Eastern Idaho is an Excellent Choice for Businesses
30 Jun, 2005By: Trade & Industry Development
Eastern Idaho is a great place to do business. It has a pro-business climate, a skilled labor force, a variety of educational and training resources, one of the lowest energy costs in the nation, an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, and the quality of life can’t be beat.
Where else can you run a nuclear research program during the work week and spend the weekends climbing the 12,662 foot Mt. Borah peak in the high deserts of central Idaho or relaxing on the banks of the Henry’s Fork fly-fishing?
This region, famous for its outdoor recreational opportunities and its top grade potatoes, is also home to world class research and development in nuclear energy and high tech development. Anchored by the strength of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the region boasts two medical centers, three universities, a technical college, and a host of newly recruited companies including AMI Semiconductor -a leader in chip technology for pacemakers, Kimberly Clark Ballard -a leader in developing medical products for laparoscopic surgeries, and Grupo Modello -a barley malting plant for the Corona Beer company.
As the many uses of plastics and other high tech materials continue to play an indispensable and beneficial role in every aspect of our lives, whether it’s to keep our children safe in their car seats, to keep hearts beating, or to keep all of our high tech electronics, recreational and construction gear light, strong, and durable, eastern Idaho is positioned for the future. Combined with the proposed growth of the INL as the preeminent nuclear laboratory in the world, the needs of the growing high tech industry in the region, along with the growing population and accompanying construction activity, eastern Idaho will continue to increase its demand for materials and products, inviting the need to develop strong support sectors, including a stable plastics manufacturing industry.
Why pick eastern Idaho as the place to expand your business? Because eastern Idaho is committed to building and strengthening all its businesses. We have the ideal climate to grow, nourish, and expand a business. Small businesses are thriving in the region, reflected in the growth of businesses like Premier Technologies, a regionally-funded start up company that is now a world leader in the manufacturing of hot cells and glove boxes for the safe handling of biologically sensitive medical materials.
Good Energy Rates … Energy-intensive industries would benefit from the region’s low energy costs. Economy.com ranked Idaho “No. 1” for lowest energy costs in the United States. As the major suppliers of energy in the region, Idaho Power, Utah Power, and Salmon River Electric, provide a wealth of resources to help businesses improve efficiency in operations. Additionally, they constantly monitor their systems to ensure reliability to prevent major shutdowns and fluctuations. These companies understand that with the shift towards high tech equipment, energy reliability is critical in maintaining quality control measures in the production process.
Good Transportation Infrastructure … With Interstate-15 access north/south connecting to Interstate-90 and Interstate-80, rail service in parts of the region, and direct air service to Boise, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis, connectivity to the rest of the nation is easy.
Pro Business Climate … With the overall cost of doing business at 70-80% of the national average, eastern Idaho highlights its worthiness as a prime business location.
Eastern Idaho is also hard-wired into the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor, and can easily access assistance and concessions from the state that add value for new prospects, as well as existing business. Many of the recent business expansions in the region have been facilitated with incentive packages from local development agencies such as the RDA and ECIPDA, along with major state incentives.
A unified approach to helping business … To further enhance the pro-business climate of eastern Idaho, the nine-county region comprised of Custer, Butte, Fremont, Teton, Clark, Lemhi, Jefferson, Madison, Bonneville, Bingham, and Bannock counties, formed the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to develop a strong support system to make the process of relocating or expanding into eastern Idaho much easier.
Skilled workforce and Workforce Training Funds … Eastern Idaho offers a vast array of training opportunities for its workforce. We understand the value of having a skilled workforce if we are to improve the lives of our citizens, as well as help grow our businesses and communities. Small businesses regularly partner with Eastern Idaho Technical College and the State’s Workforce Training program to provide ongoing training in electronics, computer, and nursing skills beginning at the high school level and continuing on to college level. Programs also include site- and company-specific training programs that provide reimbursements for local companies.
Telecommunications … Eastern Idaho has some of the best telecommunications infrastructure in the state. Fiber optics, redundancy, DSL, T1, cable, and wireless capabilities are available in most communities.
Education … Eastern Idaho is home to several institutions of higher learning. BYU-Idaho, Idaho State University, University of Idaho University Place Campus, and the Eastern Idaho Technical College are all institutions in our region which are accessible to our local business base for training, employment opportunities, internships and partnerships. Highlights in the education sector include the impressive array of on and off campus construction at the BYU-Idaho, Rexburg campus and the Portneuf Medical Center’s $150 million dollar expansion in partnership with ISU and high-tech companies in the region.
The Idaho National Laboratory … The INL is one of the highlights of the region. It is one of twelve (12) national laboratories in the nation, under the leadership of the Department of Energy. Its mission to become the preeminent nuclear Research, Development and Demonstration lab in ten years includes work in nuclear technology, national security, homeland security, agriculture research, and many other applications. INL plans to grow its R&D from a $3 billion to a $10 billion program within that time period. Battelle Energy Alliance, the prime contractor for the INL, plans to foster academic, industry, government, international collaborations to produce the investment, programs and expertise to assure the vision. To that end, many Idaho Falls and regional companies will secure procurement agreements, amounting to nearly $70M in contract awards to subcontractors in 2005, with plans to increase those opportunities to $100M in 2006.
At the end of the work week, eastern Idaho is the place to be. Its outdoor recreational opportunities are unsurpassed. It is a land of varied topography, from Yellowstone to the east and the largest wilderness in the lower 48 to the north. Activities include camping, fishing, hiking, rafting, kayaking, rock hounding, snowmobiling, skiing, and the list goes on. And it’s not limited to outdoor recreational activities, ISU’s newly completed Performing Arts Center offers top notch events; with Challis, Rexburg, Blackfoot, and the other outlying communities brimming with cultural events ranging from Art in the Park, to the International Folk Dance Festival, to Native American events at the Shoshone Bannock Reservation.
Yes, we’re famous for our potatoes and we will continue to support our existing industries, but we’re also looking to the future. Eastern Idaho is keeping abreast with the changing times. As we move through the 21st century, we see the reliance and emphasis on high tech development and we understand the need for training in advanced processes so that technicians will learn to run and repair equipment. Our goal continues to be focused on bringing higher wage jobs and improving the skill and income levels of the people in the region. With our impressive combination of academia and business, eastern Idaho will achieve this goal while being in the fore front of innovation. New developments at the Idaho National Laboratory, partnered with the growth in our universities and businesses, give the region the dynamics to deliver for the new economy. Eastern Idaho is where the future lies.