Monday, July 25 2016
By Mark Sutherland, VP of Market Strategies, Missouri Partnership
What do you know about Missouri? The home of the World Series Championship winning Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals? Where Budweiser’s been made since the 1800s and the place where toasted ravioli and waffle cones were invented? The 1904 World’s Fair and the Olympics that same year? The birthplace of President Truman and Jason Bourne, and the location of Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech?
For most people that’s where it ends. They know very little about Missouri, especially when it comes to business reasons to invest in Missouri.
But what if I told you that Missouri is a center for advanced manufacturing excellence and every Chevrolet Colorado – Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in 2015 and 2016 – and GMC Canyon was made right here? What if you then discovered that more than 300,000 Ford F-150s are made here every year? That more than 632,000 vehicles were built here in 2015 alone?
We also make a large number of Harley Davidsons, and since 2010 more than $2 billion has been invested in Missouri’s automotive facilities and Missouri has supported this growth with strategic incentive programs.
And we have direct rail access, in every direction and on every Class 1 railroad, to anywhere in North America, including Mexico’s extensive port system.
There might be something going on in Missouri.
What if I then added Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security headquarters, and the production of Boeing’s F/A-18s, EA-18s and F-15s, along with a huge array of military ordinance and equipment made by Boeing and more than 70 other companies across the state?
Should I mention Charles Lindbergh and the Mercury space program? Or that the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly made-in-Missouri jets? Or that NASA comes to Missouri to train for the next phase of the U.S. space program?
At this point, you may start to take notice and begin to realize you don’t really know Missouri.
Then I add AgTech to the mix by stating that Missouri is the global leader in AgTech and is leading the way with innovative technology and research that is transforming agriculture.
We are home to dynamic animal health and plant science clusters. More than half the world’s animal health industry is represented in the Kansas City region and Missouri companies, like St. Louis-based Monsanto, are leading the way in investment and innovation in advanced farming.
While we’re name dropping, let’s add the Danforth Plant Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden, YieldLab, Bunge, KWS, DuPont and BASF, just to name a few other AgTech companies here.
We’re also home to the corporate headquarters of Rabo Agrifinance, part of the Rabobank Group, providing extensive financing and insurance options for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.
Big data, smart farming, input optimization, precision ag, biologicals – all daily conversations in Missouri.
Our AgTech infrastructure is deep and strong. Crop and livestock diversity, abundant water supply, rich soil, and intellectual capital are just some of the foundations that support our global AgTech leadership.
Puts a new perspective on rural America doesn’t it.
And speaking of infrastructure, we have it and it’s globally connected.
Missouri could be called North America’s Logistics Center. In fact, what a coincidence, it is called that. Our waterways move $4.1 billion in cargo each year, and the Mississippi gives us unrestricted, year-round access to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
And wait; did I mention that Missouri has direct rail access, in every direction and on every Class 1 railroad, to anywhere in North America? Yes I did, but you know what? No other state can boast the same.
By road, we can reach more than 50 percent of the continental U.S. in less than one-day’s drive, and most of the rest within two. And 96 percent of our population is within 15 miles of a 4-lane divided highway.
Our 9,962 miles of pipelines carry nine different commodities, a major asset for area manufacturers and energy companies. And these pipelines are connected to both Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
Our passenger air service provides non-stops to 73 cities across North America, with both our passenger and cargo services seeing continued growth.
We are the rail, river, road, pipeline and air crossroads of North America. Missouri doesn’t like to brag about what we’ve got here, but maybe we should.
This is all great you might say, but what about talent? Great question. We have it. And we don’t just have highly skilled talent within our target sectors, but we also have available talent, which is quite essential if you want to open up a facility here in Missouri. Our people are producing everything from trucks, to fighter jets, to the latest in research innovation.
And we even put some of them in caves, as Missouri is home to more than 31 million square feet of unique and secure underground facilities – perfect for data storage, food storage, and many other applications.
Add to that our extensive specialized and customizable training opportunities, our world-class universities, our certified work ready communities, our competitive cost of living and our high quality of life. And our vibrant urban areas such as the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis and the Power & Light District and the Crossroads District in Kansas City are attracting millenials to live, work and play there.
As a side note, the Cortex Innovation Community and the culture that exists there were top reasons that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Square both chose Missouri.
There are a lot of reasons to look at Missouri. We are a world leader in AgTech, aerospace and automotive manufacturing and logistics. Our globally connected location and infrastructure give us, and you, a competitive advantage. We have a solid track record of reducing risk, providing strategic incentives, and maintaining a stable fiscal atmosphere. And we have a statewide commitment to attracting companies and investment.
And I didn’t even mention our available and affordable real estate.
So, now what do you know about Missouri? And what can we make, grow or move for you?
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/missouri_ed for local economic development office directory listings.