Economic and Business Development
Building strong, vibrant communities requires communication, focus and investment from various strategic partners. AEP’s Economic and Business Development (E&BD) team puts its expertise and connections to work, helping local communities attract and retain businesses and jobs. From obtaining site certifications to attracting foreign investment to our service territory, the E&BD team connects customers with communities.
The E&BD team provides comprehensive location advisory services to companies looking to expand or locate new operations, including property searches and screening; custom community and site analysis; and introductions to local economic development partners and industry resources.
In 2016, the E&BD team facilitated, partnered with and supported 124 projects that will bring more than 18,000 jobs to the local economies across our 11-state territory. These investments help maintain property value, fund local schools and maintain public safety and health services, and they can allow for more cost-sharing for local community investments.
While most of the projects were manufacturing-related, we also worked on opportunities in the data center, oil and gas, logistics, agriculture and retail industries. Projects included:
- Amazon’s multiple data center build out in Columbus, Ohio
- CSRA call center in Bossier City, La. Dana’s axle manufacturing plant expansion in Fort Wayne, Ind.
- Enterprise Product’s cryogenic gasification plant in Waha, Texas
- Italy-based ELDOR Automotive manufacturing facility on an AEP Quality Site certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting in Botetourt County, Va. Macy’s distribution center expansion in Tulsa, Okla.
AEP’s E&BD website – www.aeped.com – provides companies and site selection consultants with essential information about locating and expanding in AEP’s 11-state territory. Site selection typically starts on the Internet, so it is critical to make a compelling case about opportunities that exist in our footprint.
The E&BD team provides comprehensive location advisory services to companies looking to expand or locate new operations.
The team also helps AEP communities prepare for growth and develop assets that make them attractive to companies seeking new locations. Training, marketing, site readiness and site certification are key ways we support our communities. Here are some examples in each:
Training – In early 2017, PSO hosted an economic development forum for more than 100 community leaders. The focus was on understanding what makes good communities great. A nationally recognized site selection consultant shared what successful communities have in common and offered tips for how our communities can succeed.
Marketing – We have supported the development of several industrial recruitment videos, including this one on the Harlingen Aerotropolis, an AEP-certified site. (Watch videos)
Site Readiness – One example is our work with TexAmericas Center in New Boston, Texas. TexAmericas Center is a former military facility redeveloped into an industrial park. Located in the Texarkana metropolitan area, TexAmericas has an economic and jobs impact on four AEP-served states – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. AEP and Southwestern Electric Power Company have been active partners with TexAmericas, funding site readiness initiatives and providing marketing support for company recruitment. Expal USA will relocate to the site, creating 67 new jobs when at full operation. The company will disassemble, recycle and repurpose ammunition for the U.S. Army.
Site Certification - For several years, the E&BD team has built a portfolio of well-prepared sites in our service territory to meet the needs of expanding companies. Through 2016, we have 27 certified sites in our portfolio. These sites have undergone a rigorous certification process to ensure they are ready for immediate development. Having certified sites reduces the risks associated with development and accelerates speed to market by providing detailed information, including price and availability, utilities, access, environmental concerns and potential development costs.
Foreign Direct Investment
Since 2015, the E&BD team has had a focused strategy on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to our service territory. FDI is a key source of capital, job creation and innovation. The United States, and AEP states in particular, are attractive and competitive destinations for FDI.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 12 million people go to work in the U.S. directly as a result of FDI. To compete in the global economy for these investment dollars, we need international partners. We are working with state and other economic development partners to attract foreign investment because we believe there is significant potential to support economic growth in our communities. We have hired consultants to work with us in Canada, Europe, India and Japan.