Few things can tell a community’s story better than its business residents’ insights. This is why we created the “Why Midlothian?” series.
In this series, Midlothian companies share their experiences, observations and impressions about why Midlothian has proven a great fit for their business needs.
We hope their stories will inspire you to consider how you can make something great with us in Midlothian.
A Conversation With … Ed McKenna, President and CEO, Applied LNG, Midlothian, TX
Ed McKenna is President and CEO at Applied LNG, a leading marketer, producer, and distributor of liquefied natural gas. Applied LNG is responsible for building a virtual pipeline of an alternative fuel source that can be shipped across the nation. They process the gas and liquefy it below zero, then transfer the cold liquid gas into vessels. The ultimate goal at Applied LNG is to both please customers and reward shareholders, while advancing the industry.
Midlothian Economic Development: How did you first get involved with Midlothian?
Ed McKenna: We began working with Midlothian in 2013 when we went through an extensive site selection and community evaluation with the Midlothian Economic Development (MED) team to identify an ideal location for our plant. We were interested in Midlothian for the purpose of serving the trucking industry in the DFW metroplex.
Applied LNG was considering Midlothian as the site for our production facility. Our strong attraction was based primarily on proximity to our target market, regulatory feasibility, availability of essential utilities (gas, electricity, water), and a supportive municipal government — all of which Midlothian exceeded expectations.
MED: Why did you choose to locate your business in Midlothian?
EM: It’s an advantage to have the marketplace in proximity. The closer we are to the customer, the better off we’ll be. In Midlothian, our goal is to tap into the growing popularity of alternative fuel sources, while competing against traditional sources such as diesel, gasoline, and propane.
In addition, we were fed up with California regulations; it’s a painful process to jump over all of the regulatory hurdles. Coming to Midlothian, the speed of our site-selection timeline was a competitive advantage. The Midlothian Economic Development team set up a meeting with all the appropriate people involved in the permitting and environmental process — something we had never experienced before. In California, we had to go find those people. We eliminated a lot of the guess work thanks to MED’s support.
MED: How would you characterize your overall experience thus far in Midlothian?
EM: Our initial perception has most certainly changed. We assumed we’d be dealing with a vendor of sorts, responsible for promoting economic growth, but what we didn’t realize was that the economic development team would be an integral part of our team. With our level of comfort, I’m able to come to MED with any concern — that sets Midlothian apart and makes them an invaluable resource.
Beyond our relationship with MED, our site-selection needs were met: centrally located, close to railways and highway, and equipped with the existing infrastructure. With all the external factors that are out of our control, it’s nice to have someone we can trust to make the process easier.
MED: Why is Midlothian a good place to do business?
EM: Midlothian is a welcoming environment that streamlines the processes needed to commission the plants. In our experience going through processes of obtaining necessary permits, Midlothian was dramatically more efficient than California.
Our timeline in California would have been drastically extended with limited certainty of approval. In Midlothian, however, the economic development team ensured we qualified and met the regulatory environment. They helped us move forward and meet our goals, rather than leaving us frustrated by a bureaucratic environment.
MED: What advice would you give other companies considering locating in Midlothian?
EM: There are so many variables associated with site selection, yet the city of Midlothian is extremely helpful in assisting, navigating, and streamlining the permitting and environmental review process. Midlothian Economic Development worked with us to obtain strong business incentives and supply a skilled workforce.
Despite the demands and time constraints placed on the MED team’s schedule, they provided us with their undivided attention and support throughout the entire process. While the permitting process is never easy, the Midlothian process was by far the easiest relative to other projects we have completed. If you value your time, your project efficiency, and a competitive advantage, consider Midlothian.