Community by community, project by project, our efforts to promote economic development are making an impact. 2016 marked the fourth year since we brought back AEP’s corporate focus on economic development, and it was a year full of project activity and initiatives to help our communities become better positioned for new development.
We’ve had the good fortune to facilitate, partner and support 124 great projects in 2016 that will bring over 18,000 jobs and other positive impact to the local economies across our 11-state territory. While most of the projects were manufacturing-related, we also worked on opportunities in the data center, oil & gas, logistics, agriculture and retail industries. Here are just a few of our notable projects from 2016:
- Amazon’s multiple data center build out in Columbus, Ohio
- CSRA call center in Bossier City, Louisiana
- Dana’s axle manufacturing plant expansion in Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Enterprise Product’s cryogenic gasification plant in Waha, Texas
- Italy-based ELDOR Automotive’s manufacturing facility on an AEP Quality Site certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting in Botetourt County, Virginia
- Macy’s distribution center expansion in Tulsa, Oklahoma
We also continue our efforts in product development, now with over 30 sites in our AEP Quality Sites Portfolio – 13 sites certified by McCallum Sweeney for industrial use, 10 sites qualified by Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, and 8 sites certified for food & beverage by Austin Consulting. Plus, we’ll be adding several more Quality Sites in 2017 that have detailed assessments on site characteristics completed.
On the community front, in 2016 we offered many opportunities for our communities to prepare for growth. Research and data services, scholarships to economic development training, and hosting our own training events for our partners were highlights of the year. Key training sessions we hosted included topics from electric service requirements for economic development projects to economic development training for elected officials to prospect development training.
In 2016 we also mourned the loss of our dear friend and colleague Pat Lawrence. Pat was one of the best – kind-hearted, thoughtful, always positive. Simply the kind of guy you want to be around. He worked for AEP for over twenty years, ten in economic development. He loved working in our profession. He also loved fishing, Marshall football, and his family the most. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss his smile and laughter in our office, and we continue to honor him through the work we do.
Our team truly feels privileged and honored to serve our company and our communities. This role is bigger than our bottom line. It is truly about improving quality of life in our communities and giving people the opportunity for success. We look forward to more of that success in 2017. Onward!