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Greetings!
 
Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
 
in this issue:
Birmingham Business Alliance hiring economic developers, project managers - Birmingham News
Mercedes Alabama chief: New SUV will set standard for segment - Birmingham News
Four-cylinder engine production scheduled to start in early fall at Huntsville's Toyota engine plant - Huntsville Times
Dollar General project represents 'golden opportunity,' Bessemer May Kenneth Gulley says - Birmingham News

      

Birmingham Business Alliance hiring economic developers, project managers

 

Published: Friday, June 10, 2011, 12:15 PM Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011, 12:21 PM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


 

The Birmingham Business Alliance plans to have three new economic development executives and two project managers on board this summer to help the metro area's leading recruiter of new industry lure companies through its new five-year strategic plan.


 

Dave Rickey, spokesman for the BBA, said the new hires have been planned for more than a year but the organization wanted to wait until Blueprint Birmingham -- the plan that shapes BBA's recruitment efforts -- was complete and a new chief executive was in place.


 

Brian Hilson became BBA's new CEO in April.


 

"This is something that has been in the long-range plan since BBA was formed," Rickey said. "The development of Blueprint Birmingham helped us hone in on the particular requirements. Now with Brian on board, he is pushing us to move forward with filling those positions."


 

Three vice-president-level positions to be filled are for innovation and technology, business retention and expansion, and education and work force development. Two project managers will be hired to work the recruitment of specific projects. 

 

 

 

 

 more...

 

 

Birmingham News 

 

 

 

 

    

Mercedes Alabama chief: New SUV will set standard for segment

 

Published: Friday, June 10, 2011, 7:00 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


 

Mercedes-BenzMercedes has unveiled its redesigned 2012 M-Class SUV, which will go into mass production this summer in Alabama.


 

Mercedes-Benz is on target to begin producing customer-ready versions of the redesigned M-Class at its Alabama factory next month, and the head of the German automaker's state operations predicts it will set a new standard among luxury SUVs.


 

The latest full update of the vehicle includes improvements in fuel economy, safety features and driving performance in on- and off-road scenarios, Mercedes said Thursday as it formally unveiled the 2012 model.


 

The new SUV also has a more sculpted look than its predecessor, with a bolder grille, restyled headlights and other tweaks along its body.


 

At the Mercedes factory in Vance, where the last production trial models of the 2012 M-Class are now exiting the assembly line, employees have been happy to hear positive reviews.


 

"It's really rewarding for me and the team over here," said Markus Schaefer, head of Mercedes' Alabama operations. "I think this will set another benchmark in the SUV market."


 

Next up is production of customer-ready models, on target to begin in July.


 

Between now and then, there will be meetings with suppliers to talk about lessons learned during the trial phase, and test drives around the plant will continue, he said.


 

But, now that the new M-Class has made its world premiere, there will be one important difference.


 

 

"You will see them on the road without any camouflage," he said. 

 

more...

Birmingham News

 

    

Four-cylinder engine production scheduled to start in early fall at Huntsville's Toyota engine plant

 

Published: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 4:36 PM Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 5:01 PM

By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times


 

V8 engines are assembled at Huntsville's Toyota truck and SUV engine plant. (The Huntsville Times/Michael Mercier)


 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Production on a new four-cylinder engine line at Toyota's truck and SUV engine plant in Huntsville will start in the early fall instead of this summer as a result of the parts shortages caused by the March 11 earthquake in Japan.


 

Hiring and production trial schedules will be adjusted slightly to accommodate the new production start date, according to plant spokeswoman Tina Gess.


 

"We view this as a minor scheduling adjustment," she said.


 

The four-cylinder project is still creating more than 240 jobs, Gess said. As of early June, more than 160 employees had been hired, and the remaining 85 positions will be filled by August.


 

The North Huntsville plant, called Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, already builds V6 and V8 engines for Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks and Sequoia full-size sport utility vehicles. Production is being adjusted for those lines through July because of the parts shortages.

 

 

 

more...

 

 

Huntsville Times 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Dollar General project represents 'golden opportunity,' Bessemer May Kenneth Gulley says

 

Published: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 7:00 PM Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 8:02 PM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


 

Dollar General is spending $100 million to build a distribution center, shown in this rendering, in Bessemer.


 

Dollar General's $100 million, 1 million-square-foot distribution center now under construction in Bessemer is a prize captured through teamwork, officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony today.


 

Recruited under the codename "Project Rodeo," Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said the Birmingham Business Alliance brought him on board with the project after his election as the city's mayor in November. Gulley said he and the city council worked hard to secure the project. State officials also were involved.


 

"We have a golden opportunity here in Bessemer," Gulley said. "When we talk about $100 million and 650 jobs in a city the size of Bessemer, that is awesome."


 

 

Rick Dreiling, chief executive of Dollar General, called Thursday's groundbreaking event a milestone for Bessemer and for the Tennessee-based retail chain. He praised the work of all the agencies and elected officials that helped bring the distribution center to Bessemer.

 

more...

Birmingham News 

 

 

 

 




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