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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Alabama Economic Development Partnership gets oil spill-related study grant - Press Register
Economic Development Partnership of Alabama remakes website to reflect community focus - Birmingham News
Huntsville/Madison County 'Best Places to Work' and 'Most Valuable Employees' recognized - Huntsville Times
BP PLC to spend $16 million on coastal Alabama tourism projects
Second Lakeside Steel Project for Thomasville, Alabama - Release
AVIC International completes purchase of Continental Motors from Teledyne - Press Register
Mobile, Ala., ranked No. 10 small city of the future by magazine - Press Register
Goodrich adding 20 jobs in Foley aerospace facility - Press Register
Huntsville-based Dynetics gains big partner for Google Lunar X competition - Huntsville Times
AT&T Invests in Alabama Network to Deliver Most-Advanced Mobile Broadband Experience - PRNewswire
UAH team wins Alabama Launchpad business plan competition - Press Register
UA-affiliated company places in competition - Tuscaloosa News
Launchpad won't let success block new growth - Press Register
UA program gives entrepreneurs a home to develop businesses - Tuscaloosa News
Prattville selects new Chamber president - al.com
Lori Huguley Named Opelika Economic Development Director - WANI


Alabama Economic Development Partnership gets oil spill-related study grant

Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 5:30 AM

By George Talbot Press-Register


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama said Monday it will use more than $1 million in federal and private money to create economic development strategies for 8 southwest Alabama counties affected by the BP oil spill.


Under terms of the one-year federal grant, EDPA will partner with state universities and 2-year schools to identify industrial targets for each of the 8 counties and assess their transportation, workforce and health care needs.


"The oil spill affected countless Alabamians and business owners. And although the Gulf Coast counties were ground zero for the spill, the impact is felt statewide, which is of even more importance during already challenging economic times," said Gov. Robert Bentley.


"The collaboration of the business community, government and universities represents the best of Alabama, and this strategic approach to economic development is why Alabama will emerge from this crisis a stronger, more competitive state."


EDPA said it was awarded a $593,500 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration "to assess economic development challenges and opportunities" in south Alabama counties, including Baldwin, Mobile, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe and Washington counties.





Press Register 






Economic Development Partnership of Alabama remakes website to reflect community focus

Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 8:00 AM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama has changed its online identity to better reflect the private economic development organization's new direction.


"When you compare the old website and the new website, it's really an interesting picture of where we are now and the changes that have taken place as a result of what's happened in the world at large," said Bill Taylor, the EDPA's chief.


What once was a website almost totally devoted to site consultants and companies checking out buildings and property in the state for a new plant or office is now meant to engage communities in addition to the member companies that make up EDPA.


A big part of that is the fact that EDPA's focus is not just on marketing and research as it relates to recruitment. The economic reset and the slowdown in new recruitment projects forced EDPA and others to look at how they can use their resources to better help with recruitment and retention.


One way was in giving direct assistance to communities through a new Community Partner program. So far, 17 communities have participated and there is a waiting list of others wanting to know how to better position their community and bring players to the table for recruitment, retention and renewal.


"What we bring to the table are resources to answer some questions and to allow communities to at least start movement," Taylor said. "There is no fast-forward. You can't just go from A and get to Z. You can't take a quantum leap. I'm a firm believer in small steps. What can we do today to make tomorrow better?"


In aiding communities, EDPA is aiding itself and future industry with a richer website.


"We're developing a database on these communities like we never dreamed of getting," Taylor said. "The knowledge base we are getting is just incredible."


Wendy Wallace Johnson, director of marketing for EDPA, spearheaded the website's redesign. She said the new site is a direct result of what consultants and communities wanted. 




Birmingham News 




Editor's Note: You can now access EDPA's new website from the new NewsFlash header above, or as always at www.edpa.org



Huntsville/Madison County 'Best Places to Work' and 'Most Valuable Employees' recognized


Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 2:43 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 3:04 PM
By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Fifteen local companies were named the "Best Places to Work" and nine people were named the "Most Valuable Employees in Huntsville/Madison County" at the Best Places to Work awards program today at the Von Braun Center.

The fourth annual event, co-hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the North Alabama Society for Human Resource Management, was presented by System Studies & Simulation.

A special section inside Wednesday's Huntsville Times profiles the program's winning companies.

Winners among the companies with 25-74 workers were Brockwell Technologies, Good Samaritan Hospice of Madison, i3, QTE and Venturi.

Winning firms with 75-249 workers were Avion Solutions Inc., Intuitive Research and Technology Corp., Modern Technology Solutions Inc., PeopleTec and Sigmatech.

The winners with 250 or more workers were CAS-Wyle, Dynetics , ERC, Huntsville Hospital System and URS.



BP PLC to spend $16 million on coastal Alabama tourism projects


Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 6:15 AM

By Connie Baggett, Press-Register Press-Register


MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- BP PLC will be spending $16 million over the next two years to promote tourism through ads for concerts, bundled tickets to attractions and sporting events, according to a news release. Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced the approved projects that will receive BP tourism promotion funds adding details to his March announcement about the grant.


"Alabama was hardest hit of all the Gulf Coast states by last year's BP Oil Spill, said Bentley. "Alabama will use these funds to promote tourism to our Gulf Coast communities as that we can begin to recoup the losses suffered since the disaster."


The projects receiving promotion funds include:


$3.5 million for television advertising. $1.5 million for The Wharf concert series. $1.5 million for the Hangout Music Festival. $2 million for concert promotions on the Gulf Coast. $800,000 for advertising on an upcoming nationally broadcast television show about the construction of the nation's first green zoo. $300,000 for incentives to bring conventions to Mobile. $350,000 for the development of a pilot program which will bundle admission tickets for various attractions along the Coast such as Bellingrath Gardens, Dauphin Island Ferry, Dauphin Island Estuarium and the Exploreum. $200,000 for U.S. Davis Cup exhibition match. $50,000 for the Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou La Batre $250,000 for Music between the Waves concert series on Dauphin Island. $150,000 for Dive In, the ddep sea fishing project "The Water is Great!" $200,000 to bring the US Olympic Trials for both Junior and U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials Masters to the Gulf Coast.


The money granted will be dispersed through early 2012.


The grant is specifically designated for promotion of tourism for Baldwin and Mobile counties, the two counties hit hardest by last year's loss of tourism following the oil spill, Bentley said in the release. As part of the agreement, Lee Sentell, Director of the Alabama Tourism Department will administer the grant funds with the aid of the Alabama Coastal Development Commission which will develop, implement and plan the tourism promotion program and advise Sentell, according to the release





Second Lakeside Steel Project for Thomasville, Alabama


RELEASE - THOMASVILLE - April 19, 2011 - In an official announcement ceremony, Lakeside Steel announced today they would locate their second manufacturing operation in Thomasville, Alabama.

The company will invest $10 million to construct a heat treating and end-finishing operation. The new facility will be located just north of Lakeside's Casing Mill which is currently under construction in Thomasville. The new end-finishing and heat treatment facility will enable Lakeside Steel to upgrade and process the high value-added American Petroleum Institute-certified J, L, N and P grades of OCTG products that it produces and which are required throughout the majority of drilling operations in North America.

Jim Byard, ADECA Director, on behalf of Governor Bentley today thanked the Lakeside officials for their investment in Alabama. Byard said, "I am pleased to represent Governor Bentley and officially announce an additional 80 jobs for Thomasville, Clarke County and the State of Alabama. Between these two projects, Lakeside will invest more than $50 million and create over 200 jobs."

Ron Bedard, President and CEO of Lakeside Steel, said that numerous sites over several states were considered for this project. "However, we were extremely comfortable with Thomasville and the State of Alabama and knew we could make this project a success here", stated Bedard. Bedard went on to say that Lakeside is committed to growing in Thomasville and will continue to help the City grow as well.

"Just 316 days after my first visit to Thomasville, Alabama, Lakeside Steel is announcing our second project", said Chris Roik, Vice President/General Manager of Lakeside Steel Alabama. "This new operation will allow Lakeside to produce competitive, quality products close to our end use markets and better serve our customers", Roik continued.

Mayor Sheldon Day in his closing comments said, "Rural Alabama can compete for economic development projects. We are not New York City, and we don't want to be; we want to be the best Thomasville, Alabama that we can be. We are proud to be a partner with Lakeside Steel and welcome them to Clarke County and Thomasville, Alabama." 




AVIC International completes purchase of Continental Motors from Teledyne


Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 6:00 AM

By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register


AVIC International Holding Corp. said Tuesday that it had completed its $186 million purchase of Continental Motors from Teledyne Technologies.


Chinese-government owned AVIC International set up a new subsidiary called Technify Motor and said Tian Shan would move to Mobile to become president of Technify.


Rhett Ross will remain the president of Continental Motors, which will be a Technify subsidiary, and other Continental managers will stay on, Ross said. He said that the company is trying to hire 20 production workers and 15 engineers, which would raise its local employment to 435 people.


Ross said Continental's union contract remains in force through 2013.


"We worked hard over the last few months to make sure the employees see no impact" after the sale, he said.


Continental had cut around 100 employees during the recession as demand for small planes and engines plummeted. Ross said the planned hiring stems from an improving economy, plus Beijing-based AVIC International's push to invest in Chinese and other fast-growing markets. Ross said the new owners are already opening doors in China, with Continental in the running to sell engines for Chinese-only planes.






Mobile, Ala., ranked No. 10 small city of the future by magazine


Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 6:00 AM Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 6:18 AM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register

fDi Magazine has ranked Mobile No. 10 among small cities of the future in the Americas.

The magazine, published by London's Financial Times, is aimed at executives and consultants who might be picking new business locations around the world. The name in an acronym for foreign direct investment.

A panel of five judges ranked Mobile No. 10 among cities with populations of 100,000 to 250,000. That group of 175 included No. 1 Richmond, Va., and No. 5 Huntsville. New York was No. 1 among major cities, while Pittsburgh, Pa., was tops among large cities. Greenville, S.C., was No. 1 among cities with less than 100,000 people.

Rankings were compiled using numbers and judges' opinion to rank cities on their chances for attracting foreign investment, economic development and business expansion.

"This ranking is further proof that Team Mobile's strategy for attracting foreign direct investment is right on track," said Troy Wayman, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president for economic development. "Being ranked in the Top 10 for strategy puts us in very good company and sets us apart from much of our competition in the nation."


Mobile ranked No. 5 for foreign direct investment promotion strategy, based on information submitted by the chamber, behind No. 1 Huntsville. It also ranked No. 9 for job creation from foreign direct investment. The Press-Register recently counted 35 foreign-owned companies in Mobile County that employ nearly 10,000 people, or roughly one in every 15 private-sector workers. 






Goodrich adding 20 jobs in Foley aerospace facility


Published: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 4:12 PM Updated: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 4:20 PM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register

MOBILE, Ala. -- Goodrich Corp. plans to hire about 20 people at its Foley operation, as it gears up to make more aircraft parts for Airbus and Boeing Co.

Alabama Industrial Development Training is advertising for people who want to be trained as sheet metal assemblers. The new employees would help make new thrust reversers and exhaust systems that cover aircraft engines in a unit called a nacelle, company spokesman Patrick Palmer said. Goodrich, based in Charlotte, N.C., has 730 employees in Foley. That includes 430 who build new parts and 300 who repair and overhaul parts.

Palmer said Airbus and Boeing plan to ramp up production of the A320 and 737, respectively, in the coming year, meaning they will need more nacelles.

AIDT is accepting application through April 24. The uncompenstated, six-week pretraining would begin in late May and finish in July, Palmer said. After that Goodrich would choose who to hire. Wages would start at $13.65 and up, AIDT said. Applications are accepted at www.aidt.edu/jobs/
Press Register 



Huntsville-based Dynetics gains big partner for Google Lunar X competition

Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011, 10:05 AM



By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado -- This has been a big week for a local high-tech company with its eyes on the stars.


Officials with Dynetics have been at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs all week and have been extremely busy - both with work duties and big-time announcements.


The Huntsville-based company announced that Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has joined the Rocket City Space Pioneers, a group of businesses led by Dynetics, competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.


"Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will be a key player on our team," said Tim Pickens, team leader of the Rocket City Space Pioneers. "We are very fortunate to have such a reputable space company with a proven history of success join us on our mission."



Also, Dynetics said its FASTSAT-HSV01 completed operations for multiple payloads. FASTSAT (Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite) is a small satellite - about the size of a washing machine and weighing about 400 pounds - that Dynetics, the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation and the Marshall Space Flight Center developed for the Department of Defense Space Test Program. The mission is managed at NASA's Huntsville Operations Support Center 




Huntsville Times





 AT&T Invests in Alabama Network to Deliver Most-Advanced Mobile Broadband Experience

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* today announced plans to add more than 50 new cell sites and upgrade more than 70 cell sites across Alabama as part of its 2011 initiative to deliver the nation's most-advanced mobile broadband experience.

The Alabama wireless network enhancements are part of AT&T's planned $19-billion investment in its national wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects in 2011. The investment will support plans to enable 4G speeds over an increasing portion of the country throughout the year, including the planned initial launch of LTE beginning mid-year and the deployment of enhanced backhaul connections that enable 4G speeds**.

The 2011 investment will also support the build and upgrade of thousands of cell sites nationwide designed to increase network speed, coverage and reliability for both mobile voice and broadband services. AT&T also plans to install additional radio "carriers" at more than 30,000 cell sites nationally this year, enabling new layers of spectrum capacity to carry larger volumes of mobile broadband traffic. This additional capacity enables AT&T to support rising mobile data traffic volumes, which have increased more than 8,000 percent over the past four years.

Today's announcement builds on the momentum established during the last several years -- from 2008 to 2010, AT&T's capital investment in its Alabama wireline and wireless networks was more than $1.3 billion.

"A more advanced mobile broadband experience drives economic growth, stimulates jobs and equips Alabama businesses to meet the network demands of today and tomorrow," said Fred McCallum, president, AT&T Alabama. "We've significantly ramped up our wireless investments to enable an experience that offers Alabama consumers better speed, better reliability and better availability." 






UAH team wins Alabama Launchpad business plan competition


Published: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 3:42 PM Updated: Saturday, April 16, 2011, 4:29 PM

By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register



MOBILE, Ala. -- A team from the University of Alabama in Huntsville has won the 2011 Alabama Launchpad Business Plan Competition.


Decision Innovations offers a product meant to combine patient information and research to improve patient care and hospital finances. The group, led by a UAH nursing professor, will get $100,000 in seed capital plus other services. It's the third time a UAH team has won.


Second place went to IoLiTec, a University of Alabama team that's trying to develop specialty chemicals that contain nanoparticles, to make handling easier and safer. The team will get $50,000 plus other services.


Third place went to IPC Foam, an Auburn University team that is trying to commercialize a metal foam that could be used where lightweight metal is needed, including aerospace, sports, and underwater structures.


The prizes, announced Friday at the University of South Alabama, capped a seven-month competition that began with more than 40 teams from six public universities.




Press Register



UA-affiliated company places in competition

Staff Report


Published: Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.


Last Modified: Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:34 p.m.


A start-up company affiliated with the University of Alabama's business incubator finished second Friday in the Alabama Launchpad business plan competition in Mobile.


IoliTech, a specialty chemical company housed in UA's AIME building, won second place and $50,000. Four of the nine finalists in the annual competition, in which start-up companies vie for $175,000 in seed capital and in-kind services, were UA-affiliated.


Alabama Launchpad is a partnership among state universities and the privately funded Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Its goal is to help state start-up companies bring new technologies to market. Most of the technologies are developed by the universities' faculty, students and staff.

First place and $100,000 went to the University of Alabama in Huntsville's Decision Innovations, a health information technology company. Third place and $25,000 was awarded to Auburn University-affiliated IPC Foam, which developed a unique metal foam.


Tuscaloosa News 


Launchpad won't let success block new growth


Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011, 8:03 AM Updated: Sunday, April 17, 2011, 8:05 AM

By K.A. Turner, Press-Register Press-Register



MOBILE, Ala. -- Alabama Launchpad has come a long way in its first five years. But leaders of the young organization, which is a key element in the state's push to turn innovation into paying jobs, know that it can't rest on its laurels.


Launchpad, which conducted the finals of its 2011 business plan competition in Mobile on Friday, is a joint effort of state research universities and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, or EDPA.


K.A. Turner's column appears weekly in the Press-Register and the Mississippi Press. Email her at kturner@press-register.com


It gets glowing reviews from the people who know it well. Michael Chambers, a Mobile attorney and chief executive of Swift Biotech, saw his start-up company finish in the money in the 2010 edition of that contest.


"Swift Biotech was not my first start-up," Chambers is quoted in Launchpad's most recent annual report. "But that helped me realize the value of having a program like Launchpad, which required you to provide a concise, reasoned business plan, within rigid deadlines, which would be reviewed and critiqued, free, by teams of talented financial and business leaders. And, if you won, not only did you get non-dilutable cash, but also the inestimable credibility with future investors that comes from being named one of the winners."


Angela Wier, Launchpad's president, said recently that the organization is now doing just what good start-up businesses must -- formulating a new five-year plan based on both the success it has already enjoyed and the demands evident in its "marketplace."


"We see more clearly than we did when we started that there really are still a lot of needs in this state," said Wier, who is an EDPA vice president.


She offered as examples the desires for more mentors to shepherd young companies and greater availability of proof-of-concept funding.


"We think there needs to be more continuity," she said. "Our planning will look at the other players we can work with."




Press Register


UA program gives entrepreneurs a home to develop businesses


By Patrick Rupinski Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.


TUSCALOOSA | In a small office at the University of Alabama's AIME building, Tom Beyersdorff has spent the past year contacting North American companies, universities and researchers interested in ionic liquids made by his company, Iolitech Inc.


Ionic liquids are a liquid salt that have a growing number of applications in various industries. They have been used in products ranging from humidity sensors to batteries. And they have the potential of being used even more widely as the auto industry embraces electric battery-powered vehicles.


Ionic liquids can make batteries safer and higher-performing, Beyersdorff said of the future potential of Iolitech's product.


And if electric batteries someday replace gasoline engines in vehicles, Iolitech could be manufacturing ionic liquids in Alabama to serve the automotive industry.


That is one of the goals of AIME, or Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs. As UA's business incubator, it helps entrepreneurs develop their technology, products and business plans so budding companies can grow into viable businesses that AIME hopes will stay in Alabama.







Tuscaloosa News 




editor's note: Iolitiech placed second in the Alabama Launchpad Business Plan Competition. Learn more here: http://www.alabamalaunchpad.com/2011-finale-info.html





Prattville selects new Chamber president


Published: Friday, April 15, 2011, 3:43 PM Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011, 3:43 PM

By Christine Kneidinger, al.com al.com


PRATTVILLE, Alabama -- After serving four months as interim president, the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce unanimously selected former executive vice president Jeremy L. Arthur to serve as the chamber's president on Wednesday.

The Decatur native has served the Prattville Chamber since 2004, where he has played a key role in creating a pro-business work environment by focusing on business growth and retention.


"Jeremy brings an excellent skill set to the position," Randy Grissett, chair of the board of directors, said via news release. "Our chamber board and leadership are impressed with his extensive professional experience and enthusiastic passion for the chamber business. We found exactly who we were looking for, and didn't have to look any further."



Arthur graduated with a master's in Public Administration from Auburn University and is a doctoral candidate in Public Administration and Public Policy at the school. 




Lori Huguley Named Opelika Economic Development Director


April 20, 2011


When Al Cook came on board with the City of Opelika in March, 2003 as the Director of Economic Development, he brought with him a style and a type of business savvy that made Opelika leaders smile. And now, after eight years of tremendous service to the community, and effective May 31, 2011, he will be retiring.


During his eight years on the job, Al has helped create over 2,100 industrial jobs, which represent a capital investment of over $471 million to our community. These numbers do not include Al's involvement and build out of TigerTown, or the recruitment of the future development of "Celebrate Alabama", which will ultimately mean thousands of retail jobs and millions of tourism dollars flowing in to Opelika.


Under Al's leadership the City of Opelika has seen the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park grow from a single tenant to home to six world class companies. The City also recruited Gambro Renal Products, which was the largest single capital investment in the history of Lee County at the time of the announcement. Gambro planned to invest about $120 million but improvements and modifications during construction put the total to over $160 million.


"Al Cook has played a major role in our success and his magnificent efforts will not soon be forgotten," stated Mayor Gary Fuller. "He always understood what the Mayor, City Council and Opelika Industrial Development Authority needed to do to close a deal and had the skill to bring it all together at the right time. Al is the epitome of team work."


City Council President Eddie Smith echoed Mayor Fuller's sentiments and added, "On behalf of the Opelika City Council, I would like to wish Al much happiness as he enters into his retirement. Al has done a wonderful job over the past eight years as the Economic Development Director and he will be sorely missed. We extend to him and his wife, Dudley, congratulations and best wishes and we thank Al for a job well done."





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