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Regional Economic Development Group Forms

Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio kicks off activities with $126,000 grant

PIKETON, Ohio – July 11, 2013 – Four counties in southern Ohio are banding together to focus their combined resources on improving the area’s business climate leading to more jobs and a higher quality of life in the Appalachian region.

The leaders of economic development programs in Jackson, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties June 28 announced a $126,000 capital contribution to the Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio (JEDISO) from the Fluor-B&W Portsmouth Community Commitment Fund. The grant will be used to fund a slate of activities developed by the new association to promote economic development in the area.

Chris Manegold of the Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio discusses the group’s purpose and plans with officials from Jackson, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties during a kickoff meeting June 28. The group received a $126,000 grant from Fluor-B&W Portsmouth to help the group launch.

“We will be marketing the assets of the four counties as one economic region to create jobs and new wealth,” said Chris Manegold, spokesman for the group. “Our goal is to position southern Ohio as the location of choice for resident companies to prosper as well as for prospective new companies to pursue their growth objectives. Initiative partners will continue to focus on support and services for existing businesses to retain and expand employment while the Fluor-B&W grant provides the impetus for an aggressive business attraction effort to bring new quality jobs to the region.”

Manegold, who is Chief Executive Officer of the Ross County-based Economic Development Alliance of Southern Ohio (EDASO), is one of four economic development professionals and four county leaders comprising the JEDISO board of directors.

Representing Ross County in addition to Manegold is EDASO Board Chairman Bill Beatty. Other JEDISO board members include Jennifer Jacobs, Executive Director of the Jackson County Economic Development Board (JCEDB), and JCEDB Chairman Tim Wojdacz; Chris Ervin, Director of Pike County Community and Economic Development, and Pike Commissioner Harry Rider; Todd Book, Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Chairman, and Scioto Commissioner Vern “Skip” Riffe.

“JEDISO does not replace any existing economic development offices,” Manegold said. “But with limited resources and the national trend towards regional collaboration, we felt we would benefit more by working together than as separate counties.”

JEDISO has organized as an unincorporated not-for-profit association to “advance, encourage and promote the industrial, economic, commercial and civic development” of the four counties, according to the charter signed by its members in December 2012. The public announcement was planned after Phase 1 funding was obtained from Fluor-B&W.

Phase 1 goals include developing and maintaining a website to market available sites and buildings, a consultant’s analysis of target industries and related facility requirements, professional development costs, and operating costs to complete the Phase 1 goals. All but the consultant services were included in the initial $126,000 grant. The search is underway for advisory services to complete Phase 1 objectives and to prepare Phase 2 plans.

Bob Nichols, Deputy Site Project Director for Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, explains the company’s commitment to helping the regional economy expand for the communities surrounding the Department of Energy Portsmouth Site in Piketon.

The fund was established in 2010 to implement actions described in the Fluor-B&W Community Commitment Plan (CCP), which is part of the company’s Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) Contract for the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant owned by the US Department of Energy (DOE) near Piketon.

“Fluor-B&W is committed to JEDISO’s plans to market the region collaboratively,” said Bob Nichols, the Fluor-B&W fund’s Steering Group chairman. “We are excited at seeing their plans and look forward to assisting them throughout the duration of our Contract.”

The CCP details the company’s dedication to the growth and economic stabilization of the four-county region that is most impacted by operations at the Portsmouth Plant. The four main components of the plan are educational outreach, regional purchasing, community support and economic development. Since October 2010 Fluor-B&W has invested more than 5% of its award fee in the four-county region, allocating 80% of that to economic development.

With today’s grant Fluor-B&W has contributed more than $346,000 directly to economic development programs and projects in the four counties since 2011.

JEDISO has also received facilitation and technical support from the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, whose 12-county service area includes the four counties.

“The initiative demonstrated by Fluor-B&W to create the Community Commitment Plan to create long-lasting results is highly commendable and unprecedented,” said OVRDC Executive Director John Hemmings, who has facilitated and hosted many JEDISO meetings.

JEDISO Phase 2 activities will primarily focus on developing and implementing the regional marketing program. It will include funds to improve attractiveness of available industrial properties, to host familiarization tours for site selectors, to visit with targeted prospects, and to participate in trade shows and conferences with the objective of raising national and international awareness of the benefits of doing business in the four-county region.

Another goal of the Initiative is to create a positive image for the business climate in southern Ohio so that when potentially reusable industrial property becomes available at the DOE Portsmouth site as cleanup progresses over the years, its assets will be more favorably viewed as part of the region’s business advantages.

JEDISO sees its activities as complementary to those of the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), the DOE Community Reuse Organization charged with leveraging the Government assets for the benefit of the same four-county region.

“The efforts of JEDISO should be applauded and embraced,” said Dan Minter, vice-chairman of SODI and member of the Steering Group that administers the Fluor-B&W funds. “Combined resources and efforts will help ensure better regional economic development success.”

Chris Ervin, who leads Pike County’s economic development program, added, “Our greatest hope is to create conditions for people to achieve what they strive for. For some it will mean being productively employed, for others access to a good education or a fulfilling retirement. It’s to live the American dream.”

“The caliber of applications we received from area high school students was impressive,” said Fluor-B&W Site Project Director Dennis Carr. “We not only had kids apply who topped the charts academically, but young women and men who are active outside the classroom and know the value of giving back to their community. While we did not have an easy task selecting this year’s award recipients from among the field of highly accomplished applicants, the 2013 winners bring an unsurpassed record of scholastic achievement and community service.”

In 2012 more than 70 students applied for these scholarships. This year 98 students applied and the competition was strong. Winners of the 2013 program include Jackson Fish, Pike CTC; Clint Burk, Valley; Tyler Moore and Courtney Dye, Zane Trace; Courtney Hattle and Kelly Hughes, Jackson; Melanie Smalley, Northwest; Ryan Gaines, Oak hill; Halea King, Minford; Lacrissa Woolridge, Piketon; Brittany Mounts, Eastern.

The fields encompassed by STEM are skills in demand and highly valued by environmental cleanup companies like Fluor-B&W. “We understand the value of education and how the core studies of science, technology, engineering and mathematics create the foundation for motivated students who will become tomorrow’s doctors, engineers, builders and problem solvers,” Carr said. “We are just starting a large project that could take more than a decade to complete. There’s a good chance some of these high school achievers will come back after college and join our skilled workforce. That would be my goal.”

Through its Community Commitment Plan, Fluor-B&W has invested more than $120,000 in education efforts in the four-county area. Fluor-B&W employees also support DOE-sponsored education programs that seek to interest local high school students in STEM programs and how those studies can lead to rewarding careers.

Fluor-B&W Portsmouth was awarded a D&D contract by DOE in August 2010 to oversee the safe cleanup of the former gaseous diffusion plant including removal of more than 400 buildings and systems from the Cold War era.

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About Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) and The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE: BWC), two world-class companies with significant Ohio experience, formed Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC to address the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) needs at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Portsmouth Site in Pike County, Ohio. The team, which includes two local mentor/protégé companies, inSolves and Wastren Advantage, Inc., and a small business, Pro2Serve, brings unparalleled experience, insights, and lessons learned from across the DOE complex. The Fluor-B&W Portsmouth mandate is to clean up the Portsmouth Site safely and compliantly, provide strong uranium stewardship and partner with local communities to achieve a sustainable economic future. For more information, visit www.fbportsmouth.com.