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From the May Issue


New Mexico Is Riding a Breeze

The stage is set for the nation’s biggest wind energy investment. Plus: a glimpse into the roadmap for $400 billion of clean energy funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

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From the September Issue


North American Reports

Quick-hitting stories on FREY’s huge battery-making investment in Georgia; the $8.5 billion polyethylene venture from Chevron Phillips and QatarEnergy in Texas; Molex in Guadalajara; BMW’s latest growth in South Carolina; projects in Minnesota and Iowa from Cambrex; Fiserv in downtown Milwaukee; and P&G’s $500 million plant in Arizona.

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Pumping drinking water for your fellow bike-packer in Bears Ears National Monument may not qualify as informally helping your neighbor, but it shows how much Utahns care for others in the No. 1 state for formal volunteering.
Photo courtesy of Visit Utah

Curious about how civically active a location you’re considering for growth may be? Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and AmeriCorps this month reveal the top states and trends in the nation’s 12 largest metro areas for formal and informal volunteering. (Search out your state or region here.) Utah and Wyoming led by rate of formal volunteering, while Montana and Nebraska led in informal category. Among the 12 metros, Philadelphia lived up to its brotherly love trademark slogan while Boston led in informal volunteering.

Among national findings: At the height of the pandemic between September 2020 and September 2021, nearly 51% of the U.S. population age 16 and over, or 124.7 million people, informally helped their neighbors, and more than 20.3%, or 60.7 million, said they formally volunteered through an organization. “The research, released every two years, shows that those who formally volunteered gave more than 4.1 billion hours of service with an estimated economic value of $122.9 billion,” the Bureau stated. Trends in formal volunteering from 2019 to 2021 included:

  • The rate drop was substantially larger for women (8 percentage points) than men (5 percentage points) but women continued to volunteer at a higher rate.
  • Generation X (ages 41 to 56 in 2021) had the highest rate of all generations.
  • People ages 16-17 had the highest rate of all age groups at 28%, followed by people ages 45 to 54 at 27%.
  • Parents with children under 18 formally volunteered at a higher rate (30%) than those without children in their household (21%).
  • Veterans informally helped their neighbors at a rate of 59%, 8 percentage points higher than nonveterans.

“Volunteering and civic engagement in America,” the Bureau said, “complements a large body of other AmeriCorps’ research demonstrating a substantial return on investment in national service for both the government and the communities served, such as improved employment outcomes and mental and physical health benefits for those who volunteer.” — Adam Bruns

Tables courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau



The Colorado Guide Digital Edition Is Live

The full Digital Edition of the 2023 Colorado – Business Comes to Life publication is now available. Featuring interviews with business, state and community leaders, this year’s edition examines such topics as the state’s talent attraction advantages, smart government, the semiconductor opportunity, outdoor recreation, and research and higher education activity. Spotlights focus on four economic centers in the state, while also profiling such industry sectors as cleantech, financial services and fintech, aerospace, energy, bioscience and quantum technologies. Digest it all and you’ll see why a top official at Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade used one word to describe the state’s economic future: “Bright.”




Industry and Inclusion

The manufacturing supply problem isn’t raw materials — it’s talent. That’s why Lumina Foundation, The Century Foundation and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance are partnering to create a model of credentialing programs at 12 community colleges to build pathways for workers of color and women across manufacturing careers.

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Town & Gown Get Along Just Fine Here

How Kansas built a network that cultivates partners in innovation.

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Among the many practical resources and insights about doing business in China offered by Dezan Shira & Associates’ “China Briefing” series is this new analysis of local GDP in 2022 in China’s 31 mainland provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions. Cross-reference that analysis with new research from the International Federation of Robotics about “World Robotics R&D Programs,” which finds among other things that China has advanced in its goal of being a global leader for robot technology and industrial advancement by growing in robot density per 10,000 manufacturing workers from No. 20 worldwide in 2018 (140 units) to No. 5 in 2021 (322 units).




Last week, South San Francisco, California–based Plenty Unlimited Inc. announced it is scaling its R&D capabilities by building the world’s largest and most advanced vertical farming research center in Laramie, Wyoming. The project is supported by a $20 million grant from the State of Wyoming through the Wyoming Business Council to the City of Laramie to help with construction and infrastructure costs. Additional funding, land and support for the project is being provided by the City of Laramie and the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance (LCBA). “We’ve already built one of the top indoor farming research ecosystems in the world in Wyoming,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “Our new facility will expand our capability to grow the widest variety of crops, which is key to unlocking the potential of this category and addresses a major limitation for the industry today. This continued commitment to innovation is what’s needed to push indoor farming forward and make fresh food accessible to everyone.” The new center is projected to be a more than 60,000-sq.-ft. facility built on 16 acres of land in the Cirrus Sky Technology park in Laramie, which was contributed to the project by the LCBA. The new facility will double Plenty’s research space compared to the Laramie facility it has occupied since 2016 and will welcome 125 new jobs the company expects to create over the next six years. The project now shifts into the design phase, with plans to begin construction later this year and open the facility in early 2025.

Source: Conway Projects Report


“About 25% of the methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons. When fully built, the Aemetis biogas project plans to connect dairy digesters spanning approximately 60 dairy farms, capturing more than 1.65 MMBtu of dairy methane each year,” says Cupertino-based renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company Aemetis. A system of 36 miles of additional biogas pipeline; two biogas digesters, this Biogas-to-Renewable Natural Gas upgrading facility and a utility gas pipeline interconnection unit that were accepted into service in late January. Two additional dairy digesters will be commissioned and operating in February, with another dairy digester fully operational in March. Aemetis RNG is being sold into the PG&E utility gas pipeline and will be stored underground until Aemetis Biogas receives approval from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the issuance of credits under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In addition to long-term federal financing, the pipeline project and the $12 million biogas cleanup facility are funded in part by a $4.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission and a $5 million grant from the CPUC RNG Pipeline Interconnection Incentive Program. “California, and especially Merced and Stanislaus Counties, recognize that the adoption of dairy biogas as a negative carbon intensity fuel to replace diesel in heavy trucks and buses is essential,” said Andy Foster, president of Aemetis Biogas, Inc. “Aemetis is taking action to reduce carbon pollution and improve local air quality in the most impacted Central Valley communities while creating jobs in an expanding green economy for future generations.”

Source: Conway Projects Report




Managing Editor Adam Bruns made this photo last weekend after Sunday brunch at H&H Soul Food in downtown Macon, Georgia. The mural by Steven Teller unveiled one year ago outside the 64-year-old establishment honors founders Inez Hill and “Mama” Louise Hudson and their relationships with the Allman Brothers. In addition to feeding them frequently, Hudson (who passed away in November at age 93) once accompanied the band on their tour bus 51 years ago. “Mama Louise is and always will be the mama of southern rock,” reads a plaque in the lower left corner of the mural. “She nurtured countless bellies and souls inside these walls and will be forever remembered as a shining example of the power of love and kindness.”

Closed for a time after Hill’s passing, the restaurant was reopened in 2014 under the ownership of the Moonhanger Group and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s top five meat-and-three joints. Bruns recommends the soul rolls and Kirk’s Mystic Gravy Biscuits, with a cup of banana pudding on the side.