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From the September Issue

The Whole World is Watching Qatar

When host nation Qatar opens the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador on November 20 at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, the entire world will be watching. The leaders of Invest Qatar hope that, eventually, a good portion of these global soccer fans become visitors and investors.

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From the May Issue


India’s Consumer Goods Market Drives Growth in the Post-COVID Era

Fast-moving consumer goods sales increased by 16% in 2021, say experts from Tractus Asia, and constitute a $110 billion market expected to double by 2025.

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From the September Issue


How to Keep the Skills Pond Stocked

San Joaquin County in California’s Central Valley can offer investors an attractive alternative to the Bay Area when it comes to labor and housing costs. Resources like iHub San Joaquin can spark the innovation needed to keep commuting workers closer to home.

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Murals and musicians are nearly as plentiful as STEM workers in No. 1 STEMdex metro Austin, Texas.
Photo by Chris Zebo courtesy of Travel Texas

Maryland-based RCLCO Real Estate Consulting this week released the 2022 STEM Job Growth Index (STEMdex), which projects which U.S. metro areas among the largest 50 by population will have the strongest outlook for growth in STEM jobs. The analysis, sponsored by CapRidge Partners, focuses on 23 metrics in four major areas RCLCO finds to be “paramount to the growth of STEM jobs”: STEM Trends/Economic Factors, Workforce Quality, Quality of Life/Health, and Business Climate. “Because nearly 70% of US GDP is influenced either directly or indirectly by STEM employment, understanding where these jobs exist today and where they may concentrate tomorrow is essential to decision-makers and real estate investors alike,” said Gregg Logan, managing director of RCLCO. Here are the Top 20:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Raleigh, North Carolina
  4. Denver, Colorado
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. San Francisco, California
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. San Jose, California
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah
  11. Dallas, Texas
  12. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  13. New York, New York
  14. Charlotte, North Carolina
  15. Atlanta, Georgia
  16. Baltimore, Maryland
  17. San Diego, California
  18. Orlando, Florida
  19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  20. Nashville, Tennessee

When compared to Site Selection’s most recent ranking of Top Metros for corporate facility project attraction and projects per capita, notable metros missing from RCLCO’s ranking include No. 1 Top Metro Chicago (though the per-capita No. 1 Austin corresponds exactly) as well as such regions as Houston (which was in RCLCO’s Top 20 last year); Cincinnati; Los Angeles; Richmond, Virginia; Louisville; Memphis and Columbus, Ohio.

Among RCLCO’s observations: Philadelphia is the only new region in the Top 20 and San Jose has the highest STEM job concentration. But the concentration is dissolving: “The migration of fully remote workers to lower cost areas, where their salary goes farther, has taken as much as 10% of the city center spending out of the urban core, and into either other cities or into the suburbs,” the report states, noting that Tulsa, Oklahoma’s offer of $10,000 grants to remote workers to relocate to Tulsa for a year has attracted nearly 600 workers. But despite the dispersal, “the biggest STEM gains are still in markets with a strong base of tech employment and existing infrastructure,” the report says, noting that the most heavily concentrated STEM markets — San Jose, Washington, San Francisco, Austin and Boston — all rank within the Top 10 for projected future job growth. The rich just get richer, right? But there is emerging evidence that tech innovation venture capital is more widely dispersed than ever before: Watch for Site Selection’s further exploration of the data in the January 2023 issue’s “Emerging Tech Hubs” feature. — Adam Bruns




International Appeal

Companies from around the world are investing in Arkansas.

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From the September Issue


The Aerospace & Defense Industry is Taking Off in Arkansas

From Arkansas to the battlefield, this industry is reaching new heights.

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Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Port Authority

In late October the U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $703 million to fund 41 projects in 22 states and one territory that will improve port facilities through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program. “The funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and additional Congressional appropriations, will benefit coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports,” said the DOT, “helping improve supply chain reliability through increased port capacity and resilience, more efficient operations, reduced port emissions and new workforce opportunities.”

Among the larger grants is $23,518,000 toward the JAXPORT EXPRESS project in Jacksonville, Florida, a $47 million public-private partnership by JAXPORT (pictured) and two of its port tenants, SSA Jacksonville and Crowley. The project involves 1) installation of electrified refrigerated container stacks; 2) procurement of six hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry cranes; 3) procurement of 16 battery-electric forklifts, 10 battery-electric yard tractors, and seven Tier 4 diesel top picks; 4) installation of 15 high-power direct current fast-charging stations and make-ready stub-outs; and 5) development of a replaceable and scalable plan for transitioning the port and local maritime industry to zero-emission technologies.




French company Fairmat has just opened this automated facility it calls the “Fairfactory” near Nantes in order to bring smart manufacturing principles to the recycling of more than 3,500 tons of annual carbon fiber waste. The company will grow fivefold from its current headcount of 80. But that’s only the beginning. “We see the plant in Bouguenais (Loire-Atlantique) as a pilot site at the cutting edge of recycling technology,” said Fairmat CEO Ben Saada. “We will follow this by deploying the technology in several countries, starting with the United States in 2023, then in a number of European countries.” The company, founded in 2020, says its mission goes far beyond treatment of industrial waste. “It’s about creating a new ecosystem with all our customers and partners,” Fairmat says. The company just received a sustainability award from one of those partners, aerospace giant Airbus.

Source: Conway Projects Report

United Arab Emirates

Disposable food packaging product company Hotpack Packaging, whose sites include operations across the UAE as well as in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, India and the UK, this week inaugurated its largest production facility in Dubai’s National Industries Park in Jebel Ali. In addition to producing PET packaging, the site will also function as an export hub, as well as a center “for the company’s manufacturing, e-commerce, logistics, and marketing divisions,” said a Gulf News report. The company just last week opened a new paper product plant in Doha, Qatar. Earlier this year the company pledged to build 10 plants in Malaysia over the next 10 years for the manufacture of biodegradable packaging. “The company also announced that it would soon launch new manufacturing plants in Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia and Serbia in the coming months,” Gulf News reported.

Source: Conway Projects Report



Photo courtesy of Maine Aquaculture Association

Concurrent with this week’s celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, the Maine Aquaculture Association and Gulf of Maine Research Institute announced the launch of the first state-wide aquaculture apprenticeship Program in the U.S., which will provide 2,000 hours of on-the-job training in addition to 144 hours of classroom time at Southern Maine Community College for six Maine high school graduates beginning in 2023. The program leverages partnerships with Maine aquaculture farms and is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Other partners include Educate Maine and the Maine Department of Labor. “We are interested in training an apprentice, with the hope that they would stay on as a long-term member of our team,” said Shey Conover, co-owner of Marshall Cove Mussel Farm of Islesboro, Maine (pictured). “We have experience hiring and training high school and college students interested in gaining experience on the water and are able to offer training and opportunities for growth within our company.” Not everyone thinks increased aquaculture is a great idea for Maine. Read Gary Daughters’ 2019 report on fish farm action and reaction.