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:
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Wins 2011 Automotive News Suppliers' Choice Award - Release
Boeing selects ULA's Atlas rocket for its cargo, crew flights - Huntsville Times



Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Wins 2011 Automotive News Suppliers' Choice Award

Alabama automaker ranked highly by suppliers in J.D. Power and Associates survey


Tuscaloosa, Alabama, August 1, 2011 - Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. was named a winner of the 2011 Automotive News Suppliers' Choice Awards recognizing outstanding work in bringing innovations to market. The announcement was made on Aug. 1 at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. The winners were chosen through a detailed survey of suppliers that J.D. Power and Associates conducts for Automotive News every two years. It ranks North American automakers on their ability to support, foster and commercialize the suppliers' innovations.


The survey was launched in 2003. J.D. Power has conducted this research for Automotive News five times. Automakers are evaluated on five factors: openness to new ideas; ease of working with the automaker on innovative ideas; level of trust; willingness to provide financial incentives or rewards for supplier innovation; and ability to implement innovations. The 2011 study included responses from supplier CEOs, presidents and executives, and represents all areas of vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing. Responses on 15 automakers that manufacture vehicles in North America are included. The other top winners were BMW, Ford and Honda.


"All of us at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler AG are extremely appreciative of being selected for this award," said MBUSI's Vice President of Quality, Armin Willy, who accepted the award on behalf of Mercedes-Benz. "With strong brands and innovative products, we are focused on what we do best: producing inspiring premium automobiles. This award further confirms our commitment to work hand-in-hand with our suppliers to enhance our manufacturing processes, provide fascinating products for our customers and to continue to shape the future of mobility."



The Tuscaloosa plant was founded in 1995 and started production in 1997. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class was the first product and has been built ever since the start of production in 1997, later joined by the SUVs of the GL- and R-Class. In 2010, the plant produced more than 125,000 vehicles and employed more than 2,800 team members as of 2010. As of 2014, the Tuscaloosa plant will be one of the four global production locations of the successor generation of the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will build these vehicles for the North American market.







Boeing selects ULA's Atlas rocket for its cargo, crew flights

Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 11:31 AM     Updated: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 11:42 AM

By Lee Roop, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Boeing announced today it will pin its plans for commercial cargo and crew spaceflights to United Launch Alliance's Atlas rocket assembled in Decatur, Al.


Boeing is one of several commercial companies competing for NASA contracts to launch cargo and crew to the International Space Station. If NASA selects Boeing for a development contract with sufficient funding, the company said today, " ULA will provide launch services for an autonomous orbital flight, a transonic autonomous abort test launch, and a crewed launch, all in 2015."


Today's announcement was hardly a surprise, because ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that assembles Atlas and Delta rockets at a sprawling facility in Decatur near the south bank of the Tennessee River. ULA employs about 700 people at the complex.


A ULA spokesman has said that any crew-carrying Atlas rockets would be assembled in Decatur and the agreement "absolutely" could lead to more jobs in Alabama.


Huntsville Times 


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Wendy Wallace Johnson
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