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.
Wise expansion means more jobs
By Bernie Delinski
Some 100 billion aluminum cans were consumed in the United States 10 years ago.
Since then, that number has declined, and is at 94 billion cans per year, said Wes Oberholzer, executive vice president and chief operating office for Wise Alloys.
Yet, Wise is thriving these days, thanks in part to valuable long-term contracts. But Oberholzer said Wise has another major factor in its favor: the Shoals, which is where the company now has its corporate headquarters.
"Nearly 100 percent of our success is attributable to the quality of workforce in the Shoals who turn out a product that at minimum is adequate, and most customers say our coil is the one they prefer to run," Oberholzer said. "That is attributable to the people who live here and work here."
Wise officials will cut the ribbon to the latest example of the company's success in the area: a $25 million addition to the Alabama Reclamation Operation off of Ford Road.
The expansion brings 43 jobs with it, said Sandra Scarbrough, vice president over human resources.
Wise has about 1,200 workers at its Shoals operations, Scarbrough said. That's the vast majority of the company's 1,400 employees nationwide.
"The real key to our success is our employees," she said. "They are highly skilled and hard working."
David F. D'Addario, Wise's chairman and chief executive officer, announced in 2011 that the company's home office would move from Baltimore to the Shoals.
Yura Selects Dothan for North American Headquarters
DOTHAN, Ala. - Mayor Mike Schmitz, City of Dothan, announced today that the Yura Corp. has selected the City of Dothan for the location of their new headquarters and manufacturing operation in North America. Originating from Seoul, South Korea, the Yura Corp. is a worldwide company as a supplier of the core electric, electronic components and ignition components such as wire harnesses, spark plugs and stick coils.
"On behalf of the City of Dothan, Houston County and the State of Alabama, we are extremely elated to make this announcement for this new advanced manufacturing operation," said Mayor Schmitz. "This project took considerable team effort from many parties. From the state, we thank Gov. Robert Bentley and Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, for their considerable support and assistance. Moreover, the Alabama Industrial Development Training, Alabama Department of Revenue and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama are great partners in our success on this project and many others in our community."
Mayor Schmitz continued, "Locally, we are proud of our team with the city, Houston County, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Development Board of the City of Dothan, Wiregrass Foundation, Alabama Power and our legislative delegation who support our development efforts. Finally, through the vision and support of the board of the Southeast Alabama Gas District and their staff, I thank them for their support to invest in economic development and help southeast Alabama communities identify economic opportunities that create jobs and opportunities for our citizens. Together all these entities provide the basis for a 'great team' working together to make opportunities available."
Gov. Bentley congratulated Dothan-area leaders and expressed his appreciation to the company for the jobs it will create for people in the Wiregrass area. "Alabama has a strong and growing base of international companies, and we are proud to welcome Yura Corp. to the state," said Gov. Bentley. "We wish you many wonderful years of growth and success in Alabama."
ADO Director Canfield also welcomed Yura Corp. as Alabama's newest corporate citizen. "One of our targeted market sectors under the new Alabama Economic Development Alliance Strategic Plan is corporate headquarters, so Yura locating its headquarters and manufacturing operation for North America is exciting news. Welcome to Alabama and to Dothan."
The project will build a new manufacturing facility in the Westgate Industrial Park on the corner of Technology Drive and Westgate Parkway. Yura takes great pride in the rapid advances in the development that Korea's automobile industry has made. Recently, the usage of electronic components with highly advanced semiconductor chips is on the rapid rise. Smart IT technologies have been applied as a car becomes more intelligent and complex in its functionality, the iimportance of the wire harness, the connecting pathway in a car has gained greater recognition.
The Yura Corp. continues to develop and implement new technologies that enable multiplexing functions of wire harness. Yura is an advanced manufacturer that strives to develop technologies and components for eco-friendly cars with a goal of maximizing fuel efficiency and going-green in ignition system parts such as stick coils.
Joshua Kim, COO of Yura Corp. America, LLC, said, "We thank all the parties of Dothan, Houston County and Alabama for their tremendous support in helping us locate our first operation in North America. We look forward to a great partnership that grows and prospers."
The project will start immediately and initially create 60 jobs, while establishing the new operation and headquarters for North America. Additional information related to job postings will be made available at a later date through the Alabama Industrial Development Training. Any parties interested in supporting services or supplies, should contact the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce at (334) 792-5138 to be placed on vendor list.
Toyota engine plant in Huntsville celebrates production of 2 millionth engine
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 1:26 PM Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 2:04 PM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Employees at the Toyota engine plant in Huntsville are celebrating the production of the 2 millionth engine, which rolled off the line today.
"It has been exciting to watch our team and our facility grow and mature," said Jim Bolte, the president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, in a release. "Through every expansion and every obstacle, our team members have stayed committed to continuously improving our safety and quality. Their teamwork has made this milestone possible."
TMMAL is the only Toyota plant in the world to produce four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines at the same plant. The Huntsville facility builds four-cylinder engines for the Camry, Highlander, RAV4, Sienna and Venza vehicles, and V6 and V8 engines for the Tundra and Tacoma pick-up trucks and the Sequoia SUV.
The plant's total annual engine capacity is more than 500,000.
The 2 millionth engine milestone comes almost six months after the plant started production on the four-cylinder model. The addition of this engine increased production capacity and gives the plant more flexibility to react to market demands.
"We're already looking forward to building our 3 millionth engine," said Bolte, "which we expect to do in 2014."
Baldwin County recognized in Site Selection magazine
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 3:07 PM Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 3:09 PM
By Dan Murtaugh, Press-RegisterPress-Register
ROBERTSDALE, Alabama -- Site Selection magazine has ranked Baldwin County as the eighth most successful micropolitan area in the United States in 2011 for expanding or attracting corporate entities, according to its March online edition.
According to Robert Ingram, president and chief executive of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, some of the major projects submitted to the magazine include:
--Expansions at Quality Filters Inc., HydraTech/CRC, Cylinder Repair Components and Ecovery.
--New companies KM-RR Manufacturing and Aero-Mark MRO, which located in Baldwin County. KM-RR manufacturing is a German-based firm that manufactures and designs state of the art recycling systems. Aero-Mark MRO is a maintenance & repair aerospace company that located its operation in the existing Fokker Airinc facility.
"Companies which qualify are exactly the type high-paying entities we are targeting to better diversify the Baldwin County economy," Ingram said.
Decatur tops Site Selection's national rankings for small metro areas
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 12:18 PM Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 2:20 PM
By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham NewsThe Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Decatur ranked first nationally in Site Selection magazine's annual ranking of economic development in small metro areas. Decatur had 13 new or expanded corporate facilities in 2011, placing it ahead of Springfield, Ohio (12) and Williamsport, Pa., (10).
Cullman ranked third among cities with a population between 10,000 and 50,000, with 20 new or expanded facilities, and Daphne-Fairhope ranked eighth.
Alabama-made auto sales rise in February
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 2:15 PM Updated:
Thursday, March 01, 2012, 2:28 PM
U.S. sales rose during February for seven of the eight vehicle models assembled in Alabama, according to reports issued by Mercedes-Benz, Hondaand Hyundai today.
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV posted the greatest sales jump. The German automaker said it sold 3,408 M-Class vehicles last month, up 77 percent from February 2011.
Sales also surged for the Honda Ridgeline pickup. The company sold 1,370 Ridgelines in February, a 51 percent improvement from a year ago.
For Hyundai, sales rose 12.5 percent for the Elantra compact and 11 percent for the Sonata sedan.
Automakers also reported year-over-year increases for the Honda Odyssey (+9.4 percent), the Honda Pilot (+8 percent) and the Mercedes GL-Class (+7 percent).
Sales dropped 8.4 percent for the Mercedes R-Class crossover.
Report: Senate panel takes up major incentives bill
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 9:37 AM Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 9:44 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Backers of a bill that would grant tax breaks to new and existing industries say the measure is needed to keep the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Alabama, but stopped short of saying Goodyear will shut down the plant if the bill isn't passed, according to a report in the Gadsden Times.
The paper says the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee heard the pros and cons of the Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act at a Wednesday hearing. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly last week.
The Gadsden Times said the bill by Rep. Barry Mask, R-Wetumpka, is the centerpiece of Gov. Robert Bentley's jobs program. Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, said the legislation is needed to convince Goodyear executives to continue investing in the Gadsden plant that employs 1,656.
"We want to persuade Goodyear to modernize the plant and keep its 1,600 jobs and the other 4,000 indirect jobs," Mike McCain, executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Association, testified at the hearing.
Nominations being accepted for 2012 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Awards
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 10:34 AM Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 2:35 PM
By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville TimesThe Huntsville Times
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Birmingham-based Alabama Technology Network and the Business Council of Alabama are accepting nominations for the 2012 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Awards.
The awards are presented in three categories based on the number of employees: large, 400 or more employees; medium, 100 to 399; and small, one to 99.
Nominations are due by April 10, with completed applications due by May 10. The award ceremony will be June 20 at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery.
Three additional awards may be presented at the ceremony: The Emerging Manufacturer of the Year to a company that has been in operation for five or fewer years and has demonstrated superior performance; the Governor Bob Riley Building a Better Alabama Award to an individual who has worked to promote manufacturing and economic development in Alabama; and the Sustainability in Manufacturing Leadership Award to a manufacturer that has participated in the Alabama E3 Program and is committed to reducing wastes, lowering energy intensity and improving sustainability.
Additional details about the awards and an electronic nomination application can be found at alabamamoty.org.
Alabama beaches No. 1 natural destination in state; Mobile's Mardi Gras year's top event
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 4:34 PM Updated: Friday, March 02, 2012, 7:48 AM
MOBILE, Alabama -- With 5 million visitors, the beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast were named the number one natural destination in the state last year, according to figures released today by the Alabama Tourism Department.
Among its findings:
More than 1,000,000 people attended Mobile's Mardi Gras, according to the tourism group, making it the most attended event in the state in 2011.
Bryant-Denny Stadium was the number one sports destination with 712,747 fans attending University of Alabama home football games.
With 350,000 visitors, The Birmingham Botanical Gardens was the most attended free attraction.
The Alabama Tourism Department also released the top 10 attendance figures for state attractions that charge an admission fee. They were:
1. More than 533,000 people visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville last year, ranking it number one among state attractions that charge admission.
2. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail saw attendance of 512,044.
3. The Birmingham Zoo with attendance of 498,623.
4. McWane Science Center, also in Birmingham, saw 381,191 visitors.
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