The Advanced Manufacturing industry of the Greater New Orleans region is focused primarily on the design, manufacturing, and assembly of military ground transportation vehicles, civilian and military aircraft, space vehicles, and both naval and commercial ships and boats. Home to premier NASA facilities, major high-tech manufacturers, a talented workforce, and a world-class incentive package, the region is one of the only areas in the world equipped to manufacture such advanced products.
The regional assets for this industry are focused in space and defense manufacturing; namely NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, nearby Stennis Space Center, Huntington-Ingalls’ Avondale Shipyard, Bollinger’s ship building and repair facilities, and Textron’s two manufacturing operations. This access to several large defense contractors as well as NASA allows the region to leverage government procurement contracts and regional technology expertise that aids other advanced manufacturing operations. The advanced manufacturing industry in the region has the advantage of perfect location, unparalleled infrastructure, lucrative incentives and a talented workforce.
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“The conquest of air and space, the pursuit of scientific discovery in space, is the toughest business in the world. It is unforgiving of the most minor errors, but, when we do it right, it is the most exhilarating business there is. It needs the best people that our nation has to offer. Fortunately, we have them.” – Michael D. Griffin, NASA Administrator
NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF)
NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans East is one of the world’s largest manufacturing plants. With 43 acres under one roof and a deep-water port to enable transportation, the site has long been the production home of large space structures, including space shuttles’ external tanks. NASA has demonstrated its high-level confidence in the MAF for at least another decade with a multibillion dollar commitment to manufacture its next generation of launch systems, including NASA’s Ares I and Ares V. NASA’s recent decision to diversify the facility to include private contractors and other federal programs provides new opportunities for access to technology, equipment, relationships and customers.
Blade Dynamics, located at Nasa’s MAF, manufactures the next generation of wind turbine rotors, blade components and surface coatings. The technologies are a paradigm shift in performance and reliability from existing technology, developed and manufactured by a very experienced team.
Textron Marine & Land
Innovative armored vehicles are required for American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct missions safely, and the U.S. Army relies on the Greater New Orleans region to get the job done. Textron Marine & Land, based in St. Tammany Parish, provides the Army with a variety of armored vehicles – including the ASV Armored Knight and the M1117 ASV – that have provided exceptional levels of soldier protection and operational readiness.
Dynamic Industries Inc.
When the oil & gas industry requires drilling at depths of more than 2,000 feet, the Greater New Orleans region answers the call. Dynamic Industries Inc. designs and fabricates drilling technologies that have safely reached depths 400 feet deeper than its closest competitor has.
NASA Stennis Space Center (in nearby Hancock County, Miss.)
Just across the Louisiana border, NASA Stennis Space Center fortifies the region’s role in advanced manufacturing and space exploration. For more than 40 years, Stennis Space Center has served as NASA’s rocket propulsion testing ground. Both the upper stage of NASA’s Ares I and Ares V and the main stage of the Ares V are slated for future testing here.
The Greater New Orleans region is home to a high concentration of world-class shipyards specializing in commercial, military and luxury crafts.
Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI)
A state-funded, state-of-the-art fiber optic and high performance computing network that connects research institutions in Louisiana and Mississippi and most other Louisiana universities and colleges to one another and globally through Internet2 and the National Lambda Rail, LONI facilitates greater collaboration on research, robust connectivity for higher education institutions and cutting-edge networking capability. With LONI, researchers have access to one of the most advanced optical networks in the country and some of the most powerful distributed supercomputer resources available to any academic community with over 85 teraflops of computational capacity available right here in Louisiana. Recent LONI expansion efforts resulting from a U.S. Commerce Department grant for broadband enhancement will allow various additional entities, such as the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Xavier University and the Tulane National Primate Research Center to gain access to the network. The addition of these research entities to the New Orleans community of institutions already supported by LONI, such as the LSU and Tulane Health Sciences Centers, the University of New Orleans and its NIMS Center Studios, Tulane University and Delgado Community College, will provide a rich fabric of research and education networking and computing.
V-Vehicle Company (VVC)
This company based out of San Diego, California, which plans to design and manufacture high quality, low-cost, energy-efficient cars, chose to locate its manufacturing facility in the city of Monroe. Although manufacturing has yet to begin, VVC is working to secure a loan in order to move forward. VVC chose Louisiana after an extensive multi-state evaluation of various places around the country to locate its first manufacturing facility. Louisiana’s creative and enticing incentive packages influenced VVC’s decision.
Shaw Modular Solutions
Located in Lake Charles, this project, which is being developed by Baton Rouge-based Fortune 500 Company, The Shaw Group Inc., plans to manufacture and assemble modules for nuclear power plants across the globe. The facility will also be able to manufacture modular components for chemical and petrochemical plants. Being the nation’s first manufacturing facility of its kind, Shaw Modular Solutions will help Louisiana become a frontrunner of the ever-changing and innovative energy industry.
Federal, state and local incentives available to the advanced manufacturing industry in the Greater New Orleans region comprise one of the most aggressive, and potentially lucrative, financial packages in the nation.
- The Louisiana Quality Jobs Program offers a refundable tax credit that provides up to a 6% rebate of wages for qualifying jobs for up to a 10-year term. Additionally, the program rebates the 4% portion of state sales/use taxes on capital expenditures.
- The Industrial Tax Exemption Program abates property (ad valorem) taxes for up to a 10-year term. Louisiana FastStart is a turnkey workforce-training program that provides customized recruitment, screening, and training to new and expanding companies at no cost.
- The Research and Development Tax Credit provides up to 40% refundable tax credit for expenditures relating to R&D activity.
- The Economic Development Awards Program provides funding for public infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate economic development projects.
- Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB Zone) designations are available in many areas enabling federal bid preference. The federal government requires that 3% of contracts be awarded to HUB Zone certified small businesses.
- Competitive tax and wage rates compared to competitor cities along the Gulf Coast; and
- Louisiana’s use of the single-sales factor appointment formula, in which corporate tax liability is only assessed according to in-state sales, provides a competitive tax environment to grow a business in today’s global economy.
The advanced manufacturing industry in the Greater New Orleans region benefits from a complex transportation infrastructure providing easy access to the rest of the world. The region contains:
- The largest port complex in the world
- Major highway systems
- An international airport
- All six Class 1 railroads operating in North America
The Greater New Orleans region boasts an advanced manufacturing workforce touted by national leaders as second to none. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin describes the workforce at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility as some of the best people the nation has to offer.
“Their pride in being able to contribute to the American Space Program shows in their every move. This is an incredible team down here, truly a national treasure.” – Michael D. Griffin, NASA Administrator
The state and the business community have given their financial commitment to the sector, evidenced by the region’s many industry-certified advanced manufacturing training opportunities that will ensure your company’s ability to meet hiring needs and training requirements. These include:
- A high school-based shipbuilding academy
- New training and research centers under development, including manufacturing training centers in Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes
- An education emphasis beginning early in the school system and continuing through and advanced manufacturing career
- The Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, an initiative of the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Alliance, opened in January 2008 with a goal of training 1,000 individuals in multiple occupations, including certified manufacturing specialist, welding, pipe fitting, electrical, maintenance, mechanics, press process and CAD/CAM.
UNO School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME)
The only program of its kind in the region, UNO’s School of NAME was established to supply the region’s shipbuilding and offshore industry with a qualified workforce. NAME graduates are in constant demand throughout the marine industry.
Advanced Technology Center (ATC)
The Advanced Technology Center of Excellence, an initiative of the Advanced Technology Skills Alliance, opened in January 2008 with a goal of training 1,000 individuals in multiple occupations, including certified manufacturing specialist, welding, pipe fitting, electrical, maintenance, mechanics, press process and CAD/CAM. Located adjacent to the University of New Orleans, the ATC houses technology information systems and engineering corporations in an effort to foster technological development and corporate cooperation. Some of the companies housed at the ATC:
- Axonn, LLC
- GCR & Associates
- ISS – RioMar LLC
- APOGEN Technologies, Inc
National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM)
The State of Louisiana’s ongoing commitment to fund state-of-the-art equipment at NCAM has long put the region on the cutting edge of advanced technologies and research. The state’s recent commitment to fund the expansion of equipment offerings guarantees that this partnership of the state, NASA and the University of New Orleans will provide leadership in technology, combining education, applied research and advanced manufacturing technologies. Examples of current activities at the center include:
- Friction stir welding
- Advanced fiber placement
- Non-destructive evaluation
- High-speed 5-axis machining.
“The Advanced Manufacturing Skills Alliance is an effort of the industry in the New Orleans area to ensure a talented available workforce now and in the future. The Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence shows the Alliance is making progress.” – Woody Oge, Huntington-Ingalls