EDPA NewsFlash


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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Governor Bentley Outlines Plan to Streamline Economic Development and Workforce Training Efforts - Release
Huntsville rocket team offers half-price rides into space for science payloads - Huntsville Times
Austal eyes Saudi market for more LCS sales - Press Register
Mixed results at airport's International Intermodal Center - Huntsville Times
Alabama Power asks federal court to block EPA from reinstating tougher Alabama air quality standards
Gulf oil spill topic of University of South Alabama panel discussion - Press Register
fDi Magazine ranks Huntsville among top small cities for investment, growth - Huntsville Times


Governor Bentley Outlines Plan to Streamline Economic Development and Workforce Training Efforts



MONTGOMERY- Governor Robert Bentley today continued his work to streamline economic development and workforce training efforts in the state. He asked Chancellor Freida Hill to use the workforce training programs currently in use at the two-year college systems and develop them further under the authority of the Chancellor. Those programs specifically include: Alabama Industrial Development Training, the Alabama Technology Network, and training for existing businesses conducted by the state's community colleges.


"I am asking Chancellor Hill to create a workforce training system that is the best and most efficient in the country. In addition to training employees for new businesses locating in Alabama, I want the system to offer training and retraining for employees of existing businesses large and small," said Governor Bentley. "They are the backbone of our economy and it is important for our workforce training system to help them prosper and grow."


Before taking the oath of office in January, Governor Bentley asked Alabama Development Office Director Seth Hammett and Economic Development Partnership of Alabama President Bill Taylor to draft a blueprint for the roles and responsibilities of the state's lead economic development agency and others involved in economic development.



"I am today asking Bill Taylor and Seth Hammett to continue their work by aligning our economic development assets through written agreements between the Alabama Development Office and the state, local, and private agencies engaged in economic development," said Governor Bentley. "These agreements will strengthen Alabama's ability to recruit, retain, expand and encourage the companies that will ensure our economic future."











Huntsville rocket team offers half-price rides into space for science payloads

By Lee Roop, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - Rocket City Space Pioneers, a team of businesses and educational institutions based in Huntsville, Al., is offering payload rides into space for about half the cost of a dedicated launch. The offer was announced today at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.


"The Rocket City Space Pioneers, through our partner Spaceflight Services, are providing low-cost access to space for fixed and deployable cargo and spacecraft," said Tim Pickens, team leader. "Through standard flight interfaces and a streamlined integration process, we can take your payload to the Moon at half the cost of traditional services."


Spaceflight Services is one of the Rocket City Space Pioneers team competing to winner the Google Lunar X Prize, a race to land an unmanned rover on the moon. Dynetics Corp. of Huntsville is leading the team.


"Spaceflight is providing a very unique commercial launch opportunity to place small and secondary payloads in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO) or Low Lunar Orbit (LLO)," said Jason Andrews, president and CEO of Spaceflight Services. "Using our SHERPA Tug, we can provide launch services for a small primary payload weighing up to 1.5 metric tons, as well as multiple secondary payloads weighing 300 kilograms or less."

"Our concept also provides an affordable, in-space advanced technology demonstration platform for propulsion, sensors and other subsystems," said Dynetics director for space technologies Steve Cook.








Austal eyes Saudi market for more LCS sales



Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 6:20 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 6:21 PM



By Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register Press-Register


 MOBILE, Ala. -- Austal USA is eyeing Saudi Arabia as a potential buyer for its littoral combat ship, company officials said.

Reuters news service reported last week that the Saudi government has asked the United States for prices on surface warships that integrate air and missile defenses. The Saudis also inquired about helicopters, patrol craft and shore infrastructure.


Executives with Lockheed Martin Corp., which along with Austal builds LCS for the U.S. Navy, told Reuters that the first wave of the Saudi work could be worth $20 billion.


Though Lockheed and Austal both build LCS, their respective designs are radically different. Lockheed's ship is a traditional steel monohull that resembles a small frigate. Austal's ship is an aluminum tri-hull --one deep center hull with two outriggers for stability -- that from the front looks like a Klingon warship from Star Trek.


The U.S. military sells weapons and equipment to friendly governments through its Foreign Military Sales program, which the U.S. says can potentially lower costs by consolidating foreign buys with U.S. purchases. Austal USA President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella said his company is allowed to discuss the advantages of its design directly with the Saudi Navy, and intends to do so.


If the Saudi Navy were to purchase ships from Austal, they would be built in Austal's Mobile River shipyard, Rella said.   




 Press Register 




Mixed results at airport's International Intermodal Center


Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 4:15 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 4:31 PM

By Keith Clines, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

 HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - A shortage of railroad containers is part of the reason rail cargo traffic at the International Intermodal Center at Huntsville International Airport saw a steep drop in March, officials said.


Rail lifts at the center dropped 25 percent in March compared to the previous March, Rick Tucker, the airport's executive director, told the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority at its monthly meeting this morning.



"We're hoping that will come around in the future," Tucker said.



Meanwhile, air cargo landing weights at the Intermodal Center increased 35.8 percent and outgoing freight weights increased 55 percent in February compared to February 2010, Tucker said.



"These are big numbers and we're excited about that," he said.



One reason for the drop to 2,277 rail container lifts in March is the tight availability of rail containers, Mitch Bradley, the Intermodal Center's director, told the board.




Huntsville Times 





Alabama Power asks federal court to block EPA from reinstating tougher Alabama air quality standards

Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 2:25 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 2:27 PM

By The Associated Press al.com


ATLANTA - An Alabama utility is asking a federal appeals panel to block the Environmental Protection Agency from reinstating a tougher air quality standard for the state.



The Alabama Power Co. said in a filing this week to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta that the change is "arbitrary and capricious" and will burden the company, which runs 14 power plants that would be subject to the new rules.



The EPA's decision would limit the amount of pollution emitted from 19 Alabama industrial sites, including power plants, pulp and paper mills and chemical plants. The restrictions had been loosened in 2008, but were reinstated after regulators determined it did not comply with the Clean Air Act.



The Alabama Environmental Council has said the decision will make air cleaner and healthier.




AP on Al.com 



Gulf oil spill topic of University of South Alabama panel discussion

Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 6:00 AM


By George Talbot Press-Register



MOBILE, Ala. -- A panel of experts from the University of South Alabama will discuss the impact of the BP oil spill, one year later, during a meeting today in Mobile.


The panel will examine the economic and environmental fallout from the April 20 catastrophe as its one-year anniversary approaches next week.


The meeting is co-sponsored by USA and the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council, formed to carry out recommendations from the Alabama Coastal Recovery Commission.


The meeting is open to the media and will be streamed live on the Internet at www.crcalabama.org. Hosts for the conference will be USA President Gordon Moulton and Press-Register Publisher Ricky Mathews, who chairs the recovery commission.


The panel will feature regional experts, including Dr. Russ Lea, vice president for research at USA, and university researchers studying a broad range of topics related to the oil spill.


The recovery commission was created by then-Gov. Bob Riley in the fall to lead the region's recovery from the oil spill. The newly formed leadership council, which includes Mathews as chairman and Moulton as a board member, was established to implement the recovery commission's recommendations, according to a news release



Press Register





fDi Magazine ranks Huntsville among top small cities for investment, growth


Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 8:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 8:10 AM
By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Huntsville has been recognized as one of the top small cities on the continent for investment and growth by a leading foreign investment publication.

fDi Magazine, a publication of London's Financial Times and a provider of foreign direct investment information, ranked Huntsville No. 1 for the best FDI strategy among small cities in the Americas and fourth on its list of the Top 10 Small Cities of the Future. The magazine classifies small cities as having a population of more than 100,000 but less than 250,000.

Courtney Fingar, the magazine's editor, is a graduate of the University of Alabama and was the keynote speaker at Tuesday's World Trade Day luncheon in Huntsville.

New York City ranks top in the magazine's inaugural "American Cities of the Future" rankings, followed by Chicago and Houston. The rankings focus on a mixture of data and expert opinion to rank cities which have the best prospects for inward investment, economic development and business expansion.

"We are excited to receive both of these rankings," said Charlie Kettle, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. "We put a lot of effort as a Chamber and as a community into international business and creating opportunities. And this recognition illustrates the diversity of our economy." 




Huntsville Times 


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