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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:
Volkswagen could consider Atlanta expansion - Atlanta Business Chronicle
Boeing to land new 787 Dreamliner in Huntsville for employee tours - Huntsville Times
Regions agrees to sell Morgan Keegan to Raymond James Financial for $930 million - Huntsville Times
Q&A: Steve Sewell...An Interview with a Newsmaker - Birmingham Business Journal
Retail incubation space set for construction soon - Dothan Eagle
ADECA names two new division heads - ADECA News Release
Expert: Alabama's economy could grow 3 percent in 2012 - Montgomery Advertiser






Volkswagen could consider Atlanta expansion


Date: Friday, January 13, 2012, 9:40am EST - Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2012, 10:02am EST

Volkswagen is investing $1 billion into an auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga. At least 2,000 are expected to be employed building a new mid-sized sedan. It will open in 2011.

Volkswagen has an option to acquire about 30 acres at the Aerotropolis mixed-use development in Atlanta, sources said.

The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company is considering, among other things, consolidating its Southeast headquarters in Alpharetta, according to sources.


Volkswagen has a plant in Tennessee and Audi is said to be considering the United States for a plant, sources.

The Volkswagen option dovetails with recent news Georgia is in late-stage negotiations to lure a major economic development project.


Gov. Nathan Deal told a group of editors Monday the proposed project could be "be the largest business opportunity for the state of Georgia since Kia," according to the Gainesville Times.


Kia, a Korean automaker, operates a plant in West Point, Ga., that employs about 3,000.









Boeing to land new 787 Dreamliner in Huntsville for employee tours

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 3:01 PM

By Kenneth Kesner, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times  
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Boeing's 787 Dreamliner will make its first landing in Huntsville later this month to give local employees a chance to tour the company's all-new airliner.

Boeing is sending one of the advanced-technology aircraft on an international "Dream Tour" so employees, suppliers, airline customers, financiers and others can get a close-up look. The airplane -- number ZA003 -- is coming from Dublin, Ireland, to Huntsville on Jan. 27; Boeing employees will take tours on the 28th and 29th; and the airliner will leave Huntsville International Airport on the 30th after a VIP event, according to a spokesperson. No public tours are scheduled. 

"The decision to include Huntsville in the 787 Dream Tour was based on all the great work our Boeing Huntsville employees provide to the program," said Boeing vice president and Huntsville Site Executive Tony Jones. "In addition to primary and secondary structural design and stress analysis of composite components, Boeing Huntsville engineers do thermal analysis, flight test and systems engineering support for the 787."

During the Dreamliner's years of development, more than 600 engineers and others in Boeing's Huntsville Design Center contributed to the creation of the innovative, carbon fiber aircraft, according to Daniel Olberding, director of engineering and mission assurance in Huntsville. 
In an interview last March , he pointed out that, when flying overseas on a 787, passengers will be in seats arrayed along Huntsville-designed floor beams. The stowage bins and lighting are supported by structures designed here, and Rocket City engineers played a role in creating the mounts for the next-generation engines to be provided by General Electric and Rolls Royce.









Regions agrees to sell Morgan Keegan to Raymond James Financial for $930 million
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 3:58 PM     Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 4:25 PM

Regions Financial Corp. has agreed to sell Morgan Keegan & Co. and related affiliates to Raymond James Financial for $930 million, the Birmingham-based bank announced today.


As part of the transaction, Morgan Keegan will also pay Regions a dividend of $250 million before the deal closes, pending regulatory approval, resulting in total proceeds of $1.18 billion to Regions.


The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, according to a release.


Morgan Asset Management and Regions Morgan Keegan Trust aren't included in the sale and will remain part of Regions' Wealth Management organization.


"This agreement validates our belief in the value of the Morgan Keegan franchise as a leading brokerage and investment banking firm based in the Southeast," said Regions President/CEO Grayson Hall. "I am very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that benefits our shareholders and helps us focus on our core banking business while also allowing us to continue providing a full range of products and services seamlessly to our customers."


"Our businesses have grown significantly over the past decade as part of the Regions family," said John Carson, Morgan Keegan's CEO. "As we enter a new era for the firm, we are excited by the opportunity to continue providing outstanding service to our individual and institutional clients as part of Raymond James."






Q&A: Steve Sewell
An Interview with a Newsmaker
Birmingham Business Journal
by Anna Thibodeaux, Sections coordinator
Date: Friday, January 13, 2012, 5:00am CST
Steve Sewell is executive vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and a director of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association since the organization's founding in 2001.    
AAMA supports the state's auto industry by improving manufacturing processes and systems, workforce development and conducting programs on issues impacting Alabama's auto industry.of Alabama and a director of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association since the organization's founding in 2001.


EDPA, a founding member of AAMA, is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership and services to recruit new businesses to the state, retain existing businesses and renew the state's economy by fostering innovation within existing industries and through the commercialization of new technologies.

Birmingham Business Journal





Retail incubation space set for construction soon  

By: Lance Griffin | Dothan Eagle
Published: January 11, 2012 Updated: January 11, 2012 - 5:08 PM


Construction will begin soon on some downtown Dothan property that could be the birth place of several new businesses.

Contractors will soon build and renovate space at 131 N. Foster St. as part of a new retail incubation program.

The strategy is to provide a temporary environment in the downtown area for small retailers by subsidizing some expenses and making some business coaching available.

New Downtown Dothan Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Jansen Tidmore said bids will be unsealed near the end of the month for construction. The construction will provide four retail spaces for business startups.

"We wanted to provide a low-cost option for business to come in to our building, let us assist them with some mentoring, and then outgrow us," Tidmore said.

Tidmore said the ability to open a business with some of the costs absorbed will allow owners to decide if the business is viable. If it is, the DDRA hopes it will move into a permanent downtown space.



Dothan Eagle






ADECA names two new division heads


MONTGOMERY-A couple of veteran employees of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will be leading two of the department's grant-making divisions.


ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. announced the appointments which are effective Jan. 16. Bea Forniss will serve as chief of the Community and Economic Development Division and Bill Babington will serve as chief of the Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division. The two divisions administer an array of grant programs that boost development and improve public services.


"Both Bea Forniss and Bill Babington have vast and varied experiences within the department that will be a tremendous asset as we continue to partner with community leaders, businesses, law enforcement agencies and others on projects and programs that build better Alabama communities," Byard said.


The Community and Economic Development Division manages several programs that aim to increase economic development and improve the quality of life in Alabama communities. Those programs include Community Development Block Grants, Recreational Trails, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority and ConnectingAlabama Broadband Initiative.



ADECA News Release 






Expert: Alabama's economy could grow 3 percent in 2012

6:42 AM, Jan. 13, 2012  |  


The economies of the United States and Alabama will likely see growth in the 2 percent range, and perhaps as high as 3 percent, in 2012.

"The next year is going to be improved, but only slightly," said David Altig, senior vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

Altig was the keynote speaker Thursday at an economic outlook conference organized by The University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research. About 175 people attended the conference in downtown Montgomery.

The U.S. economy grew 1.8 percent in 2011, with a 1 percent rise in payroll employment, according from the center.

In its latest issue of its regional magazine, EconSouth, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said that economic growth will likely continue to be restrained in 2012. It cited several factors, including financial market volatility, joblessness, and weak consumer confidence, as reasons.

One strength in 2011 was exports, ending with a projected 6.8 percent increase in the fourth quarter over 2011, Altig said.




Montgomery Advertiser 




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