Numerous Business Expansions Move Lincoln’s Economy Forward
As 2018 nears its conclusion, the economy continues to boom in the Lincoln area. With September drawing to a close, big announcements of expanded facilities and operations highlighted some notable success stories in the manufacturing and retail areas of business.
From sporting goods to natural pet foods, aerospace products and renewable energy pursuits, these expansions show that business in Lincoln is enjoying incredible success and reaching for more. This continued and substantial investment in areas such as research and development, workplace renovation and in some cases, brand new buildings, sends the message that companies can extend their successes and carry forward with ambitious plans for their companies.
On the heels of successful trade missions and the 50th Annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference, Japanese officials were in Lincoln in September to see Kawasaki put the finishing touches on completed cargo doors for Boeing aircraft. The new Aerospace Division at Kawasaki has announced plans to not only spend upwards of $12 million on renovating areas of its Lincoln plant, but to also increase production at its new Aerospace Division, which has been operating since May 2017.
With a solid and quite successful trade relationship established between the two countries, Nebraska continues to reap the benefits of Japanese investment in the state. Kawasaki Lincoln serves as the company’s largest plant in the United States, with increased employment opportunities and better jobs awaiting Lincolnites as a result. As the growth continues with cargo door production and other aerospace ventures, Lincoln will remain a key area for Japan’s investment.
For the second straight year, Nebraska has been awarded the Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine. The cup is awarded to the state that has the most economic development projects per capita in the country and once again, companies with a footprint in Lincoln helped the state keep claim to this prestigious honor. With Governor Pete Ricketts on hand, Monolith Materials showed off its new Research & Development Center in west Lincoln on September 25. Monolith, which develops innovative, cost effective and environmentally sustainable technologies by converting natural gas into chemicals and materials, is a pioneer in the field of carbon black production.
Carbon black’s use in products such as cellphones, tires and other plastic goods, highlights Monolith’s partnership with Nebraska Public Power District and the goal of creating energy through renewable means. Monolith hopes that the use of hydrogen and natural gas will allow for more environmentally sustainable materials that can increase manufacturing possibilities and with it, more jobs locally and nationally. The plans call for an investment of nearly $100 million in the project and more than 100 jobs for the area.
Nature’s Variety is also expanding with the addition of a Lincoln-based manufacturing facility. Producing premium, natural pet foods, the St. Louis-based company rolled out the red carpet for its new 26,000- square-foot site on September 26 in southwest Lincoln.
“This facility brings us to new capabilities,” according to Nature’s Variety CEO Aaron Grimm. “Lincoln’s been a great place to us and we appreciate all of the support from the community.”
This is the first of the company’s planned expansions with more groundbreaking phases of new construction to continue as the demand for freeze-dried food for dog and cat owners steadily grows in the U.S., Canada and 18 countries around the world. With the expansion comes more jobs for the Lincoln area and a continued commitment to boosting the local economy.
“This direct investment into the community illustrates the high-functioning, public-private partnerships that continue to be the best foundation for building a great community,” says Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler.
Nature Variety’s expansion plans not only speaks well to the business climate in our community, but also to the people in our community who embrace this progress and the prosperity of tomorrow.
Last but not least, SCHEELS opened its brand new, 220,000-square-foot retail shopping store on September 27 with great fanfare, oohs and aahhs from the public. A collection of entertainment venues, specialty shops, boutiques and Nebraska’s largest selection of sports, fashion and footwear under one roof will remain a local attraction for many years to come. An employee-owned, privately held business that initially opened its Lincoln store in 2000, SCHEELS continues to invest in the Lincoln economy and provide great jobs to a city that definitely loves its sports related pursuits.
The increased investment by companies in Lincoln businesses shows that there’s confidence in not only our city, but especially in the talented and hardworking people of the Capital City. A bright 2019 is just around the corner and Lincoln continues to provide a great scene for business expansion and prosperity for years to come.