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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Dow Corning invests $30 million to enhance equipment, technology at its Alabama silicon metal site - RELEASE
HONAM Petrochemical Corporation Selects Auburn - RELEASE
Huntsville's Teledyne Brown unveils advanced turbine manufacturing center - Huntsville Times
Alabama Development Office to work more on job training, small business - Birmingham News
Old Birmingham steel site gets new, cleaner look - Birmingham News
Lakeside Steel: Thomasville to get 80 more jobs and $7.5 million investment - Press Register
Alabama Gov. Bentley backs tax-break plan for new hires
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to visit Austal shipyard for littoral combat ship program announcement - Press Register
Shelby County, Alabama will be one of the nation's top 10 job generators, report says - Press Register
Foreign-owned firms writing lots of paychecks in coastal Alabama and Mississippi - Press Register
Gadsden State, other community colleges, stable but vulnerable - Anniston Star
Bentley, ADO on right track - Daily Home


Dow Corning invests $30 million to enhance equipment, technology at its Alabama silicon metal site

Midland, Mich.:Dow Corning Corporation, a global leader in silicon-based technology, is breaking ground on an approximately $30 million investment at its Alabama silicon metal manufacturing facility. The investment will create more than 30 new jobs at the site in the next few years.


"This investment signifies Dow Corning's commitment to sustaining the success of this site in Mt. Meigs and our appreciation for the wonderful home that Montgomery County provides us," said Tommy Vessels, Dow Corning Alabama site manager.


The $30 million will be used to enhance equipment and technology at the site, helping to make the site more efficient. Today, the Alabama facility has more than 150 employees, all of which play an essential role in delivering the silicon metal products manufactured at the site. Silicon metal manufactured at the site is used as a raw material for thousands of silicon-based products, used in the electronics, automotive, construction, and solar industries, among others.




HONAM Petrochemical Corporation Selects Auburn

Auburn, Ala. - City of Auburn Mayor Bill Ham announced at the March 22nd City Council Meeting that HONAM Petrochemical Corporation will establish a manufacturing facility for polypropylene resin materials in Auburn, Alabama. The corporation's first U.S. manufacturing operation was formed under the name of HPM Alabama Corporation and will occupy an existing facility at 765 West Veterans Boulevard in the Auburn Technology Park North. HONAM Petrochemical Corporation is part of the Lotte Group. With annual revenue of approximately $50 billion U.S. dollars and 35,000 employees, the Lotte Group is the 5th largest conglomerate in Korea. HPM Alabama Corporation will initially invest an estimated $9.25 million dollars and create 30 jobs by next year. HPM will also collaborate with Auburn University for R&D projects.


Governor Bentley stated, "I want to congratulate Auburn and East Alabama for recruiting the U.S. subsidiary of HONAM Petrochemical Company. I wish the company great success with its new operation in Auburn. Knowing the global reach of this company and the exceptional business conditions in Alabama, I truly believe that this is the beginning of a great partnership."


"Recruiting such a renowned company is a great win for Auburn," said Auburn Mayor Bill Ham. "For this technology-driven company to occupy an existing facility is particularly rewarding. I would like to especially thank Governor Bentley and the team from the Alabama Development Office who assisted the company in finding a home in Alabama," Ham added.


HPM Alabama Corporation is a manufacturer of a base material used by injection molding companies. This will add a manufacturing process to the regional economy that currently does not exist. As a result, it will further Auburn's industrial development strategy to maintain a locally diversified industrial base.


Mr. Young Jin Lee, Director of the Performance Material Unit of HONAM Petrochemical Corporation complimented Auburn as a business location and university town with an exceptional quality of life. "It's the ideal location for us to establish such a technology-driven production operation. We are grateful for the support from the State, City and Auburn University. Our existing and future customers in all of North America will be supplied from this facility."


HPM Corporation will produce injection moldable fiber reinforced thermoplastics in Auburn. This new material is protected by numerous patents in South Korea and the U.S., and provides various opportunities to replace metal components. Director Lee explained, "The material shows exceptional stiffness and excellent impact resistance due to the network structure of long fibers. Applications for this material are found in the electronics, construction, automotive and industrial industries, replacing metals and engineered plastics".







Huntsville's Teledyne Brown unveils advanced turbine manufacturing center


Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 9:20 AM Updated: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 9:25 AM
By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Long recognized as one of the area's, if not the nation's, top engineering companies, Teledyne Brown Engineering is continuing to expand - into manufacturing.

Today the company will unveil its Advanced Turbine Manufacturing Center in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. The center will house machines to manufacture turbine engine parts for the Harpoon and Jassim missiles.

The facility puts Teledyne Brown in a new market to design and manufacture components for tactical missiles. The company already manufactures space hardware and nuclear components as it moves toward components for space launch systems.

"We've been focused on engineered systems for the past few years - from design to delivery," said Teledyne Brown President/CEO Rex Geveden. "We do the full life cycle of those products and there aren't that many competitors in our size."


Alabama Development Office to work more on job training, small business


Published: Monday, March 21, 2011, 10:53 PM Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011, 11:06 PM
By Roy L. Williams -- The Birmingham News

The head of the Alabama Development Office said Monday his agency plans to renew its focus on small business advocacy and work closer on job training in association with two-year colleges across the state.

Seth Hammett, who spent three decades as a state legislator before taking the helm of Alabama's business recruitment agency in January, told about 300 attendees of an economic development summit at Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham that his office realizes that existing businesses -- not new companies -- create 75 percent of new jobs in Alabama.

By putting more emphasis on building partnerships with existing programs and colleges, as well as expanding Alabama's successful jobs training program led by Ed Castille, the Alabama Development Office can be able to withstand state funding cutbacks and still help small businesses grow and prosper, Hammett said.

"We are looking at doing things differently because of some of the problems you've read about concerning state finances," said Hammett, adding that Gov. Robert Bentley has told his office it could see a 20 percent reduction in funding over the next two years.

Hammett said the governor has asked him and Bill Taylor, head of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, to develop a "new blueprint on how to operate" their agencies. Established in 1991, EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization supported by leading businesses in Alabama dedicated to the state's long-term economic growth.


Old Birmingham steel site gets new, cleaner look


Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 6:00 AM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
Jefferson County's economic development authority is hoping the newly cleaned and spruced-up Trinity Industries site will change the fortunes of the vacant property which has failed to hold the interest of developers for more than 20 years.

The Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority has spent nearly all of a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant and nearly $100,000 Trinity Industries contributed for environmental cleanup of the 27-acre site in Titusville.

The authority had up to three years to use the EPA brownfield cleanup grant money, but completed the work removing the contaminated soil in just 18 months and with nearly $68,000 left. The authority was then able to use an additional $48,000 of the money to bring in clean soil to level out the site where contaminated soil was removed, removing debris and brush and cleaning and repairing fences.

The authority also did some landscaping improvements and put up a new sign to market the property.

"The cleanup that we did on the site was with the soil, which wasn't a visible improvement but was key to making the site more attractive to a buyer or developer," said Carma Jude, executive director of the authority. "We had some remaining funds that allowed us to do the extra things to make it more appealing to the community as well as to a prospect."


Lakeside Steel: Thomasville to get 80 more jobs and $7.5 million investment


Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 7:35 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 7:35 PM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register

Lakeside Steel will add a second plant and 80 more jobs in Thomasville, Ala., the Canadian oil pipe firm said today.

The $7.5 million plant will include heat treating, which hardens pipe, and end-finishing, which shapes and machines pipe ends. It will be located at a former Linden Lumber Co. mill north of Thomasville off Ala. 5., not at the site on the south side where Lakeside is building a $40 million, 120-job plant to make pipe.

Ron Bedard, Lakeside's president and chief operating officer, said there's not enough land at the first site.

The pipe mill plans to begin production in December, while the finishing plant would open next spring, Bedard said.

Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said the city's Industrial Development Board, which plans to meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, is seeking to buy 125 acres at the Linden Lumber site. No price is final yet for the land, Day said, which would become the North Thomasville Industrial Park. The city is also seeking a state law that would annex the site and a corridor along Ala. 5.

Natural gas exploration drives demand

Harder pipe is much in demand among companies drilling the increasing number of natural gas wells in shale formations. Lakeside's customers have been hiring other firms for heat treatment and end finishing, but Lakeside is already adding those abilities at its Welland, Ontario, base


Alabama Gov. Bentley backs tax-break plan for new hires


Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 8:30 AM
By David White -- The Birmingham News

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday endorsed a plan that would give any small business a tax credit of $1,000 for each new employee hired for a job paying more than $10 an hour.

"The way we create jobs in this country is, we give tax incentives," Bentley said. "It is designed specifically for small businesses, because we know that small businesses create the vast majority of the jobs in this state and in this country."

Each $1,000 income tax credit would be given to a business after each new employee completed 12 straight months of employment. A business would have to show a net increase in employees from tax year to tax year at least equal to the number of tax credits sought.

The tax credit would take effect for tax years starting on or after this past Jan. 1, assuming one of two bills, House Bill 230 or Senate Bill 173, becomes law. A business that employed 50 or fewer people on the effective date would be eligible for tax credits.

"This piece of legislation, it opens the door for small businesses to be able to hire one, two, three employees," said Rosemary Elebash, a lobbyist with the National Federation of Independent Business.

The bill sponsors, Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Rainbow City, said chances were good one or the other would become law this spring.


Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to visit Austal shipyard for littoral combat ship program announcement


Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 8:00 AM
By Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register

MOBILE, Ala. -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will visit Austal USA's Mobile River shipyard Friday afternoon to make an announcement about the littoral combat ship program.

The U.S. Navy last year awarded Austal and Lockheed Martin 10-vessel contracts to build littoral combat ships, which are designed to fight in coastal waters.

This 10-ship contract will require Austal to more than double its US workforce to approximately 3,800 employees, company officials said.

Both companies have received contracts for the first two ships under those contracts. Both companies have already built one LCS and are constructing another under previous contracts.


Shelby County, Alabama will be one of the nation's top 10 job generators, report says


Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 7:00 AM
By Roy L. Williams -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News

Shelby County is projected to be one of the nation's hot spots for job creation over the next five years. Washington, D.C.-based Woods & Poole Economics Inc. estimates that Shelby County's employment levels will expand at an average annual rate of 2.61 percent between this year and 2015. That's more than double the U.S. rate of 1.15 percent.

The firm ranked Shelby No. 8 among 3,000 counties across the nation for job growth during the period.

For Shelby, the growth should translate into 10,000 new jobs by 2015, according to Woods & Poole.

"Shelby has a long history of steady and stable employment growth and benefits from its proximity to Birmingham as well as its skilled and well educated labor force," Woods & Poole economist Martin Holdrich said


Foreign-owned firms writing lots of paychecks in coastal Alabama and Mississippi


Published: Monday, March 21, 2011, 10:08 AM Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011, 12:09 PM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama -- At least one in every 15 private-sector workers in Mobile County is now employed by a foreign-owned company, one mark of how international investment is remaking the region's economy.

That share is likely to rise in the near future. Austal USA and ThyssenKrupp AG plan to hire 3,000 more workers between them in the next few years. And new foreign flags will soon fly over landmark area business. Mexico's Grupo Bimbo is spending $959 million to buy Sara Lee Corp.'s bread-baking business, which includes the Beltline Highway plant that was born as Smith's Bakery. China's AVIC International Holding Corp. is awaiting approvals for its $186 million purchase of Teledyne Continental Motors, the Brookley Aeroplex-based maker of piston aircraft engines.

More announcements may be coming. Gov. Robert Bentley indicated Friday, without mentioning the company by name, that China's Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tubing has chosen Thomasville for a $100 million, 200-job plant.


Gadsden State, other community colleges, stable but vulnerable


by Patrick McCreless
Star Staff Writer Anniston Star
The weak economy has pushed more students into Gadsden State Community College's doors while simultaneously shrinking its funding - a problem many similar Alabama institutions are trying to solve.

According to Gadsden State's latest audit, released Friday by the Alabama Examiner of Public Accounts, the community college has positioned itself to weather the state and federal budget crises in 2011 through a combination of cutbacks and increased enrollment revenue.

However, programs at the college, which has campuses in Calhoun County, could be placed in jeopardy should more state and federal funding disappear and if enrollment continues to increase.

"These cuts were necessary in order for the college to maintain its financial stability due to the impending loss of federal stimulus dollars," said Gadsden State interim president Bill Blow. "Additional cuts will be detrimental to the college's programs."

Kay Smith-Foster, public relations coordinator for Gadsden State, has said the college's enrollment is now above 8,000 students, in large part due to the economy.

"When the economy is having a tough time, people stay closer to home or they are going back to re-train because they have lost their jobs," she said.

The country has been in a recession since 2007.



Bentley, ADO on right track

The Daily Home

Mar 22, 2011 | 439 views | 0 | | 2 | |


Seth Hammett is a new face at the Alabama Development Office. After spending three decades in the Legislature, he decided not to run again. Newly elected Gov. Robert Bentley promptly named Hammett to head up ADO, and his early comments on the job reflect those 30 years of political experience.


Hammett said this week he plans to renew the ADO's focus on small and existing businesses and developing even more extensive on-the-job-training programs with the state's two-year college system.


Both ideas make sense.


In the last 20 years or so, Alabama has landed some of the biggest names in industrial development. Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota come immediately to mind. And there are lots of other large, international companies that have come to Alabama, bringing with them good jobs and a better way of life for their employees.


But as we continue to struggle in a global economic downturn, there aren't as many of those kinds of prospects out there. In fact, Hammett says about 75 percent of new jobs in the state come from small or existing businesses. Thus, it makes a lot of sense to pay attention to a segment of the job market that can pay off big when it is all put together.


Everyone in the state appreciates what the Honda plant in Lincoln provides. But we also know that a new industry that adds 20 jobs here or 10 jobs somewhere else and 50 jobs at yet another site also add significant strength and breadth to an economic base that supports Alabama.


There can be times when the amount of energy and attention needed for those few jobs will rival that of the big ones, but over time the payoff can be just as important.




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