Snap - November/December 2013 - (Page 58)
made in the usa: gulf coast
For the Gulf Coast states, the automotive,
shipping, and aerospace industries are leading
the way out of the recession. by j. michael welton
manufacturing in the
Gulf Coast states-never
completely down during
the recession-is making
a comeback. Alabama's
secretary of commerce, Greg Canfeld, points to auto
as one reason, citing Mercedes-Benz's expansion
of its "C" class facility and Honda's new Acura plant.
As domestic housing trends upward, some building
products are benefting as well. Tuscaloosa-based
screen manufacturer Phifer, for one, reports that
traditional insect-screen business is up this year.
Mississippi is growing its automotive sector, which was
nonexistent until Nissan arrived a decade ago. Employing
5,600 in Canton, it recently broke ground for a partswarehouse facility that could attract suppliers to the area.
As for building products, manufacturing is up from last
year at Booneville company Heartland Siding.
Florida, which broke its own tourism record last
year, is getting into the act, eliminating sales tax on
manufacturing equipment in hopes of diversifying.
St. Augustine-based wood-panel manufacturer Rulon
International reports that business is up, as it was even
during the downturn, says Rulon's Jesse Reyes.
In Louisiana, the emphasis has been on oil, gas, and
chemicals. South African Sasol is investing $16 billion
near Lake Charles to convert natural gas to liquid, lowsulfur diesel. Bolstered by $14 billion in capital projects
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans is
beginning to boom. It has also gained a new $40 million
meat-shipping facility on its waterfront.
Florida is looking to its ports, too (15 in all), investing
millions to position itself as a trade hub with South America. The Mobile, Ala., and Gulfport, Miss., ports are also
expanding in anticipation of a new era in global shipping.
Aerospace plays a role as well. Northup Grumman
plans to add an aircraft design facility in Florida. And
Boeing and Lockheed Martin are in New Orleans
researching NASA's planned trip to Mars. To summarize:
for the Gulf Coast, the skies are no longer the limit.
58 | snap | november/december 2013 | sweets.com
manufacturer: Rulon International
location: St. Augustine, Florida
products: Wood and wood veneer products such
as acoustic panels, other ceiling and wall panels, and
and vinyl framed
windows (all types)
and doors (swing and
price range: $$
location: Chopin and Oakdale, Louisiana
products: Plywood and oriented strand board
(OSB) products ranging from lumber and structural
walls to siding and decorative elements such as
price range: $$
location: Bossier City, Louisiana
products: Specialty and sustainable architectural
metal products for interior and exterior applications,
including ceilings, walls, column covers, drywall, and
founded: 1964 employees: 100+
price range: $-$$
By Land, Sea,
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