MAGAZINE FEATURE

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MAGAZINE FEATURE

  1. 1. SPOTLIGHT Kansas Kansas… A Place Where Opportunities for Success are “As Big As You Think.” Lighton Plaza in the city of Overland Park. PHOTO BY HARLAND SCHUSTER I n January 2004, the Kansas Legis- lature convened for what would be- come the state’s most active lawmaking session in years. The session resulted in a number of in- novative policy initiatives, including the PHOTO BY MICHAEL C. SNELL hallmark Kansas Economic Growth Act, which established incentives to grow emerging industries, serve employers, at- tract new businesses, and support small businesses and startups. Three years later, Kansas continues to be a hotbed for progressive economic de- velopment policies and has confirmed its tion’s fastest-growing biotechnology its doors to 15 businesses, creating more spot among the nation’s most business- hubs. Meanwhile, the state has welcomed than 3,000 new jobs and $155 million in friendly states. More importantly, the in- national and international companies from capital investment. novative policymaking is already paying nearly every major economic sector, “We’re certainly excited by the suc- dividends in the form of a stronger and along with the jobs and capital investment cess we’ve had,” said Kansas Depart- more diverse economy, new job creation that come with them. In Fiscal Year 2007, ment of Commerce Secretary David and increased entrepreneurial activity. the State’s Department of Commerce Kerr, who oversees the state’s economic Kansas has maintained its historic domi- helped bring 6,500 jobs to Kansas, result- development activities. “The simple nance in industries like aviation manu- ing in a payroll of $195 million and $500 truth is that few states can match our facturing and agriculture, while further million in new capital investment. In the economic assets, and that’s why more strengthening its status as one of the na- past 6 months alone, Kansas has opened and more (Continued on page 30)28 TRADE & INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 www.tradeandindustrydev.com 29
  2. 2. SPOTLIGHT Kansas (Continued from page 29) PHOTO BY HARLAND SCHUSTERcompanies are choosing to come here.” phase out the corporation franchise tax all general aviation aircraft produced in the used in general aerospace manufacturing So what is it about Kansas that’s catch- over the next five years and reduce unem- United States are built in south-central as an alternative to sheet metal and othering the eye of businesses around the ployment insurance rates for businesses in Kansas, and the region currently employs traditional products. In 2004, a targetedworld? For starters, Kansas boasts a central good standing, measures strongly endorsed nearly 37,000 aviation industry workers, study identified plastics and other ad-location and access to interstate rail, truck- by the state’s business community. In ad- making it the nation’s most concentrated vanced materials (such as composites) asing and air corridors that put the state’s dition to these newest incentives, Kansas area of aircraft manufacturing employ- industrial sectors in which Wichita al-businesses within next-day freight service continues to offer income and premium tax ment. After a post-September 11 down- ready has a significant competitive ad-of nearly 70 percent of the United States. credits for new job creation; sales tax ex- turn, the state’s leading industry has vantage. Last month, the region wasKansas maintains the third-best state- emptions on the purchase of construction rebounded and is again producing record awarded a Workforce Innovation in Re-owned road and highway system in the na- labor and materials and facility machinery numbers of airplanes and aviation-related gional Economic Development (WIRED)tion and access to Kansas City, the nation’s Wichita night skyline and equipment; property tax abatements; parts. The industry has done especially grant from the U.S. Department of Laborsecond-leading rail center. In addition, a industrial revenue bonds; Community De- well in overseas sales, with 2006 exports to further grow its aviation clusternew Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail- third nationally for percent of adults with a tutions are remarkably affordable. A study velopment Block Grants for projects in reaching a record $2.56 billion. Often through workforce development, innova-ways intermodal facility is currently under college degree, average ACT score, pupil- by the Kansas Board of Regents shows tu- non-metro areas; and forgivable loans for called the “Air Capital of the World,” Wi- tion and the continued development ofconstruction in the Kansas City suburb of to-teacher ratio and students per computer. ition and fees at the state’s six regents uni- project-related costs. chita is also home to the National Institute advanced materials and polymers.Gardner. This facility is projected to be an The state commits 37 percent of overall versities compare favorably with colleges for Aviation Research, a state-of-the-artenormous asset to the state’s aviation and spending to education, which is the 14th- in five neighboring states and fall signifi- The Air Capital of the World aviation research center that integrates uni- Building in the Biosciencesbioscience clusters – and it may also an- best rate in the country and a significantly cantly below the regional average. For years, the City of Wichita and the versity, government and business entities Kansas has emerged as one of thechor the development of a new cluster of higher percentage than that of New York Finally, Kansas offers one of the na- surrounding south-central Kansas region in cooperative efforts to advance technolo- fastest-growing bioscience clusters in thedistribution centers in northeast Kansas. and California. Kansas’ higher education tion’s most generous portfolios of eco- have comprised the most prolific aviation gies for aviation and other industries. nation, with particular strengths in phar- Kansas also has one of the most skilled system includes 6 Kansas Board of Re- nomic incentives to companies considering cluster in the world, boasting industry lead- As a result of its aviation legacy, maceuticals, plant science, human health,labor pools in the nation, a direct result of gents universities, 19 community colleges, a move to (or expansion in) Kansas. That ers like Boeing IDS, Bombardier Aero- south-central Kansas has also emerged as animal science and alternative energy. Inits having one of the nation’s premier edu- 10 technical colleges and schools and 1 portfolio was recently expanded by the space, Spirit AeroSystems, Cessna Aircraft a leading producer of advanced materi- recent years, Kansas has welcomed indus-cation systems. Kansas ranks in the top municipal college. Moreover, these insti- 2007 Legislature’s passing legislation to and Hawker Beechcraft. More than half of als and polymers, which are increasingly try giants like (Continued on page 32) CIRCLE 69 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  3. 3. SPOTLIGHT Kansas (Continued from page 31)PHOTO COURTESY OF CESSNA AIRCRAFT COMPANY same time, Kansas State University and the headquarters and has more than 125 total University of Kansas have confirmed their companies, including Bayer HealthCare reputations among the nation’s preeminent and Animal Health, Fort Dodge Animal bioscience research institutions and are es- Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, tablishing themselves as viable producers Intervet and Hill’s Pet Nutrition. This list of commercial spinouts, patentable prod- represents 4 of the 10 largest global ani- ucts and innovation. Kansas’ unique bio- mal health interests, 1 of the 5 largest pet science cluster is a major reason the food companies and the world’s largest Department of Homeland Security has animal health generics manufacturer. In named the state as a finalist for the soon-to- 2006, Kansas and Missouri were jointly be-built National Bio and Agro-Defense awarded a WIRED grant to address the Facility. If commissioned to Kansas, the workforce needs of Kansas City’s biotech- facility would bring as many as 500 new nology industry, further strengthening the bioscience jobs to the state. area’s status as a leading bioscience clus-CJ production line Perhaps the most impressive compo- ter. So far, the WIRED initiative in KansasQuintiles, Caravan Ingredients, Bayer nent of Kansas’ bioscience profile is its City has yielded an asset map for the re-CropScience, Cargill and MGP Ingredi- presence within the globally recognized gion, a specific workforce council to ad-ents, as well as early-stage stars like Ven- Animal Health Corridor, which spans dress the talent needs of regional clusterstria Bioscience, Edenspace, OncImmune from central Kansas through Kansas City and a framework to assist technologyand IdentiGEN. Industrial research and de- and into Missouri and comprises the transfer in the region. T&IDvelopment in the biosciences reached largest single concentration of animal$1.67 billion in 2006, marking a $250 mil- health and nutrition interests in the world. For more information on doing businesslion increase from the previous year. At the The Corridor is home to 37 global or U.S. in Kansas, visit www.thinkbig.com. TOPEKA IS COMMITTED FROM HEAD TO TOE The citizens of Shawnee County are committed We also offer: to economic development. Our half-cent sales • Numerous sites, including a new, state-of-the art 500 tax has created more than $60 million acre business park in incentives for companies looking • A highly skilled workforce to do business in the capital city. • Foreign trade zone If you haven’t considered • Very affordable cost Topeka, Kansas maybe of living you should. If the shoe • Minutes away from fits, wear it! Kansas City Contact: Kathy Moellenberndt, Vice President/Director Economic Development Learn more at kmoellenberndt@topekachamber.org • 120 SE 6th, Suite 110 Topeka KS 66603 • (785) 234-2644 www.topekachamber.orgCIRCLE 70 ON READER SERVICE CARD32 TRADE & INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007

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