MILWAUKEE - U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Donald Powell announced that Johnson Controls Inc., a leader in energy and facility management, is participating in the Gulf Coast Business Investment Mission to Louisiana and Mississippi taking place on May 4 and 5.

Johnson Controls is joining a diverse mix of companies from across different industries exploring investment opportunities in the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During the trip Eric Reisner, vice president for strategic programs for Johnson Controls, will meet with a variety of representatives from the federal, state, and local governments, as well as private sector leaders in each state, to discuss commercial opportunities in the Gulf Coast region.

Prior to Katrina, Johnson Controls had developed an initiative called MetroMarkets Strategy. The strategy is a three-pronged approach to strengthen urban areas through community development, partnership development, and workforce development.

"We initially developed the MetroMarkets Strategy as a pilot program in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Baltimore," said Reisner. "Once Hurricane Katrina presented its challenges we decided there was no better time and place to implement the strategy, so we added New Orleans."

As part of its post-Katrina support, Johnson Controls helped rebuild the mechanical and electrical infrastructure of buildings at Tulane University in New Orleans. Going beyond its traditional scope of services, Johnson Controls also worked to ensure that university employees had primary and secondary education options for their children so the employees could return to work.

The Gulf Coast investment mission is part of the Bush administration's effort to rebuild the region by encouraging business investment and by urging companies to consider the commercial opportunities in the region.

"I am very pleased that Johnson Controls responded to the Bush administration's invitation to participate in the rebuilding of the Gulf region's economy. Johnson Controls will see firsthand that the Gulf region is one of the most attractive markets in the world," said Gutierrez. "Commercial investment in the region will be key to economic recovery in the region and will create jobs and revitalize communities."

During the investment mission, participants will learn about incentives that are available through the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. The act created a Gulf Opportunity Zone with tax relief for businesses and entrepreneurs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Publication date: 05/01/2006