A Word from REDCo's President - Bob Cook
The past two months have been packed with new private sector interest in our region, rounding out perhaps the strongest deal flow we have seen in more than ten quarters. Over the past two weeks alone, REDCo has hosted visits by four companies considering relocating or expanding their operations in the El Paso region - and two projects that have been on hold for a period of time are beginning to move forward. Three significant factors driving these companies to consider investing in our area include availability of labor, proximity to customers and overall operating costs. The business attraction activities that REDCo has strategically implemented in recent months have the potential for more than 10,000 new jobs and nearly $2 billion of new capital investment.
Despite this increased interest in our region, REDCo and partner organizations in the community are engaged in significant discussions about strengthening the effectiveness of the region’s economic development approach. Within the last few weeks, REDCo’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors approved measures to explore the potential merger of REDCo and the Paso del Norte Group (PDNG). A committee consisting of REDCo Chairman Russ Vanderberg, REDCo Chair-Elect John Harris, REDCo Board Member Terry McGreehan and members of the PDNG leadership will establish the framework.
I am fully confident that a merger with PDNG and possibly other mission critical organizations will allow our region to better compete for new jobs and investment on a global scale. As we continue to work out details of the new partnership, we will update you on the progress and provide an opportunity for our current investors to weigh in on the future of economic development in our region.
Fort Bliss: Existing and Potential Missions Provide High-Value Business Recruitments Tool
The Brigade Modernization Command at Fort Bliss is developing and enhancing the Army’s latest technology to prepare for The Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.2, an event that simulates a combat environment similar to Afghanistan and allows soldiers to test new means of communicating and receiving information on the battlefield. From May-June 2012, NIE 12.2 will take place at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and will be executed by 3,800 soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD). The exercise is the third in a series of semi-annual, soldier-driven exercises designed to further integrate, mature, and rapidly progress the Army's tactical network.
Fort Bliss’ NIE 12.2 is the most significant such exercise the Army has conducted and differs from previous NIEs in several ways. It will involve dynamic, on-the-move scenarios with hybrid threats, and incorporate several non-networked systems, including vehicles and operational energy capabilities. REDCo is exploring bringing in a group of targeted defense reporters to the region to not only participate in NIE 12.2, but also meet with and tour several major defense companies in the region and show the reporters firsthand our unique advantages in this sector.
Since the 2005 BRAC decisions, Fort Bliss has been growing at a rapid pace and has received the largest net gain of any military installation in the country (tripling its troop count from 9,300 to more than 31,466 in 2012). Now, the post may be headed for additional growth as the U.S. Air Force is considering it for a possible “security forces regional training center.” The Air Force is looking to consolidate and move six regional training centers with an annual throughput for training 8,500 airmen to one of four locations: Fort Bliss in El Paso; Camp Guernsey in Guernsey, Wyoming; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington and Ocean Counties in New Jersey; and Joint Base San Antonio (Camp Bullis) in San Antonio, Texas. This consolidation effort is part of an Air Force efficiency initiative that is expected to save money and improve the quality of training for airmen who are deploying overseas or assigned to other missions. Fort Bliss has satisfied all of the site selection criteria for this new training center, including requirements such as having a 9,000-foot runway located at the installation and a variety of firing ranges. A final decision is expected as early as this summer.
El Paso Region's Presence at Medical Device Trade Show Yields New Leads
The El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDCo) teamed up with the City of El Paso and a delegation of representatives from regional companies involved in the production of medical devices-- Dynatec Labs, Keats Southwest, TECMA and Seisa Medical to exhibit and sell the region’s unique assets at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) Texas trade show on March 14-15 in Fort Worth. The MD&M conference, which attracted more than 500 medical device professionals, presented a great opportunity for the delegation to raise awareness of the El Paso region’s diverse and robust capabilities for medical device manufacturing. As a result, approximately 30 new company leads were generated by REDCo and the team.
The regional team was led by Rose Romero, Vice President of Business Development & Research at REDCo. The companies who joined with us in this endeavor were able to provide first-hand accounts of the talent and skill sets in the region. Additionally, the participation of these organizations clearly showed the complete list of "A to Z" capabilities our region offers for this sector, specifically....
- Keats Southwest is a producer of precision metal components that are integrated into medical devices and other products
- Seisa Medical is a contract manufacturer of heart stents, catheters and other complex FDA-registered medical devices.
- TECMA provides "shelter services" and supply chain management for companies engaged in FDA-certified medical device manufacturing in Mexico, as well as other industry segments
- Dynatec Labs is one of a small number of biocompatibility labs in the nation, that provides a range of services including sterility assurance for devices to clean room analysis.
- UTEP’s KECK Center for 3D Innovation also provided items displayed in the booth which highlight the center's strong capabilities in anatomical modeling, tissue engineering, cardiovascular hemodynamics and rapid prototyping.
Continuing the success of the MD&M in Fort Worth, REDCo is planning to attend the MD&M conference in Minneapolis in October 2012 and desires to have other regional companies participate which offer capabilities in addition to those discussed previously-- particularly in areas such as plastics and packaging. REDCo also plans to collaborate closely with the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation for the Minneapolis event.
Featured Investor : Terry McGreehan of ADP, Inc.
ADP located in El Paso in 2006 and now has more than 1,000 employees at their El Paso facilities. It is one of the most financially successful companies in history of Corporate America in terms of sustained earnings growth. Today, ADP is one of only 2-3 publicly-traded companies in the nation with a AAA rating. The company’s El Paso facilities represented its first major solutions centers in the nation and they implement more than 50 different BPO services from these facilities. ADP has also made major investments in UTEP's Math and Science Teaching Academy.
The following is a Q&A with Terry McGreehan, VP and General Manager at ADP, with more information on the company’s operations in our region:
What unique advantages does the El Paso region have in attracting investment?
Some of the region’s strongest assets are its available workforce, strong higher education presence with more than 60,000 students, good weather, and the fact that we are on Mountain Time zone.
Why did ADP decide to open up shop in the region in 2006?
The factors listed above played a large role in our decision to establish operations in El Paso as well as the low cost living. Also, home ownership is much more attainable for our associates than in competing geographies such as California, New York, New Jersey, and others.
ADP’s El Paso facility represented the company's first major solutions center in the nation and it now implements more than 50 different BPO services. Can you please expand on this?
Some ADP facilities house more associates than we have in El Paso, but those facilities only have a few business groups. Our largest “mixed use” facility is in El Paso, in terms of the number of functional groups and business units. We have six major business units and 55 different business functions – or departments – under one roof. The clients serviced out of El Paso are spread across North America, with a high concentration in the Central, Mountain and Pacific Time zones, including Mexico and Canada.
What has been your experience with the El Paso workforce?
The El Paso workforce is an excellent resource for us. In fact, of the 1,100 ADP associates in El Paso, only 50 have come from outside the area via relocation – meaning that 95% of our employees are from the El Paso region. We recognize that most people are not familiar with ADP business applications, so we expect to train everybody, which opens up the market to people with varied backgrounds and business experience. And we have been able to select high-caliber associates with a strong service orientation.
What partnerships has ADP established in the region (can you speak to the company’s partnership with UTEP’s Math and Science Teaching Academy)?
We fund the ADP MaST Academy at UTEP’s College of Science. The ADP Foundation has gifted $1.2 million dollars to the College of Science. Through the spring semester of 2012, approximately 60 math and science teachers for El Paso area school systems have graduated from the academy and are now primarily teaching in high schools. We believe that the fields of math and science are at the root of technology and innovation and that our scholarships provide a high level of competency in those disciplines within our high schools.
What’s the best kept secret about the El Paso region?
Despite the low statistics on educational attainment across the broad population, we find excellent talent here and particularly for a service-oriented business like ADP. Nearly half of our workforce here has an associate degree and one third has a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. While we look for high intellect and willingness to learn, we also value a high service-orientation so that our associates will be fulfilled by serving clients. The talent we find in El Paso has a willingness to serve others and that’s what ADP is about, which is why our facilities are so successful here.