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June 1, 2006

State Support Will Help Bring at Least 1,000 New Jobs to the Quad Cities

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of almost $16 million in Opportunity Returns support for Triumph Foods, a pork processing company headquartered in St. Joseph, Missouri, to locate a new, state-of-the-art processing plant in East Moline. The project will create an estimated 350 new jobs by 2009 and a total of 1,000 new jobs by 2010. The investment package comes as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development strategy to create jobs and build the economy in Northwest Illinois.

"We are always looking for opportunities to attract new companies and new jobs to Illinois. Triumph Foods is investing $135 million to build this state-of-the-art facility that will eventually bring at least 1,000 new jobs to Northwest Illinois. This is the largest regional economic development project in many, many years, and it is another strong signal of the economic progress we are making here. By investing in companies that are investing in Illinois, we are also helping people build better lives," Gov. Blagojevich said.

Triumph Foods is investing $135 million to build the 620,000 square foot plant, which will be located on 116 acres in East Moline. Construction is expected to begin the spring of 2007 with occupancy anticipated by the first quarter of 2009. The new plant will be a pork processing facility only, with no hog confinement planned. The plant will feature innovative, new automated processes to address negative community impacts traditionally associated with pork processing facilities.

"With its large, available workforce, central location and great road and air access, the Quad Cities region is an excellent fit for us and was the best choice for our new, state-of-the art processing plant. The decision was also made easier because of the strong state and local partnership that exists here, so I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich and all of the local partners who helped make this a reality for us," said Rick Hoffman, CEO of Triumph Foods.

"This is a rare chance to give Northwest Illinois a tremendous economic shot in the arm. We were able to bring Triumph Foods and at least 1,000 new jobs here thanks to all of the support from Gov. Blagojevich, Rock Island County and the city of East Moline. I know this is going to be only the beginning of a long and successful partnership," State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) said.

"We must continue to do everything we can to create more jobs and better economic opportunities for people across the Quad Cities. Gov. Blagojevich and I know that we have to provide companies like Triumph Foods a variety of economic tools to help us accomplish these very important goals. By bringing at least 1,000 new jobs here, we are laying the foundation for even better economic news in the future," State Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D-Rock Island) said.

"We are so happy to formally welcome Triumph Foods to East Moline and the Quad Cities. It takes a strong public-private partnership to make such an enormous project happen. We have worked closely with Gov. Blagojevich and East Moline to bring these new jobs here because this is such a great opportunity to continue our recent economic momentum," Rock Island County Board Chair James Bohnsack said.

"We are thrilled to have Triumph here in the Quad Cities, which will be a boon for the regional economy. The Quad Cities is at the center of one of the largest hog producing areas in the world, so it makes economic sense for Triumph Foods and for the Quad Cities to locate this state-of-the-art facility here. The projected 1,000 jobs initially generated by this facility could also create 2,900 spin-off and support jobs according to the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa, with an estimated $437 million dollar impact on the local economy in the first year. I thank Gov. Blagojevich for committing these resources to help make this possible," said Thom Hart, President of the Quad City Development Group.

"We are thrilled to welcome Triumph Foods to East Moline, which is huge win for the community and the regional economy. Not only will this new facility provide a strong, immediate boost to the Quad Cities construction industry, but it will fuel economic growth and job creation in the years to come. We couldn’t have done this without tremendous cooperation on all levels, and I thank Gov. Blagojevich, the State of Illinois and Rock Island County for your hard work," said East Moline Mayor John Thodos.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the business investment package. It includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on job creation; a Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) grant to the City of East Moline to make needed improvements related to water and sewer infrastructure; a Large Business Development Program (LBDP) grant; Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce; as well as additional financial benefits, such as investment tax credits and tax exemptions through the High Impact Business (HIB) program.

"Triumph’s decision to build in the Quad Cities is wonderful news, and a terrific sign of things to come.  The new, state-of-the-art processing plant will bring good jobs with decent wages and provide an economic benefit for all of us.  My hat is off to Triumph Foods, Gov. Blagojevich and everyone else who made this happen," said Quad Cities Federation of Labor President Jerry Messer.

"We’re celebrating a great win for the people in the Quad Cities. We’re thankful to Gov. Blagojevich and our local officials and economic development organizations for providing the resources needed to increase these employment opportunities in our community and put more people to work. I look forward to working together with the company as it begins to grow and thrive here in East Moline," Tri-City Building Trades Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rory Washburn said.

"Opportunity Returns is all about making the kinds of investments in companies and communities that are most critical to fostering a more vibrant local economy and creating and retaining quality jobs. Triumph Foods is indeed a great triumph for the local economy, creating many jobs and fueling economic growth across the region. Gov. Blagojevich and I will continue to provide the resources necessary to attract investment to the state and create more good jobs," DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.

"It only makes sense that Triumph Foods is looking to open a state-of-the-art pork processing plant in Illinois," Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "Illinois is the fourth largest pork producing state in the nation, and the interest to expand our livestock industry continues to grow. This plant will provide another market for our product, continue to create jobs and support the local agriculture economy."

"We are excited to be working with a modern facility that will implement best practices, ultimately producing minimal environmental impact while providing an important economic boost to the community," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "We will work to guide Triumph and East Moline through the regulatory process to operate in both an environmentally- and community-friendly way."

Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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