Ethanol plant will go into production by the end of 2004 in Medina

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/08/2004 - 17:33.

Here's an interesting addition to NEO energy-related economic development, reported in Crain's Cleveland today - "Ethanol plant will go into production by the end of 2004 in Medina". Congratulations to Liquid Resources, CEO Tim Curtiss, and Sky Bank for making this happen here and now, where and when the need is so great! Be sure to read the comment posted below, featuring an eye-opening editorial from Tim.

Liquid Resources gets financing

A planned ethanol production plant will go into production
by the end of 2004 in Medina after completing a $700,000 bond issue.

Liquid Resources of Ohio LLC announced today that it has
raised the money through a partnership with Sky Bank.

The bank purchased bonds issued by the Ohio Air Quality
Development Authority, a state agency which finances projects to cut air
pollution and help energy efficiency. The authority then lent the proceeds to
Liquid Resources, which is using the money for equipment for its ethanol
factory in Medina.

“The proceeds of this financing will allow us to complete
the installation of our equipment here,� said Tim Curtiss, CEO and co-founder
of Liquid Resources. He said the plant will to produce up to six million gallons
of ethanol a year.

Officials at the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority were
not available for comment.

Liquid Resources also received a $500,000 USDA Rural
Businesses-Cooperative Services grant in August 2003.

Liquid Resources has five employees and will have a
permanent payroll of eight to 10 people when the plant opens, Mr. Curtiss said.
It will also use 10 to 20 temporary workers at any given time, he said.

“Every gallon of ethanol that’s blended with gasoline
displaces a gallon of gasoline that’s made from imported crude,� Mr. Curtiss
said. Blends of gasoline and ethanol also burn cleaner and produce less
pollution, he said.

Liquid Resources produces ethanol from liquid waste that has
sugar or alcohol in it, including expired and waste beer, soda and juice.

There are no plants producing ethanol in Ohio now, Mr.
Curtiss said.

 

By TOM JACKSON – Crain’s Cleveland - see article here


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Answering the Needs for Business and Financial Services

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On 12/3/2003, Liquid Resources CEO Tim Curtiss published the editorial below, in Penton's Expansion Management - and now he's proving his points, launching his latest venture with good purpose, in Medina - showing it is possible to make all the REAL pieces fit in NEO.

The Money Game : Answering the Needs for Business and Financial Services  

Financial
and business service providers in Northeast Ohio have responded to the
sluggish economy by offering innovative services and programs targeted
at supporting employers. Existing and new organizations have joined
forces with elected officials and nonprofit institutions to address the
goals of creating wealth and jobs. Northeast Ohio banks, law firms,
investment advisers, accountants, and others have tailored their
capabilities to meet the requirements of companies ranging in size from
startup ventures to large corporations. Savvy planners can tap their
skills to harness low-cost capital for expansion activities.

Northeast
Ohio has a rich history as a headquarters location for large
corporations. The region has strong capabilities to support the
financial and business requirements of companies that choose to move or
expand their operations here.

Area banks, law firms, and other professionals can help expanding firms
make important introductions, both to each other and to valuable
sources of state funding. Regional Port Authority programs can provide
expanding companies with access to inexpensive, flexible sources of
capital from banks and other investors.

Other programs created by the State of Ohio, including loan funds and
direct grants, are increasing rapidly, reflecting a deep commitment by
the state government under the banner of its Third Frontier Project to
improve Ohio’s attractiveness. Access to such capital at a reasonable
cost often is the difference in whether an expansion or new business
can move forward. Accelerated depreciation, an important element of
pro-growth legislation enacted by Congress this year, also provides an
attractive inducement to companies considering expansion. These
programs have a link to lending and other capabilities offered by a
variety of financial institutions serving this market.

A large super-regional bank and smaller banks that provide a variety of
financial services to businesses serve the area. The national
headquarters of National City Corp. and KeyCorp, two of the largest
banks in the United States, are both in downtown Cleveland. National
City, which serves markets in a variety of upper Midwestern states, is
well-regarded for its capabilities as a lender, counterparty for
securities and currency trading, and underwriting capabilities in
several niches in the fixed-income markets.

Its NatCity Investments affiliate provides creative structuring and
placement services for corporate players seeking capital to support
construction of new facilities and investment in new equipment.
National City also offers the Armada mutual fund complex and investment
research activities that support its extensive trust and institutional
investment service offerings.

Key Bank, which serves the northern tier of the United States from New
England all the way to the West Coast, also offers a full-service array
of lending, corporate treasury, trading, fund management, and
investment banking capabilities. Key’s 1998 purchase of McDonald
Investments vaulted it into a leading position in the investment
banking industry. The merger combined McDonald’s capabilities in
corporate merger and acquisitions advisory work, project finance,
investment research, and securities trading with Key’s large asset
management and lending relationships.

Several other large banks compete vigorously with the locally based
institutions. Bank One, Fifth Third Bancorp, and US Bancorp, which
recently adopted its new name in Ohio after doing business for many
years as Firstar, all have a strong and well-known presence in
Northeast Ohio, offering broad capabilities rivaling those of the local
players. Site planners can leverage unique capabilities of these banks
by tapping the investment conduits sponsored by the Port Authorities of
Cuyahoga and Summit counties and the recently authorized authority in
Medina County. Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland and its inner
ring of suburbs, and Summit County, which includes Akron, Canton, and
environs, offer a range of programs that make it easy for companies to
raise low-cost money to purchase and construct facilities and purchase
equipment. These programs are available in contiguous counties covering
most of the Northeast Ohio region.

James Wolf, founder of Wolf Real Estate LLC, works closely with these
authorities on behalf of his industrial clients. “These agencies
understand the challenges that face companies as they move to expand
their operations in our region. They provide an easily accessible point
of first contact to site and financial planners, and are a source of
introductions to bankers, attorneys, and other sources of critical
expertise.�
The Port Authorities use their access to securities markets in several
ways to benefit companies seeking capital. Those companies with
stronger credit histories can purchase credit enhancement from the
banks, in effect using the banks’ credit ratings and well-known names
to lower the interest rates required by investors. Such structures
today can provide higher-quality companies with long-term debt for up
to 90 percent of the project requirements at rates under 3 percent, a
compelling alternative to expensive equity or internal funding that may
or may not be available from cash flow.

Those companies with promising opportunities but short or more complex
credit histories can borrow money from investors via the ability of the
Port Authorities to issue securities. While the credit ratings of the
authorities are less favorable than those of the large banks, there is
a market for their securities. Such debt, which in late 2003 would be
available in the 7 percent to 8 percent range, offers considerable
savings versus the low double-digit rates available to such companies
on their own from lending institutions, if such capital is available at
all.

James Doutt serves as the executive director of the Medina County
Economic Development Corp. Jim observes, “There are a variety of
programs that allow deserving borrowers to raise capital at competitive
rates by tapping the strength of different entities, such as the Port
Authorities of Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit, and other counties, the State
of Ohio, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. To qualify, companies, even new ones, must demonstrate
predictable cash flows and acceptable collateral in the form of
buildings, land, and equipment. If they do, we can help them to secure
credit enhancement and direct funding through a variety of programs.
Often, these packages make it possible for banks to underwrite loans to
companies that would not otherwise qualify. The result is that the
companies raise relatively low-cost capital, banks earn attractive
returns in a low-interest rate environment, and our communities benefit
from the jobs and related business activity that come from growth."

Northeast Ohio’s history as a corporate center has also led to the
growth of a variety of other outstanding business service providers,
many of which have become known globally for their expertise. In
particular, the legal profession stands second to none in its breadth,
depth, diversity, and, most importantly, its acumen.

Jones Day has expanded rapidly from its Cleveland roots to become the
largest provider of legal services on the planet. It retains a large
presence in Northeast Ohio and provides a broad range of securities,
litigation, corporate counsel, and other capabilities to large and
other companies. Calfee Halter Griswold is the largest law firm
headquartered in Northeast Ohio, with a well-known reputation as a
corporate adviser serving publicly traded and privately owned firms.
Vorys Sater has built a major presence in Northeast Ohio, leveraging
its potent base in the state capital, Columbus, to serve area clients.

Squire Sanders & Dempsey has grown from its Cleveland roots to an
international firm with offices in many of the world’s time zones.
ThompsonHine has more recently embarked on an aggressive expansion
strategy, expanding its reach on an increasingly national scale. Other
large firms, including Akron-based Brouse and McDowell, Baker
Hostetler, Benesch Friedlander, and Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, serve
clients with distinction. Firms such as these thrive on the valued and
often longstanding relationships that clients enjoy with their senior
attorneys.

However, as with other service providers, sometimes clients prefer the
service level and partner access available from more specialized firms.
One of these firms, Kahn Kleinman, specializes in serving
entrepreneurial companies. Its managing partner, Marc Morgenstern, has
established a national reputation as an adviser to real estate
developers and investors, as well as to emerging companies and the
venture capitalists who back them. Chriszt McGarry & Co., organized
in the mid-1990s, has staked out a position as a high-quality,
less-expensive adviser to closely owned companies.

Northeast Ohio companies benefit from the presence of the Big Four
accounting firms and a host of regional and smaller players. Deloitte
& Touche, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young each
have strong offices in Cleveland. Regional accountants such as the
Hausser & Taylor group of American Express Financial Services,
Cohen & Co., which specializes in growth companies, SS&G Group,
and others may provide a better fit to the needs of firms that operate
on a regional or local basis.

Northeast Ohio employers also benefit from the extensive investment
advisory capabilities of several of the nation’s largest providers.
With service offerings that range from 401(k) to pension and
high-net-worth programs, many of the banks provide one-stop shopping
for employers.

More specialized providers include the Beachwood office of Alliance
Capital, the largest institutional asset management firm in the world,
which has enjoyed a strong regional presence for more than 20 years.
Local managers such as Fairport Asset Management and Carnegie Capital
have expanded via acquisitions. More recently, well-known wealth
management firms have identified an opportunity to expand into
Northeast Ohio. In recent years, leading national firms such as
Glenmede, Mellon, and Northern Trust have opened offices and acquired
local service providers, confirming what many other service providers
have known for many years – Northeast Ohio is a good place to do
business.

Specialized advisory firms have also arisen in recent years, positioned
to meet the needs of entrepreneurial, high-growth companies and, in
some cases, starting their own firms to capitalize on emerging
opportunities. In early 2002, several partners organized CR-Squared
Capital Resources, which subsequently merged with TBO Company. Andrew
Tasker, co-founder of CR-Squared and CEO of TBO, observed, “While we
conceived ourselves as a resource for other companies, we have moved
quickly to create new businesses. Our contacts in the financial and
business services sectors have already provided outstanding support to
our staffing and outsourced human resources company, TBO. Our projects
are receiving excellent support from a variety of local service
providers.�

CR-Squared is working with Liquid Resources, a provider of liquid waste
management solutions to consumer and other industries that will
manufacture ethanol, and also Western DataCom, an emerging leader in
encryption technology. The federal government has selected both of
these Northeast Ohio companies for substantial government funding.
Larger, nationally visible investment firms such as Primus Venture
Partners, Morgenthaler & Co., which works with both emerging and
established companies, Brantley Partners, and Jumpstart, an early-stage
venture fund at Case Western Reserve University, provide a wide range
of alternatives for companies seeking equity capital to fund their
expansion.

Northeast Ohio is also home to an innovative and thriving
not-for-profit sector. The Cleveland Foundation, which oversees more
than $1.4 billion in assets, was the first community foundation in the
United States. Recently, the Cleveland Foundation hired Brad Whitehead,
a veteran management consultant, as its Economic Development Fellow.
Whitehead’s challenging mission is to identify new models and methods
to bring together the diverse resources of Northeast Ohio to promote
economic growth. In support of this objective, other key resources come
from the office of the Mayor of Cleveland. One of Mayor Jane Campbell’s
first hires was Timothy Mueller, a successful entrepreneur, to the post
of director of economic development. Mueller and Whitehead work closely
with several other important Cleveland institutions, including the
Enterprise Development Institute at Case Western Reserve University,
which operates an incubator and offers other programs aimed at
supporting the needs of Northeast Ohio businesses.

Another key participant, BioEnterprise, has substantially strengthened
its leadership by appointing Bill Sanford and other seasoned executives
to leadership positions. BioEnterprise focuses on promoting the
expansion of the biotechnology and health sciences industry throughout
the region. Sanford, who founded Steris, a billion-dollar participant
in the healthcare industry, brings private sector know-how and a track
record of success to this burgeoning field.

These appointments highlight the appreciation that Northeast Ohio
leaders have for the importance of attracting new and expanding
businesses to our region. Political, business, and service industry
participants share this commitment. A common objective unites all these
leaders: to attract businesses that can grow and prosper in Northeast
Ohio.

Tim Curtiss is the CEO and co-founder of Liquid Resources of Ohio, LLC,
a provider of liquid waste management solutions in Medina, Ohio. A
serial entrepreneur, Mr. Curtiss has co-founded and operated a series
of successful businesses in recent years. Reach him at 216-831-6532 or
at tcurtiss [at] capitalresources [dot] biz.