MILWAUKEE - Johnson Controls Inc. participated in the Gulf Coast Business Investment Mission to Louisiana and Mississippi in early May, joining a 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 of strategic programs for Johnson Controls, met 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.

Johnson Controls had already developed an initiative, called Metro Markets Strategy, before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The strategy is a three-pronged approach to strengthen urban areas through community development, partnership development, and workforce development.

"We initially developed the Metro Markets 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."

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

Publication date: 06/05/2006