Ameren Missouri’s industrial customers enjoy rates 30
percent below the national average. “;at’s part of the
competitive equation that Missouri puts forth to attract
new business, but also to help our existing businesses grow,
expand and be successful,” says Mike Kearney, Ameren
Corporation’s manager of economic development.
are available to businesses in the urban metropolitan area,
says Walt Williams, the city’s economic development di-
rector. “We have all the professionals and skill sets that are
needed in advanced manufacturing.”
As a vertically-integrated utility, Ameren Missouri gener-
ates, transmits and distributes power. About 75 percent of
its electricity comes from coal-fired generation, 21 per-
cent from nuclear plants, four percent from hydroelectric
plants and slightly less than one percent from natural gas.
But the city of Farmington also offers benefits that a big
city can’t. “;e cost of living and the wage rates are much
lower here,” says Williams. “Our quality of life, the labor
availability and the price of our land get a person’s attention really fast.”
A business-friendly city administration, a strong portfolio of available properties and an industrial development
authority that’s eager to help in any way it can also make
Farmington an excellent choice for manufacturing.
Ameren also is making renewable energy part of the mix.
Next year, the company expects to start delivering power
generated by its “Methane to Megawatts” project, a set of
turbines that will convert methane captured from a land-fill in Maryland Heights into electric power. When complete, this will be one of the largest such projects in the U.S.
“We have more than 300 acres of available land within our
industrial park that is shovel-ready,” Williams says. “All
the lots in our industrial park have utilities and fiber op-
tics already connected.”
Ameren Missouri is also positioning itself to be a trusted
energy advisor when it comes to choosing solar power
options. “We’ve added four solar technologies to our
St. Louis headquarters building to provide a state-of-the-
art testing ground to help our customers determine which
photovoltaic components will best suit their home or busi-
ness needs,” Kearney says.
Ameren’s economic development initiatives have helped
many manufacturing businesses take root or expand in
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and Tool, a division of Valent Aerostructures located
in Washington, MO. Taking advantage of an incentive package assembled by state and local officials
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new, 85,000-square foot building to its existing site in
Ameren also has worked with Keiper Group, a manufacturer of reclining seat systems based in Eldon, MO.
Ameren’s efforts helped pave the way for Keiper’s $2 million investment in four laser cutting machines in 2010 and
the addition of 20 jobs. Keiper hired another 75 people
and added a second building later that year.
Just 60 miles southeast of greater St. Louis, the city of
Farmington offers manufacturers a combination of small
town values and big town appeal.
Employers in Farmington draw from the same talent pool
and take advantage of the same educational resources that
Besides helping a business locate the right property,
with financing. “If you’re coming and you can afford it, we
will build it,” Williams says.
One company that enjoys the advantages that Farmington
affords is SRG Global. A tier one automotive supplier, SRG
Global manufactures injection molded and decorative
product finished with chrome plating or paint. ;e plant
in Farmington makes distinctive chrome plated auto parts
such as the logos that identify a vehicle’s make or model
and decorative radiator grills. “When you see a Ford F-150
driving down the road, you know it’s an F-150 just by the
radiator grill,” says Tom Schneider, the company’s director
Part of Guardian Industries, SRG Global became
a Farmington firm when it acquired Siegel-Robert
Automotive in 2008. One advantage the region offers is
its labor pool, Schneider says. “;e presence of an educated and available workforce is what makes us who we
are. When SRG decides whether to locate in an area, or
whether to stay there, the quality of local workers is a primary consideration,” he says.
Another important criterion involves the ability to ship
product efficiently to customers. Farmington is clearly
a winner in that respect. “As automakers have migrated
from the upper Midwest into the lower Midwest, having
a facility in that location puts us closer to our customers,
giving us a logistics advantage over somebody who’s further away,” Schneider says.