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's sweet manufacturing boom
By Parija Kavilanz@CNNMoneyApril 11, 2012: 10:43 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As manufacturing picks up across the United States, Alabama has become an unexpected beneficiary.
The state -- best known for agriculture and textiles production -- is enjoying the best pickup in industrial manufacturing in five years as U.S. and foreign companies flock there.
The credit goes to the state's low taxes, top-grade trade schools, a statute that curbs union power, and other incentives spurring many manufacturers to move to or expand in the state, experts said.
"2011 is the best year we've had in terms of manufacturing jobs and activity since 2007," said Greg Canfield, Alabama's secretary of commerce.
Companies that are set to open new plants in the state include German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp and a Chinese manufacturing giant, Golden Dragon Precise Copper of China.
Meanwhile Hyundai, Honda (HMC), Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) and truck manufacturer Navistar (NAV, Fortune 500) are expanding there.
One U.S. company that recently came to the state is Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter Technology Corp. (CRS), which broke ground last week in the state's Limestone County to build a new 400,000-square-foot plant.
Governor Bentley Signs Aviation Amendment as Part of Economic Development Agenda
April 11, 2012
Gov. Robert Bentley, R-Ala., issued the following news release:
Commonly called the "Aviation Amendment," House Bill 39 provides a state sales tax exemption that applies to aviation-related businesses. Specifically, the exemption covers aircraft manufacturing parts, components, and systems involved in the maintenance and repair of aircraft.
The exemption is needed because more than 10 other states currently provide similar exemptions and use those exemptions to attract new business. With the Governor's signing of the Aviation Amendment, Alabama can now be more competitive in attracting that business to this state.
"The Aviation Amendment gives us a vital tool to help aviation companies have what they need to attract customers and create future development," Governor Bentley said. "The end result will be more secure, well-paying jobs for people in our communities."
Bill Hafner, vice president of operations at ST Aerospace Mobile Inc., which repairs and renovates airliners, said the plan could protect and add jobs by offering an exemption enjoyed by other facilities in Florida, Georgia, and other states.
"I'm very pleased," Hafner said. "It puts us on a level playing field, so now we're not imposing additional costs on our customers. I think it will help assure that work will remain here and help attract future work."
Senator Ben Brooks was the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
"This bill levels the playing field for Alabama to compete in the aircraft industry," Senator Brooks said. "It sends the signal to the nation and the world that Alabama is aircraft friendly for businesses and for workers."
Dunn Building Co. ready to build $1.3 million headquarters in Avondale
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 8:00 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Dunn Building Co. is poised to start construction on its new $1.3 million headquarters in Birmingham's Avondale neighborhood, a project that will complete a campus of Dunn companies there.
Subject to the Birmingham City Council's final approval of $40,000 in sidewalk and infrastructure improvements, officials with Dunn Building said Tuesday they are ready to break ground immediately and are prepared to move in by the end of the year. The 6,600-square-foot building is being built at 3905 Messer Airport Highway.
Dunn Building Co. CEO Andrew Edwards, right, and Brett Clark, vice president of business development for Dunn Building, stand on the site where the company plans to build its new headquarters at 3905 Messer Airport Highway, across from the headquarters of its parent company, Dunn Investment Co. (The Birmingham News/Michael Tomberlin)
Dunn Building plans to relocate from Vestavia Hills to Avondale, where parent company Dunn Investment Co., and sister companies Dunn Construction and Dunn Real Estate are already based. The consolidation into a single corporate campus will bring Dunn Building's 18 jobs to the city, with plans to expand that to 27 new jobs.
"It made sense to have the companies here together, and we are outgrowing our offices in Vestavia," said Andrew Edwards, chief executive of Dunn Building.
For Birmingham, it is another corporate headquarters to move into the city, joining recent additions such as BASS LLC and Harbert Management Corp.
"We're very excited about adding yet another business to the Dunn presence already in the city," said Tracey Morant-Adams, director of the Birmingham Mayor's Office of Economic Development. "We see this as strengthening that commitment."
Lee County among top small communities for economic growth
Birmingham Business Journal Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Lee County is one of the most well-positioned small communities in the nation for economic growth, according to a new report from Fourth Economy Consulting.
The county, which is home to Auburn University, ranks No. 5 on the Fourth Economy Community Index, which ranks counties with 100,000 to 150,000 residents that are ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth.
The study takes several factors into account, including investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity.
Lee County scored a 'B' for its innovation capacity.
Clarke County, Georgia, home to Athens and the University of Georgia, ranked No. 1 in the index.
Birmingham Business Journal
Baldwin County job fair Thursday
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 5:41 AM
ROBERTSDALE, Alabama -- As the summer tourist season warms up, employment prospects are on the rise in Baldwin County, economic officials said.
Interest in Baldwin County's annual job fair is up among both employers and potential employees, said Amanda Selph, operations manager of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. The fair, sponsored by the alliance and local chambers of commerce, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Baldwin County Coliseum in Robertsdale.
Selph said 35 companies have signed up to take part in the fair, up from 33 last year.
"Last year we had 800 people attend and we're shooting for 1,000 this year," she said.
Tourism industries are not the only companies looking for workers, she said.
"We have a real wide variety this year," Selph said. "We have a lot of industrial. We have a financial institution. We have a lot of personnel agencies, retail. We have several hospitality groups and several restaurants. Real wide variety; anybody who shows up will find something they can apply for."
Saunders Yachtworks will be taking part in its first job fair in about five years, company president John Fitzgerald said.
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