Three Manufacturers Authorized for Vermont Job Creation Incentives

first_imgBioTek Instruments,Firms could create 238 jobs over next five yearsMONTPELIER, Vt. – A start-up company; a long-time Vermont manufacturer; and a Canadian firm have been authorized to earn $1.7 million worth of incentives that could produce 238 new jobs over the next five years. At its recent meeting, the Vermont Economic Progress Council gave initial approval for incentives totaling up to $795,139 for joint venture ASK-in TAG, LLC to potentially establish a facility in Essex to develop and manufacture radio frequency identification documents such as enhanced driver’s licenses. The Council also gave initial approval for incentives totaling up to $246,051 to persuade Quebec-based BEMAG Transformers to open a U.S. facility in St. Albans to manufacture dry-type transformers.  Final approval of up to $692,854 was given to BioTek Instruments, Inc., a Vermont company that makes laboratory instrumentation and software, for a potential expansion in Winooski.”These projects represent opportunities in value-added manufacturing and the knowledge-based economy that could create many great jobs,” said Karen L. Marshall, Chairwoman of the Vermont Economic Progress Council.”These incentives provide the State of Vermont with a real leverage point to encourage growth in new sectors, even while we are experiencing the pain of cutbacks in other industries,” Marshall said.ASK-in TAG is a joint venture between ASK of France and WS Packaging of Wisconsin.  The joint venture is seeking to establish a development and manufacturing facility to serve the growing market in radio frequency identification (RFID) documents. The project will produce enhanced licenses for several U.S. states, event entry cards such as those produced for the recent Olympic events, mass transit cards, and RFID passports for several countries. The company is also considering a location in Ohio, where joint venture partner WS Packaging has an existing facility.”ASK-in Tag is very appreciative of the State of Vermont’s offer of tax incentives. The people at the Vermont Economic Progress Council have been extremely helpful,” said David Uland, Senior Business Development Manager for WS Packaging. “We are still in the process of reviewing potential manufacturing sites and expect to reach a decision by mid-January.”BEMAG Transformer produces dry-type transformers in Farnham, Quebec, where they have outgrown their facility. The company is considering expansion in Canada or Plattsburgh, New York to serve a larger market including the Northeast U.S.  The new facility will employ innovative manufacturing practices and equipment developed and built in-house by BEMAG engineers, enabling greater efficiency and reliability.  “We are pleased with this initial approval.  VEGI’s important cash incentives are key in our decision to locate our new US operation in St. Albans, Vermont.   Our new company, VERMONT Transformers, Inc. will have the opportunity to significantly expand its Canadian market and to begin to exploit the lucrative and essentially untapped billion dollar US market,” said Christian Roberge, Vice President and CFO of BEMAG Transformers.BioTek is a family-owned, Vermont company that was started by UVM professor Dr. Norman Alpert in 1968. BioTek has grown to be a global leader in the development, manufacture, and servicing of microplate instrumentation, automation, and software.The company has doubled in size during the past five years and expects similar future growth which cannot be supported in their current facility. The firm is strategizing for long-term growth and has received relocation offers from North Carolina and Virginia.”Despite the world economic challenges we at BioTek remain very optimistic about the future,” said Briar Alpert, President and CEO. “We compete in a global economy and correspondingly to be successful we must produce the best value for our customers if we are to prosper.””With the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program, Vermont now has a tool that increases the likelihood that a company located within the state can grow and compete and win against world-class companies located anywhere in the world,” Alpert said.In other actions, the Council gave final approval for a project by Tata’s Natural Alchemy in Shoreham. An initial application was approved in December 2007.  The Council also denied a final application submitted by Vermont Wood Energy Corporation, for a project that was initially approved in July. The Council determined that the revised application, which materially and substantially changed the project, did not meet the program criteria.Under reforms proposed by Governor Jim Douglas in 2006 and passed by the General Assembly, the VEGI economic incentives are authorized based on job creation and capital investments that must occur before the company earns the incentives and then the company receives incentive installments over a period of years. The four authorized companies are eligible to earn a maximum of $1,965,575 in job creation incentives over five years only if they meet and maintain payroll, employment and capital investment targets each year. BEMAG and ASK-in TAG must also submit Final Applications for consideration by the Council.The previous incentive program had companies earning tax credits that were applied against future tax liability.The Council approved the applications after reviewing nine program guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis which showed that because of the economic activity that will be generated by these projects, even after payment of the incentives the State will realize a minimum net increase in tax revenues of $1,626,657 over five years.The Council also determined that these projects would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.The Vermont Economic Progress Council is an independent board consisting of nine Vermont citizens appointed by the governor that considers applications to the state’s economic incentive programs.The Council is attached to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, whose mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities.For more information, visit:www.thinkvermont.com/vepc(link is external)last_img read more

Mack Molding works with Efficiency Vermont to install 2,100 energy efficient fixtures

first_imgMack Molding of Arlington has demonstrated its commitment to the triple-bottom line – people, planet and profit – by installing more than 2,100 energy-efficient lighting fixtures in its southern Vermont manufacturing facilities. The comprehensive lighting project is one of the 10 largest energy-saving projects completed by a Vermont company in partnership with Efficiency Vermont.A leading custom plastics molder and manufacturer for companies in the medical, commercial, computer/business equipment, and transportation industries, Mack Molding implemented significant lighting upgrades in its three Vermont plants totaling more than 600,000 square feet. Goals for the project included improving the level and quality of light, saving energy, minimizing maintenance, and achieving a return on investment in two years or less.To determine potential energy savings, Mack Molding engaged Lighting Retrofit Services (LRS), specialists in energy-efficient lighting for manufacturing environments, to conduct a lighting audit. After reviewing LRS’ design/build proposal, Mack and Efficiency Vermont agreed to install new energy-efficient light sources and implement other energy-saving measures.Two of the three Mack Molding facilities are each approximately a century old. Although the company has completed expansions and renovations at the plants through the years, significant lighting upgrades were needed. At the Cavendish and East Arlington facilities (built in 1890 and 1910, respectively), almost every lighting fixture was replaced or retrofitted with the latest energy-efficient fluorescent technology to standardize light levels and to save on energy and maintenance costs.Mack Molding’s Arlington headquarters, built during the 1990s, features ceilings that are about 30 feet above the manufacturing floor. When new energy-efficient fixtures (some with motion sensors) were installed, the results were immediate. For example, light levels in the warehouse improved by 175 percent. The high-intensity fluorescent (HIF) technology increased light levels throughout the plant, and eliminated hot spots and shadows.”This project has resulted in the very rare triple play,” said Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s Northern Operations. “Not only have we reduced operating costs and improved working conditions for our employees, but we have enriched our Vermont community, saving electricity that can now be used by others.”The estimated electricity savings resulting from the projects at the three Mack Molding plants is 1,747,000 kWh per year – the equivalent of keeping 967 tons of CO2 out of the air, or taking 167 cars off the road. Based on the average Vermont home using roughly 6,000 kWh of electricity annually, the energy saved through Mack Molding’s measures can provide power to nearly 300 homes.In addition to energy and cost savings, the lighting upgrades improved the comfort and safety of Mack Molding employees. The new lighting has an added benefit for workers – lower operating temperatures, resulting in less cooling and ventilation during the warm summer months.“I’m out on the manufacturing floor for most of the day,” said Bonnie Simon, manufacturing manager at Mack’s headquarters plant. “I can’t help but notice that my eyes are much less fatigued by the end of the day. The glare is gone, leaving us with even lighting everywhere.”The total cost of the project was nearly $450,000. Due to the energy and maintenance savings, combined with technical assistance and a financial incentive from Efficiency Vermont, Mack Molding expects to recoup its investment in less than two years.“Given the prevailing economic news these days, it’s great to see Mack Molding taking the long view and devoting resources to improve its manufacturing process while using less energy to benefit both its employees and the environment,” said Michael Socks, a senior project manager at Efficiency Vermont.Efficiency Vermont works with numerous Vermont businesses such as Mack Molding to boost lean manufacturing and continuous process improvement while benefiting Vermont’s economy and the environment.Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont’s environment. Efficiency Vermont is currently operated by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), an independent organization under contract to the Vermont Public Service Board. VEIC is a Vermont-based nonprofit organization founded in 1986. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com(link is external).###last_img read more

Burlington Country Club celebrates re-opening

first_imgThe Burlington Country Club recently celebrated the grand re-opening of its newly renovated clubhouse.  TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design has been working with the Club through the fall and winter on the renovations, and the project was substantially complete enough that the first group of members and guests could enjoy the inaugural ‘happy hour’ of the season. The sun was shining and golfers were out on the course, while members enjoyed the view from the Grill Room, where a completely reimagined approach to seating provides a welcoming but cozy place for members to gather.  The dramatic space is capped with a wood cathedral ceiling and a custom repurposed glass chandelier from Conant Metal & Light.  The bar is all new, with Douglas Fir cladding and a copper bar top.  The renovations to the clubhouse also include a new dining room addition and exterior stone terrace overlooking the 18th hole.  In addition, both locker rooms have been expanded and improved to support the growing membership of both men and women.  The general contractor for the project is J.J. Jimmo Development Company, and they are now finishing up construction so that the clubhouse will be fully operational for the start of the 2010 golf season. TruexCullins is a Burlington based architecture and interior design firm providing clients with the expertise and creativity of five distinct design studios: education, workplace, home, resort and interiors for over 40 years. Source: Truex. Burlington, VTlast_img read more

FairPoint Communications donates $11,250 to 11 Vermont nonprofit organizations

first_imgConsolidated Communications,FairPoint Communications recently donated a combined $11,250 to 11 Vermont nonprofit organizations in recognition of volunteer efforts by FairPoint employees.The FairPoint Volunteer Incentive Program recognizes employees’ contribution of time and talent to nonprofit organizations where they live and work. Under the program, FairPoint employees who volunteer at least 50 hours during the year can request that FairPoint reward the organization with a $750 grant. Employees may request funds on behalf of two separate organizations for a total of $1,500 each year.FairPoint employees and their favorite nonprofits include: · All Breed Rescue in South Burlington received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Debra Rocheleau of Colchester. · Barre Youth Sports Association received $3,000 on behalf of FairPoint employees Corey Gillander of South Barre; Corey Touchette of Barre; Lisa Lefebvre-Barr of Barre; and Marc Sancibrian of East Montpelier. · Burlington Amateur Hockey Association and Colchester Youth Baseball League each received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Conrad Ritchie of Colchester. · Christian Ministries in Essex received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee George Hugo of Springfield. · Friends of Harwood Hockey in Waterbury received $1,500 on behalf of FairPoint employees Bradley Spaulding and Stephen Yandow, both of Waterbury. · Mad River Soccer Association in Waitsfield also received $750 on behalf of Yandow. · Nordic Spirit Soccer Club in Essex Junction received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Troy Cirillo of Colchester. · Salvation Army in Burlington received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Cynthia Provost of Essex Junction. · St. Michael’s College in Colchester received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Sandra Tumosa of South Burlington. · Vermont’s Camp Takumta in Waterbury received $750 on behalf of FairPoint employee Robert Lencke of Lake Elmore.About FairPointFairPoint Communications, Inc. is an industry leading provider of communications services to communities across the country. Today, FairPoint owns and operates local exchange companies in 18 states offering advanced communications with a personal touch, including local and long distance voice, data, Internet, television and broadband services. Learn more at www.FairPoint.com(link is external).Source: SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (November 11, 2010) ‘ FairPointlast_img read more

Vermont’s Northern Power CEO testifies before Congress on wind power

first_imgSenator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) chaired a Senate hearing today to explore how the United States is competing with other nations for green jobs. With products ranging from laptop computers to American flags already made in China, the world’s second largest economy, the Asian nation is now moving aggressively to corner world markets for solar, wind and other alternative and sustainable energy technologies. Sanders, chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, said the United States should keep energy jobs in this country. ‘We can create good-paying jobs by investing in efficient and sustainable energy technologies,’ Sanders said. ‘Moving toward green jobs is terribly important for our economy, it’s important for our environment, and it’s important for from the perspective of not getting us into wars for oil.’One of the witnesses was John Danner, CEO of Northern Power Systems, a wind turbine company based in Barre. Vt.‘While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we are confident that as we grow Northern Power into a leader within the global wind turbine industry, we will create thousands if not tens of thousands of jobs,” he told the committee.Danner told Sanders that wind power is competitive with other technologies to generate electricity.Other witnesses at the hearing included Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers; Paul Cicio, president of Industrial Energy Consumers of America; David Montgomery, vice president of Charles River Associates; and Kate Gordon, vice president of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress. Sanders’ office. WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011last_img read more

Verizon Wireless expands 3G network coverage in Shelburne

first_imgVerizon Wireless,Verizon Wireless recently activated a new cell site in Shelburne that expands wireless voice and 3G data coverage along Route 7, as well as the surrounding areas. The company invested in Chittenden County to continue to stay ahead of increasing demand for reliable voice and mobile Internet access. Verizon Wireless has invested more than $2.8 billion into its New England network since 2000, including more than $242 million in 2010 alone, to increase coverage and capacity on behalf of customers. Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network.‘We at Verizon Wireless have always believed that the best wireless devices deserve the best wireless networks,’ said director for Network Systems Performance for Verizon Wireless, Richard Enright. ‘Today people across Vermont are increasingly relying on wireless tablets, smartphones and apps to stay organized and connected. Our investment in Chittenden County – and across New England – has kept us ahead of these consumer trends and underscored our belief that any mobile device is only as reliable as the network it runs on.’ SHELBURNE, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Verizon Wirelesslast_img read more

Bruegger’s announces Q4, year-end financial results

first_imgBruegger’s Bagels, Inc,Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc. (BEI) announced today continued sales growth during the fourth quarter ending December 28, 2010. The 437-unit restaurant operator recognized sales of $63.2 million, a 3.6 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2009.     Total system sales for the year were $254.5 million, a 2.8% increase over 2009.Bruegger’s namesake brand added 16 franchise, corporate and co-branded bakeries during the past year.  Same store sales were up by 4.3 percent on company units and 3.1 percent system-wide for the 4th quarter. Bruegger’s expects continued growth for 2011.Threecaf Brands Canada, Bruegger’s Canadian subsidiary, saw a 1.4 % percent increase in comparable sales during the fourth quarter.  Threecaf includes Timothy’s World Coffee, which has 93 units and Michel’s Bakery Café with 14 units operating in Canada.‘2010 was a year of consistent revenue growth for our brands,’ said Bruegger’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Greco.  ‘We believe the investments we made to the brand will continue to pay dividends in 2011.’ Highlights:Bruegger’s completed renovation of 45 bakeries in 2010, including 14 bakeries in Boston, Connecticut and Michigan in the fourth quarter of 2010. The bagel leader anticipates completing another 40 renovations in 2011.Bruegger’s opened three new bakeries and added new franchisees in Danbury, Connecticut and Orlando, Florida during Q4.  Threecaf Brands opened two new Timothy’s World Coffee locations in Toronto during the fourth quarter.In January, 2011, Threecaf opened a new co-branded Bruegger’s/mmmuffins in Toronto, a new Timothy’s location in New Brunswick, a new Michel’s Bakery Café and remodeled a Michel’s in Ottawa.Growing its presence in non-traditional locations, Bruegger’s will open in the Asheville Regional Airport in early 2011. The company’s first U.S.-based Timothy’s will open at Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Q2 2011. Later in the year, Bruegger’s will open its first bakery on a military base in San Diego. Source: Bruegger’s 3.2.2011last_img read more

Opinion: Tax policy should be based on facts, not myths

first_imgBy JACK HOFFMAN. Do wealthy residents move if they are asked to pay more in taxes? Another reliable report’the fourth this year’says they do not. This latest was from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. It was both a review of recent studies that show no or weak connections between taxes and people’s moving from state to state and an analysis of cases where data about taxes and migration have been misused. ‘This claim [about tax flight] is false,’ said Robert Tannenwald, former vice-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and one of the co-authors of the report. ‘The effects of taxes on migration are, at most, small’so small that states that raise income taxes on the wealthiest households will see a substantial net gain in revenue.’There is good recent evidence to support Tannenwald:·     ‘The Impact of Taxes on Migration in New England,’ by economist Jeffrey Thompson at the Political Economy Research Institute in Massachusetts, analyzed data from all 50 states and found that migration had a strong correlation with the availability of jobs and affordable housing and essentially no relationship to taxes.·     ‘Millionaire Migration And State Taxation Of Top Incomes: Evidence From A Natural Experiment,’ by Cristobal Young of Stanford University and Charles Varner of Princeton University, found no difference in moving patterns between those people who were affected by New Jersey’s millionaires’ tax and those who were not.·     The final report of Vermont’s own Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission found that, for at least the past 16 years, people moving to Vermont consistently have higher incomes than those who move out of the state each year.Gov. Jim Douglas liked to tell stories about Vermont taxes driving rich people out of the state. His successor reads from the same script. It’s a common myth, told again and again.But, as the results of these studies suggest, for most people decisions about where to live are not so simplistic. If they were, we’d all live in New Hampshire or Florida. In fact, what makes states attractive are the better schools, lower crime rates, better infrastructure, and quality of life that typically come with greater public investment. All those positives describe Vermont. If wealthier people are coming here, not fleeing, we must be doing something right.Gov. Peter Shumlin has said Congress should increase taxes on wealthy Americans to address our federal budget problems. But after the events of the last few weeks, it should be clear that that is unlikely to happen with this president or this Congress. So Vermont, and all of the other states, are left with the responsibility of paying for the necessary services that Congress refuses to fund. That means raising the taxes that Washington refuses to raise.Vermont has the resources. Thanks to Washington’s extension of the  Bush tax cuts last December, the top 5 percent of Vermonters are saving $190 million on their federal taxes this year and a like amount next year. As Vermont prepares to enter the next budget cycle with the prospect of reduced federal funding, it is important that decisions about spending and taxes be grounded in reality, not myths.Jack Hoffman is a policy analyst for Public Assets Institute (www.publicassets.org(link is external)), a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Montpelier.last_img read more