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Direct Energy offers retail pricing plan with electricity made entirely using Texas natural gas
Direct Energy introduced a retail pricing plan for electricity produced entirely with Texas natural gas. The power company said Monday in a press release it will offer electricity made by its own natural gas-fired plants, which run on natural gas produced from King Ranch. “As a Texas-based company we are proud to offer the first and only 100 percent, Texas-sourced natural gas product on the market. By selecting True Blue Texas, our customers are directly supporting Texas business,” said Rob Comstock, Direct Energy’s general manager for Texas. Dallas Morning News
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Greater Houston Partnership announces Robert Harvey as new CEO
HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) today announced that Robert W. (Bob) Harvey has been appointed as its new CEO. Harvey, 57, a native Houstonian, has served since 2005 as President of RWH Ventures, LLC, a Houston-based venture capital firm. He has also served in several community leadership roles since 2005, most notably as Board Chair of the United Way of Greater Houston. Bob’s service to the United Way earned him the Kneebone Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010. Prior to his role at RWH Ventures, Harvey served as Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President at Reliant Energy, with oversight of the company’s Wholesale and Retail Divisions. Greater Houston Partnership
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Romney SHOULD be winning, but isn’t. Why is that?
With unemployment still over 8 percent, household income continuing to fall and trillion-dollar deficits stretching out as far as the eye can see, the 2012 presidential race shouldn’t even be close. In fact, economic-based political models suggest that Mitt Romney ought to be strolling to an easy victory. And yet Romney is losing. When your campaign pollster is forced to release an “OK, Nobody Panic!” memo, as Neil Newhouse did today, it’s never a good sign. The same is true of the race to control the U.S. Senate. Of the 33 seats being contested this year, only 10 are held by the Republicans. That means that going into this election cycle, the GOP had 23 chances to pick up the four additional seats they need to claim a Senate majority. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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New Kentucky center aims to fill manufacturing skills gap
At Universal Woods, a factory in Jeffersontown’s Bluegrass Commerce Park, jobs start at $12.50 an hour and average more than $15 an hour — with benefits including health insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan and paid vacation. No college degree or special certification is required. “Theoretically, we should be able to hire good, solid, quality employees,” said Paul Neumann, Universal Woods’ president and CEO. “There should be people lining up out the door to come work for us.” But even with a local unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, turnover among entry-level employees at Neumann’s factory is stubbornly high. Some don’t have the basic math and problem-solving skills necessary for the job, while others fail drug tests or simply stop showing up, he said. Louisville Courier-Journal
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Tantalizing Atlanta area GM site poses challenges for developers
On paper the old General Motors plant site in Doraville seems almost too good to be true for developers. It’s just off busy highways and close to a MARTA line, and the owner is eager to sell. But so far the hopeful suitors who’ve dreamed up plans for the 165-acre site just inside I-285 have been jolted by the reality of the property’s challenges. A high asking price, environmental questions, a soft office market and dim prospects for taxpayer funding of their plans has soured them all. That last sticking point has already surfaced for developer Egbert Perry, who recently expressed interest in redeveloping what is at once metro Atlanta’s most vexing and most tantalizing property. He said he views public money, perhaps through a special tax district, as key to the success of any project at the site. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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After 20 years, Sister Schubert still cooking
Historic preservation is a cause that’s close to the heart of Patricia Barnes, founder of Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls. Her belief in its tenants also could be one of the reasons for the company’s success. “If you don’t know where you came from, how in the world are you going to know where you’re going?” Barnes said. When Barnes was a little girl, she stood on a stool in the kitchen to help her mother cook. Her grandmother taught her how to make the rolls, which she served to her family on Thanksgiving. That led to a small catering business, a Troy food fair sale and, 20 years ago, the beginning of a bakery that now distributes to stores across the South and Midwest. Montgomery Advertiser
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Kentucky agricultural receipts set record of almost $5 billion
Kentucky’s agricultural cash receipts set a record in 2011 of $4.92 billion, according to federal statistics — meeting the prediction by University of Kentucky economists that the total would eclipse the 2008 record of $4.7 billion, but falling short of projections exceeding $5 billion. The U.S. Agriculture Department’s statistical service released the numbers last week. For the third straight year, poultry receipts — primarily from broilers — led all categories with $952.9 million in receipts, while horses finished second at $800 million. Corn was third at $786.3 million, while cattle came in fourth at $628.6 million, followed by soybeans at $601.2 million. Those five categories consistently top Kentucky’s agricultural receipts. Louisville Courier-Journal
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Arkansas' Bromine Industry Sees Rebound
It doesn't hold the historical boomtown allure of the oil industry and it lacks the get-rich-quick giddiness of the early days of the Fayetteville Shale Play, but bromine production continues to provide good jobs in south Arkansas as it has since 1957. The industry, which suffered along with thousands of others during the recession, has seen a resurgence since the production trough of 2009, though the number of jobs it provided has slipped since 2003. In an article on the industry that year, Arkansas Business reported that the sector employed about 1,500, while the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette put that figure at about 1,300. Arkansas Business
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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Energy players team up in University of Houston research park
For many energy companies, the future is in the Eagle Ford Shale or the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico. For SuperPower, which produces superconducting wire, it's in Building 14 of the University of Houston's Energy Research Park. A collection of mid-century office buildings that once served as a Schlumberger headquarters, the park is less than two miles from the university campus, connected by shuttle buses and a common sense of mission. The university purchased the 74-acre property for $27.5 million in 2009, envisioning the former Schlumberger Wells Service property on the Gulf Freeway as the place where students, faculty and people from the energy industry meet to solve real-world problems. Houston Chronicle
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

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DNC gives Cabarrus, Gaston, Union, N.C. counties economic jolt
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Charlotte’s neighboring counties may be conservative-leaning, but they eagerly welcomed economic benefits from last week’s Democratic National Convention. Hotel guests in Cabarrus, Gaston and Union counties included delegates, support personnel, security people and media, with some spending money at local restaurants and businesses. “Dollar bills have no politics,” said Gaston County Commission Chairman Donnie Loftis, who is a Republican. “Green is green. They spend on both sides of the fence.” Gaston tourism director Walt Israel estimated the DNC generated $3 million to $5 million for the county. Charlotte Observer
Submitted 2 years 137 days ago

 

 

 

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Just look around at what's happening in the aerospace industry in the American South. Aerospace is really making a move to become one of the region's top two industry sectors. It’s not there yet, but if large project counts are any indication, aerospace may soon challenge the petrochemicals sector as the second largest industry in the region. Never before has the aerospace industry been so important to the South's economy. Oh, what's the No. 1 industry sector in the South? Automotive is, of course. That industry hasn't been challenged much for 25 years in this region, or since we’ve been counting.

 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Stacy Randle
Demographer Wendell Cox recently analyzed the largest gains in holders of bachelor's and post-graduate degrees between 2007 and 2012 in the 51 metro regions in the U.S. of 1 million residents or more. The results were published in Forbes magazine and the South dominated the ranking.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
This is our annual "Made in the South" issue and it's timely because there is a new player in the South's manufacturing universe. For almost two decades, economic developers and politicos in the South and the U.S. have been chasing Chinese projects with little or nothing to show. Want proof we've been chasing ghosts in China for years? Okay, go ahead and name a Chinese brand that's made in the South? Tick. . .tick. . .tick. Give up?
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean
If you have ever seen one of my presentations, then you know about the word "reshoring" and how that phenomenon has lifted the spirits of even the most skeptical Southerners regarding the future of the region's economy. After all, in the last four decades, manufacturing has suffered a bloodletting never before seen in U.S. history. The biggest factor behind the slow and long meltdown that began in the 1990s was the herd mentality to offshore manufacturing capacity to cheaper locales, primarily by U.S.-owned companies.
 


 

 

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