interviews with companies to identify the viability of a project. The balance of our staff is customer service, project managers, production, web designers, and finance.

For More information visit or contact


The Best-Paying Cities for Agricultural Workers

Agriculture has been and remains one of the most important industries for the U.S. economy. In addition to directly providing food for the population in the form of produce and livestock, the broader agricultural sector—which includes farming, fishing, and forestry—provides raw materials that form the foundation of other industries like food service, construction, and textile manufacturing. Further, the U.S. is the world’s leading exporter of food and other agricultural products, which contributes to its global economic and political influence.

While agriculture’s role in the U.S. economy remains significant, the industry’s future in the U.S. faces many challenges. Global climate change has produced warmer temperatures and more frequent severe weather events like droughts and fires, threatening an increasing number of crops, livestock, and forests. Agricultural exports have been negatively impacted by recent trade disputes with other countries, and imports on agricultural equipment have become more expensive. And on top of these more recent challenges, agriculture has been undergoing a long-term decline as a share of the economy: farms alone represented more than 3% of GDP in the early 1960s but only account for less than 1% of U.S. GDP today.

Another indicator of agriculture’s shifting role in the economy is its employment numbers. Since the end of World War II, the total number of workers in agriculture and related industries has been on a steady decline over time. In the late 1950s, the U.S. economy had more than 8 million workers supporting agriculture. That figure had been cut in half within two decades, and today, agricultural-related employment hovers around 2.3 million, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

One of the major reasons for this decline is agricultural and mechanical innovations that have reduced the need for manual labor. Simultaneously, other sectors of the economy have grown, offering new and more appealing opportunities in different fields and professions. Working conditions for agricultural workers are also some of the most difficult and hazardous of any profession, and these workers face some of the lowest wages of any profession in the U.S. According to BLS data, the median pay for farming, fishing, and forestry occupations is less than $30,000 per year, or about 30% below the median of $41,950 across all occupations.

However, certain states offer far better pay than others, especially after adjusting for cost-of-living differences. Despite above-average living costs, Alaska stands out as the best-paying state for these workers, where the typical agricultural worker earns an adjusted wage of more than $43,000 annually. Outside of Alaska, states in the Central U.S. offer the most competitive wages. At the other end of the spectrum, the list of lowest-paying states includes Florida, California, and New Jersey, where workers earn an adjusted wage of approximately $25,000 or less.

At the metro level, the Central U.S. is also well-represented on the list of best-paying U.S. locations for agricultural workers. Among large metropolitan areas, these include Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Columbus, and St. Louis.

To find the best-paying locations for agricultural workers, researchers at analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Researchers calculated the median annual earnings for farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, which were adjusted for cost-of-living differences. Only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.

Here are the best-paying large metros for agricultural workers.

Metro Rank        Median annual earnings   for agricultural workers (adjusted) Median annual earnings for agricultural workers (unadjusted) Number of agricultural workers Cost of living (compared to national average)


Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 1 $42,854 $39,040 300 -8.9%
Oklahoma City, OK 2 $40,122 $36,030 680 -10.2%
New Orleans-Metairie, LA 3 $39,044 $36,350 500 -6.9%
Columbus, OH 4 $37,707 $34,540 940 -8.4%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 5 $37,598 $35,530 70 -5.5%
Pittsburgh, PA 6 $37,500 $34,650 550 -7.6%
Richmond, VA 7 $36,138 $34,620 690 -4.2%
Salt Lake City, UT 8 $35,507 $35,010 210 -1.4%
St. Louis, MO-IL 9 $34,573 $31,150 1,390 -9.9%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 10 $34,191 $32,960 760 -3.6%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 11 $33,873 $29,910 630 -11.7%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 12 $33,795 $30,280 520 -10.4%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 13 $33,393 $35,330 1,700 +5.8%
Cleveland-Elyria, OH 14 $33,382 $30,010 270 -10.1%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 15 $33,294 $34,260 1,350 +2.9%
United States $29,670 $29,670 478,770 N/A


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


The Best-Paying Construction Jobs

It’s already been a busy year for construction, thanks to surges in new housing development and renovations, as well as changes to businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors will likely accelerate already strong growth projections for the industry made prior to 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction employment was projected to grow at a faster pace than average between 2019 and 2029—adding 4% more jobs, compared to 3.7% for other industries. Among the jobs anticipated to be most in demand are solar photovoltaic installers (up 50.5%), tile and stone workers (up 8.6%), and electricians (up 8.4%).

Those and other construction occupations tend to be financially rewarding relative to the level of education required for entry. The vast majority of construction jobs require no formal education or a high school diploma, yet they pay $906 per week—nearly as much as the $938 median weekly earnings of someone with an associate’s degree from college. The median earnings for high school graduates is $781 a week, while those without a diploma make $619.

While construction workers are generally paid well, their paychecks vary widely depending on where they work. The West Coast (including Alaska and Hawaii), pockets in the Midwest, and several Northeast states all pay construction workers higher hourly wages than the rest of the country. Hawaii and Illinois, for example, have a median hourly wage above $34, while Alaska and Massachusetts are around $30 per hour. Meanwhile, several states across the South pay as low as $18 per hour for construction work.

The type of construction work is also a major factor in how well employees are paid. Many of the higher rates fall to areas of specialization, like elevator installers, boilermakers, and pile-driver operators. However, general construction supervisors, inspectors, and more common tradespeople like electricians can also earn higher pay rates.

To find the best-paying construction jobs, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the BLS. Occupations were ranked according to their median hourly wage. Researchers also included median annual wages, total and projected 10-year employment numbers, and the percentage of workers that are self-employed for each occupation.

Here are the best-paying construction jobs in the United States.

Occupation Rank Median hourly wage Median annual wage Total employed nationally Projected 10-year employment growth Percentage of workers that are self-employed


Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers     1    $42.57 $88,540 24,730 +6.6% N/A
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers     2    $32.61 $67,840 614,080 +4.8% 8.0%
Boilermakers     3    $31.42 $65,360 14,020 +0.9% N/A
Pile Driver Operators     4    $30.47 $63,370 3,820 +4.4% 2.2%
Construction and Building Inspectors     5    $30.22 $62,860 113,770 +3.2% 6.8%
Tapers     6    $28.58 $59,450 16,320 -4.0% 17.8%
Electricians     7    $27.36 $56,900 656,510 +8.4% 5.0%
Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators     8    $27.10 $56,370 17,590 +3.4% N/A
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters     9    $27.08 $56,330 417,440 +4.3% 8.3%
Brickmasons and Blockmasons     10    $26.48 $55,080 59,940 -6.4% 26.8%
United States     –    $23.37 $48,610 5,937,830 4.0% 14.9%


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

Small-Town Life: Why it’s Good for Business

When it comes to relocating your business, you can go big (city) or you can go home. But while conventional wisdom would have you believe bigger is better, there’s something to be said for going home to small-town life–and small-town business. If you’re on the white picket fence about whether to relocate your business to a smaller, more rural locale, let these four small towns prove that bigger isn’t always better. We asked economic development leaders from Dodge City, Kansas; Kiowa, Kansas; Moundridge, Kansas; and Vandalia, Illinois, why small-town life is good for business. Here’s what we learned.

“One of the great things about living in a small town is the connectivity of businesses and residents; we can really bring partnerships together,” says JoAnn Knight, executive director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. Dodge City hosts a population of fewer than 28,000 but has dealt with housing shortages with aplomb, pairing businesses with local universities to build and flip homes. The program benefits not just residents and contractors but new businesses looking to relocate in Dodge City and create jobs.

In nearby Moundridge, which is one of the fastest growing communities in Kansas, Economic Development Director Murray McGee cites the town’s hardworking workforce as a benefit to small-town business. We have a lot of manufacturing here and people experienced in manufacturing,” notes McGee, who is also director of the Moundridge Chamber of Commerce. “Good hardworking people—a good quality workforce.”

Another incentive to small town business? Incentives themselves, according to Kiowa City Administrator Lou Leone, who oversees a population of only 964. “In a smaller town if the town owns the utilities, it’s easier to offer incentives,” Leone explains. “Larger cities can’t always do that.”

Vandalia Economic Development Director Amber Daulbaugh echoes the sense of community—as well as a lack of competition—as major small-town selling points. “Depending on [the] type of business, there may not be competition, and their presence will fulfill needs in the community,” she explains.

Big city business is intrinsically different from small town business, but as all four experts are quick to point out, only in the best ways. Leone says one benefit of doing business in a town such as Kiowa is less bureaucracy. “We can move faster,” says Leone. “There are less middlemen, and the permitting process is a bit more streamlined.”

Over in the historic Illinois town of Vandalia, easier, more streamlined access as well as possible savings over big city business are just a few more perks, says Daulbaugh, who also cites a sense of community pride. “Word of mouth and referrals are utilized tremendously in small town business,” she explains. “Collaborations between small businesses are organized in efforts to reach more potential customers, [which] provides a sense of pride.”

According to Knight, that strong sense of pride is also helpful to another class of business. “In our community, a lot of our businesses are run by individual entrepreneurs that have been here for years,” she says of the Dodge City faithful.

McGee seconds the notion that a strong sense of business support comes from small town living, pointing to another major difference in many small cities and towns such as Moundridge: Utilities can often be a one-stop shop. “There’s a lot of synergy,” says McGee. “In Moundridge, our city provides all services: gas, water and electric. One call gets you everything you need. It gets people on site within minutes. That’s a big deal, especially in manufacturing.”

Much like their larger counterparts, in addition to incentives, smaller cities have their own local charm that cannot be duplicated.

Take historic Vandalia. Chartered on March 30, 1819, it is the oldest existing capital city. It’s also where President Abraham Lincoln began his political career as a state representative. Naturally, this brings a hearty tourist boost to Vandalia each year, when visitors view not just the statehouse but the town’s museums, gardens, trails–and its fire breathing dragon statue.

According to Knight, smaller cities can offer something else unique: a more personal relationship with business partners. “I think any community can do this but not all want to: listening to the businesses and seeing what we can do to meet their needs. It’s not always about land or water. We need to build a network to get them what they need. In Dodge City, we take a very hands-on approach to get businesses what they need to be successful.”

In Moundridge, McGee cites freebies for would-be business investors as a perk you can’t always find in larger cities. “Our community owns property,” he notes. “We offer free land for development in exchange for investment, development and job creation.”

Kiowa’s Leone says ownership of utilities makes smaller towns unique—and easier to do business with. “We own all four utilities, so we can gear packages toward driving costs down,” he says. “We’re very conscious about taxes as a whole. We try to get you the best bang for your buck on a lot of our projects.”

In the end, it all comes down to which businesses will do best in which towns–and that largely depends on the needs of the town as well as the resources and the skills of the local workforce.

In Kiowa, that looks like manufacturing, but Leone isn’t about to limit prospective businesses to just that. “Kiowa is open to any kind of business,” he says. “We have a very progressive council and have been talking about municipal internet for internet-based businesses or a data center. We have Kiowa-net on the shelf but wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to get it going here for the right business.”

Over in Moundridge, McGee also recommends manufacturing for small-town business. “In my community, manufacturing works well because we have three global businesses here,” he says. “We have a workforce that is used to working in the manufacturing arena. We also have a major switch facility for Verizon Wireless, so tech companies could thrive here, too.”

Towns such as Vandalia could use a little bit of everything, says Daulbaugh. “A clothing and accessories store that has clothing and shoe options for the whole family and of all ages, a full-service, family-oriented restaurant, a microbrewery—we have a distillery that will open in 2020 and this would complement it,” she says.

Ultimately, what’s important to remember, as Knight so succinctly explains, is that one should never judge a city by its size. “In this day and age, you can be wherever you want and get what you need if you have the right resources.”