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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
 
in this issue:
North American Lighting announces expansion plans at Muscle Shoals facility - Huntsville Times
New governor instrumental in expansion - Times Daily
Incentives play major role in industrial recruitment - Times Daily
BASF to cut 250 workers in McIntosh over next 2 years - Press Register
EADS: Air Force tanker protest not likely - Press Register
Birmingham's Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc. files Chapter 11 bankruptcy - Birmingham News
Lakeside Steel says Thomasville, Ala., plant on track - Andalusia Star News
Mobile-based worker training council gets new money for southwest Alabama programs - Press Register
Even more jobs and greater economic impact from companies that supply building the Air Force tanker - WKRG
Advice: How to win projects in competitive dogfight - Birmingham News

       

North American Lighting announces expansion plans at Muscle Shoals facility

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 9:56 AM
By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville Times
North American Lighting announced plans on Tuesday to add 250 jobs over the next three years at its Muscle Shoals manufacturing facility as part of a $35 million expansion project.

The Paris, Ill.-based company expects to begin operations in January and produce 1.2 million headlamps a year by 2014.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said the state's automotive supplier base continues to grow. "I am pleased that North American Lighting has found that Alabama has an excellent business climate for expansion," Bentley said in a prepared release. Working closely with existing industries and communities to create new jobs is a goal of his administration, he said.

North American Lighting, which manufactures automotive exterior lighting, has three manufacturing facilities in Southern Illinois and a technical center in Farmington Hills, Mich.
  

       

New governor instrumental in expansion

 

By Bernie Delinski & Tom Smith
Of the TimesDaily
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.
Gov. Robert Bentley joked briefly when discussing his role in Tuesday's announcement that North American Lighting is expanding its Muscle Shoals operation, a $35 million investment that will create 250 jobs.

"I told Seth (Hammett, director of the Alabama Development Office) that the last administration worked for years on a project and it took us only four weeks to get it done," Bentley said with a wide smile Tuesday afternoon as he joined dozens of others during the announcement at Muscle Shoals City Hall.

Bentley said he feels privileged to make the announcement but quickly added he can't take credit for it. The credit, he said, belongs to others in the community such as officials with the Shoals Economic Development Authority and Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford.

Hammett, former speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, said although Bentley only took office Jan. 17, he was instrumental in making the expansion happen.

"The governor had the opportunity to be involved in making the final arrangements on this," Hammett said. "He stepped up and said he wanted (the plant) here in Alabama, and to make it happen."
  
more...

       

Incentives play major role in industrial recruitment
 

By Bernie Delinski & Tom Smith

Of the TimesDaily

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.

 

MUSCLE SHOALS - The impact of the Shoals Economic Development Fund was felt again Tuesday when North American Lighting announced a local expansion that will bring 250 jobs.

 

"We wouldn't be here without it," Forrest Wright, president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority, said shortly after the announcement.

 

SEDA's board recommends pro-

 

jects for funding incentives to the Shoals Industrial Development Committee, which oversees the development funds.

 

"Without reservation, I can say this project today at North American Lighting and others (in the area) would not have occurred without the investment of these funds," Wright said.

 

"No one, including myself, enjoys paying more taxes, but as long as it is managed and used for the purpose intended, I think we're in good shape with most people in the community."

 

The committee was developed by a legislative act in August 2007, and a half-cent sales tax was implemented by the Colbert and Lauderdale county commissions to bring in money for economic development.

 

Colbert County Commissioner Troy Woodis, a member of the committee, said incentives are important to economic projects.

 

Woodis said all projects the committee approves for funding are "job driven."

 

"Every project is reviewed by SEDA, and before any money is provided, the project has to produce jobs," Woodis said.

  

 

more...


       

BASF to cut 250 workers in McIntosh over next 2 years

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 7:35 PM Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 7:35
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

BASF SE said today that it will cut 250 of the 700 employees and contractors at its McIntosh chemical plant over the next two years, as the German firm tries to lower costs to compete with new plants in Asia.

"This is part of an effort to improve the site's efficiency and competitiveness," said Maureen Paukert, a spokeswoman for the world's largest chemical company. "We believe, by making these efforts now, the long-term future is a viable future."

The plant, which has been Washington County's largest private employer, has about 500 employees and 200 contractors. The employee reductions could happen through layoffs, retirements, buyouts or attrition, Paukert said.

She said severance packages would be offered to affected management employees. Layoffs of union-represented employees would be governed by the company's contract with the United Steelworkers union.
  
more...

       

EADS: Air Force tanker protest not likely

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 3:20 PM Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 3:54
By George Talbot

The top American executive for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. said today that the company was not likely to contest the U.S. Air Force tanker contract if the award goes to rival Boeing Co.

"Unless there's some egregious process error, I would not expect that we would protest," Ralph Crosby, chairman of EADS North America, told reporters at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

Chicago-based Boeing and EADS, the parent company of Airbus, submitted final bids on the potential $40 billion contract last week. A decision by the Air Force is expected as early as this month.

Crosby did not rule out a protest but said the Air Force appeared to have gone to great lengths to conduct a fair and rigorous competition.

"I am saying that if this process has been followed up with all of the detail, focus and conscientiousness with which it's been executed to date, I would expect that the winning bid ought to be sustained," he said.
  
more...

       

Birmingham's Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc. files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 11:25 AM
By The Birmingham News
Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc., which performs work at the Birmingham airport, filed for bankruptcy reorganization in an attempt to lower pension obligations and other costs.

Birmingham-based Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc. said it has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.

The move will give Alabama Aircraft, which refurbishes military aircraft at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, an opportunity to reorganize its finances. The company said it aims to modify its collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers union to allow for the termination of its pension plan and other cost savings.

CEO Ron Aramini, in a statement, said the company "intends upon moving the case forward as quickly as possible, with a view to exiting bankruptcy by the summer of 2011."

Aramini said the company's "primary goal" with the bankruptcy filing is to "address long-term indebtedness," particularly its long-term pension obligations.

The filing was made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.
  
more...

       

Lakeside Steel says Thomasville, Ala., plant on track

 

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 6:00 AM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

Lakeside Steel swung to a profit for the three months that ended Dec. 31, as the company continued to turn out record amounts of steel pipe.

The firm, based in Welland, Ontario, is building a $40 million, 120-job pipe mill in Thomasville that it plans to open in November.

Lakeside posted profit of 215,827 Canadian dollars for third quarter of its budget year, compared to a loss of C$3.76 million in the same three months of 2009.

Revenue for the quarter almost doubled to C$53.8 million.

Chief Executive Officer Ron Bedard said in a statement that profit was crimped by the cost of removing contaminated soil from Lakeside's Welland plant. However, he said that restructuring at the facility near Niagara Falls has improved production and profitability, and that Lakeside expects strong demand through at least the end of 2011.

In January, the outgoing administration of Gov. Bob Riley awarded $500,000 in federal community development money to provide water and sewer services and improve a road and a parking lot at the Thomasville site.

"The project has progressed according to plan, and has met the necessary construction and delivery milestones as expected," Bedard said of the Thomasville plant.
  

       

Mobile-based worker training council gets new money for southwest Alabama programs

 

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 6:08 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 6:16 PM

By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

A Mobile-based group that coordinates worker training in eight southwest Alabama counties has won $300,000 to help connect low-wage workers to training opportunities and improve employer involvement in deciding what skills are taught.

The two-year grant to the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council by the private National Fund for Workforce Solutions includes $150,000 in federal money and $150,000 in private foundation funds.

"We want to help low-wage, low-skilled individuals advance to a good job that gets them out of poverty permanently," said Fred Dedrick, the fund's executive director.

The council, which provides training in Mobile, Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe and Washington counties, plans to target the money to four industry clusters -- maritime, aerospace, healthcare and process manufacturing.

The $300,000 will be matched with an equal amount of money from local governments and foundations.

The local council must also identify another $900,000 worth of current or future funding that will support the aims of the new program, giving it a better shot at continuing beyond the two-year period covered by the grant.
  
more...

Even more jobs and greater economic impact from companies that supply building the Air Force tanker
  
MOBILE, Alabama - The Mobile Chamber's Economic Development Director says there has been contact with hundreds of companies--all of whom want a piece of the Air Force tanker pie should it land in Mobile.

Troy Wayman says he's been in direct contact with as many as two dozen companies directly, but EADS is also negotiating with various suppliers, many who would need to locate in Mobile, or very close by.

Just in time delivery for manufacturers dictates that tier 1 suppliers for the tanker be located in a geographically advantageous area--that is, close to the EADS assembly facility. Other secondary suppliers could locate in Alabama--or Mississippi or Florida.

Those suppliers range from wiring harness companies, to those that make landing gear components--even companies that specialize in painting wide-body aircraft. Then, there are companies that will supply those companies.

So far, few companies have committed to making a presence in Mobile prior to the announcement of who wins the tanker contract. If Mobile is the winner, Wayman says contact with the supply companies will heat up almost instantaneously.
  
WKRG  

Advice: How to win projects in competitive dogfight

 

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 2:36 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 3:04 PM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

Institutions and companies that hire construction, engineering and design firms outlined what works and what doesn't work in today's highly competitive world when it comes to winning projects.

The Alabama chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services held its annual "The Clients Talk Back" luncheon at the Vestavia Hills Country Club today.

Representatives from universities, commercial real estate firms and developers said e-mail blasts, large e-mail attachments, circumventing the process to try to gain an edge, and failing to have a minority firm as a partner are often ways to get cut from the list.

What helps win work is the ability to show a specialty in a particular area, initiative in solving problems expected with the project and bringing in the team that will actually do the work instead of the CEO to the interviewing process.

The University of Alabama, Auburn University, UAB and Samford University were represented on the panel, as were officials from USS Real Estate, EGS Commercial Real Estate Inc., Daniel Corp., the Barber Companies and Children's Health System. Steve Sewell, executive vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, moderated the discussion.

 

more...

Birmingham News





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