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.
Governor Bentley Announces Economic Development Project Bringing More than 500 New Jobs to Alabama
Office of the Governor RELEASE: MONTGOMERY - Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced that Walter Energy, Inc., will soon begin development on a new project that will create more than 500 additional jobs in four Alabama counties. The announcement follows the recent approval of incentives that were designed to create new economic opportunities for the people of Alabama.
As part of its Blue Creek Energy Project, Walter Energy, Inc., will develop a new underground metallurgical coal mine in Tuscaloosa County, and a coal terminal will be located at the Port of Mobile. The project will also include a barge load-out facility in Walker County and a rail spur in Fayette County. The Blue Creek Energy Project will require an estimated $1.2 billion capital investment and will create 530 full-time jobs with an average estimated annual payroll of $45 million and an average estimated annual salary of $120,000 (including benefits) per employee
"Today's announcement by Walter Energy represents a significant and long-term investment in the State of Alabama and our local communities," Governor Bentley said. "This is a perfect example of how development incentives lead to new jobs and new opportunities for people across the state. I appreciate Walter Energy's continued commitment to Alabama with this project."
Walter Energy's decision came after the Legislature passed, and Governor Bentley signed, House Bill 144 - a measure that expanded Alabama's existing statutory incentives to the coal mining industry. The Legislation was sponsored by State Representative Bill Roberts and State Senator Greg Reed.
"Walter Energy would like to thank Governor Robert Bentley and his team at the Alabama Department of Commerce for their leadership and continued support of this very important project," Walt Scheller, Chief Executive Officer of Walter Energy, said. "We would also like to thank members of the Alabama Legislature, especially House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Representative Bill Roberts and Senator Greg Reed, who worked tirelessly to pass House Bill 144, which played a major role in our decision to move forward with this project."
Walter Energy, which is headquartered in Hoover, already operates coal mines in Alabama, West Virginia, Canada, and Wales. The company has approximately 4,400 employees with more than 2,100 in Alabama.
Once operational in 2018, the Blue Creek Energy mine will be located near Brandon School Road and Highway 69 North in Tuscaloosa County. Construction in Fayette and Walker counties will be ongoing while the mine is being developed. The coal terminal at the Port of Mobile will be operational in approximately two years.
Hyundai to hire 877 workers for third shift at Montgomery plant
Published: Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 6:15 AM Updated: Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 6:48 AM
Hyundai will hire 877 workers as it adds a third shift at its Alabama auto factory in Montgomery, the Korean automaker said Monday night.
The plant, which has had its workers on overtime schedules for two years to keep pace with demand for the popular Sonata sedan and Elantra compact, now operates two shifts. The transition to three shifts will begin in September.
The new positions will bring Hyundai's total employment at the Montgomery assembly plant to more than 3,000 people. The move will add 20,000 vehicles to its 2012 capacity.
Last year, the plant produced more than 338,000 vehicles, a record for the facility that opened in 2005. It's not clear yet how much its annual capacity will rise once the third shift is in place for a full year.
Young Deuk Lim, president and chief executive of Hyundai's Alabama operations, said the success of the Sonata and the Elantra in North America is a direct reflection of the Alabama workers' dedication to quality and craftsmanship.
"This commitment is the key reason Hyundai Motor Co. chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery," he said in a prepared statement.
The plant's employees currently work five-day, 10-hour shifts, along with some Saturdays. The hope is that those overtime hours will be absorbed by the third shift, said Robert Burns, a spokesman for the plant.
Job applications and pre-employment training will begin this summer. The hiring process will be coordinated by AIDT, the state's job training agency.
The additional jobs at the Hyundai plant also are expected to create new jobs at area suppliers.
Korean business revitalizes boulevardStratford Square now thriving, has new customers
12:13 AM, May. 1, 2012 |
Hyundai isn't just building cars. The Korean car manufacturer is helping to reshape the landscape of Montgomery's businesses. The proof is obvious to those driving down East Boulevard, where a shopping center once in foreclosure is now thriving and a shuttered restaurant is now attracting new customers.
Stratford Square, under the direction of Korean-American family-owned Sys-Con LLC, has blossomed into a multicultural hub. Now there are four Korean businesses in the center, including the Greater Montgomery Korean Association headquarters, along with successful Chinese, Vietnamese and Hispanic businesses.
The square's services help cater to residents who moved to Montgomery from Korea with Hyundai - as well as longtime Montgomerians.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said that's a great example of the changes that started with Hyundai's decision to build a plant in Alabama 10 years ago.
"Because of HMMA (Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama) originally, we're beginning to get Korean culture coming into Montgomery," Strange said.
"This is very gratifying to see them adopt Montgomery as their United States home. As we get more infrastructure there, that may help bring in more Korean businesses who may not have come here."
Sys-Con LLC has constructed many buildings, including a $65 million one for Hyundai Heavy Industries, which is not connected to HMMA, but makes enormous dynamos, in Montgomery.
Now it's building a home. And reshaping much of East Boulevard in the process.
Genesee & Wyoming Signs Agreement to Lease Rail Line in Southeast Alabama from Norfolk Southern
April 30, 2012 04:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time
GREENWICH, Conn.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) (NYSE: GWR) announced today that its newly formed subsidiary, the Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad, Inc. (CCR), has signed an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) to lease and operate a 26-mile segment of NS track that runs from Girard, Alabama, to Mahrt, Alabama. The CCR will interchange with NS in Columbus, Georgia, where GWI's Georgia Southwestern Railroad also has operations.
The CCR expects to commence operations on the leased line in July 2012 with 17 employees and six locomotives. The CCR anticipates handling approximately 17,000 carloads per year, consisting primarily of coated paperboard-related traffic as well as other general merchandise shipments. The CCR will be operated as part of GWI's Southern Region under the leadership of Gerald T. Gates. Please see the link below for a map of the CCR and adjacent GWI railroads.
GWI owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads and provides railcar switching services in the United States, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium. In addition, we operate the Tarcoola to Darwin rail line, which links the Port of Darwin to the Australian interstate rail network in South Australia. Operations currently include 65 railroads organized in 10 regions, with more than 7,600 miles of owned and leased track and approximately 1,400 additional miles under track access arrangements. We provide rail service at 17 ports in North America and Europe and perform contract coal loading and railcar switching for industrial customers.
Beating China In The Aisles Of Wal-Mart
Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net
Even with the "Made in the U.S.A." movement in full swing, the common perception among Americans is that goods made overseas - particularly in countries like China - are undoubtedly cheaper than equivalents built in the U.S. While some might be willing to accept a higher cost at a boutique shop in the effort to support local jobs, a large portion of Americans shop at retail chains like Wal-Mart in order to get more value out of their dollar. Oftentimes, Americans find themselves stuck between a desire to help the U.S. economy and their pocketbook.
So for Capitol Cups, based out of Auburn, Alabama, to say that they can not only compete with their Chinese competitors in the aisles of Wal-Mart - but beat them through innovation - it's bound to get some attention.
The company, founded in 2003, makes three different product lines: stadium-style plastic cups; insulated cups, which you may have seen on sale at the likes of Dunkin' Donuts and 7-11; and children's sippy cups. The last of these, sold under the U.S.A. Kids brand, are the products that can be found in Wal-Marts around the country. According to Tina Belfance, manager of Capitol Cups, these spill-proof plastic cups sell for nearly two dollars less than their Chinese competitors.
Because of this, Belfance doesn't believe that consumables manufacturing isn't possible in America. The key, she says, is to innovate early and often. In Capitol Cups' case, this lead to a quality product at a low cost, which is exactly what a major retailer like Wal-Mart wants to stock on its shelves. Being cheaper than China wasn't the goal, but it's certainly a beneficial side effect of the company's innovative spirit.
BBA, ATN offer training for green manufacturing certification
Birmingham, AL - April 25, 2012-The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), in partnership with the Alabama Technology Network (ATN), is providing employees in the Birmingham region an unique opportunity to obtain the Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate from the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME). The eight training courses will take place at the BBA office in downtown Birmingham, 505 20
The Green Enterprise Development Training Series will be held over the course of eight days in May, June and July. Topics will include water conservation, energy management, pollution solutions and more.
Participants who sit for all eight courses will be eligible to take the accreditation exam for the SME Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate. Attendees can also decide to attend specific lessons on individual topics.
The series was developed for manufacturers by Purdue University and SME, and is part of ATN's Alabama E3 Initiative - Economy, Energy and Environment - a coordinated federal and local technical assistance project that helps manufacturers adapt and thrive in an environment focused on energy sustainability. It is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor State Energy Sector Partnership grant and administered through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
The series is free, but participants are asked to pay a $20 per-course fee for lunch and refreshments.
For details on individual courses or the series, contact ATN's Dana Stone at (205) 943-4806, firstname.lastname@example.org; or BBA's Mark Brown at (205) 241-8135, email@example.com
More information and registration here
Alabama Department of Industrial Relations workforce development training program
Workforce customers will learn to access and utilize the state's LMI to assist jobseekers and students in making career choices and searching for jobs. Economic development professionals will acquire tools and techniques in the utilization of Alabama data by learning to apply LMI in economic development research and planning, and the effective communication of data.
Workforce and Economic Development Customers can register NOW for one of four workshops to be held May 21-24, 2012 in Birmingham and Montgomery, AL. These classes are open for online registration ONLY.
Session one is geared for workforce development customers.
Session two is geared for economic development customers.
Deadline for registration is May 16
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