She’s cagey about it — because she has to be — but Mickey Fornaro Dean — director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council —is excited about who she’s been talking to about building in the Kansas Logistic Park.
So far, two wind energy related companies have signed on — though they have yet to break ground. New Millennium Wind Energy is moving forward with engineering, Tindall has completed engineering for turbine tower bases and is creating a test production site in Atlanta.
But the park is not limited to wind energy prospects — which is why Dean is smiling and cautious.
“There are prospects out there in other sectors,” Dean said. “There are other opportunities, and we are looking at how we segment those across our properties.”
According to Dean and consultant Troy Carlson, other sectors currently targeted for projects at the KLP include energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
All are fueled by increased global demand.
“We have to be strategic about how we do this,” Carlson said. “I quote (Hall of Fame hockey player) Wayne Gretzky who said ‘The reason I’m good is not because I go where the puck is, but because I go where it is going to be.’ You have to look ahead, if you become a ‘me too,’ you have lost.”
Dean and Carlson point to statistics — a growing middle class at the global level, which will mean a growing demand for energy. World population is growing faster than ever — especially in India — which translates into a demand for food and agricultural products.
And, due to conditions in China and higher shipping costs worldwide, manufacturing is returning to U.S. soil.
“There is been a surge in manufacturing in the last six months,” Dean said. “China is moving manufacturing inland ... that creates more of a cost for manufactures who ship back here”
“The wages in China are rising,” Carlson added. “It no longer offset shopping cost to the rest of the world.”
According to a report published by Bloomburg in November, world food demand will double by 2050 —and food production is right in Kansas’ wheelhouse. As demand for food grows, there will also be a demand for delivery.
The way grain is shipped is changing, as many nations are no longer willing to pay to store grain. Instead, they are using “just in time” shipping — rather than store it at the port, grain is shipped inland almost immediately.
“We will see a retooling of how grain is shipped to international markets,” Carlson said. “It will have to be more coordinated.”
“That gives us more opportunities,” Dean added.
And while the KLP got off the ground with a pair of Wind Energy companies, they are likely not the only energy companies eyeing a facility in the park.
“World energy demand is rising,” Carlson said. “There has to be a change in the infrastructure to move those products.”