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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Viper Powersports to build motorcycles in Auburn - Birmingham News
Investor firm buys Atherotech - Birmingham News
Other states gleeful as Illinois gambles on big tax increase to solve its budget crisis - AP
RBC Bank names Bill Taylor to board - Birmingham News
On the record: George Perdue, president of South Region Minority Supplier Development Council - Birmingham News
Business leaders on Alabama Gulf Coast look to 'welcome back' tourists in 2011 - Press Register
Prattville Chamber of Commerce president steps down - Montgomery Advertiser
Forecast calls for Alabama economy to grow nearly 4 percent in 2011 - Press Register
Paul Sanford chosen to Chair Senate Economic Development Committee - WAFF
Bentley announces 5 key positions - Andalusia Star
Tallassee tops list for industries - Wetumpka Herald
DANA BEYERLE: Hammett wants to create jobs - Gadsden Times
Agency hopes I-22 improves corridor - Tuscaloosa News
A statewide plan is a smart move - Birmingham Business Journal
A Great Day...Gov. Bob Riley celebrates HTPG expansion, praises partnership to bring jobs - Daily Sentinel
Ireland Market Briefing / Trade Mission Information - EVENT


Viper Powersports to build motorcycles in Auburn


Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 8:00 AM
By Russell Hubbard -- The Birmingham News

Construction has started on the new motorcycle factory that is projected to have an Alabama-made bike on the nation's highways later this year.

Viper Powersports Inc. said Wednesday it has signed a 10-year lease to occupy a building owned by the Auburn Industrial Development Board. The board has begun converting the 68,000 square-foot space into a motorcycle assembly plant for the company, Viper said in filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last year, the Minnesota-based company agreed to move its headquarters and motorcycle manufacturing to Auburn, creating about 100 jobs in the long run.

Viper manufactures heavy American-style cruiser motorcycles that sell for about $35,000. Company officials said the move to Auburn is to escape the wintry north, allowing year-round road testing.

"Yep, we really are coming," said Chief Executive John Silseth in an interview. "We are looking at completing the move to Auburn in the second quarter, and you should be seeing the first Alabama-made Viper motorcycles on the roads within 60 days of that."



Birmingham News link


Investor firm buys Atherotech


Published: Friday, January 14, 2011, 9:00 AM
By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News

Birmingham-based Atherotech Diagnostics Inc., a UAB spinoff that developed a novel cholesterol test, has been acquired by a New York-based investment firm.

Behrman Capital, which has a history of purchasing laboratory testing companies, acquired Atherotech in a transaction that was closed on Dec. 23, the firm announced Thursday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal will give Atherotech both the capital and leadership it needs to get a bigger piece of the market for cholesterol and other tests, said Atherotech Chief Executive Officer Mike Mullen.

"We're bringing in one very large, sophisticated investor with the experience of taking companies around our size and helping them grow," he said. "It was the next step in our company's growth and it was a good move for the company."

Atherotech was spun out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1999 after UAB's Dr. Jere Segrest developed the technology in the early 1990s. A U.S. patent on the cholesterol test was awarded in 1994. Today the company operates a lab off of West Lakeshore Parkway in Birmingham and employs about 130 people, mostly lab technicians who perform tests for physicians, hospitals, clinics, and other laboratories.



Birmingham News link


Other states gleeful as Illinois gambles on big tax increase to solve its budget crisis

Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 11:50 AM

By The Associated Press


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - While many states consider boosting their economies with tax cuts, Illinois officials are betting on the opposite tactic: dramatically raising taxes to resolve a budget crisis that threatened to cripple state government. Neighboring states gleefully plotted Wednesday to take advantage of what they consider a major economic blunder and lure business away from Illinois.


"It's like living next door to 'The Simpsons' - you know, the dysfunctional family down the block," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in an interview on Chicago's WLS-AM.


But economic experts scoffed at images of highways packed with moving vans as businesses leave Illinois. Income taxes are just one piece of the puzzle when businesses decide where to locate or expand, they said, and states should be cooperating instead trying to poach jobs from one another.


"The idea of competing on state tax rates is . . . hopelessly out of date," said Ed Morrison, economic policy advisor at the...




AP link


RBC Bank names Bill Taylor to board


Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 9:14 AM Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 4:27 PM
By Jerry Underwood -- The Birmingham News

Bill Taylor has been named to RBC Bank's board.

RBC Bank said Alabama business leader Bill Taylor has joined the Raleigh, N.C.-based bank's board of directors.

Taylor directs the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, a private recruitment organization, and previously headed the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Vance. During his 16 years at Mercedes, he oversaw a $600 million expansion project.

This month, Gov.-elect Robert Bentley named Taylor to lead a project to create a strategic plan to better align Alabama's economic development efforts.

"RBC Bank is fortunate to have a business leader of Bill Taylor's broad international experience and tremendous understanding of the Alabama market as a member of our board of directors," CEO Jim Westlake said in a statement.

RBC has more than 420 offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada. It entered Alabama with the acquisition of Alabama National Bancorp.


Birmingham News link


On the record: George Perdue, president of South Region Minority Supplier Development Council


Published: Sunday, January 09, 2011, 10:04 AM
By Roy L. Williams -- The Birmingham News

For nearly two decades before retiring in 2007, George Perdue helped minority businesses gain contracts at metro Birmingham's largest employer, UAB.

The Birmingham native, who spent 23 years representing Alabama House District 54 before deciding not to seek re-election in 2006, says he was perfectly content relaxing with his wife and grandson, and volunteering with nonprofits.

But a desire to help minority-owned firms across Alabama spurred him out of retirement last month, when he was named president of the South Region Minority Supplier Development Council, a nonprofit organization based in Birmingham.

In an interview, Perdue discussed the role minority firms can play in helping bigger firms and government entities become more diverse and how he plans to use his business contacts to expand the role of the council, an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.



Birmingham News link


Business leaders on Alabama Gulf Coast look to 'welcome back' tourists in 2011


Published: Sunday, January 09, 2011, 9:00 AM Updated: Sunday, January 09, 2011, 2:36 PM
By David Ferrara, Press-Register

GULF SHORES, Ala. - Business leaders from across Alabama's Gulf Coast are looking to rebound from the BP PLC oil spill, and one official said last week that the start of the new year may be the sign of things to come.

Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, said at a meeting of about 200 members of the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce that a healthy snowbird season could lead to a solid rebound of tourists in the spring and summer.

So the board is handing out coffee mugs packed with postcards from the Alabama coast, in the hope that winter visitors will write to potential future tourists.

That's just one of many marketing projects south Baldwin leaders have launched in the wake of the oil spill.

The keynote speaker for the event, Billy Canary, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, said he wanted to help hand out bumper stickers reading "Welcome Back."

Malone appeared to appreciate the idea, and though the two had not collaborated on the effort, Canary said the state group could assist with mass communication efforts.



Press Register link


Prattville Chamber of Commerce president steps down

By Marty Roney January 8, 2011

PRATTVILLE -- Connie Bainbridge, longtime president and director of economic development for the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, is stepping down to take a position with the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.

Bainbridge has worked with the chamber for 12 years. She said she is "excited" about the opportunity the move presents.

"Central Alabama Electric Cooperative plans on having an aggressive economic development effort for the communities it serves," she said. "I have been working in the economic development field for a long time. Going to Central Alabama Electric Cooperative will allow me to work on a regional level.

"And it allows me to stay in Prattville and work with people who I have developed relationships with over the past 12 and a half years."

The cooperative, a not-for-profit utility, has assets totaling more than $190 million and encompasses more than 5,000 square miles of line in portions of Autauga, Elmore, Chilton, Coosa and six other central Alabama counties. It is headquartered in the Pine Level community, about 10 miles north of Prattville.



Montgomery Advertiser link


Forecast calls for Alabama economy to grow nearly 4 percent in 2011


Published: Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:37 AM Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:47 AM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - University of Alabama forecasters said the state's economy could grow as much as 4 percent this year, and should outperform the nation.

That could be almost double Alabama's 2010 growth rate, though hiring is unlikely to pick up as quickly, said Samuel Addy, director of UA's Center for Business and Economic Research.

It's one of the most optimistic 2011 forecasts issued for the state, which saw unemployment balloon in 2009 before beginning to recover in 2010.

Addy delivered the forecast Thursday at the school's annual Economic Outlook Conference in Montgomery.

In December, UA forecasters predicted 3.4 percent growth for the state in 2011. But like other economists, they are raising their predictions following the tax cuts passed by Congress.

"We got a nice sugar fix with the tax deal at the end of the year," Addy said. "It will help 2011 as well as 2012."



Press Register link


Paul Sanford chosen to Chair Senate Economic Development Committee


Posted: Jan 11, 2011 4:59 PM CST Updated: Jan 11, 2011 4:59 PM CST

MONTGOMERY, AL - State Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) was appointed by the leadership in the Alabama Senate to serve as Chairman of the Job Creation and Economic Development Committee.

The announcement was made Tuesday by President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Del Marsh (R-Anniston), during the special organizational session of the Alabama Legislature.

"This assignment is truly an honor. As a small business owner, I have employed hundreds of people over the years, and I know the importance of a paycheck. We have a daunting task before us, and that is put Alabama's economy into high gear through business recruitment and job growth," Senator Sanford said after his appointment.


more... link


Bentley announces 5 key positions

Published 12:00am Thursday, January 13, 2011


MONTGOMERY - Gov.-elect Robert Bentley yesterday named a director for ADECA and announced four key staff positions for his new administration.


Prattville Mayor Jim Byard, Jr. will resign his position at the close of business on Mon., Jan. 17, and take office as the Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) on Jan. 18. Prior to becoming mayor, he worked for the Alabama State Department of Transportation.


Michael Ciamarra of Trussville has been named the governor's policy director; Tuscaloosa attorney R. Cooper Shattuck will serve as legal adviser; campaign press secretary Rebekah Caldwell Mason of Tuscaloosa will be named director of communications; and Allison A. Bell of Phoenix will become legislative director.



Bentley will take his oath of office Monday with events including a prayer breakfast, parade, swearing in ceremony and an inaugural ball.


Andalusia Star-News link


Tallassee tops list for industries 

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 3:55 pm | Updated: 8:51 am, Fri Jan 14, 2011.


Tallassee's Corporate Park just secured a spot at the top of the list.


Tallassee Mayor George McCain was presented with a certificate to designate the corporate park as an AdvantageSite location during Tuesday's Unity Breakfast at the Wetumpka Civic Center.


"This lets industries looking to locate that our corporate park know we have the majority of the necessary infrastructure to locate here and be ready to work," McCain said.


The AdvantageSite program requires that community economic development organizations provide documentation specific to a proposed industrial site, including a set of standard date related to ownership/control, environmental and geotechnical conditions and infrastructure status. Sites must also meet size, zoning and accessibility requirements.




Wetumpka Herald link 



DANA BEYERLE: Hammett wants to create jobs 

Published: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.




Former House Speaker Seth Hammett, Gov.-elect Robert Bentley's designated Alabama Development Office director, said his goal is to "create jobs for the people of Alabama."

Bentley, who takes office on Jan. 17, picked Hammett to succeed ADO Director Neal Wade, who returned to a position with a Florida Panhandle development company during the winding-down of Gov. Bob Riley's two terms.




Hammett has senior management experience in banking, politics and education, and has been involved in significant economic development projects for two decades. He retired after 32 years in the House, including the last 12 as speaker.


"I've long had an interest and have participated in this process for many years," Hammett said in an interview. "My interest goes back to the first civic responsibility I had when I returned to Andalusia after college and military service and was president of the chamber of commerce."



Gadsden Times link


Agency hopes I-22 improves corridor

Alliance set to promote interstate development

By Robert DeWitt Senior Writer


FAYETTE | For much of the past two decades, economic development efforts in West Alabama have been dogged by transportation issues. David Thornell hopes that is about to change.


"I-22 is open and being used, but is not yet designated an interstate," said Thornell, chief executive officer and president of C3 Northwest Alabama Economic Alliance. "Within an hour, you can be in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, the Shoals or the Tupelo area from here."


The agency emerged from a merger between the West Alabama Economic Development Authority, which served Fayette, Lamar and Pickens counties, and the Community Development Foundation of Marion County.


The new C3 Alliance comprises Lamar, Fayette and Marion counties. Pickens County is not involved after previously dropping out of the West Alabama partnership.



During the past decade, the area was hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, particularly in the textiles industry. Securing new manufacturing operations to replace them has been difficult because new just-in-time-delivery inventory systems require many manufacturers to be located in areas with interstate highway access.



Tuscaloosa News link


Our View:  A statewide plan is a smart move

Birmingham Business Journal

Date: Friday, January 7, 2011, 5:00am CST

Earlier this week, Gov.-elect Robert Bentley tasked Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, to lead the effort to craft a strategic plan for economic development in Alabama.


That plan will include aligning Alabama's economic development and job creating assets, such as the EDPA.


While Alabama is coming off a successful decade of economic development, crafting a unified plan for the many organizations in the state with a hand in industrial recruitment and job retention is a smart move.


Alabama has a number of organizations - both public and private - dedicated to some facet of economic development.


There's the Alabama Development Office, the EDPA, Alabama Industrial Development Training and the Alabama Technology Network, among others.


Ensuring that all those organizations are working in synch toward the same goals and not duplicating efforts could clearly pay dividends.


Hiring a seasoned executive like Bill Taylor, who has deep ties in the economic development and manufacturing world, was a good decision.




Birmingham Business Journal 



A Great Day

Gov. Bob Riley celebrates HTPG expansion, praises partnership to bring jobs to local area


Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 6:05 pm | Updated: 6:19 pm, Wed Jan 5, 2011.

 Ken Bonner The Daily Sentinel  


Alabama Gov. Bob Riley officially welcomed Heat Transfer Products Group to Scottsboro Wednesday in ceremonies at the company's facility in the Scottsboro Industrial Park.


In August, shortly after Witt Heat Transfer Products (a part of the Carrier Corporation) was purchased by Monomoy Capital Partners, L.P., the company announced that it would consolidate its Yuma, Az. operations with the local plant. Part of the company's corporate offices are housed locally with the remainder located in Brea, Ca. The company is now known as HTPG.


"We've been very successful as a state at recruiting new industries. But we've also worked hard to help make the companies we've got here more successful. When they're successful, they're going to grow, and when they grow they create more jobs and opportunities for people," Riley said. "Government shouldn't be an adversary to employers. Instead, we've forged partnerships that help Alabama compete for and win new jobs."


HTPG is a manufacturer of commercial and industrial refrigeration equipment. It provides products for retail food vendors and food service industries. The company's workforce has grown from 319 employees to approximately 400 since its August announcement. It anticipates additional growth within the next two years.




Daily Sentinel 




Ireland Market Briefing / Trade Mission

IRELAND MARKET BRIEFING with Dr. Stephen J. Anderson Commercial Counselor U.S. Embassy in Dublin Republic of Ireland

The Alabama Development Office and the Export Alabama Alliance are hosting an informative session on Alabama opportunities with Ireland. Participants will gather valuable market insight, which will facilitate both entry and expansion in this unique market. This event will also present information about the upcoming trade and business development mission to this country. Candidate delegation members are strongly encouraged to attend.


Our knowledgeable speaker, Dr. Stephen J. Anderson, is the Commercial Counselor at U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. In the foreign service, Anderson had previous overseas postings at the U.S. Embassy, Beijing, China (1999-2002) and U.S. Consulate, Nagoya, Japan (2002-2006) as Principal Commercial Officer. Dr. Anderson worked previously in Tokyo as a business consultant and research professor at the International University of Japan, and taught at the University of Wisconsin- Madison after earning his bachelors from Oberlin College, and his masters and doctorate degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anderson has published research on comparative public policy, commercial affairs and international relations in Europe, Japan, China and the Asia-Pacific region, and won a 1994 Masayoshi Ohira book prize.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration | 8:30-9:30 a.m. Briefing

Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce | 451 Government Street 3rd Floor Mobile, AL 36602

Phone: 251-433-6951




Thursday, January 20, 2011

2:00-2:30 p.m. Registration | 2:30-3:30 p.m. Briefing

Innovation Depot | 1500 First Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203 | Phone 205-250-8000




Friday, January 21, 2011

8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration | 8:30-9:30 a.m. Briefing


 Madison County/Huntsville Chamber of Commerce | 225 Church Street N.W. Huntsville, AL 35801 Phone: 256-535-2000  


No cost to attend, but reservations are requested. Light food will be provided.



RSVP to | Phone: 334.242.0450 




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