From the September Issue


Small Molecules, Big World: A Conversation with Cambrex CEO Thomas Loewald

It’s hard to keep pace with the slate of projects this New Jersey–based contract development and manufacturing organization is pursuing in locations from Iowa to Estonia to Italy (including even more investment in Durham, North Carolina, since this interview). The Cambrex CEO offers exclusive insights into the company’s global approach.

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From the September Issue


A Dozen Things You Didn’t Know About California

If you thought you knew the California economic development story already, think again.

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From the May Issue


The Power of Historically Black Universities

Business School Dean Glenn Carrington tells us how confidence is key at Norfolk State University.

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From the May Issue


Infrastructure: Where the Waters Meet

Only Hampton Roads enjoys connectivity like this.

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When analyzed by 20-year ROI, No. 1 among 4,500 institutions in the nation is the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri. With 11 schools, the state ranked No. 12 among states with the most institutions in the top 10% of the rankings.
Photo courtesy of UHSP

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce just released new 2022 rankings of 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities by return on investment, using updated data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. The rankings include ROI calculations based on net present value (NPV) in various increments of time, from 10 years to 40. “Many findings hold true from our first rankings released in 2019,” says the Center. “In general, certificates and associate’s degrees lead to higher returns in the short term (10 years after enrollment), but bachelor’s degrees lead to higher earnings in the long term (40 years after enrollment).”

What can we conclude about location? Emulating most people’s desire to find the median and colleges’ desire to cultivate the cream of the crop, I examined the report’s 20-year NPV rankings (topped by the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis) and then sorted the top 10% (450 institutions) by state. Six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and Wyoming) had no schools in the top 10% by this measure, though some appeared when ranked within other time frames. Below are the leading states by number of institutions in the top 10%. — Adam Bruns

State Top-10% Schools by 20-Year ROI
1. California 64
2. New York 61
3. Pennsylvania 57
4. Massachusetts 28
5. Ohio 27
6. New Jersey 18
T7. Connecticut 14
T7. Texas 14
9. Washington 13
T10. Florida 12
T10. Illinois 12




Where the Grass is Greener

Kansas is an agricultural powerhouse.

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From the September Issue


5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Kansas

Statistically speaking, Kansas literally has bluer and brighter skies. But there are plenty more reasons to love living in the Sunflower State.

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The D.C.-based American Economic Liberties Project on March 31 will launch a new campaign sure to provoke the ire of many in the economic development field. It seeks to inspire state legislatures to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in economic development deals. The organization last summer published a report outlining its perspective, “None of Our Business? How Corporate Power Corrupts Local Economies and Democracies.”




Mattel last week announced the consolidation of North American manufacturing operations in Nuevo Leon and expansion of its Montoi manufacturing facility. “Montoi plays a central role in our reimagined global supply chain operation, providing a strategic footprint for our network in the Americas, and supports our transformation strategy for growth as an IP-driven, high-performing toy company,” said Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. Mattel has consolidated manufacturing operations from Tijuana, Mexico and Montreal, Canada at Montoi. “The expanded facility will diversify its manufacturing footprint and optimize near-shoring of production, reduce complexity in the system and drive higher performance, while maintaining the company’s disciplined approach to capital expenditures,” said the company. The 200,000-sq.-m. (2.1-million-sq.-ft.) Montoi plant is Mattel’s largest, manufacturing iconic toys such Barbie DreamHouse, Fisher-Price Power Wheels, and MEGA Bloks and exporting finished goods to nearly 30 countries. Mattel’s Montoi workforce has grown from 1,600 employees in 2019 to 3,500 in 2022.

Source: Conway Analytics


Lithium-ion battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution this week announced it is investing $1.7 billion to expand its operations in the City of Holland, where it already employs 1,200. The company will add more than 1 million sq. ft. to its existing footprint as it expands to meet demand for both EV and energy storage batteries. “Michigan was a natural choice to our commitment of building an impactful global business because of its rich pool of talent, being close to the geographic epicenter of the automotive industry, and its strong support,” said Bonchul Koo, president of LGES Michigan. Lakeshore Advantage said it helped connect the company with local and state resources to help make the project a reality. Other partners are the City of Holland, Holland Board of Public Works (BPW), Allegan County, West Michigan Works!, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan Community Capital and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. A day later, the company announced a $5 billion JV plant with Stellantis in Windsor, Ontario, a bit more than three hours’ drive to the east.

Source: Conway Analytics



Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz earlier this month announced it had opened a new 600-job battery plant in Tuscaloosa, Bibb County, Alabama, a few months ahead of the start of production of the all-electric Mercedes-EQ model EQS SUV. Thanks to the comprehensive digitalization of MO360, the digital Mercedes-Benz production ecosystem, the same line (pictured) that produces internal combustion engine vehicles can be adapted to produce EV models too. Since the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz has invested a total of more than US$7 billion in Alabama, the company says, of which $1 billion has been invested into the battery plant, the logistics centers and a production line upgrade to make EVs. Learn more about this project and other blockbusters in the North American Automotive story appearing in the May 2022 issue of Site Selection.