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.
Alabama Economic Development Alliance Begins Work to Implement Accelerate Alabama Plan
MONTGOMERY - The Alabama Economic Development Alliance has held its first meeting focusing on implementation of the Accelerate Alabama strategic plan for the economic development of the state.
When he announced the Alliance's strategic plan last month, Governor Robert Bentley stressed the importance of ensuring that the plan is effectively implemented.
"It is important to Alabama's economy that this plan is carried out and is not just paper collecting dust on a shelf," Governor Bentley said. "We must ensure that Alabama remains competitive and that people can find good-paying jobs both now and in the future. This week's meeting is an important step in seeing this plan turn into results."
Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, serves as the chairman of the Alliance and is overseeing the implementation. Accelerate Alabama has three key drivers, including recruitment of new projects and retention of existing business. The plan also focuses on renewal, or job creation through innovation, entrepreneurship, commercialization and research and development.
"The plan identifies resources that are available to strengthen our state's economic development efforts, organizations responsible for each task, and deadlines for implementation," Canfield said. "We are in the process of prioritizing the accelerators that will drive this plan so that we can implement it in the most effective manner. We have assigned organizational responsibility for each accelerator."
This week's implementation meeting took place Wednesday afternoon and will be followed by consistent efforts to turn the strategic plan into action. Alliance members will gather again in the spring for an update on progress.
Alabama Economic Development Alliance begins implementing new plan
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 10:51 AM Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 11:57 AM
Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Members of the Alabama Economic Development Alliance met for the first time Wednesday since unveiling its new
strategic plan in Birmingham last month.
Officials said the meeting focused on implementation of the strategic plan for the economic development of the state.
Gov. Robert Bentley acknowledged a plan's real worth is in the implementation.
"It is important to Alabama's economy that this plan is carried out and is not just paper collecting dust on a shelf," Bentley said in a statement today. "We must ensure that Alabama remains competitive and that people can find good-paying jobs both now and in the future. This week's meeting is an important step in seeing this plan turn into results."
Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, chairs the alliance and is overseeing the implementation. Accelerate Alabama has three key drivers, including recruitment of new projects and retention of existing business. The plan also focuses on renewal, or job creation through innovation, entrepreneurship, commercialization and research and development.
Economic Development Partnership of Alabama boss says recruitment game is changing
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 2:09 PM Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 2:18 PM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The head of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama said the state's approach to economic development is in the midst of major change and urged teamwork to make the effort a success.
Bill Taylor said the Alabama Economic Development Alliance and its Accelerate Alabama strategic plan unveiled last month represent a new approach to economic development built on cooperation and based on specific, measurable actions.
"In the world we live in now, an action that cannot be measured really makes no sense," Taylor told the Rotary Club of Birmingham at a Harbert Club luncheon.
He said the recruitment of new industry is going to be more targeted based on those industries the state needs. He said a key part of the work needs to focus on helping existing companies expand because 75 percent of job growth in Alabama comes from those companies and, in some counties, the figure is 100 percent.
Specific actions will be taken to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in Birmingham, Taylor said.
The alliance brings together the private economic development sector with EDPA and its member companies along with the public sector of the Alabama Development Office and the two-year colleges, four-year universities, AIDT and others.
"As long as we work together and pool our resources, we're going to have success," said Taylor, who once headed the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance.
Legislation would aid revitalization of Birmingham, other larger Alabama cities
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 12:16 PM Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 12:17 PM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Operation New Birmingham called upon its members this morning to support three legislative initiatives it said will boost reinvestment and development in downtown Birmingham and other cities in the state.
The most important of the bills, according to ONB, is HB 271, which would create state historical tax credits similar to those offered by the federal government for the restoration or adaptive re-use of qualifying historic homes and buildings.
Under the bill, those making such a qualifying investment could get up to 25 percent of that investment back in a state income tax credit, with no credit exceeding $3 million for an income-producing property or $50,000 for an historic home. The credit would only apply to the rehabilitation investment, not the cost of the structure itself.
ONB said 31 states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida, have implemented state historic tax credits.
Another piece of legislation, HB 257, would offer a tax credit of up to $5 million spread out over seven years for companies that invest in businesses in low-income communities.
Alabama exports set record in 2011, with Canada, China and Germany top markets
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 1:49 PM Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 1:55 PM BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Shipments of Alabama-made goods headed to foreign destinations set a record in 2011 -- $17.9 billion.
"Exports create jobs, and this surge of our products being sold overseas is fueling our state's engines for growth," Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement.
The figure was up from $15.5 billion in 2010.
Among the states, Alabama ranked 25th for dollar value of exports. Canada, China, Germany, Mexico and Japan were Alabama's top export destinations. Canada accounted for 18.4 percent of Alabama exports, and has been the No. 1 export destination for the last three years, Bentley's office said.
Alabama's top export was vehicles.
Opelika auto parts supplier Daewon adding investment, jobs
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 10:16 AM Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 11:15 AM
By The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Officials said auto parts supplier Daewon America will invest another $13 million in its Opelika operation, creating 32 jobs.
The Opelika City Council on Tuesday approved tax abatements for the investment.
"It is important that our existing industries be nourished so that they grow in Alabama," Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, said in a statement." We have made this one of our top priorities."
Daewon America is a division of Daewon Kang Up, one of the world's largest manufacturers of coil spring and stabilizer bars. From Opelika, it supplies Hyundai, Kia, GM and Chrysler.
The new capital will boost the company's total investment in Opelika to $65 million.
Conecuh Sausage plans $6 million expansion in Evergreen
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 9:07 AM Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 9:14 AM
By K.A. Turner, Press-Register Press-Register
EVERGREEN, Alabama -- Executives with Conecuh Sausage have announced an expansion of the company's Evergreen facility that promises 30 new jobs.
The company, which has been producing its signature, self-named sausages in Evergreen since 1947, will invest about $6 million to add 41,000 square feet of manufacturing space, officials said.
"This investment in both facilities and people demonstrates our intent to expand our markets and deepen our roots in Conecuh County and the state of Alabama," owner John Crum Sessions said in a statement announcing the expansion.
The expansion should bring employee totals to 130, according to Bobby Skipper, economic developer for the city of Evergreen. The company will install new packaging machines, stuffing equipment and smoke ovens in a project that is targeted to finish Dec. 1.
"Conecuh Sausage is a symbol of resiliency and quality and we are delighted that they are deepening their ties to the city,
Evergreen Mayor Pete Wolff said in a statement. "The economic impact of their capital investment and the additional payroll will have a lasting value to our city."
Information/Input needed: RECOGNTION OF GERMAN INVESTMENTS IN ALABAMA COMMUNITIES
The AlabamaGermany Partnership (AGP) is recognizing new investments and expansions of German companies in Alabama in 2011 at the AlabamaGermany Partnership Annual Dinner to be held at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (Birmingham) on Thursday, March 29, 2012. If your community can report such an investment, please notify the AGP by March 8 through email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (205) 943-4772.
The ceremony recognizes those investments at the festive dinner and puts the spotlight on the company as well as the community that worked in support of those investments. For information on the event or to register, please go to www.alabamagermany.org.
For questions regarding the award feel free to call Lamar Smith, Executive Director of the AGP at 205-943-4772.
The AlabamaGermany Partnership to name its annual education award the Barbara Fischer Award.
The Alabama Germany Partnership (AGP) is naming its annual education award after the late Dr. Karin "Barbara" Anne-Luise Fischer. The award recognizes exceptional professionals enhancing the German language programs in the State of Alabama.
Gerhard Graf, Chairman of the AGP, noted: "This is a well-deserved recognition of an exceptional educator and close friend of the AlabamaGermany Partnership."
In March of 2011, the AGP had posthumously presented the Rainer Bauer Award to Fischer. The award was received by her husband Dr. Tom Fox at the AGP Annual Dinner in Mobile.
Bryan Winter, AGP Vice Chair, a neighbor and friend of the Fischer family, had presented the award on behalf of the AGP: "Barbara's exceptional scholarship was well
respected throughout the academic world. Barbara received international recognition for her two books on Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the 18th-century German enlightenment philosopher who was a strong proponent of religious tolerance, as well as her more recent translation of the memoirs of a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor, Henry Wolf Brenner. Barbara's recent election to the Presidency of the International Lessing Society confirmed her credentials as a master of German enlightenment philosophy and history. As a beloved professor at the University of Alabama, she will be missed by her colleagues and students . . . but she will mostly be missed as an incredible wife and mother who was always there for her family. Philosopher Lessing once stated that "a single grateful thought towards heaven is the most powerful prayer" . . . so we give thanks to heaven for the good life and great work of Barbara Fischer."
Fischer was involved throughout the Community. She was a founding board member of the AGP and an active supporter of the American Association of Teachers of German. She organized German-language church services and German film festivals in Tuscaloosa. She also worked with the German Supplementary School, a partnership between Mercedes-Benz US International and the University of Alabama. She mentored numerous German exchange students.
A native of Germany, Fischer studied at the University of Regensburg and received her doctorate degree from the University of California-San Diego. Before coming to the University of Alabama, she worked at San Diego State University, Concordia College (MN) and Samford University.
At the AGP Dinner in 2011, then AGP Chairman Arndt Siepmann commented, "Year over year Barbara has contributed greatly to the cause of our organization. Her
gentle style was as pleasant to work with as it was convincing. In honor of her life, we need to work even harder to accomplish our vision to develop and support relationships and friendships between organizations and individuals in Alabama and Germany." And adding in a more personal note addressing her husband Tom he said: "Her smile will be deeply missed."
The AGP presents the Rainer Bauer award annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the vision and mission of the AlabamaGermany Partnership. The Award was established in honor of Rainer Bauer, a German businessman and entrepreneur, who has been constant supporter of the Alabama - Germany connection. Recent recipients of the Rainer Bauer Award include former Governor Bob Riley and former Mercedes-Benz US International CEO Bill Taylor.
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