NewsFlash header graphic
Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
ThyssenKrupp and Austal talk about challenges of hiring large numbers of workers - Press Register
Eissman Automotive expands operations - St. Clair Times
EDITORIAL: Mobile should keep ties to EADS - Press Register
Alabama Power to study use of electric cars - Birmingham News
Achieving first Power of 10 objective at UAH part of overall growth, provost says - Huntsville Times
Alabama Biomass Program Demonstration Tour - RELEASE
PowerSouth Energy Economic Development launches new website to attract business, create jobs... - RELEASE


ThyssenKrupp and Austal talk about challenges of hiring large numbers of workers


Published: Saturday, March 05, 2011, 3:00 PM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

CALVERT, Alabama -- For ThyssenKrupp AG, the challenge has been sorting through an avalanche of applications, while Austal USA has struggled to drum up enough interest.

Those were the differing perspectives that hiring managers gave Friday to members of the AlabamaGermany Partnership who visited ThyssenKrupp's $5 billion complex on the Mobile-Washington county line. The group, made up of companies and individuals, tries to strengthen social and business ties between Germany and Alabama. It held its annual meeting in Mobile for the first time on Thursday and Friday.

David Scheid, vice president of human resources at ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA, said that 53,675 people have applied through the online Alabama Industrial Development Training process, and the company has hired 1,124 from that source thus far.

That means roughly 2.1 percent of people who have applied have been hired. By comparison, Harvard University accepted 6.3 percent of applicants for undergraduate admission this year.

The German steelmaker has hired hundreds more office and management positions directly.

"Our problem is we have too many candidates, too many good candidates," Scheid said.


Eissman Automotive expands operations

by David Atchison St. Clair Times

PELL CITY - Eissman Automotive North America Inc. will invest more than $2.75 million in its operations, adding 40 jobs.

"It's another sign of how well we're doing economically," Mayor Bill Hereford said. "It's outstanding."

Eissman, which is in the Pell City Industrial Park, was the first German company to move to Pell City. Two other German companies followed.

"They are a great group, great company," said Don Smith, executive director for the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. "It's a good company all around.

He said Eissman plans to add $2 million worth of new equipment in its planned 15,000 square foot addition, which is estimated to cost $750,000.

"We're excited - and busy," said Jost Bierbaum, president of Eissman Automotive North America and Mexico.

He said the Pell City plant will start a new contract in July with Chrysler Group, making that automobile manufacturer's dash boards for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Eissman currently makes the Mercedes GL M-Class dashboards. Their Mercedes contract continues until the middle of next year, Bierbaum said.

"We're also working on other projects with GM (General Motors Co.) and Chrysler," he said.

Read more: St. Clair Times - Eissman Automotive expands operations



EDITORIAL: Mobile should keep ties to EADS


Published: Sunday, March 06, 2011, 5:50 AM Updated: Sunday, March 06, 2011, 9:42 AM
By Press-Register Editorial Board

THE EUROPEAN Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.'s decision not to appeal the tanker contract award was disappointing, but it cannot be faulted. The company had to make a hard choice based on economics, after doing everything it could have done to win the business that would have meant so much to Mobile.

This region respects that decision and thanks EADS for its commitment to a project that would have transformed the company as well as the Gulf Coast economy. Because EADS did not pull out when its former partner, Northrop Grumman, chose not to continue, Mobile is in an even better position to capitalize on the attention it gained from the aerospace industry.

EADS devoted six years and $200 million to the Air Force tanker project, partnering with civic and community leaders on the coast as well as politicians from City Hall to the Statehouse.

In the process, both EADS and Mobile proved themselves forces to be reckoned with in this country and abroad. They worked effectively together in an alliance that needs to be preserved.

Already culturally connected with France, Mobile has forged powerful business ties with the French-based corporation. Whenever EADS officials think about doing business in the United States, we want them to think about Mobile first.

The local and state leaders who gathered economic incentives and lobbied as one remain in place. Brookley Aeroplex and all of its assets are more well-known worldwide than ever.


Alabama Power to study use of electric cars

Published: Sunday, March 06, 2011, 5:30 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News

Electric vehicles are back in the spotlight, both for the range of new products offered by automakers and as the inevitable knee-jerk reaction whenever gas prices creep above $3 a gallon.


Alabama Power Co., which has been involved in electric transportation research since the early 1990s, is part of the latest buzz, too. Last week, the utility helped show off General Motors' new extended-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, in Birmingham.


Studies show this state has a long way to go before such vehicles even approach mainstream, but Alabama Power is researching their impact on the power grid, as well as future infrastructure needs, such as charging stations.


"Our position is to educate the public," said Robin White, product manager in retail sales and development at Alabama Power.


For now, the utility advocates at-home charging for owners of electric vehicles, and eventually, employers could offer charging stations at the workplace. Public infrastructure is being studied as part of short, medium and long-range plans that will vary by market.


"There has to be enough vehicles for that infrastructure to make sense," White said.


The utility also is looking at ways to make life easier for electric car owners. Areas of study include building code requirements, because some at-home charging methods may require a permit for installation.






Achieving first Power of 10 objective at UAH part of overall growth, provost says


Published: Monday, March 07, 2011, 9:46 AM Updated: Monday, March 07, 2011, 9:56 AM
By Paul Gattis, The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- When David Williams was inaugurated as president at the University of Alabama in Huntsville almost three years ago, he outlined a vision for achievement.

Williams dubbed the school's to-do list the Power of 10 initiative. And the first of those objectives has been achieved.

UAH announced last week that 10 new academic programs have been added since Williams took office. The programs have been added at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Provost Vistasp Karbhari, however, preferred not to look at reaching that goal as a completed journey.

Instead, it's just a highlight along the way.

"The real way that I would tend to look at it is that the university has tremendous strength in specific areas," Karbhari said. "A lot of these areas align very well with what the local community needs and does. What we've been able to do is to get a marriage of those two.

"It's really more than a singular achievement. I think it's more of coming together of a lot of things we've been doing in the past and will continue to do.


Alabama Biomass Program Demonstration Tour


Thomasville, Ala., Monday, March 7, 2011 - The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) - Energy Division with support from the Alabama Technology Network (ATN) is offering a Biomass Program Demonstration and Tour on Tuesday, March 15 at Clarke County Pole and Piling Company for a tour of their production process for wooden utility poles.

The tour will begin after a 12 noon lunch and briefing at the Thomasville ATN Center location on the campus of Alabama Southern Community College, 30755 Highway 43 South, in Thomasville.
The tour is scheduled for 1-2:30 pm. Limited Lunch reservations are available. Reservations for Lunch are required and must be received by 5 pm Tuesday, March 08. Tour Reservations can be made until 5 pm Monday, March 14.

Clarke County Pole & Piling Company utilized ADECA-Energy Division's biomass energy program to install a 500-hp wood-fired boiler to produce steam to provide heat to a drying kiln for indirect drying of wood poles.

ADECA-Energy Division sponsors the Biomass Energy Program to assist businesses in installing biomass systems. This program is open to any industry participant in Alabama who is utilizing a biomass fuel source as a replacement for traditional fossil fuels, including waste wood, switchgrass and landfill gas.

For details about the AL Biomass Program and a project payback calculator for a business to "run the numbers" to see if converting to biomass is a financially feasible project for their company.

Clarke County Pole & Piling Company (CCPP) is a manufacturer of wooden utility poles. CCPP applied to the biomass energy program to install a 500-hp wood-fired boiler to produce steam to provide heat to a drying kiln for indirect drying of wood poles. This system allows CCPP to dry poles to customer specifications for eventual preservative treatment using the approximately 50 tons/day of wood waste they generate rather than natural gas.

ADECA encourages industrial, commercial and institutional facilities, agricultural property owners, and city, county, and state entities to take advantage of the opportunity to reduce their operating costs by utilizing biomass resources. Program participants can receive up to $75,000 in interest subsidy payments to help defray the interest expense on loans to install approved biomass projects. Technical assistance and feasibility studies may also be provided through the program,

ADECA-Energy Division is committed to providing leadership and assistance to the citizens and organizations of the state of Alabama through the management and development of energy programs promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

To make a required reservation for Lunch and/or just the Biomass Tour or for more information about ADECA Biomass Program, please contact:Joe Paxton, UAHuntsville Alabama Technology Center, (256) 824-4284 o


PowerSouth Energy Economic Development launches
new website to attract business, create jobs

ANDALUSIA, ALA. - PowerSouth's Economic Development team unveiled a new website this month - - with a more vivid look, improved navigation and additional information about the economic development sites available in the PowerSouth service territory of Alabama and northwest Florida.


Comprehensive data and resources are offered for locations within Alabama and northwest Florida while using one site to profile the two states. Aimed at site selection consultants and companies interested in locating in the area, the site also serves as a primary marketing tool.


"We designed to incorporate the latest technology to enhance and streamline the due diligence period of the site selection process for site selectors, prospective businesses and local economic developers," said Lee Lawson, PowerSouth Alabama Economic Development Representative.


The new website offers significantly improved navigation and functionality, including a state-of-the-art geographic information system (GIS) building and site application that provides economic development resources for each property including local, regional and state-wide business data. In addition, it provides economic developers access to customized data for prospective and existing businesses.


"An effective website is the most important marketing tool in economic development today," said Taylor Williams, PowerSouth Alabama Economic Development Representative. "This new website will allow site selectors to easily find the information they are seeking for their clients."


"One of our key strengths in Northwest Florida is the availability of competitively priced, shovel ready sites," said Ed Gardner, PowerSouth Florida Economic Development Representative. "The new website offers customized demographics and serves as a single location for consultants and prospective businesses to find information about the available sites and buildings within the 10 Florida counties we serve."


PowerSouth's Economic Development team consists of Lawson, Williams, Gardner and Vice President of Business Development Seth Hammett. Visitors are encouraged to access PowerSouth's Economic Development website at

Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "I'd like to forward this to a contact" link below the green bar.
Note also, that you can now make changes to your e-mail address and contact information through the link at the bottom. 
As always, if you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Enjoy the day,  
Wendy Wallace Johnson
Partners Thank You
Join Our Mailing List