Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation took action today using tools the Governor established to bring more than 170 new jobs at two major global companies—GE Digital and Finlays—in Rhode Island. The incentive packages the Commerce Corporation approved today will bring GE Digital to Providence and Finlays, the 250-year-old British tea company that acquired the iconic Rhode Island company Autocrat, to Quonset.
"Rhode Island is open for business, and we're putting Rhode Islanders to work in high-skill, high-wage jobs," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "My top priority is growing our economy. We are using every tool in our toolbox to make Rhode Island a more attractive place for businesses to invest and expand. GE Digital will put Rhode Island in the center of a growing industry, and Finlays' growth continues to strengthen Quonset's standing as a hub of opportunity. In just over 18 months we've made a great deal of progress, and we need to stay continually focused on our efforts that create opportunities for Rhode Islanders to build the skills that matter for jobs that pay."
The incentives and economic development packages approved today include approximately $7.2 million in tax credits and incentives to support the new jobs.
GE, a global company with over 300,000 employees and $115 billion in revenue, envisions that the new Rhode Island unit will advance the company's digital and Industrial Internet platforms. The unit of GE will employ a range of professionals from experienced engineers and data scientists to young professionals with backgrounds in data, design, and IT.
GE Digital will employ around 100 Rhode Islanders in new advanced-industry, full-time jobs in the near term, with the aim to expand its presence in the state over the next several years. The Providence office will be staffed by a range of professionals in Rhode Island, from experienced engineers and data scientists to young professionals with backgrounds in data, design and IT. GE Digital plans to have in place its full team by 2018, primarily software developers with an estimated average annual salary in excess of $100,000 (and a median annual salary of $88,000).
The Commerce Corporation offered a competitive incentive package for GE consisting of tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive program and up to $650,000 from the First Wave Closing Fund, which provides financing unavailable from other sources to help close transactions critical to Rhode Island's economy and communities. The Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credits are only available to the company once 50 jobs have been filled and the positions are paying income tax.
"We needed a place that had a strong tech talent pipeline, top-tier university partnership opportunities and great quality of life," said Chris Drumgoole, GE's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "With its unique location along the Northeast corridor, Rhode Island gives us access to many of the assets we need for success."
"The jobs GE is bringing to Providence are the kind of advanced industry jobs we need to build a competitive economy for the next five years as well as the next 50 years," said Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "GE will be helping to plan and craft the future of the industrial internet in Providence, and that will have very positive effects on our own economic future."
The Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation also approved Finlays two-phase project to build over 93,000 square feet of research and manufacturing space in the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown. Phase one will include a 28,800-square-foot Global Research and Development Center and Manufacturing Plant, while phase two will deliver a 65,000-square-foot full-scale manufacturing facility. As part of this project, Finlays plans to hire 73 new full-time employees by 2019.
"We continue to strive for excellence through our commitment to delivering innovative ingredients and unique solutions. This new investment will better position us as a global strategic partner, with increased speed to market in delivering unique, high-quality, customized food and beverage ingredients," stated Steve Olyha, CEO of Finlay Extracts & Ingredients USA.
Finlays will be eligible for approximately $1.4 million in state incentives over the next 10 years. The phase one research and development facility will also be eligible for Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits of up to $176,972 over five annual disbursements. Phase two of the proposed Finlays project would be eligible for incentives totaling up to $395,028, consisting of up to $100,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits.
In return for the state investment, Rhode Island is projected to realize a net increase of approximately $4.2 million in increased tax revenues and a $15.3 million annual increase in Rhode Island's GDP after the completion of phase two.
"The Finlays project shows that Rhode Island's manufacturing sector is positioned for growth," said Pryor, who is chair of the Quonset Development Corporation board. "Finlays' investment is in an area that's particularly strong in Rhode Island—advanced food-related manufacturing—and the company is bringing good middle-class jobs to our state. This project has been a great collaboration between the Commerce Corporation and the Quonset Development Corporation. Thank you to Finlays' leadership and to all involved."
"The Quonset Business Park is already home to more than 200 companies, nearly 11,000 jobs, and one of the top auto importers in North America," said Steven J. King, Managing Director of the Quonset Development Corporation. "Finlays' plan to create a new global center for research, development and sustainability of tea at Quonset is another indication that more and more companies want to grow and succeed here. We are committed to helping them do that and helping to move Rhode Island's economy forward."
Any potential lease with the company will be approved by the QDC's Board of Directors in the weeks ahead.