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Wednesday, July 26 2017

Warehousing and distribution oriented operations are experiencing an incredible transformation that is impacting different operating characteristics and pushing the envelope of overall facility utilization. Perhaps the greatest impacts and changing characteristics of the warehousing and distribution industry are the predominance of eCommerce business models and the modern-day expectations of businesses and consumers for next-day delivery service for most everything. In many of the traditional large distribution hubs around the U.S., buildings are getting bigger, staffing requirements are generally going up, and the need to be close to either major population centers or an air cargo hub are critical. While many traditional warehousing operations continue to operate with perhaps little change, a smaller but highly-disruptive segment focused on eCommerce and customer fulfillment needs is driving huge change into the market, from both a design and operational perspective, and major implications of these changes are the focus of this article.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 09:58 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 25 2017

By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President, Camoin Associates 

The Challenge
What keeps you up at night? When I ask that to business leaders in the context of economic and business growth, the answer is often “finding and retaining skilled and talented workers.” Within my work as an economic development consultant I have interviewed thousands of business leaders across multiple settings: rural to urban, small to large, tourism to high tech, and workforce issues consistently rank at the top of the list. Is this surprising? While it is true that there is an ample number of people searching for a better job, or even a job in general, a serious talent and skills gap exists, making it challenging for employers to find the right individual for a specific position. If this skills gap is not rectified by economic development, workforce, and educational partners, it will stifle economic growth and prosperity at all levels.

What is causing this skills gap and related inability for businesses to find workers with the appropriate skills and training? While there is not one easy answer, several factors, which are highlighted below, are commonly identified based on research, analysis, and on-the-ground reporting.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 25 2017

By Chris Engle, Vice President, Avalanche Consulting

After nine years of economic expansion this summer, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 4.3 percent, a 16-year low. Labor shortages throughout many parts of the U.S. are significant and affecting all sectors of the economy. Few industries, however, are more adversely impacted by the tight labor market than the IT sector. Technology workers are among the most difficult-to-find, and IT wage levels among the fastest growing. With digital technologies filtering throughout all aspects of life and business, the lack of available IT workers will ultimately impact a host of other industries. 

Concern over availability of tech workers has spread throughout the U.S., from major markets to small midwestern regions. In a recent survey by Avalanche Consulting, 90 percent of local economic development leaders across the U.S. reported that finding a skilled workforce is the top growing concern for companies. The availability of a talented labor force has become more important than more traditional site selection criteria such as business climate and infrastructure. In fact, we believe that the changing nature of the workforce will be the defining theme of the U.S. economy over the next decade.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 24 2017

By Michael D. White

The quest to harness the power of the sun is nothing new. 

Greek mythology tells the epic tale of Icarus and his close encounter with Helios, perhaps as much an object lesson in solar power as it is one of hubris.

In the 1830s, British astronomer John Herschel reportedly used a solar oven to cook food during an expedition to Africa, and, some 40 years later, the English scientist William Grylls Adams determined that when a small cell of selenium was simply exposed to sunlight, it produced electricity without heat or any moving parts.

Adams’ discovery, according to one observer was “of the most far-reaching importance,” but almost a century would pass before what we now know as the silicon solar cell was first produced in 1953 by Calvin Fuller and a team of fellow researchers at the AT&T Bell Laboratory in New Jersey. 

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 24 2017

By Michael Langley, Chair of the International Economic Development Council

Many companies with overseas facilities would prefer to have those operations in the United States – as long as the numbers work. But for many firms, the concept of reshoring, or returning manufacturing and services operations to the United States from overseas, is a daunting one. 

Yet it doesn’t have to be. At the national, regional, and local levels, there are tools to help with this process, as well as organizations that would like nothing more than to help site selectors and companies work through some of the issues that come with “domesticating” their supply chains.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) – the world’s largest membership association serving the economic development profession – has been conducting research on the reshoring trend for three years. In that time, we have interviewed dozens of companies that have returned operations to the United States (or turned to domestic suppliers), and learned a tremendous amount about why companies are reshoring and the challenges and opportunities they face. 

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 24 2017

By the Outdoor Industry Association

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) released The Outdoor Recreation Economy report, the largest and most comprehensive report of its kind that captures the power of a vast economic engine that creates billions in consumer spending and millions of good-paying American jobs.

A sector woven deep into the fabric of local communities across the country, the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, sustains $7.6 million American jobs and generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue each year. With more Americans employed as part of the outdoor recreation economy than in food and beverage service, or in construction and computer technology, this report shows that when our nation’s leaders invest in outdoor recreation, the result is healthier economies and healthier communities.

Posted by: Nicole@ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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