|Senator Bob Bennett speaks to a crowd at the CEU Prehistoric Museum during the opening reception there on Tuesday evening.|
For a second time in the five year history of Senator Bob Bennett's rural business conference, the event was held in Price this year.
And the keynote address on Wednesday morning told the attendees that Utah is the place to be.
"From all interactions I have had, and considering all the sites that we looked at for our new plant, Utah is the place," said David Taylor, vice president in charge of Proctor and Gamble's home care group. "The values and principles here in Utah match with our company's philosophies."
Proctor and Gamble announced recently that they would build a new plant in Box Elder county that will cost $300 million. It will also provide hundreds of jobs for the local area around Brigham City and Tremonton.
Taylor was ultimately the one that made the decision to locate the plant in Utah, despite the fact there were dozens of competitors for the facility in many other states. The plant will be producing tissue and towel products, but Taylor told the near 500 people at the conference breakfast that he would expect farther expansion of the plant, possibly into other aspects of Proctor and Gambles business.
Utah's hot economy is being fed by moves such as this, and while the rest of the nation is in a decline, the Beehive state seems to be growing in business circles.
Taylor said there were six main reasons that the company selected Utah as the site for their newest plant.
Centralized location. The site and area provided the company with distribution consistencies that other sites did not have.
The site met the technical requirements, which Taylor said were very complex. That meant that the land they needed was available at a good price, power, water and transportation were within the ranges that would allow them to build the plant without a lot of up-front work.
"Companies don't like to have to do a lot of up-front work like installing infrastructure, and the Box Elder site was well within what we needed.
The company needed a competitive place to build west of the Rockies, because the west is growing so fast.
"Utah's atmosphere was good for business," he said. "Some places make it hard to do business; Utah is not one of those."
|Chuck Gay of Utah State Universtiy speaks with David Taylor of Proctor and Gamble after Taylor delivered his speech about a plant being built in Utah.|
There were some competitive incentives for the company to build in Utah.
"This is our first new plant in many years," said Taylor. "It is less expensive to expand other plants, but we decided because of the future of our distribution, we needed a plant somewhere in the west. While the state and local incentives weren't as good as some we were offered the overall reasons for building here were the strongest. The final two reasons I have are the selling points that made Utah the logical choice."
Quality of workforce. Taylor said that his team explored the workforce in the area and found that the people available were beyond compare to other locations.
"This factor mattered more to me than all the others put together," he stated. "Regardless of everything else, this factor remains steady. We found the technical colleges in the area were putting people through hands-on programs and that is the kind of training we need for our work force."
Taylor also said that 90 percent of the workers hired at the plant will be from the local area.
"We, of course, have to bring in a few people from the outside as management and technical staff, but the vast majority will come from the local ranks."
Business friendly environment.
"Every person we met, every local team our people worked with helped to overcome any problems we had to get us to this point," he said. "It is a great environment for business."
Taylor said that when Proctor and Gamble build a plant it triggers three to four times the business in the local economy that the plant itself produces, by the way of payroll services and in particular, suppliers who come to the area or startup.
"Utah was the right choice because of location, education and the fact they met our needs as a company," stated Taylor.
He also pointed out, for the rest of rural Utah that a lesson could be garnered from Box Elder's success in securing the plant.
"I have ideas on what other places in Utah can do to secure more business," said Taylor and then he listed them.
Understanding the customer (business that wants to move in).
|Nancy Craig of Price talks during the question and answer period after Taylor's address about her pleasant experience with Proctor and Gamble being a local employer in Oxnard, Calif. when she lived there.|
"What most areas need to learn is that one size does not fit all," he said. "Some places have packages put together to attract businesses, but fail to be flexible in their understanding of what a particular business may need."
Be prepared to spend some money to attract businesses.
"You may have to pay some large amounts up front," he said. "Large businesses have complex needs; industrial zones that have the needed things up front can and will help."
Water is critical for growth.
"Communities must balance the needs between residential, agricultural and industrial needs for water," he said. "Water is important to most manufacturing businesses."
Environmental sustain ability.
"Sometimes the initial cost of doing business in an environmentally friendly way can be prohibitive," said Taylor, who pointed out that Proctor and Gamble is sold on using all kinds of green technology to run plants. "Business needs to partner with other businesses to develop new technologies."
People, people, people.
"Technical colleges must be willing to have hands on training programs and teach lean manufacturing processes. Business needs agile employees who can learn and change."
Taylor also explained that some people may think that they want to locate a business only where the wages are low, but he said," the low cost option is not necessarily the low wage option."
According to Taylor Proctor and Gamble operates by a set of principles, instead of a large number of policies.
"We believe in people and we believe no one, no matter how fast paced the workplace, should have to face dangers. We believe in a safe, productive workplace," he said. "And Utah we believe in Utah."