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April 18, 2021

Driving Growth and Investment

Many communities have struggled with the prospect of ongoing economic uncertainty during the pandemic. Local businesses have shuttered, creating a need for more jobs and opportunities for residents.

Throughout the pandemic, we have doubled down on efforts to create opportunities for businesses and communities across our service footprint. And now more than ever, our work is making a significant impact.

We work with state and local economic development organizations and directly with companies to identify business development opportunities. We engage internal team members, including operating company customer engagement, Transmission customer engagement and other key contributors to ensure new and existing opportunities locate on AEP lines. In addition to serving as a trusted energy advisor, the team capitalizes on its experience and local knowledge to target and work with companies to identify ideal locations to build and expand operations.

“The AEP team has remained active and committed to our customers and our communities throughout the pandemic,” said Tim Wells, vice president, Sales, Economic & Business Development. “While AEP witnessed a sizeable reduction in industrial and commercial sales over the past year, our team was engaged in projects across our service territory that are now coming to fruition and will help revive our economy.”

Special-Lite – Benton Harbor, Michigan
Special-Lite, headquartered in Decatur, Mich., manufactures high-performance architectural building products, including entrance systems and doors. The company recently announced plans to consolidate operations from non-AEP serviced facilities, into their Benton Harbor plant. The move brings a $2.3 million investment from Special-Lite into the community, and creates up to 60 new jobs.

These gains are important for Benton Harbor, which has over 35% of residents living below the poverty level. The project will grow the city’s tax base, funnel investment into local schools and help rebuild the community’s infrastructure.

Amazon – Shreveport, Louisiana
In May, Amazon announced a $200 million Robotics Fulfillment Center in Shreveport. This facility promises to create over 1,000 permanent jobs and over 800 construction jobs. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards praised the leadership and vision of key contributors to this project, including the AEP-SWEPCO team, during his announcement.

The team not only worked directly with Amazon to guide their location decision, but the site chosen was included in the AEP Quality Sites program. AEP Quality Sites are industrial properties that are development-ready. These locations are vetted by industrial site selection and construction experts. Each site has infrastructure in place or scheduled and environmental studies completed.

“Certified sites have proven to be predictive for attracting new businesses to our communities and our E&BD team works to promote and expand the amount of certified sites in our territories,” said Eric Basinger, AEP Economic and Business Development manager.

Wells credits teams across AEP for the team’s success. “The AEP Sales, Economic & Business Development team has been recognized as leaders nationally, including our National Customer and Economic & Business Development team,” said Wells. “That recognition goes well beyond our team and is shared with our colleagues across AEP.”

Wells also sees the positive impact E&BD has had on customers.

“Perhaps the greatest recognition comes from customers who continue to rely on the AEP Team as they consider expansions or new business opportunities. We have continued to respond to customer needs throughout the pandemic and as the economy regains momentum, our collective team will continue to exceed customer expectations and help our communities grow.”

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