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:
Industry disaster assistance links posted to EDPA website
Honda to move production of the Acura MDX to Alabama - Birmingham News
Businesses must prepare for disaster - Press Register
Johnson Controls is first Alabama supplier to provide parts for Mercedes C-Class - Birmingham News
Alabama is Number 7 in growth of women-owned businesses - Birmingham News
North Alabama agriculture suffers serious tornado damage - Huntsville Times
Newhouse Foundation and corporations donate millions for relief after deadly Alabama tornadoes - Birmingham News
Alabama tornadoes: Workers who lost jobs because of storms may get assistance
Alabama students gather in Birmingham to compete in skills competition - Birmingham News
Developments Blog: Resilience


Industry disaster assistance links posted to EDPA website 


Alabama industries needing assistance in the wake of April 27th's historic storms can reference links found on EDPA's website.


EDPA created this resource as a starting point for companies needing assistance. Links to federal, state, and local resources are included, with links to county economic development offices.


Please help us populate this list by emailing wwallace@edpa.org with information for any resources available.




The list may be accessed through the "Industry Resources" page of the EDPA website. 


Visit the website here: Alabama industry disaster assistance



Alabama tornadoes: Small stores, big industry hit by storms


Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 5:00 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News

Tornadoes that pummeled metro Birmingham and Alabama on Wednesday showed no discrimination in their destruction of businesses, from beloved mom and pop stores to behemoths of industry.

Debris from gas stations, restaurants, hotels, beauty salons and antique shops littered streets in the Birmingham area's hardest-hit communities.

In Fultondale, the majority of the damaged businesses were along U.S. 31, and some of the worst included longtime and popular merchants, such as Doodles Cajun Cuisine.

"It's going to be hard on everybody," said Teresa Vise, director of the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce. "They were part of our culture and our heritage in Fultondale. We will be working to rebuild and grow them."

At Birmingham's Daniel Payne Industrial Park on Coalburg Road, trucks were overturned, and buildings were either flattened or had gaping holes in their roofs, said Griffin Lassiter, senior project manager with the city's economic development department.

That was the scene on the park's eastern side, home to Transport Refrigeration, Xtra Lease, Melton Truck Lines, M&A Supply and Maintenance Plus Wheel and Tire Assembly.


Fallen power lines prevented a closer look at the western side, where other companies are located, but snapped trees and power poles that could be seen indicated a similar situation there.



Birmingham News 



Honda to move production of the Acura MDX to Alabama


Published: Monday, May 02, 2011, 1:10 PM Updated: Monday, May 02, 2011, 1:14 PM


By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


AcuraHonda plans to move production of the Acura MDX to its Alabama auto factory.


Honda plans to shift production of the Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle to Alabama in 2013.


The move allows the popular Honda CR-V SUV to be made at a factory in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, where the MDX is now built.


The CR-V is currently built in Ohio and elsewhere, but Honda will be able to produce more of them using the Canada assembly lines.


The announcement was made today to employees at the Japanese automaker's Alabama factory in Lincoln, which currently produces the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup.


Output at the Lincoln plant and at Honda manufacturing facilities across North America has been slashed in recent weeks, because of a parts shortage following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


Honda said today that output will continue to be cut significantly through the summer months, and the goal is to bring production back to normal levels around the end of the year. 






Birmingham News



IRS considers tax deadline extension for storm victims


Birmingham Business Journal - by Antrenise Cole, Staff

Date: Monday, May 2, 2011, 2:16pm CDT

Businesses, officials assess storm damage Severe weather causes closures, power outages Tax refunds smaller in 2011 IRS offering last-minute tax help Surviving a taxing time with a not so kinder, gentler IRS

Victims of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding beginning April 15 in parts of Alabama may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Choctaw, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington and Winston.

The IRS is postponing until June 30 certain deadlines for taxpayers who live or have a business in the disaster area. This includes the April 18 deadline for filing 2010 individual income tax returns, making income tax payments and making 2010 contributions to an individual retirement account.

In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after April 15 and on or before May 2, as long as the deposits were made by May 2.

Birmingham Business Journal


Businesses must prepare for disaster


Published: Monday, May 02, 2011, 9:14 AM Updated: Monday, May 02, 2011, 9:33 AM

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


MOBILE, Ala. -- There was empathy last week as the Gulf Coast looked north toward areas of Alabama and Mississippi decimated by severe weather. Then the coast rolled up its figurative sleeves, opened its collective checkbook and looked for ways to help.


K.A. Turner writes a weekly column. Contact her at 251-219-5644 or kturner@press-register.com.


That effort, certainly, will continue in the days and weeks ahead. And with our hurricane-marked history as teacher, we can promise our friends in the hard-hit areas that time will help them heal.


That said, the storms of the past week and the hurricane season ahead should prompt us all to consider our level of preparedness.


The federal Small Business Administration is blunt about what's at stake for business. "Having a disaster plan in place will make the difference between being shut down for a few days, and losing your livelihood," it reminds as part of the online resources available at sba.gov. (The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has tips, including a simple planning guide, at www.ready.gov/business.)


Karen Avery leads the U.S. Business Continuity Risk Management Practice and is a managing director for international insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh Inc.


Trying to guard against a specific disaster, she said, is not nearly as effective as focusing on the impact that follows a loss of key resources. Anticipate and evaluate, she said, four major areas -- key people, physical assets, technological assets and important business relationships.




Press Register 





Updated: Johnson Controls is first Alabama supplier to provide parts for Mercedes C-Class

Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 3:00 PM Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 3:08 PM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


Johnson Controls in Cottondale is the first Alabama auto supplier to land a contract to provide component parts for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, which will be made at the automaker's Vance factory.


The company has produced a number of interior systems and components for both the M-Class SUV and the R-Class crossover, which are currently built in Vance. The C-Class will join the plant's lineup in time for a 2013 launch.


The additional work will add 185 jobs at Johnson Controls.


Gov. Robert Bentley's office announced the contract earlier but withheld the name of the company until the 3 p.m. announcement.




Birmingham News


Alabama is Number 7 in growth of women-owned businesses


Published: Sunday, May 01, 2011, 8:00 AM
By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


Tena Z. Payne works in her Leeds studio. Alabama ranks number 7 nationally in growth of women-owned businesses

Pottery has been Tena Z. Payne's passion since she was a high school student, but she raised a family and worked a variety of jobs before she turned her first love into a career.

Now, the Leeds woman creates dishes that are used in fine dining restaurants across the United States, from The Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham.

Payne, 54, incorporated her pottery business, Earthborn Studios, in 2003, after she found a niche working with chefs who wanted eye-catching, yet durable, dishes to serve up their own creations.

Her company is among a growing number of women-owned businesses in Alabama, which have increased nearly 66 percent since 1997, according to U.S. Census data.

The state ranks No. 7 in the country for growth of such firms, with an estimated 115,200 this year.

For Payne, pottery was a longtime hobby, and she always did art shows while juggling full-time jobs and caring for her children.

"It was something I just couldn't put down," she said. "It's a challenging medium on every level."



Birmingham News

North Alabama agriculture suffers serious tornado damage; Ag inspectors deployed to assist state EMA

Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 3:34 PM Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 3:42 PM

By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times


MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Widespread damage and destruction has hit Alabama's agriculture infrastructure with preliminary assessments indicating extensive damage to the state's multibillion-dollar poultry industry.


"We have deployed our field inspectors to the hard hit areas of North Alabama to assist state emergency management efforts," said Commissioner John McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries.


North Alabama poultry producers and meat processors suffered significant damage, according to McMillan, adding that some 200 poultry houses were destroyed by Wednesday's tornadoes and another 180 damaged. A standard poultry house can hold an average of 20,000 chickens.


"Thousands of chickens have been lost in the tornadoes, and these numbers could grow as we continue to assess the damage," McMillan said. "Power outages and loss of drinking water could worsen an already critical situation for poultry producers and meat processors."


A state veterinarian is investigating reports of injured livestock in Franklin County, the commissioner said. No other details are available.



Huntsville Times 


Newhouse Foundation and corporations donate millions for relief after deadly Alabama tornadoes

Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 6:00 AM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation said Friday it will donate $1 million to the American Red Cross for storm relief and recovery in Alabama, the same day that Birmingham Mayor William Bell called on corporations to get involved to help victims of the devastation.


The Newhouse foundation made the donation on behalf of Advance Alabama Publications, which includes The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile's Press-Register, along with al.com, The Birmingham Business Journal and Bright House Networks.


"Our community has been devastated," said Pam Siddall, publisher of The Birmingham News. "Now is the time for all of us to rally together and help those who have suffered as they begin to rebuild their lives. I want to encourage others to join us in helping those who have lost so much. Together, we can bring hope to this great community."


In a meeting with Siddall and other business executives at the Birmingham Business Alliance on Friday, Bell said he wants to foster that support and hope.


"I wanted to give the leadership an understanding of what we're faced with, but also a sense of hope when all of us are working together," Bell said.


The Newhouse storm-relief donation is one of several made by Birmingham's corporate community, including:


Regions Financial Corp. on Thursday gave $1 million to the Red Cross Tornado Disaster Relief Fund.


BBVA Compass donated $500,000 to the Red Cross.


Energen Corp. gave $250,000 to the Red Cross.


Protective Life Corp. said it is committing $250,000, to be divided between the Red Cross, Salvation Army and local clean-up and aid initiatives involving Protective volunteers.


Wells Fargo & Co. contributed $225,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Alabama and Georgia.




Birmingham News 


Alabama tornadoes: Workers who lost jobs because of storms may get assistance

Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 12:28 PM Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 1:32 PM

By Roy L. Williams -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


Workers who became unemployed as a direct result of Wednesday's storms in eight Alabama counties, including Jefferson and Walker in metro Birmingham, may be eligible for disaster assistance, according to Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees.


Help is available for those who qualify under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, triggered when President Obama designated the counties as disaster areas on Thursday.


"Generally, those who are eligible for state unemployment benefits are not eligible for DUA, but a claimant may qualify if state unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted," Surtees said in a release. "If you believe you are entitled to these benefits, I urge you to file a claim to see if you are eligible."


People who may be eligible include individuals who no longer have a job, are unable to reach the place of employment, or were scheduled to start work in the major disaster area and the job no longer exists. Also eligible are those who became the breadwinner or major support of the family because the head of household died in the storms, or those who cannot work because of an injury incurred during the major disaster.


Self-employed individuals must provide a copy of their 2010 income tax records to ensure they are eligible. Claims can be filed through the Department of Industrial Relation's website or by calling 866-234-5382. The deadline to file a Disaster Unemployment Assistance claim is May 30.






Birmingham News 




Alabama students gather in Birmingham to compete in skills competition


Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 12:23 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 2:01 PM
By al.com staff al.com

More than 1,800 are expected at a two-day event at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex this week to compete in carpentry, industrial motor control, drafting, masonry and other areas. (File)


More than 1,800 Alabama students, parents, teachers and employers will gather at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex this week to compete for top awards in categories such as carpentry, industrial motor control, drafting, masonry and more.


The event April 27-28 is the annual SkillsUSA Leadership Conference, Career Expo and State Championships, and it is earning additional attention this year in the wake of a recently released report from the Harvard School of Education that calls for a national effort to diversify the way we define success for young people.


The report says the U.S. education system has had tunnel vision. The system, it reports, pushes every student toward a four-year college despite the fact that the most rapid job growth over the next 5-10 years is expected to be in skilled trade jobs in healthcare and construction that require career training rather than a bachelor's degree.


Go Build Alabama, the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute's campaign featuring "Dirty Jobs" executive producer and host Mike Rowe, will sponsor this year's Award Ceremony at the SkillsUSA conference. Go Build is calling for schools and parents to bring students to the Career Expo Thursday, April 28 and introduce them to a new path to a successful career.








Developments Blog

Join the conversation...




May 2, 2011


Bill Taylor, EDPA President


In economic development we are quick to tout the state's work force - its people - as one of Alabama's greatest advantages. Time and again I have witnessed that as a reality since I came to this state nearly 20 years ago.


When tragedy strikes, as it did last week when devastating storms hit the state, the people of Alabama immediately rise to the challenge. Moments after the storm, neighbors emerged to provide help where able. And a short time after tornadoes ripped through several communities throughout the state, Alabamians mobilized to provide care, comfort, shelter and supplies to help their neighbors through the crisis. Employees reached out to fellow employees, and many local industries and businesses mobilized assistance teams to aid stricken communities.


Based on my experience over the years, that will not end with the immediate response to the storms' aftermath. They will be there each step of the way as fellow Alabamians most affected by the disaster work to rebuild their communities and recover from the greatest tragedy of all - the loss of family and friends.


Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from setbacks. Last week, all of us in Alabama experienced a calamity of epic proportions. In the weeks and months ahead, a resilience that I've come to realize is a distinctive Alabama trait will be on display for the nation and the world to see as the state's people help one another to recover. We work best together when we work as a team, and this is no exception. Together, we will work towards recovery.






Developments Blog 






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I hope this edition finds you safe; please contact us if there are any needs where we can provide assistance,

Wendy Wallace Johnson
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