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.
Aker Solutions to invest $6 million and create 25 jobs in Theodore
Published: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 11:42 AM Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 11:47 AM
MOBILE, Alabama -- Norwegian oil services firm Aker Solutions just announced it will invest $6 million expanding its umbilical facility on the Theodore Industrial Canal, creating 25 new jobs.
Aker employs about 180 people here. Umbilicals carry fiber optics, electrical wiring and hydraulic fluid from oil and gas platforms to the ocean floor.
Tougher market demands combined with several new project wins means that the company needs to make another expansion to handle the future anticipated workload coming to its Mobile facility, the company said in a statement.
"New oil and gas fields are found at greater water depths and further from shore. The result is that the distance between the subsea wells and the production facility is continuously increasing. This is good news for us, because our products are tailor-made for deepwater applications and long distance step-outs," says Marc Quenneville, head of Aker's Mobile facility.
As a result of the planned investments, the company has applied to the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce for tax abatements for increased construction costs related to the expansion, the company said in a written statement.
2 shipyards on Mobile River finish joint repair job on Navy vessel
Published: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 10:56 AM Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 11:08 AM
-- BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards
and Austal USA
have finished a four-month-long repair and maintenance job on a U.S. Navy research vessel.
The companies in November announced
they were teaming up to work on the Sea Fighter, an experimental vessel that the Navy uses to test technologies it will use on its littoral combat ships and joint high-speed vessels.
Below is an Austal press release about the work completion:
Austal USA, in conjunction with prime contractor, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama, has completed a 4-month drydock and shipyard availability for the Sea Fighter (FSF-1) based out of Panama City, Florida. The Sea Fighter is an aluminum catamaran operated by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) that has been used to test technologies for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) programs.
Under a very aggressive schedule, Austal workers installed a new Counter Measure Washdown (CMWD) System to help keep future Naval combatants operational in a nuclear, biological or chemical battle-space. Other Austal work items included the modification of ballast tanks and the installation of water jet skirts on both hulls. Austal's pipe department installed a fuel centrifuge piping system into the ship which will allow the crew the opportunity to remove fuel contaminants. Other work items included the manufacture of aluminum ladders and work platforms for the water jets, along with repair of the aluminum hull. This work was completed on time and on budget.
Value of metro Birmingham's exports grows
Published: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 9:45 AM
The value of metro Birmingham exports grew 10 percent in 2010, slowing from the rate seen earlier in the decade as the local economy continued to regain its footing following the recession.
The data, issued today by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, shows Birmingham's growth rate for 2010 ranked No. 56 among the top 100 U.S. metros.
But from 2003 to 2008, the area's annualized export growth rate, by value, was 14.1 percent, a pace that ranked No. 9.
Ten percent is still quite a high growth rate, said Emilia Istrate, senior research analyst for Brookings.
"That points to the fact that there is still a lot of export potential to be recovered in Birmingham."
Birmingham's top exports are primary metals, predominantly iron and steel shipped around the world by companies including U.S. Pipe, Nucor and others.
In 2010, the latest data available, primary metals accounted for $1.31 billion, or 31 percent, of Birmingham's $4.3 billion in total exports.
Following that is business services, which includes accounting, engineering, consulting or other services provided by local firms to foreign companies.
Birmingham industrialist brothers see pending crisis for skilled labor
Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 3:33 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 3:34 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Two company leaders from one of Birmingham's legacy industrialist families said more needs to be done to produce skilled workers and avoid foreign-made materials if manufacturers are going to survive a pending national crisis.
Charles DeBardeleben, president of Hardie-Tynes Co. Inc., and Whit DeBardeleben, chief executive of Steward Machine Co. Inc., told the Rotary Club of Birmingham today their businesses are enjoying success but, like other industrial and manufacturing companies, are dealing with major challenges.
Chief among them is the need for skilled workers like welders and machinists.
Whit said his company has put out adds offering to put workers through 72 hours of training at the end of which they will have a job making between $15 and $17 per hour. After dozens signed up, only a handful stuck it out to complete the training, he said.
He said it's not just Steward Machine or Hardie-Tynes that is wrestling with this issue, adding it is becoming a "chronic problem for the state."
Whit said Steward Machine is looking to expand one of its two Birmingham plants and its plant in Bainbridge, Ga., but he is concerned he may not have the workers to do so.
Expansions and new projects created nearly 2,000 jobs in Madison County last year
Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 11:50 AM Updated: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 11:59 AM
MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Alabama Development Office was involved in announcing 383 new and expanding industrial projects last year, deals that will create 17,248 jobs, said ADO Director Greg Canfield.
Canfield spoke this morning to a group of nearly 100 from the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County during its annual trip to the state capital.
Gov. Robert Bentley was to speak to the group during a noon luncheon.
In Madison County, 11 new projects were announced creating 377 jobs and another 45 expansions were announced, creating 1,579 jobs, Canfield said.
"We make a great team," he said. "Let's keep it up."
Canfield said trade is "a bright spot" in economic development for Alabama.
Exports of Alabama products grew from $12.4 billion at the end of 2009 to $17.9 billion by the end of 2011, he said.
Angel investor groups in Alabama creating statewide organization
Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 6:15 AM Updated: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 9:48 AM
By Martin Swant --- The Birmingham NewsThe Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Angel investor groups from around Alabama are creating a nonprofit organization to help connect promising entrepreneurs with potential investors.
They hope to secure state tax credits to spur investment in fledgling businesses.
Angel investors are deep-pocketed individuals who invest in a business during its early, most fragile stages, and they often form networks to share research and pool capital.
Angel investor networks, including those in Birmingham, Muscle Shoals and Mobile, are filing paperwork to create the Alabama Angel Association, and officials say they hope to have their first meetings in coming weeks. Along with the association, they're also setting up an affiliated foundation in an attempt to raise the level of business acumen among entrepreneurs.
"Local groups in a state like Alabama . . . are like a big small town that could work effectively and help each other, both from sourcing deals as well as providing due diligence on them, and then if the deal makes sense getting investors involved," said Josh Watkins, an attorney who serves as executive director of the Birmingham Angel Network.
Accelerate Alabama provides plan for future success
Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 5:47 PM
Gulf Coast Business, Troy Wayman
The state of Alabama would not have three consecutive BCS National Championships under its belt if Auburn and Alabama had gone into their respective seasons without definitive game plans.
Strategy is an integral part of college football. Without strategic planning, a team cannot focus its energy on the task at hand. Talent is important, without question, but talent without direction and purpose is often times wasted.
The same is true of economic development. The state of Alabama has a talented economic development team that has been touted nationally as one of the best, and our history of economic development successes such as Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Austal, ThyssenKrupp and myriad others is testament to that team's abilities.
To continue on our successful journey, a new game plan has been drafted and is being implemented to focus and direct the talents of Alabama's winning team.
That game plan is called Accelerate Alabama. This strategic plan is the result of the efforts of the Economic Development Alliance, a group formed in July by executive order of Governor Bentley. The alliance is made up of representatives from the Alabama Development Office, the state's two-year college system, the University of Alabama System, Alabama Power Co., PowerSouth, the Alabama Department of Finance, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and local economic developers. The Alliance gathered input from stakeholders across the state through numerous public meetings and the result was a cohesive statewide strategic plan to focus team Alabama's talents and energies in the increasingly competitive economic development world of today. It defines roles and provides a roadmap for continued success.
Think what you want, but Bronner good for RSA
Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 5:26 PM Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 5:29 PM
Gulf Coast Business Journal
The Retirement System of Alabama has been in the news frequently for the past few months.
RSA is an easy target. It's chief, David Bronner, is passionate in his beliefs, often outspoken in sharing those beliefs, and often unconventional in his investment philosophy. Those traits can bring criticism in the best of times, and severe criticism when the economy is slow or declining. One of my best friends in economic development described Dr. Bronner this way: "He is a son of a gun, but he is our son of a gun!"
As a Mississippi economic developer and/or business executive for the 32 years previous to moving to Baldwin County, I frequently competed with this state, very successfully at times. But even while Mississippi and Alabama competed, we fought the same battles: stereotypes related to such things as race relations, poor education/low skills/low pay jobs and even low quality of life.
In my eyes, Alabama started to move ahead of Mississippi in changing those perceptions when three things happened: the announcement of Mercedes, the creation of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, and the creation of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Opp partners with Troy to improve city's economy
Published 12:00am Thursday, March 8, 2012
Troy University's Center for International Business and Economic Development is part of a community effort in Opp that will pave the way for future economic growth and set a standard for small cities when it comes to strategic planning.
The Center is partnering with the City of Opp, PowerSouth, Covington Electric Cooperative, the Covington County Economic Development Commission, and the Janus Institute to develop the city's first 10-year strategic plan in an effort spearheaded by local business people.
The membership of the Opp Economic Development Committee consists of business people and no elected officials - although the committee's chair, Southern Independent Bank senior vice president Brett Ballard, said city officials have been supportive of its efforts.
"We want it to be a committee that will stand the test of time regardless of changes in elected officials," Ballard said. "With that said, Mayor H.D. Edgar has been involved with this since the very beginning and has been instrumental in us putting it together."
Edgar, who has been mayor for nearly two terms said the prospects of a long-range strategy were exciting.
"We have had some success (in the past), but it's really been a flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants situation," he said, indicating that more than seven years after a community-wide meeting drew only 100 people, the city managed to see some success in new job creation and retention.
"This group stepped up and wanted to take part in building a future for the city of Opp. I'm excited and I welcome the help," he said.
The committee's long-term goal is simple: to ensure a future for Opp, and provide a place where children and grandchildren will have opportunity.
Andalusia Star News
Gadsden industry expansions to bring jobs
By Andy Powell Times Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.Last Modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.
The Gadsden City Council Tuesday approved tax abatements for two existing industries that will be adding a total of 15 jobs and investing $5.5 million in their facilities.
The council approved non-education tax abatements for Southern Cold Storage and Gadsden Fabrication Inc.
Gadsden Fabrication will be adding 10 jobs and investing $550,000 for growth and expansion into new markets.
The company is in the Gadsden Industrial Complex. It manufactures environmental pollution equipment and landfill compaction equipment.
It employs 50 people. The company was incorporated in 1999 and is owned by Larry and Paul Moon and Alan Norton.
Southern Cold Storage built its facility in August 2009 in conjunction with the Keystone Foods facility at Steele Station Road and Airport Road.
The company will be investing just more than $5 million and will add five employees to its work force of 20.
Pemco filing for bankruptcy, closing May 5
By: Jim Cook | Dothan Eagle
Published: March 05, 2012 Updated: March 05, 2012 - 1:46 PM
Pemco World Air Services, which operates an aircraft maintenance facility at the Dothan Regional Airport, is filing bankruptcy and will close the Dothan facility in May.
Pemco filed chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a company to restructure its debt, in Delaware on Monday. Matt Parker, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President, said he had been informed that the company intends to close its Dothan facility in May.
Alan Friday, a dislocated worker specialist at the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, said the company gave notice in Janurary that it intended to lay off up to 133 employees in March. Friday said state workforce development officials will meet with the affected employees on Tuesday to inform them of options and assistance available to them. Friday said he expects officials will meet with the remainder of Pemco's 229 Dothan employees before the facility's closure in May.
Pemco cited "a dramatic downturn in the global economy, unprecedented volatility in the global credit markers, increased competition, and increasing material costs," as factors in the company's declining operating performance.
Export Controls Roundtable Discussion - Export Controls for Security Professionals
Intersection of NISPOM & ITAR
March 22 * 8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County
NAITA and Presenting Sponsor Bradley Arant Boult Cummings invite you to attend the next NAITA Export Controls Roundtable session focusing on Export Controls for Security Professionals: the Intersection of NISPOM (National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual) and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations).
The presentation, which was originally presented by Jim Bartlett, Senior Counsel, Export/Import, for Northrop Grumman, at an AIA NDIA Conference, will include a discussion of the FSO's role in Export Controls, a comparison between NISPOM and ITAR, a review of key ITAR concepts, the new "Technology Security/Clearance Plan," and what to do if an ITAR violation occurs.
Click here for the complete flyer with registration information
NCMS Members are invited to join us for this briefing at the NAITA member rate.
Online registration is available here. Please contact NAITA at 256-532-3505 if you need further information.
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Enjoy the day,
Wendy Wallace Johnson