in the news
Extra! Extra! We love it when our PACE Placements get in the news for doing GOOD works in their communities.
in the news
Extra! Extra! We love it when our Pace Placements get in the news for doing GOOD works in their communities.
The PACE Group has helped former clients to make placements in six of these top ten small cities and towns. These placements include Hattiesburg (MS), Greenwood (MS), Meridian (MS), Bowling Green (KY), Hannibal (MO), and Corning (NY). All but Greenwood and Corning currently have candidates that the PACE Group placed leading their Economic Development organizations.
Article “Elmira, New York is the No. 1 small town in America for affordable living, education, safety and more” By Ceia Fernandez for CNBC
While big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago might appeal to some, that small-town charm can be a pretty big draw for others.
All Star Homes, a roofing, siding and gutter company, ranked the best hometowns in America, analyzing the cities with a population of less than 100,000. To determine the ranking, the cities were scored across four key metrics on a 100-point scale:
- Affordable living
Smaller cities in New York reigned supreme, taking five of the top 10 spots.
No. 1 small city/town in the U.S.: Elmira, New York
Overall score: 75 out of 100
Elmira, New York, is in the southern tier of New York, which means it is just a short distance north of the Pennsylvania state line.
The New York town had the following scores in the ranking:
- Community score: 43
- Safety: 80.9
- Student-to-teacher ratio: 16.49
The median home list price in Elmira was $126,000 in July 2023, up 20.6% from the previous year, and the median price per square foot was $81, according to Rocket Homes.
Elmira, New York, is also the resting place of famed author Mark Twain. The town still has the study that Twain reportedly wrote some of his most famous works, including “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” according to The Mark Twain House and Museum.
Top 10 small cities/towns in the U.S.
- Elmira, N.Y.
- Corning, N.Y.
- Utica, N.Y.
- Binghamton, N.Y.
- Hattiesburg, Miss.
- Bowling Green, KY and Hannibal, M.O. (tie)
- Charlottesville, Va., Greenwood, Miss., Watertown, N.Y. (tie)
- Meridian, Miss. and Saint Joseph, M.O. (tie)
- Steubenville, Ohio
- Quincy, Ill.
Corning, New York, which comes in second on the list, is best known as the headquarters of Fortune 500 company Corning Incorporated, a manufacturer of glass and ceramic products whose clients include Apple.
The New York city is also home to the Corning Museum of Glass, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of glass objects.
In Corning, The average Corning home value is $151,198, up 0.9% over the past year, according to Zillow.
The third that ranked city is Utica, also in New York state. Utica, New York, had an overall score of 71.
According to the report, just like the other New York cities in the top four, Utica had a large number of farmer’s markets within 30 miles, a 66% diversity ranking and relatively affordable home values.
According to Zillow, the average Utica home value is $172,350, up 4.5% over the past year.
By ARIEL PAUL Special to the Daily News
The V.I. Economic Development Authority received two bronze awards from the International Economic Development Council or IDEC for excellence in economic development, according to a news release from the agency.
The IDEC is the world’s largest nonprofit association for professional economic developers, and holds an annual conference where Excellence Awards are presented in 25 categories.
The awards signify exceptional economic development marketing campaigns, projects, and programs, according to the press release.
“Out of 500 submissions from the United States and four additional countries, the VIDEA won the Special Purpose Website Award and the Innovation in Economic Development Week Award,” at IDEC’s annual conference held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, according to Wayne L. Briggs Jr., EDA chief executive officer, who accepted the award on behalf of the agency.
“This award is a testament to the hardworking team at the VIDEA and their efforts in diversifying the economy, creating generational wealth, and providing job opportunities in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Briggs said in the prepared statement. “I am very proud to have accepted this award not only on behalf of my agency but on behalf of all our partners who strive to make our territory a vibrant, desirable place to work, live, and visit.”
Christina Winn, chair of the Awards Advisory Committee, said this year’s awards selection process “was especially competitive.”
“We are honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life,” she said.
IEDC President and CEO Nathan Ohle in praising the selections said that “communities need our profession now more than ever.”
“This year’s awardees exemplify the ingenuity, leadership, and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and the future,” he said. “The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives for every day.”
By Kathleen Furore for the Chicago Tribune
With the recent disruption of the job market, everyone is looking for some bright spots where job outlook is concerned. What are some jobs/careers/industries that have not been negatively impacted? Things that actually offer job seekers good options with bright futures.
“Despite considerable doom, gloom and talk of recession, plenty of industries are set to thrive in the post-COVID-19 ‘new normal,’” says Ben Taylor, founder of HomeWorkingClub.com.
The online world, for example, is alive and well — and in many cases is thriving, according to Taylor and to Anthony Michelic, president of The PACE Group, a Dallas-based executive search firm.
“Careers in social media and online marketing have not been negatively impacted by COVID-19, Michelic reports. “With people staying indoors and online more, advertising dollars are moving to the digital space. Someone has to do all of that work — it might as well be you!”
Here are some options — online and otherwise — for anyone thinking of rerouting their careers.
Online education. “There are huge opportunities in online teaching, course production and the technology underpinning these things,” Taylor says. “The coronavirus isn’t over; social distancing will continue and there’s a significant possibility of further ‘waves’ and lockdowns.” In fact, many school districts, colleges and universities already are planning to continue at least online learning for the next school year.
Website/online store developers. Michelic calls this “a strong opportunity for job seekers” — one that mom-and-pop shops are well-poised to capitalize on. “Online ordering is becoming a necessity for small businesses to survive and thrive during and after the pandemic,” Michelic says.
Futurists/technologists. If you’re looking for “a wide-open niche in almost every industry,” this might be the option for you, Michelic says.
“The world is changing at such a fast pace that we need people who specialize in gaining knowledge from multiple domains, consolidating and distilling that knowledge, and communicating it to the proper audience that can put the information to its highest and best use,” he says. “These positions look at technological and data trends across multiple industries and connect them to other industries. They are communicators for the future of work, distribution, manufacturing, travel and commerce.”
Graphic designers. Who is going to design all the elements that businesses will need in their virtual shops and offices? “Graphics will be needed to catch eyes for companies moving online,” Michelic says.
Positions in economic development. “Economic development organizations focus on growing the economy for a particular geographic area through business recruitment, retention and expansion,” Michelic explains. “Though this field may be impacted, it will be minimal and delayed due to the funding structures of these types of organizations.”
Jobs in remote technology. “The remote working genie is NOT going back into the bottle,” stresses Taylor, who notes that companies have a lot of work to do to ensure businesses are organized, legal and compliant as they switch to more permanent flexible working arrangements. “A lot of this technology was rolled out in a hurry as the pandemic struck,” he says.
“The time will soon come when companies have to go back and pay attention to the detail — so it’s fair to assume there will be plenty of work for IT consultants and tech firms in helping with this.”
By Anthony Michelic for Medium
Customer service has long been a requirement for success. The best companies have customer-centric cultures that are synonymous with the brand, driving growth and loyalty.
Among the larger companies, you know the names well appearing in American Customer Service Satisfaction Index results: Chick-fil-a, Costco, Trader Joes, Amazon, Lexus. Within your community, small businesses that thrive typically have engaging relationships with customers and consistent product and service that keeps them coming back for more.
But, the majority of small businesses and companies could hang on in a growing economy without making customer service a number one priority. With plenty of business to go around, mediocre could get the job done. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis has changed all that, however.
Many closed businesses will never reopen. Those that do will have to be better than ever before. That’s why we recommend to clients that now is a good time for every business and company to double down efforts on its customer service culture. Make exemplary service a number one priority during recession and it will pay dividends. As the economy begins to grow again, your company and business will grow along with it — and customers will notice the difference.
Here are 8 of the most important customer service tips required for success:
Remember Names and Say Them Back to the Customer
We are reminded in quarantine about the value of personal touch and human connection. Also, with higher anxiety in times of crisis, personal connections mean more. That’s why learning the customer’s name when possible and referring back to the customer by name creates a winning relationship likely sustainable with repeat business. Plus, it’s respectful to recognize each individual customer for who they are.
Speak Positively and Show Gratitude
It is easy to complain in a difficult situation. Consumer sentiment is shaken, jobs have been lost. Yet when customers engage with a small business or company, they long for a positive result. Your interaction with that customer will set the tone for their day, if not their entire week. Resist negative dialogue. If the customer goes there, shift it back to positivity. For example, if a customer suggests the country is falling apart, respond by saying how impressed you are that so many are working together. And, keep the focus on why they came to your business or company in the first place, offering positive reinforcement. “Our chef is doing his best work with this takeout menu. People keep coming back for the grilled fish.” And, finally, be gracious to every single customer. “We appreciate your business so much.”
When a Customer has a Complaint Become an Active Listener
With anxiety high amid health and economic fears and concerns, some customers may try to take it out on the first person they encounter. Debating someone lodging a complaint is a losing battle. People are most agitated, after all, until they are heard. Clearly apologize when appropriate. Don’t overpromise, admit what you don’t know, but promise to address the issue and follow back up. In the end, be truthful at all times. Don’t try to hide the bad news, it will not go away. By listening and responding, your odds of gaining a loyal customer elevate.
Be Humble and Avoid Humor
Now isn’t the time to try out your best one-liners. Save those for close friends or family. Humor doesn’t always translate as we hope and customers did not approach the business or company for a laugh. They came for another reason. Deliver that, with humility. Don’t criticize your company, boss or product. Don’t act like you would rather be somewhere else. Approach the customer with a servant’s heart and you will win them for life.
The smile is among the simplest yet most important acts in the customer service relationship. If you do nothing else, smile — an honest smile goes a long way. Even when talking on the phone, customers can hear a smile in your voice when its earnest. But especially when face-to-face, look the customer eye-to-eye and smile and trust that it’s the best investment of time and effort you could possibly make for the business or company.
Share Personal Experiences about the Company or Products
The more you can see, understand, and experience the same things as your customer, the better equipped you’ll be to fix what needs fixing or adjust what is working well. If it’s a restaurant, share briefly about some items you like and why. If it’s a retailer, share some aspects you like about the companies purchasing or customer service practices.
Never Blame Others
Blame is often our greatest crutch. It’s easier to say it’s someone else fault. But others don’t respond to our casting a blame in the way we hope. That’s why it is best to take personal responsibility, even if you are not directly responsible. For example, if you serve a cup of coffee the barista forgot to add sugar per the customer’s order, don’t blame the barista. Tell the customer you are sorry, and move quickly to get the customer what they ordered: coffee with sugar.
Remember What Customers are Buying
Customers do not buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Some customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs. Treat them with kindness and courtesy, remembering that they want that above all. Then, they will keep coming back for more.
By John Lovorn for Medium
Hit full stride, leaving competition behind
When times get tough, the tough get going. That’s a saying that has been around for a long time for good reason since in the hardest times is when we must do our best work if we want to get ahead.
You’ve probably heard before that challenging economic times, like what we are experiencing now in the recession caused by the COVID-19 virus, the divides only grow wider. It happens in wealth, it happens education, and it occurs in the workplace.
For instance, those who are merely cashing a check on the job, thinking they will contribute more when this all ends, might get left behind by those digging in and delivering results by achieving peak performance — when everything comes together for optimal flow and results.
That’s why every entity and every individual needs to take an assessment and develop a strategy for reaching peak performance now, turning a challenging time like this into lasting reward. For more than three decades, I’ve been involved with leaders from the community level to the largest corporations, and those that doubled down to reach peak performance in the hardest times got the most back in return with promotions and job satisfaction.
I’m sharing these characteristics of peak performers that I’ve learned from experience, hoping you will put them to work, changing your trajectory, and your workplace’s path, during this downturn.
Mission and Direction
You’ve heard of the purpose-driven life concept, and that’s a critical element of success on the job. Working for the paycheck alone won’t propel you to peak performance. A sense of mission and direction in your personal life that connects to the workplace is needed to find the most focus.
You must ask yourself this question: Why am I doing this work, and why does it matter?
Set personal goals that align with your mission, including physical, financial, spiritual, and professional.
Perhaps you’ll need to make some changes to get on course. Don’t fear change; make change your ally. Align your life goals, so they fit with your work. For instance, if you require more energy to achieve more sales calls, perhaps addressing your diet and physical fitness is a priority. If you want more money to gain independence in future years, you may want to start dressing for the promotion you plan to get.
The key is embracing change and aligning it with your goals.
High Expectations with Confident Humility
Then, it’s time to get to work with focus. Nothing happens quickly, and few of us have anything given. It’s the hard work done one day after another that delivers the results. Thus, learn to say no when it doesn’t align with your goals and objectives so that you maintain focus. And, start and finish every day with the highest expectations of reaching the smaller goals that lead to the most significant results.
But, it’s essential to approach each day with confident humility — you believe you can do it, but know you don’t have all the answers. Such humility helps others align with you, helping you achieve goals.
Take Calculated Risks
Risk-taking in life and in the workplace sounds dangerous, but the truth is you can’t get ahead without taking some periodic risks. The key is you want to take calculated risks, not shooting-from-the-hip risks. You want to see the target and make sure you’ve got decent aim before pulling the trigger.
But, such risk-taking, when based upon reliable, educated hunches, is a critical element of achieving peak performance. In studies of breakthrough companies, placing the bet has proven a game-changing moment. The same is true for employees who leapfrog ahead — they likely took some risk.
You’ll never win alone, either. It takes more than humility to gain the confidence and help of others. You must also have a strong willingness to collaborate, listen to input and advice from others, and inspire them to focus on mutually beneficial goals.
Let those around you hear, see, and feel your positive attitude. In the hardest times, a positive mental attitude goes a long way. There are too many naysayers in hard times. Make yourself stand out with positivity — setting the tone for achievement
It’s about starting every day with a can-do attitude despite what’s happening around you and leading yourself and others on a focused mission to achieve goals. It’s a winning strategy that can set you and your company apart in times like this.
By UVI RTPark for PR Newswire
U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Organization Receives Prestigious National Award from the International Economic Development Council
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park Corporation (RTPark) – an independent affiliate of the University of the Virgin Islands—this week received the International Economic Development Council‘s Economic Development Organization (EDO) of the Year award. The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference, which gathers over 1,400 economic development professionals from around the country.
“We’re honored and humbled to receive such significant recognition from IEDC. Being selected as EDO of the Year is a resounding validation of the RTPark’s evolution over these past two years into a truly comprehensive tech-focused economic development organization that is having a measurable impact on the Virgin Islands economy. This award is also a testament to the dynamic and talented team of professionals we’ve attracted to the RTPark since 2018,” said Peter H. Chapman, Executive Director and CEO of the RTPark.
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries. The RTPark was the Gold Award recipient for EDO of the Year with a population size of 25,000 – 200,000.
Considering the RTPark’s progressive strategy for innovative programming, Chapman thanked RTPark Board of Directors Chairman, Edward Thomas, for giving the team the latitude to pursue bold initiatives that are directly in line with the visionary Title 17 enabling legislation enacted by the Virgin Islands legislature.
The RTPark is an innovative economic development organization established in 2002 to help diversify and expand the U.S. Virgin Islands’ economy through efforts to promote the attraction, retention, and growth of technology, knowledge-based and sustainable agriculture-related firms within the Territory. The RTPark also works to broaden the capabilities of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) by providing the university with financial support and training opportunities for UVI students.
“The RTPark Board of Directors has witnessed first-hand the growth of the RTPark’s team, programming, as well as its impact on the technology ecosystem in the Territory and the diversification of our local economy. In such a short time, the organization’s ability to build capacity and launch new programs, including Accelerate VI, VI STEM Kids and VISTA+, fall in line with economic development best practices all over the world. IEDC’s celebration of their hard work is very fitting and we are grateful for the recognition,” said Chairman Thomas
The RTPark has recently increased its team size and quality to support improved business development outcomes and the successful expansion of key programmatic elements of the organization. Newly launched programs include the USVI’s first accelerator for tech startups, Accelerate VI, which has supported 14 startups thus far, and VI STEM Kids—a coding program for youth from low-moderate income homes. The RTPark also launched an online database and network that connects tech talent within the Virgin Islands diaspora with opportunities to work in the Territory called VISTA+.
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Albert Bryan Jr., said he looks forward to seeing more great work from the RTPark and acknowledged the team’s dedication to progressive economic development initiatives.
“The UVI RTPark has remained focused on its goal to diversify our economy through the launch and expansion of innovative programs and community development initiatives. Director Peter Chapman and his team have shown over the course of just two years how personally committed they are to helping develop our community, and it certainly shows. The IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award for EDO of the Year is well-deserved,” Bryan said.
Public officials from across the Virgin Islands, including USVI Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett, offered their congratulations and recognition of the RTPark’s impactful work throughout the Territory which led to their selection as EDO of the Year.
“I am tremendously pleased to hear that the RTPark has been selected as an IEDC Gold Award Recipient for the EDO of the Year program. For over sixteen years, the RTPark has educated young scholars and made significant strides toward growing the technology-intensive sector within the Virgin Islands,” said Congresswoman Plaskett. ‘My team and I have been working to assist RTPark operations in Congress, including by supporting increased funding to expand broadband opportunities in rural areas and through various economic development initiatives, so this distinction is a win for all of us. Congratulations to Executive Director Peter Chapman and his excellent team!”
Senate President of Legislature of the Virgin Islands, Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr., and Senate Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Agriculture, Senator Allison DeGazon, both applauded the RTPark on their hard work and commitment to building a stronger local economy.
“This is an exciting time for our Territory as we continue to make significant strides and investments in the development of an innovative and vibrant economic ecosystem,” said Senate President Francis. “The Research and Technology Park continues to lead the effort in diversifying and assisting in the implementation of economic and community development programs that will foster and strengthen the Territory’s economy. Kudos to Executive Director Peter Chapman and the entire leadership team for a job well done!”
“There is a stark difference between what the RTPark used to be and what it is now. With the renewed vision, locally and nationally connected staff, and a focus on making the right connections, national recognition like this is expected,” said Senator DeGazon. “The award is well deserved as the RTPark continues to build a bridge to connect economic development, agriculture, and STEM in the Virgin Islands. I am proud to be a partner and supporter of the RTPark, and look forward to applauding more accolades bestowed on this entity.”
Moreover, by continuing to involve the local community and local entrepreneurs in its programs/projects and developing talent that cares about local economic development, the RTPark has positioned itself as a model for economic development programs in the Caribbean and beyond.
Virgin Islander and Vice President of Global Markets at IBM, Rashida Hodge, recently partnered with the RTPark on the organization’s newly launched youth engagement program, VI STEM Kids.
“This recognition is a true test mark of the profound work the RTPark team is driving to ensure technology is a cornerstone of the Virgin Islands community,” said Hodge. “It has been an honor to partner with them on establishing sustainable efforts for the benefit of students in our community to gain access and see the rich potential of STEM opportunities.”
Partnerships with industry-recognized influencers, like Virgin Islander and Global Product Lead at Google, Andrea G. Russell, and Vice President of Programming at H20, Tom Ferguson, have also contributed to valuable work accomplished within the RTPark’s entrepreneurship initiatives. The mentorship they provided to cohort members of Accelerate VI—the RTPark’s globally-recognized program for helping promising early-stage firms—mostly from the Virgin Islands—supported the growth and scale of participating startups’ operations.
“I’m really proud of the work that RTPark is doing and happy to support them as a mentor,” said Russell. “Technology can sometimes feel foreign or exclusive and the RTPark is working with the community to demonstrate that Virgin Islanders have a unique viewpoint and can be a part of innovating for the future.”
“In a very short space of time, the RTPark has established itself as a highly professional organization, providing insightful, additive support to increasingly strong groups of entrepreneurs. The team really has done a remarkable job, and I can’t wait to see what’s next,” said Ferguson.
The RTPark has also been collaborating with several nationally recognized organizations whose partnerships have contributed to several RTPark programs’ substantial growth.
“We congratulate Peter, the UVI RT Park Board and staff on their receipt of the International for Economic Development Council’s 2020 Gold Award for Economic Development Organization of the Year. The award is a testament to their visionary entrepreneurial spirit and unequivocally strong commitment to strengthen USVI economy and make the Islands an even better places to live, work, invest and pursue educations,” said Robert K. Jenkins Jr., Senior Manager at Renaissance Equity Partners, an advisory firm with a focus on investments in emerging domestic communities.
“NDC is proud to work with one of the most significant economic development initiatives in the Caribbean,” said Daniel Marsh, President of National Development Council. “Technology and knowledge-based job creation doesn’t just happen by itself. It requires a visionary organization like the RTPark. Assisting with programming and access to capital, NDC is proud to be part of the team. Congratulations to RTPark for this significant award.”
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day,” said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects, and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”
Chapman added the RTPark’s recent success recruiting dozens of new businesses to the Territory via their tax benefit program along with growth of early-stage firms through the entrepreneurial support of their Accelerate VI program has helped the organization hit their stride.
“This momentum will serve us well as we continue to drive progress on an ambitious and critically important scope of new talent development and economic revitalization initiatives that will positively impact this community for many years to come,” Chapman said.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.
About the RTPark:
The RTPark is an innovative economic development organization established in 2002, but which became fully operational in 2006, to help diversify and expand the economy of the USVI through efforts to promote the attraction, retention and growth of technology, knowledge-based and sustainable agriculture-related firms within the Territory. The RTPark also works to broaden the capabilities of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)—a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)—by providing the university with financial support and training opportunities for UVI students.
For all media inquiries, please feel free to contact Sydney Paul, RTPark Senior Manager of Business Intelligence and Marketing.
Contact: Sydney Paul, Senior Manager of Business Intelligence and Marketing
(340) 474-0922 | email@example.com
By Steve Fullhart for Bravos Valley EDC
Brazos Valley Wins Coveted CEDA From TEDC
The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation (BVEDC) has been awarded a 2020 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) from the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC). The award honors excellence and exceptional contributions of Texas communities in economic development.
Each year, the CEDAs are awarded in five different categories based on population. The Brazos Valley is part of the 250,000+ population category, meaning it competes each year against the largest metropolitan areas in the state. Entries are judged on innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measurable objectives, and secondary benefits to the community.
For the award, the BVEDC submitted FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ expansion project for a 65,000 sq. ft. gene therapy facility on the College Station side of the region’s Biocorridor. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ $120 million capital investment will boost the company’s Brazos Valley operations and create up to 300 new jobs.
“A strong team effort is required to receive a prestigious Community Economic Development Award, and the Brazos Valley takes teamwork to the next level,” said Matt Prochaska, president/CEO, Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation. “FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has been an incredible partner in our community, and the company’s work speaks for itself. Our cities, county, higher education entities and companies like FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies come together each day to increase the strength and competitiveness of the Brazos Valley. We thank the Texas Economic Development Council for this recognition.”
The expansion project spotlights the region’s commitment to creating an interconnected, master-planned bioscience research and development community, which includes the partnership between FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and the Texas A&M University System’s Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM). The resulting partnership provides research collaborations and workforce advantages to the Brazos Valley.
Since the expansion announcement, a $265 million order supporting Operation Warp Speed was announced, reserving production capacity at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Texas facility for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in a contract between the federal government and CIADM.
“We are honored to be part of the thriving Brazos Valley community and creating skilled jobs for the local workforce,” said Dr. Gerry Farrell, chief operating officer, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Texas. “With the opportunity to mass produce a COVID-19 vaccine right here in Brazos Valley, the Biocorridor will become one of the biggest hubs for biotech innovation.”
The BVEDC will receive the CEDA on behalf of the community Wednesday, October 7, as part of the TEDC’s annual conference.
The Brazos Valley previously won CEDAs in 2000 and 1998. The awards were established in 1995.
MORE REACTION FROM BRAZOS VALLEY LEADERS:
John Sharp, Texas A&M University System Chancellor
“In 2012, when the Texas A&M University System became the only university designated by the federal government to build a world-class vaccine production facility, we were pleased later to attract FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to join us as a partner. Together we hope soon to provide the world with the answer to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Michael K. Young, Texas A&M University President
“This award is yet another validation of the extraordinary community collaboration in Bryan-College Station among the Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University, elected leaders and advocates like the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation who will receive the award on behalf of all.”
Karl Mooney, City of College Station Mayor
“The City of College Station is thrilled and honored to be in a partnership with the City of Bryan and Brazos County that together with the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation has enabled FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to locate and expand in our community. The company has already established itself as a significant supporter of community efforts and organizations. As it grows, its presence will undoubtedly increase its value to the charitable needs and causes for its neighbors. As the host city for FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ location in the Brazos Valley, the College Station city staff and residents of our community stand ready to welcome the growing number of employees that will be required for the company’s dedicated efforts to produce life-saving vaccines to the world. It is our intent to not only demonstrate and share with them the quality of life we enjoy, but to have them be surrounded by Texas hospitality. Most importantly, we will all strive to make them feel at home.”
Duane Peters, Brazos County Judge
“Our community is proud to have FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies grow here and winning the 2020 Community Economic Development Award is a great honor for the Brazos Valley. This award is a testament to the unity and support of our residents, local governments, and institutions of higher education, and would not be possible without the hard work of the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation.”
Andrew Nelson, City of Bryan Mayor
“Receiving a Community Economic Development Award is a huge honor for the Bryan-College Station community. We are extremely proud of the work the BVEDC has done to put a spotlight on the great opportunities in the Brazos Valley. The investment that FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has made in the Biocorridor continues to benefit everyone in the region by providing high-quality jobs for our residents and spurring additional growth in Bryan-College Station.”
The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation is a public-private partnership serving the citizens of Brazos County, Texas. The BVEDC pursues economic growth without regard to jurisdiction through its programs, services and initiatives to help launch, grow and locate companies in the Brazos Valley. For more, visit brazosvalleyedc.org.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is an industry-leading Biologics Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) with locations in Teesside, UK, RTP, North Carolina, College Station, Texas and Hillerød, Denmark. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has over thirty years of experience in the development and manufacturing of recombinant proteins, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, among other large molecules, viral products and medical countermeasures expressed in a wide array of microbial, mammalian, and host/virus systems. The company offers a comprehensive list of services from cell line development using its proprietary pAVEway™ microbial and Apollo™X cell line systems to process development, analytical development, clinical and FDA-approved commercial manufacturing. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is a partnership between FUJIFILM Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation. For more information, go to: www.fujifilmdiosynth.com
FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, graphic systems, highly functional materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2020, the company had global revenues of $21 billion, at an exchange rate of 109 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com
By Bill Crawford for the Daily Journal
Good soul Martha Allen goes the extra mile
Extra Table feeds the hungry across Mississippi by stocking food pantries and soup kitchens with wholesome, nutritious food. The charitable non-profit was founded in 2009 by restaurateur and culinary writer Robert St. John. Today it is exceeding his highest expectations, something he attributes to Extra Table executive director Martha Allen.
Extra Table got off to a good start, said St. John, but then ran into problems. So, in 2018 he went searching for a new director and found Martha Allen through the PACE Group. “She is a true good soul of strong character and an engaging force of nature with intelligence and foresight,” he said. “Since Martha took over, growth and fundraising have skyrocketed.” Extra Table now serves pantries and kitchens in 50 counties, giving St. John hope that his goal to provide nutritious food in all 82 Mississippi counties can be attained.
His view of Allen is shared across the state. The Pine Belt News wrote, “she has proven herself willing to roll up her sleeves and put in the elbow grease necessary to inspire her volunteers and impress her board of directors.”
“She illuminates every space with sincere warmth, has unlimited compassion, and is the most giving person I know,” said Liz Cleveland, retired Mississippi Development Authority official in Jackson. “Her commitment to Mississippians is indefatigable no matter the need, race, gender, religion or personal preferences. She is literally administering multi tons of food to our hungriest neighbors seven days a week.” Lois McMurchy, retired Delta State administrator in Clarksdale,” said, “I completely agree with Liz. Martha is a joy to be around!”
She, like two of my earlier subjects, Dr. Bill Scaggs and Doodle Pate, fulfills the good soul mission the late Robert K. Greenleaf ascribed to “servant leaders.”
So, how did Martha Allen come to be such a good soul and servant leader?
“My parents taught servanthood from an early age,” she told Lois. “My parents paid my sister and me to pick up pecans so we would have money to buy gifts for a child mom taught, whose family would not be able to afford Christmas gifts. We were reminded to be thankful and never to take what we had for granted.”
“My dad is a retired youth court judge and my mom is still teaching elementary school today,” said Martha, “so service and caring for others was their whole career. In my eyes, my parents walked the walk and talked the talk. Giving brought them undeniable joy. I wanted that life as well!”
She also cites her faith. “I know it is my duty as a professing Christian to show love and respect to everyone.”
Martha told Network for Good she has found her calling feeding people. “No one should be hungry. Many days their world is so dark and bleak, but the food that we provide gives them hope. It shows them that someone noticed them and that they’re important. I like being able to make that kind of imprint. In the nonprofit world you spend your time going the extra mile. Because that’s what makes a difference.”
We need more servant leaders like Martha Allen.
“Blessed is he who is generous to the poor” – Proverbs 14:21.