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Old 05-18-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,750 posts, read 13,155,086 times
Reputation: 3236

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
A close review does not mean a constant message to corporations that Missoula is not industrial friendly.
Exfreakinzactly!!

Just like there's no reason the timber industry HAS to mean clearcutting and mudslides. When well-managed it means maximizing healthy forests. Mining... well, there's no way around making that hole in the ground, but that hole can become a better place for your city landfill, or maybe pasture and a stock pond, once it's done being dug out, and those mine tailings can replace gravel in a lot of applications (especially as filler in concrete). Industrial waste is no longer waste; it's chemicals to be recaptured for yet another process. We have the chance to design our industry from the ground up to do least harm and stay under review -- but that's NOT the same as "NOT HERE".

Well, unless you plan on all our industry being maids and cooks for tourist traps.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:48 PM
 
17 posts, read 115,837 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Exfreakinzactly!!

Just like there's no reason the timber industry HAS to mean clearcutting and mudslides. When well-managed it means maximizing healthy forests. Mining... well, there's no way around making that hole in the ground, but that hole can become a better place for your city landfill, or maybe pasture and a stock pond, once it's done being dug out, and those mine tailings can replace gravel in a lot of applications (especially as filler in concrete). Industrial waste is no longer waste; it's chemicals to be recaptured for yet another process. We have the chance to design our industry from the ground up to do least harm and stay under review -- but that's NOT the same as "NOT HERE".

Well, unless you plan on all our industry being maids and cooks for tourist traps.
It seems the interest of the area is a constant focus on gripe sessions I just don't get compared to core issues.

For example, following the local media and the topics almost daily are:
1) those terrible megaloads
2) don't shoot the wolves
3) air quality needs improved ... let me guess it's the 3 factories left (amazing how the experts predicted massive improvements would occur after Smurfit and Stimpson closed. Nada we are in a freakin inversion zone rocket scientists.

What are the core issues to those reading this post that could make a positive impact on Missoula?
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 545,301 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
2010 stats:

Missoula employment information

Index Missoula Montana National
Income per capita $25,406 $23,515 $26,505
Median household income $44,942 $46,873 $54,595
Median household income owner occupied $69,319 $55,288 $63,664
Median household income renter occupied $28,053 $31,375 $35,685
Median earnings male $26,177 $34,093 $38,921
Median earnings female $16,675 $19,433 $23,115
Unemployment rate (2000) 7.5% 4.6% 4.0%
Unemployment rate (2010) 7.0% 7.3% 9.5%
Poverty level 19.7% 15.2% 12.3%

Lack of industry has much to do with these results.

Whether it's the service sector, creating a modeling agency, or opening your own business, the odds of creating as many jobs, income, and subcontractor work are slimmed compared to bringing one industry into the area. Many keep saying we must find a "best fit" for our "best place" and I agree with the historical enviro issues in Libby and Anaconda this needs close review. A close review does not mean a constant message to corporations that Missoula is not industrial friendly.
Last Stop, you seem pretty passionate about bringing large manufacturing to Missoula. But I just don't think with the political climate there you would have a chance of being successful with it. The politicans would have to all want it and have the savvy to know how to intise a large company to relocate there or start a new facility. Manufacturing supporting most or all of Missoula is a pipe dream. There's at least a couple of engineering people that are giving you their thoughts on it here on this thread with some knowledge of manufacturing. It would be a huge endeveor.

My advice for the time being is to go it alone or find like minded people with the same idea, keep it small, and you'll have success with it.

I would look for contracts with mid-sized companies, possibly in Washington or this 'boom' area out in North Dakota, in a 'rework' facility. A lot of bigger companies don't have the personnel to augment their repair work, especialy when it comes to electro-mechanical devices.

I know an engineer and his wife down in Arizona started a PC board manufacturing facilty after he aquired a contract with National Semicondutor for overflow work during the .com boom back in the '90's.
I visited his facility, and it was small. He took out a loan for the equipment and he and his wife did all the work. I called him a couple years later and he told me he paid off everything and was making a very nice profit. He did well at it because his timing was perfect.

You could use this as a template for manufacturing something else, possibly something 'green', and make a good living at it.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:16 AM
 
189 posts, read 302,865 times
Reputation: 219
The answer to all these problems is FREEDOM.

Get rid of your meddlesome government that presumes to tell people what they can or can not do with their property.

Then build a factory and make stuff.

But wait! You can't just DO stuff without begging your masters for permission! These are the thought processes of SLAVES.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,750 posts, read 13,155,086 times
Reputation: 3236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbechtel View Post
My advice for the time being is to go it alone or find like minded people with the same idea, keep it small, and you'll have success with it.
That's all fine for one or two individuals, maybe even a good handful for each such business, and certainly we need more of these small local businesses. But it does very little for the majority who aren't up to running their own business. What about them?

[Per info I've seen, most startup businesses fail not due to lack of market, but due to lack of business savvy. Which not everyone has the time or inclination to acquire.]
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:17 PM
 
17 posts, read 115,837 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbechtel View Post
Last Stop, you seem pretty passionate about bringing large manufacturing to Missoula. But I just don't think with the political climate there you would have a chance of being successful with it. The politicans would have to all want it and have the savvy to know how to intise a large company to relocate there or start a new facility. Manufacturing supporting most or all of Missoula is a pipe dream. There's at least a couple of engineering people that are giving you their thoughts on it here on this thread with some knowledge of manufacturing. It would be a huge endeveor.

My advice for the time being is to go it alone or find like minded people with the same idea, keep it small, and you'll have success with it.

I would look for contracts with mid-sized companies, possibly in Washington or this 'boom' area out in North Dakota, in a 'rework' facility. A lot of bigger companies don't have the personnel to augment their repair work, especialy when it comes to electro-mechanical devices.

I know an engineer and his wife down in Arizona started a PC board manufacturing facilty after he aquired a contract with National Semicondutor for overflow work during the .com boom back in the '90's.
I visited his facility, and it was small. He took out a loan for the equipment and he and his wife did all the work. I called him a couple years later and he told me he paid off everything and was making a very nice profit. He did well at it because his timing was perfect.

You could use this as a template for manufacturing something else, possibly something 'green', and make a good living at it.
To clarify, from what I have seen so far you are right. I could not in best business intentions or conscience bring a manufacturer to the area or select this area to build one on my own with a select group of interested investors.
I am a business owner / entrepreneur and fortunate enough to travel were needed to make a living. As long as there is an airport close enough, (Spokane) Missoula is a great home for our family.

I have strong eastern US companies wanted to have a western US presence that await advisement on where to do the deep dives.

What does "not" need to change for this to work in Missoula:
1) the quality of the workforce - engineers / managers / maintenance / laborers (all available and needing to work)
2) the labor cost compared to national average
3) Logistics (not the best but will work)
4) State support (will work for economic industrial growth partnered with the right locally engaged community)
5) Concerns of "real" environmental impact (groups I work with produce products of no concern / with 0 emissions.

What "does" need to change:
1) local leadership
2) local influence (5% of the population here controls 90% of the money - they do not want to divide their pots that run over) #2 controls #1.
3) lack of education regarding industry (University or not a disjointed message is taught fueling the area to be non-industrial for fear of "dirty smoke stacks"
4) Economic Development pulling the rope in the same direction. Visited over 100 sites across 22 states in 2008-09 to select communities to build plants. Did local deals that married the state with the city for funds and grants. Missoula is first one I have seen that does not have the key members (local chamber, mayor, and economic development group) pulling the rope in the same direction. One hires undercover consultants to advertise the other is not doing their job. Power struggles always show insecurity.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. If the current path continues bumper stickers will change from "Best Place" and "Keep Missoula Weird" to "Poverty With A View."

I love the area and want to make a positive difference. It is a great place to raise a family and constantly be in awe of God's creation. I just think it would be an improvement to see people make a descent living. Those from Montana and those not.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 37,662,683 times
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I was in manufacturing for several years. Bringing in industry is not an easy task and there are many things that people don't put together when they are planning on starting up a plant. You seem to have a firm handle on that.

We wanted to open up manufacturing in Redding California. Population 90,000. Our plant would employ 125 to 150 people. 2 eng (electrical), 3 or 4 managers, 3 or 4 office staff (HR, Reception, etc...) 10-12 supervisors, 6-8 warehouse, the rest manufacturing. We figured with that base we'd be fine.

We put together a team to fly out to Redding to sample the populace, find a site, and overall test the waters. We found concerns from the people about manufacturing negatives. They didn't want a big smokestack spewing forth gasses, they didn't want chemicals capable of being spilled, they didn't want massive traffic, they did want competitive wages, etc.

We decided that everything would be manufactured elsewhere, shipped to Redding and assembled, packaged, and shipped out. Our worst hazmat concern was copper remnants from terminating wire. 2-6 inch pieces of wire cut off 512 pair cables. We contacted a local recycler and contracted to have them pickup up twice a week and we'd capture 100% of the remnants.

Our biggest problem was workforce. We had no problem with engineers, management, and supervisors. The problem was in the main workforce. Redding almost couldn't support 100 people. Not long term. We had to back off on our estimates and run with 100 people total. That was sustainable.

Redding is 90,000. Missoula is only 60,000. To start up manufacturing in Missoula would be very difficult to maintain 100 people. Wouldn't be difficult to begin with as unemployed, unskilled would beat down the doors. But after you weed out and try and get skilled workers, you'd be running short of workforce after about 6 months. If you could maintain for about a year and hold a good record with the community, people would start moving to Missoula to work there (employment ads through headhunters and such). A little longer and people of Missoula would start trusting and actually start recommending as "That place is a good place to be". Once the community got to that point and no longer feared the manufacturing plant was going to ruin their envirnment, you'd start gaining long term employee's, people that wanted to work there as a possible career.

It would take time and I think it would be good for Missoula. The problem is that most large manufacturing organizations, don't want to "fit" into a community, they can't afford to start out slow and grow a "trust". They want to build a large building and immediately produce what their other plants are producing. That won't work.

We also opened a plant in Dallas/Fr Worth area. We had absolutely NO problem with staffing there. We also had NO problem with people in the community worrying about what was brought in. They were more concerned with somebody bringing in jobs.

Just, food for thought. Not saying it can't be done. It is needed, badly, would just have to approach it cautiously.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:40 AM
 
17 posts, read 115,837 times
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Very good thoughts Elkhunter and we must have close backgrounds. I ran a plant in Dallas, TX also and did a large expansion while there. Certainly no problem with finding a workforce as long as immigration documents were in line.

Not doubt it would take considerable time to build confidence with the locals and bringing in others from surrounding towns to supply the workforce. I would think with the 2 large historical plants that closed in the last couple of years, confidence is very low in the area regarding industrial security. Frankly, it's pretty much this way nation wide. You mentioned CA and I am doing market research on opportunities there. It is amazing that in 2008 there over 44,000 manufacturing plants and at the end of 2010 just over 25,000. Reports show over the last 10 yrs that CA industrial loss is approx 10% more than any other state.

The biggest sale is getting the local support to engage companies. The number 1 question I always ask when doing site selections is, "Why this area?" From there of course you fill in the blanks of time, money, workforce, logistics, permitting, cost of business index, etc. With what I have seen so far, it is probably better to look at surrounding areas such as Superior, Butte, or Billings as far as Montana goes.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 13,283,834 times
Reputation: 3436
Agree!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
2010 stats:

Missoula employment information

Index Missoula Montana National
Income per capita $25,406 $23,515 $26,505
Median household income $44,942 $46,873 $54,595
Median household income owner occupied $69,319 $55,288 $63,664
Median household income renter occupied $28,053 $31,375 $35,685
Median earnings male $26,177 $34,093 $38,921
Median earnings female $16,675 $19,433 $23,115
Unemployment rate (2000) 7.5% 4.6% 4.0%
Unemployment rate (2010) 7.0% 7.3% 9.5%
Poverty level 19.7% 15.2% 12.3%

Lack of industry has much to do with these results.

Whether it's the service sector, creating a modeling agency, or opening your own business, the odds of creating as many jobs, income, and subcontractor work are slimmed compared to bringing one industry into the area. Many keep saying we must find a "best fit" for our "best place" and I agree with the historical enviro issues in Libby and Anaconda this needs close review. A close review does not mean a constant message to corporations that Missoula is not industrial friendly.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,750 posts, read 13,155,086 times
Reputation: 3236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
The biggest sale is getting the local support to engage companies. The number 1 question I always ask when doing site selections is, "Why this area?" From there of course you fill in the blanks of time, money, workforce, logistics, permitting, cost of business index, etc. With what I have seen so far, it is probably better to look at surrounding areas such as Superior, Butte, or Billings as far as Montana goes.
I think you are right about that. Some of the planning has to look at whether your workers consider it a career, or a a temporary step to some nebulous "something better". If the local workforce is always looking for the easy way up and always thinking the grass is greener, they won't stick. If they consider it a long-term commitment from both you and themselves, you won't spend half your personnel budget retraining new folks every few months. I recall a long-ago study concluding that an employee who doesn't last at least a year is likely to cost more in lost production (due to retraining time and disruption) than not hiring them in the first place.

And I think that sense of making it a career, or at least a steady job for the long term, is more likely to come from workin'-folks towns like Butte or Billings, not so much from a college town like Missoula.

But there's no rule sayin' new industry in Montana has to be in Missoula. If Missoula's unemployed population can't commit to jobs long enough to make industry viable, that's Missoula's loss.
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