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 Feature Industry Articles 
Thursday, September 15 2016
Understanding the Value of Foreign Trade Zones

By Tommy L. Berry, Chief Business Officer of PointTrade Services, Inc.

As one begins to understand the impact of sea ports and inland ports and their role in attracting and maintaining value-added services to their respective communities, it is advantageous to understand what a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is. An FTZ is a secure and defined location that acts as an extension of a U.S. Port of Entry. Established in 1934, the United States FTZ Program was developed to promote economic development through international trade. FTZs have been established in all fifty states and Puerto Rico. FTZs may allow for delayed and/or reduced duty payments on imported merchandise. Duty deferral, reduced Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF), duty elimination on scrap and exports, reduction or elimination of a drawback process, supply chain efficiencies, inverted tariff savings and increased compliance are some of the benefits offered through a zone. Some areas in the country also offer additional benefits such as a tax break on inventory.

Based on the most recent data available in the Annual Report of the Foreign Trade Zones Board to the Congress of the United States, there were 179 FTZs that were active during 2014 accounting for approximately $798 billion in merchandise received, with approximately $99 billion in direct exports. These zones were utilized by around 2,700 firms employing approximately 420,000 persons. 

Posted by: AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 15 2016
Student Engagement Essential to Drive Interest in Manufacturing Careers

Savvy Teaching Strategies, Manufacturing Day Initiative Can Play Key Roles

By Edward Youdell, President, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl.

Teachers, professors and other academic leaders often emphasize that among the greatest challenges in education and training is getting students engaged. This theory holds true regardless of the age of students, the school they attend or the subject they study. It has been a challenge for some time in the manufacturing discipline. 

One effective strategy for engagement, according to many experts, is creating classroom environments that offer hands-on experiences, passionate instructors and clear connections to real-world applications.

This approach is particularly vital to spark interest from young people to consider a career in manufacturing, often maligned by negative perceptions from parents, the media and even some educators. This occurs despite the fact that the sector has numerous positions available for skilled, trained workers. Shop classes, which were once seen as a precursor to the work environment of manufacturing, started disappearing in the 1970’s. And the manufacturing world today bears little resemblance to that of an earlier time or those earlier shop classes.

Posted by: AT 09:20 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 15 2016
Gaming, and Filming, and Apps - Oh My!

By Tim Shea, General Manager of Product Development, and Angelos Angelou, CEO, Angelou Economics, 512-658-8400,

This past July brought the closest thing to the “Zombie Apocalypse” any of us will (hopefully) see in our lifetimes. In an almost inexplicable display, thousands of men, women, and children spent the summer’s hottest month wandering streets and parks across the globe, eyes glazed over with a single minded purpose. Fortunately, that purpose was relatively benign: to find and catch Pokémon. 

The craze was brought about by the release of Pokémon Go, a unique, if not entirely, novel app that blended the real world with Nintendo’s popular gaming franchise in the greatest manifestation of augmented reality to date. The app’s launch was a wild success—it attracted millions of users and doubled the company’s stock practically overnight—but it hasn’t come entirely without controversy. 

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, September 14 2016
Marketing Your Certified Site

By Beth Land, Consultant and Mark Sweeney, Senior Principal of McCallum Sweeney Consulting

Companies continue to put pressure on the time allowed to make a location decision and get their product to market. At the same time, a pervasive problem across the country in economic development is a shortage in available quality industrial sites and buildings. The combination of these two problems have increased the importance for communities to be prepared with fully-vetted, fully-served, available industrial properties. By completing substantial amounts of due diligence and prep work ahead of time, it puts the community at a competitive advantage to meet a company’s demanding schedule and land a project. 

This concept is not new. Roughly half of the states have some level of a site certification program. In addition, rail and utility providers have created programs to produce more competitive properties in their service territory. Communities and individual property owners are seeing the value in completing certification to attract prospects. However, the era of ‘build it and they will come’ is over. Ten years ago, having a certified property was an anomaly and enough to set a community apart from the competition. Now communities everywhere are actively developing a portfolio of industrial properties. Certified sites that can be given at little to no costs to companies have almost become expected in the site selection process. So the question no longer is, should I prepare a certified site? The question should be, now that I have a certified site, what should I do to actively market the property? Before marketing is addressed, we will try to define a certified site.  

Posted by: AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, September 14 2016
sUAS: One Tool, Many Uses

By Ed Bolen, President and CEO, NBAA

Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) represent tremendous potential for a wide range of municipal planning, maintenance, and developmental uses. As more communities explore possible uses for UAS operations, it seems more jobs become apparent for them to fill. 

Until recently, however, large-scale efforts to deploy sUAS within the United States were stymied by a lack of defined regulations for the commercial operation of those vehicles. That changed this in June, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the newly-created Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 14 CFR Part 107, applying to commercial use of any UAS weighing less than 55 lbs. 

Among the requirements under Part 107 include a maximum sUAS operating altitude of 400' above ground level in daytime VFR conditions, within visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of the operator or observers. Unmanned aircraft may not be operated over people on the ground not involved in the UAS flight, and all UAS must yield right-of-way to all other aircraft.

Posted by: AT 10:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, September 14 2016
Food for Thought: How to Capture Your Share of the Agribusiness Pie

By Janet Ady, president and CEO, Ady Advantage

Everybody’s got to eat. That’s one of the few things in life you can count on, and a fact that makes agriculture and food processing (which is also known as “agribusiness”) a steady player among industries. Just about every other aspect of agribusiness has been impacted by change, many of them seismic. Most of these changes have had an impact on how companies make expansion and relocation decisions, and in turn, how communities, regions and states retain and grow investments in their areas.

Trends Impacting Agribusiness
The agribusiness industry is a very complex value chain, with lots of moving pieces. It ranges from multi-billion dollar multinationals to the smallest artisanal operations. Unlike other industries, production and distribution can be limited by seasonality and perishability. Weather and other natural disasters can roil markets overnight. Let’s look at the some of the key trends impacting the agribusiness industry.

Posted by: AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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