VOL. 130 | NO. 131 | Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Memphis Medical Device Plan Wins Federal Designation
By Bill Dries
A Memphis regional alliance aimed at increasing manufacturing in the Mid-South area is one of 12 manufacturing economic development plans across the country that will get support from 11 federal agencies and the $1 billion in economic development funds those agencies control.
The Made in the Mid-South Manufacturing Alliance led by the Greater Memphis Chamber submitted its plan to specifically grow medical device manufacturing in the designation’s second round of competition.
The list of 12 designated “manufacturing communities” was announced Wednesday, July 8, by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in Washington, D.C.
The Made in the Mid-South Manufacturing Alliance seeks to attract more companies like Medtronic, which is among the Memphis area's largest medical device manufacturers.
(Daily News File Photo)
Pritzker said the designation is “an important signal to potential investors that these communities are a good place to spend their money, and this is smart government at work.”
The 12 communities named in the first round last year have drawn more than $100 million in federal funding so far.
The Memphis-area alliance includes the Memphis Bioworks Foundation as well as the Memphis Medical Device Council of the Bartlett Chamber of Commerce and the University of Memphis.
Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary has said the chamber is specifically working to create more advanced manufacturing jobs and businesses in the Memphis area to go along with the dominance of distribution and logistics jobs the city is known for.
“We have seen major investment by manufacturing companies who are choosing Memphis because of our workforce capabilities and world-class assets such as our high-quality, low-cost water and competitive infrastructure,” Trenary said Wednesday in a written statement. “Attracting more manufacturing investment to Memphis is a top priority for the chamber.”
Steve Bares, president and executive director of Bioworks, said the specific goal of the biomedical manufacturing industry efforts is to start and grow medical device companies.
Other communities named Wednesday in the ‘Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership’ competition include: Pittsburgh, Pa.; San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; Madison, Wis.; Peoria, Ill.; Minneapolis; Twin Falls, Idaho; the Wasatch Front region of Utah; the Pacific Northwest Partnership Region in Oregon and southwest Washington; Hartford, Conn.; and Fresno, Calif.
The federal agencies participating in the Manufacturing Communities program, in addition to the Commerce Department, are the Agriculture, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Transportation Departments at the cabinet level.
The agencies also include the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration and the Delta Regional Authority, which is already involved in other economic development efforts in Memphis and the surrounding region.