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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:
CPSI moving some operations to Eastern Shore; Fairhope adds 70 to 150 new jobs
Alabama's economy expected to grow by about 2.5 percent this year
Extending southern hospitality (Alabama China Partnership)
Seminar To Focus on Do's & Don'ts of International Business Etiquette
UAH hosting events for Entrepreneurs and the Economy



CPSI moving some operations to Eastern Shore; Fairhope adds 70 to 150 new jobs
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 7:21 PM Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 8:50 PM more...

FAIRHOPE, Alabama - Computer Programs & Systems Inc., the largest publicly held company headquartered in Mobile, is moving part of its operations to the site of the old Food World on Greeno Road.

For Fairhope, the move means 70 jobs to start and possibly up to 150 in the future. The Fairhope Economic and Industrial Board granted tax abatements to CPSI Thursday on the recommendation of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.

The software services division employs 750 of CPSI's 1,300 employees, said David Dye, chairman and chief financial officer. Of that 750, 20 percent live in Baldwin County and are most likely to be the ones moving to Fairhope.

CPSI sells computer systems to small community hospitals and has clients in 45 states. The people moving to the Food World location provide training and customer support to the hospitals, Dye said.

"It's the fastest-growing division of our company right now," he said.

The growth stems from the federal stimulus package initiative to improve medical record-keeping.

Dye said CPSI is simply out of room at its west Mobile headquarters and its space in the Festival Center on Airport Boulevard. The renovations to turn the Food Word space into offices and training classrooms will be similar to what the company did in the old Circuit City location in the Festival Center.




Alabama's economy expected to grow by about 2.5 percent this year
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 4:56 PM Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 5:06 PM
 By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville TimesThe Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Economists at the University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research expect the state's economy to grow by about 2.5 percent this year, after a 2.2 percent rate of growth last year.

Ahmad Ijaz, the center's director of economic forecasting, said he wouldn't be surprised if the rate turns out even higher. "We're adding manufacturing jobs and that helps economic growth."

The state hasn't had a growth rate at a 2.5 percent level since before the recession started, Ijaz said. The rate was minus-3 percent in 2009 and 2 percent in 2010, he said.

According to the CBER's latest economic outlook report, the state added 4,500 jobs from February 2011 to February 2012. Over the 12-month period ending in February, goods-producing businesses lost 2,900 workers while the service-providing sector gained 7,400. Among goods producers, manufacturing added 4,100 jobs and construction lost 7,400.

Over the same period, government entities lost 10,500 jobs, including 6,200 in state government and 3,400 in local governments. 



Extending southern hospitality
Updated: 2012-04-13 07:42
By Ariel Tung (China Daily)


When residents of Monroeville, Alabama, heard that about 300 Chinese people were coming to their city, they lined the street with welcome banners in English and Chinese, and donated homemade cookies and desserts to the symposium that hosted the visitors.


About 40 Chinese companies flew in from China and across the United States to attend a two-day symposium beginning on March 15 to learn about investment opportunities in Alabama. This visit was the first - for most of these 300 business executives - to a state whose economic growth centers around its automotive manufacturing industry.


Alabama is the headquarters for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz US International and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama.


Besides having a competitive advantage in aerospace products and car components, the state's industrial outputs include iron and steel products; paper, lumber and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products and apparel.


On the first day of the symposium, The Monroe Journal, a newspaper in Monroeville, printed two double spread editorials in Chinese about the conference, never mind that most of the 7,000 residents can't read Chinese.


The two-day conference was sponsored by Alabama China Partnership (ACP) and supported by the Alabama state government and China's 21st Century Media.


The aim of this symposium was to help Chinese executives understand the American tax system and labor laws, how to finance a project and how to choose a site in the United States.


The governor of Alabama may have signed a bill specifically to attract Chinese investors, but it is the local people that are winning them over.



China Daily


Seminar To Focus on Do's & Don'ts of International Business Etiquette


MONTGOMERY -- In today's global economy, it is more important than ever for companies to take international protocol into consideration when planning a new venture abroad.


In an effort to educate Alabamian business leaders on the importance of international protocol, Alabama State University, in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Commerce's International Trade Division, will host a seminar on April 26, 2012.

The event, sponsored by a Title VI-B grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will be held at ASU's Acadome Banquet Room from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. While there is no fee to attend, registration is required


Hilda Lockhart, director of the International Trade Division for the Alabama Department of Commerce, said it is imperative that all levels of management be aware of the intricacies of doing business with a culture different than one's own. "Alabama's global community continues to grow and anyone who is involved in hosting foreign visitors or traveling overseas should attend this program. Gaining international protocol intelligence will increase an individual's ability to work in a global environment by learning how to communicate and minimizing language barriers." Lockhart said. 


Lockhart said first impressions carry a lot of weight; something as simple as a greeting could, potentially, make or break a deal. "Having a basic understanding of the culture of the country one plans to do business in conveys to a potential client that one is sincerely invested in creating a strong and lasting business alliance," she said.


Chief of Protocol and Director of International Affairs for the State of Georgia Chris Young will be the speaker for the event. Young has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of international protocol. He has held his current position with the State of Georgia since 2005 and was the first individual to be appointed to this post. His duties include handling the state's foreign affairs (on behalf of the Governor and Commissioner of Economic Development), organizing visits for heads of state, ambassadors, and prime ministers, and planning and participating in official trade missions to 25 foreign countries. Effective May 1, 2012, Young will begin his tenure as the Executive Director of The Protocol School of Washington, "the first and only accredited institute of higher education and training devoted to protocol, cross-cultural communication, and business etiquette."


For more information and/or to register for the event, please send an e-mail to Dara Steele (Dara.Steele@commerce.alabama.gov) or call her at 334-353-1762 at the Alabama Department of Commerce.


UAH hosting events for Entrepreneurs and the Economy -

What is the outlook for the U.S. economy?  What about the outlook for Huntsville, given its dependency on federal dollars?  Since economic and job growth are usually driven by entrepreneurial firms - what is the entrepreneurial climate like in Huntsville? 

These and other questions are the subject of a two-night conversation on the economy and entrepreneurs hosted by the College of Business Administration at UAHuntsville.    

On Monday night, April 16th, the college will host a panel discussion with several successful local entrepreneurs.  The event will start at 5:30 in the Chan Auditorium on the UAHuntsville campus.  The expected panelists include Mark Spencer of Digium, David Karabinos of PointClear Solutions, David Kingsbury of PointClear Solutions, Tasia Malakasis of Belle Chevre, and Natalie Hasley of Bama Jammer.  These successful entrepreneurs will share their remarkable start-up stories and answer questions about the challenges they have faced and where they have looked for support.  

The next night, Tuesday, April 17th, Wells Fargo and UAHuntsville's College of Business Administration will team-up to co-host Economic Outlook 2012 at the Huntsville Marriott (Tranquility Base).  Mark Vitner, Wells Fargo senior economist, will speak about the national and regional economic outlook and Bruce Yandle, UAHuntsville's Koch Distinguished Speaker, will describe research he has conducted on the Huntsville economy.  These two economists, who have appeared on panels together in other communities, will address your questions.  The event starts at 6:30 with a reception at 5:30. 

Both events are free and open to the public, although an RSVP is requested to assist with seating and refreshments.  Please contact BusinessDean@uah.edu or 256-824-6736.  


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Enjoy the day, 

Wendy Wallace Johnson
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