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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


in this issue:
Moody's downgrades outlook for paper and forestry products industry - Birmingham News
Birmingham Business Alliance to support beltline, NIH funding in 2012 - Birmingham News
Protective CEO Johns to chair Birmingham Business Alliance - Birmingham News
ohn R. White Company seeks Birmingham's help with move - Birmingham News
Conner's Island business park in Guntersville named a top Data Center Site by Expansion Solutions
Saraland company to hire 250 customer service agents - Press Register
Governor Bentley and Legislative Leadership Committed to Making Immigration Law Most Effective in Nation - Alabama Governor's Office release




Moody's downgrades outlook for paper and forestry products industry

Published: Friday, December 09, 2011, 9:35 AM     Updated: Friday, December 09, 2011, 9:58 AM

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Moody's Investors Service changed its outlook for the paper and forestry products industry to
negative from stable
as price and demand of products in the industry are expected to weaken over the next 12 to 18 months, the credit rating agency announced yesterday.

"The sluggish economic conditions in Europe and North America and reduced use of printing paper as consumers in developed regions continue to shift to electronic devices are behind the weakness," Moody's said in a statement announcing the downgrade. "Additionally, new paper and paper-packaging supply coming on-line in China will likely exceed domestic demand, boosting inventory levels and further pressuring prices."

Forestry is a significant industry in Alabama. According to the Alabama Development Office, the state's forestry sector consists of more than 850 forestry-related manufacturing facilities and employs more than 170,000 people, or about 10 percent of the state's work force. In 2005, it generated $15.39 billion in sales.



Birmingham News








Birmingham Business Alliance to support beltline, NIH funding in 2012

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 12:30 PM     Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 12:57 PM



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Birmingham Business Alliance in 2012 will advocate full funding and the beginning of construction of the Northern Beltline, according to its legislative agenda, released today.

The agenda, which sets priorities for action the business group wants to see in the state Legislature and U.S. Congress, calls for the "timely completion" of the beltline and says the BBA "opposes any effort to limit the amount of funding available for the project."

The agenda also says the BBA intends to:

-- Support continued development of the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Complex at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

-- Support construction of an intermodal facility at UAB "that will serve as the primary interface between private vehicles and public bus transportation."

-- Urge the metro area's congressional delegation to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.

-- Support restoration to 2010 levels funding for pediatric graduate medical education.

-- Oppose "overreaching" Environmental Protection Agency actions or regulations "that would adversely impact or be detrimental to the current or future economic development of the state.

Myla Calhoun Choy, BBA's senior vice president of public policy, said Birmingham needs its business community to have a voice in Montgomery and Washington, D.C.



Birmingham News 




Protective CEO Johns to chair Birmingham Business Alliance

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 11:37 AM     Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 11:41 AM   

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Protective Life CEO Johnny Johns will be the new chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance for 2012.

Johns will chair the new board of directors for a one-year term, succeeding James McManus, chief executive of Energen Corp., whose term ends this year.

The 2012 BBA board officers are:

  • chairman-elect and head of Blueprint Birmingham implementation Fred McCallum, president of AT&T Alabama;
  • vice chair of public policy -- John J. McMahon Jr., co-founder of Ligon Industries;
  • vice chair of nominations -- Grayson Hall Jr., CEO or Regions Financial Corp.;
  • vice chair of communications -- Don Logan, co-owner of the Birmingham Barons and BASS;
  • vice chair of finance -- C. Phillip McWane, chairman of McWane Inc.;
  • vice chair of economic prosperity -- Charles D. McCrary, CEO of Alabama Power Co.;
  • vice chair of community and regional stewardship -- Claude B. Nielsen, president of Coca- Cola Bottling Company United Inc.;
  • vice chair of public and private leadership -- Pam K. Siddall, president of The Birmingham News Multimedia;
  • vice chair of workforce development -- Nancy C. Goedecke, CEO of Mayer Electric Supply;
  • secretary -- Bingham D. Edwards Jr., partner with Balch & Bingham law firm; and
  • McManus, immediate past chairman.

"I am delighted and honored to be elected Chairman of the BBA Board. This is an exciting time for the organization," Johns said in a prepared statement. "Our region faces some enormous challenges and enjoys some tremendous potential opportunities for growth, progress and economic development."





John R. White Company seeks Birmingham's help with move

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 5:45 AM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A food additives company that has operated in Birmingham for more than five decades plans to relocate and expand its operations while staying in the city limits.

John R. White Company Inc. wants to consolidate from two 24,000-square-foot buildings into a single 61,000-square-foot building and is seeking $100,000 in incentives from Birmingham to support the move.

Donald Patton, president of JRW, said the company has already added four employees in anticipation of the move and the hope is the move will allow it to grow even more.

"It gives us the opportunity to grow and keeps us on the cutting edge of the global food safety initiatives," Patton said.

JRW was formed in 1947 when John R. White and L.Q. Patton incorporated the company as a dairy and bakery supply business. In the years since, the company has expanded into all areas of the food manufacturing industry, supplying food makers with additives, spices, herbs and other ingredients to make their products tastier and extend their shelf lives.

Patton calls their business "functional food ingredients" and JRW serves as a supplier and distributor, not a manufacturer.





Conner's Island business park in Guntersville named a top Data Center Site by Expansion Solutions magazine

Conner's Island business park was listed among Expansion Solutions Magazine's 2011 Awards of Excellence in the *** Data Centers*** industry category. These awards recognize organizations who have demonstrated exceptional progress and potential in the development of their areas -- by successfully recruiting, retaining and growing businesses.


City of Guntersville

Guntersville, AL



Conner's Island business park combines natural beauty and true business advantages with 400-plus acres complete with a HUBZone location, a TVA Data Center designation, and AdvantageSite assurance for a smooth location process. From manufacturing and R&D to data center and corporate facilities, Conners Island proves that business and natural beauty make great neighbors. 
Literally surrounded by Lake Guntersville in North Alabama's Mountain-Lakes region, this is one city that makes quality of life a way of life. And that quality is reflected at every turn by the stunning beauty of nature's handiwork that frames friendly neighborhoods, progressive business districts, excellent schools, and unmatched recreational opportunities.
If you're looking for that perfect location Conners Island is the natural choice. It's where business lives on the lake.










Saraland company to hire 250 customer service agents

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 7:28 AM     Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 7:37 AM

MOBILE, Alabama -- The Saraland-based company Ryla, now a part of Alorica, is hiring 250 customer service agents, according to the company.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED and have strong customer service skills. The company's employees take customer service calls for large companies.


To apply, go to the company's website for a complete job description, search the Saraland location, fill out the application and complete the assessment online.

The company is hosting an open house today from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.



Press Register 









Governor Bentley and Legislative Leadership Committed to Making Immigration Law Most Effective in Nation



MONTGOMERY - Governor Robert Bentley and Alabama's legislative leadership, House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston), today announced their joint commitment to make Alabama's new immigration law the most effective in the nation.

The essence of the law will not change, according to Governor Bentley. But the state leaders pledged that revisions to the law will be offered for consideration early in the next Legislative Session so that the law works, it can be enforced and it reflects the hospitable nature of Alabamians.
"We aren't going to repeal Alabama's illegal immigration law," said Governor Bentley. "Speaker Hubbard, President Pro Tempore Marsh and I are in total agreement on that point. As I said in my campaign for Governor, Alabama needs an effective illegal immigration law because the federal government has failed in its duties to enforce the law. The Legislature responded to that need by passing a tough immigration law and I signed it. In the time since portions of the law went into effect, I have had a number of productive conversations with legislative leadership about the new law.  We recognize that changes are needed to ensure that Alabama has not only the nation's most effective law, but one that is fair and just, promotes economic growth, preserves jobs for those in Alabama legally, and can be enforced effectively and without prejudice.  At the same time, we are in complete agreement that we will not compromise our ability to make sure that everyone who lives and works in our state does so legally. There is nothing unkind, unjust or unwarranted about asking everyone in Alabama to obey the law."
"The leadership of the Alabama House and Senate and I are working together to develop a bill for consideration at the beginning of the next legislative session. The bill's purpose is to clarify and simplify the current immigration law to ensure that everyone working in Alabama is doing so legally, that law enforcement officers have the clarity, the flexibility and the tools they need to enforce immigration laws, that faith-based, medical and humanitarian services are protected, and that unnecessary burdens on legal residents and businesses are eliminated," said Bentley.
Governor Bentley, Speaker Hubbard and President Pro Tempore Marsh have over the last two months met with leaders in business, healthcare services, education, faith communities, agriculture, economic development, tourism, construction, manufacturing and law enforcement, among others. "Through the course of those meetings and the enforcement of the law, it is clear that some parts of the law need revision so that Alabama will have a more effective and more easily enforced law," said Bentley. 

"The Legislature isn't going to repeal or weaken this law, but there may be ways we can make it work better," Speaker Hubbard said. "From the outset we have been open to adjustments to ensure more efficient and less burdensome application of the law for businesses and local governments. We must enforce the law while maintaining what we believe is the most business-friendly environment anywhere in America. Alabama wants a positive work environment, and we welcome legal residents to be a part of it.  We can have a thriving business climate that rivals any in the world while also shutting off the magnet drawing illegal immigrants to our state."

"I'm confident the membership of the House will support a bill that provides clarity, so long as we preserve the intent of the law, which is to make sure people living and working in Alabama are here legally," the Speaker added. 



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