Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
World Bank official to speak with Alabama businesses in Birmingham
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 12:17 PM Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 1:54 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- World Bank Group Executive Director Ian Solomon
will speak with Alabama businesses on Friday about how they can increase exports in a global marketplace.
Ian Solomon, U.S. executive director of the World Bank Group, is scheduled to speak with business leaders in Birmingham on Friday, Nov. 4.
The speech will come during a Brock International Business Speakers Series Luncheon at noon at the
Birmingham Sheraton Hotel
Earlier in the day, Solomon will attend a breakfast roundtable discussion with business leaders who already conduct business in foreign markets. He'll also speak tomorrow morning with students at the Brock School of Business.
During his address, Solomon will explain how the World Bank can help Alabama businesses expand overseas through export opportunities.
The World Bank's mission is to fight poverty through offering financial and technical assistance to developing countries through a variety of initiatives including teaching, building capacity and creating private-public sector partnerships.
Primary project areas for the World Bank include infrastructure, water sanitation, oil, health, primary education and agriculture.
Alabama is among the first five states to have direct representation in the World Bank Group, according to the ADO.
The free event -- sponsored by the Alabama Development Office, the Brock School of Business at Samford University,
Hand Arendall LLC and Balch & Bingham LLP -- is open to businesses.
Tate & Lyle: On track to reopen McIntosh plant
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 11:33 AM Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 11:59 AM
Officials with Tate & Lyle PLC said this morning that the company is on track to reopen its McIntosh manufacturing facility during 2012, ahead of an earlier estimate.
The British sweetener and starch maker also reported strong six-month financial results, with Chief Executive Javed Ahmed citing strong demand for the company's products "across the portfolio."
Sales of sucralose, the key ingredient in Splenda sweetener, were "particularly strong," up 17 percent from the same six months of 2010.
Tate & Lyle said in 2009 that it was closing the McIntosh plant, at one time the world's only sucralose production facility, laying off most of the 125 workers and shifting all production to a new facility in Singapore.
In May, Tate & Lyle announced its intention to re-open the plant in 2013, creating about 100 jobs, citing increased sucralose demand.
Thursday, the firm, which starts its fiscal year each May, said that McIntosh was on track to restart production, "during the first half of the next financial year."
Overall, the firm reported net income of 175 million pounds ($278.2 million) for the six months that ended Sept. 30. That more than doubled the 70 million pounds made during the same period in 2010.
Ahmed told reporters that the company hadn't seen world economic situation affect its business. He did warn that the European debt crisis made predicting future business more difficult.
Calhoun Community College, Huntsville-based PeopleTec awarded $18M Army Space and Missile Defense Command contract
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 9:57 AM Updated:
Thursday, November 03, 2011, 10:09 AM
DECATUR, Alabama - Calhoun Community College, in partnership with Huntsville-based PeopleTec, has been awarded a five-year, $18,833,652 contract from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command to fund the Adaptive Robotics Technology for Space, Air and Missiles (ART-SAM) program. Funding for the project's first year will be $2,717,990.
According to Calhoun and PeopleTec officials, the program will be developed in the recently opened Alabama Robotics Technology Park Phase II facility, adjacent to Calhoun's Decatur campus.
"This program represents a unique collaboration among government, academia, and industry to promote a robotics and unmanned systems testbed environment that will offer cutting-edge robotics enhancements in support of the Nation's warfighters," commented Calhoun President Marilyn Beck. "We are excited about this partnership with PeopleTec and are also pleased to announce today that the company will be the very first tenant to move into Phase II of the RTP."
PeopleTec, a woman-owned small business, provides engineering, programmatic, modeling and simulation, and IT solutions to Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency and commercial customers.
"The ART-SAM program is a significant opportunity to provide mission critical support to enhance our Nation's unmanned aerial and ground-based robotics technology capabilities," said PeopleTec President Doug Scalf. "PeopleTec is excited to be partnering with Calhoun on this venture, and we look forward to supporting SMDC and its customers through this innovative collaboration."
The park's second phase is a 35,000-square-foot, $8.3 million building featuring a test facility for companies currently in the robotics manufacturing industry.
Art Tipton: Buyer of SurModics Pharmaceuticals offers advantages
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 9:18 AM Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 9:28 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The head of SurModics Inc
.'s pharmaceuticals division said the buyer of the Birmingham unit looks to be a good partner.
Art Tipton, senior vice president and general manager of Surmodics Pharmaceuticals, said he believes the prospective new owner, Evonik Industries AG
, offer advantages for the Birmingham business. The $30 million deal was announced Wednesday
While the companies will have more detailed discussion about possible growth areas for the Birmingham facility, Tipton said both the pharmaceutical division and Evonik speak a "similar language" when it comes to pharmaceuticals and drug delivery.
The wide footprint of Evonik-- which is active in more than 100 countries -- also should be a benefit, he added.
"Having a more global reach from a company that has a presence in many countries around the world I think will allow for a much better process for us getting in front of customers that maybe we haven't talked to before," Tipon said in an interview. "We have some great technologies and capabilities here."
Last December, SurModics announced it was exploring "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale of the pharmaceutical division because it no longer fit in with the parent company's plans. It acquired the business, once called Brookwood Pharmaceuticals, in 2007.
Education, government, civic leaders work together for region's future
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 8:10 AM Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 8:31 AM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- It was fitting that a place where scientific discoveries are made would host a gathering where the region's "best and brightest" would talk about the future - and working together.
This week, representatives of local, state and national governments joined civic, education and industrial leaders at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in a regional discussion - a prelude to the Tennessee Valley Corridor Fall Partnership meeting this month.
The two-day event is set for Nov. 20-21 at the Von Braun Center.
Here, public and private sector leaders from throughout the region will join with the Tennessee Valley Corridor congressional delegation to discuss and collaborate on ideas centered around the theme, "Turning Regional Resiliency Into Economic Development."
Major sessions will touch on the lessons learned and the opportunities created from the tornadoes that struck the region this spring.
"We've got to work with our synergy and work off each others' strengths," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. "This is all about jobs.
"Economic development happens by talking and communicating."
Though states and cities often compete for economic development, the discussion was mainly about coming together as a region and putting aside city, county and state differences.
"The markets are changing," said John Bradley, senior vice president for economic development with the Tennessee Valley Authority. "It used to be local, then regional. Now, it's multistate.
Education, government, civic leaders work together for region's future
UAB medical school plans to boost faculty, student numbers
Published: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 5:30 AM Updated: Thursday, November 03, 2011, 6:25 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- UAB's medical school wants to recruit 50 new research faculty in the next five years and increase the size of the school's class, according to a new strategic plan that officials are releasing this week in conjunction with the UAB Health System.
The hospital and school are setting their sights on top medical centers around the country, saying new technology and bench-to-bedside research can launch the University of Alabama at Birmingham into that category and beyond. The plan also calls for expanding UAB's medical presence in Montgomery, improving access for patients at its clinics and producing more primary care physicians.
"The other medical centers, the University of Pennsylvanias, the Johns Hopkins Universities, they're great medical centers, but they're vested in the 20th century," said Will Ferniany, CEO of the UAB Health System. "UAB's a young university. It's noted for collaboration and innovation, and that's why we think we can get there. We're not vested in all these centuries-old traditions."
The plan is called "AMC21," short for its goal of becoming the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century. It's the first time the medical school and the health system, which includes the hospital and clinics, have worked this closely together on a strategy, said Ray Watts, UAB's medical school dean.
There will be three main focus areas in the next five to seven years, according to the plan: patient care, biomedical research and the training of doctors and other health professionals.
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Wendy Wallace Johnson