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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:
Austal puts its own spin on traditional keel laying with ceremony for third Joint High Speed Vessel
Alabama AGC launches program to attract new workers for state construction industry
618 jobs on way in Athens, mayor says...
Israeli auto-parts maker opens plant in Auburn
Alabama streamlining tax filings for businesses


Austal puts its own spin on traditional keel laying with ceremony for third Joint High Speed Vessel

Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 3:49 PM Updated: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 4:51 PM  

By Kaija WilkinsonPress-Register

MOBILE, Alabama - Austal, Navy and elected officials paused this afternoon to mark a major milestone in the life of the third Joint High Speed Vessel Austal is building for the Navy.

Austal hosted its own version of the traditional keel-laying ceremony that culminated in fabricator Jeff Cellon welding Congressman Jo Bonner's initials into an aluminum panel that will become part of the vessel.

Austal employees were among the approximately 100 people who gathered in the cavernous assembly building to listen to Austal President Joe Rella deliver a speech about the vessel and the program. The ceremony took place at the base of the glittering massive aluminum structure, consisting of five modules forming one of the vessel's two hulls. JHSVs follow a catamaran design.

"You only have to look outside at USNS Spearhead, our first Joint High Speed Vessel, to see that this ship will be a revolutionary platform that will bring an unprecedented level of capability and support to our combatant commanders, around the world," Rella said. "The first three JHSVs will be headed to the Pacific, and support the Navy and Marine Corps mobility and presence requirements there. These ships--though some still insist that they will not be combatants-- will be on the front line, supporting Navy priorities and helping the Marine Corps be where it needs to be in the Pacific."



Alabama AGC launches program to attract new workers for state construction industry

Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 2:54 PM Updated: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 3:08 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A trade group for construction companies in Alabama has a message for state residents: The industry needs new blood and is putting its money behind an effort to recruit workers.

The program, AGCHelp, targets Alabamians interested in the construction trades such as carpentry, welding, electrical and plumbing. Participating contractors will set aside an extra 50 cents per hour worked by participants into what is being called a craft education fund, said Bill Caton, spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of Alabama in Birmingham.

The extra money will be used to provide construction education scholarships and offsetting the cost of training for participants, Caton said.

Caton said AGC Help is an important third prong in a push by Alabama contractors to attract new workers. The others are Go Build Alabama, a two-year-old recruitment program that strives to get more young people to go into the construction industry, and the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama, a program formed in 2001 that provides low-cost craftsmen training.






618 jobs on way in Athens, mayor says

ATHENS - Companies have invested more than $530 million in Athens since April 2011, Mayor Ronnie Marks touted at his annual State of the City address Wednesday.

The bulk of that will come from the planned $500 million Carpenter Technology steel products plant just south of the city.

"There are some upcoming projects I wish I could talk about," Marks said. "They (Limestone County Economic Development Agency) give me code names because they're afraid I'll talk about them."

Marks compared the $530 million to an estimated $65 million in investments from April 2008 to April 2011. In 2008-11, 1,200 jobs existed at companies such as Steelcase and Federal Mogul, with 365 more expected. Now, 1,700 jobs exist at those companies and 618 more are projected. About 250 of the jobs come from Carpenter. Electricfil has the second-highest projection with 120 jobs planned for its $9.5 million expansion at its Elkmont automotive parts facility.

The plant is developing on a little more than 100 acres of a 232-acre plot on U.S. 31 near Calhoun. The facility will be capable of remelting, forging, finishing and testing premium steel product. It will be capable of producing 27,000 tons of product per year.

The plant's metal framework should be up by September, the forge and other major equipment should be installed in first quarter 2013 and tconstruction will be complete by first quarter 2014.

Marks also touted the city's mid-year budget review, which shows an increase in sales-tax collections over last year and a revenue total that's 8 percent higher than expenditures.

However, the total projected expenditures for the entire fiscal year is estimated to be about $150,000 more than the year's expected revenue.

"We're still looking at ways to tighten the screws down," Marks said.



Decatur Daily



Israeli auto-parts maker opens plant in Auburn
By: Ed Enoch | Opelika-Auburn News
Published: May 03, 2012 Updated: May 03, 2012 - 5:15 PM

Officials with the city of Auburn and ARKAL Automotive USA predicted the auto-parts maker was well positioned for growth in the automotive industry during the grand opening of its first U.S. plant on Thursday.

"We are small, but we are growing and definitely hungry to be leaders in this industry," said ARKAL Automotive USA plant manager Chris Jones.

Jones called the new facility in the city's Technology Park West a key milestone for the Israeli-based manufacturer.

During a tour of the facility, Jones told a crowd of employees, customers and local and state officials the plant would begin by making thermoplastic components for Hyundai and provide parts for Ford and Mercedes in the future.

Phillip Dunlap, director of economic development for the city of Auburn, said ARKAL Automotive USA is typical of the small- to medium-sized companies with the potential for growth that the city seeks to recruit.

"This company has real potential," Dunlap said.

Dunlap said discussions about ARKAL coming to Auburn began almost a year ago. Initially, the 32,000-square-foot plant is expected to employ about 25, but the company has the option to expand to about 110,000 square feet on its 8-acre lot.





Alabama streamlining tax filings for businesses
6:55 AM, May. 4, 2012 |


Gov. Robert Bentley has signed legislation designed to make it easier for businesses to handle tax filings.


Bentley said Thursday the law will eliminate the need for any business with multiple locations to file tax returns in multiple cities and counties. Instead, they can use a single filing system to handle all sales, use and rental tax returns and make their payments. The state Department of Revenue will administer the system and distribute the filings and payments to the appropriate cities and counties. The governor said using the system is free for businesses and for cities and counties.


The new law was sponsored by Republican Sen. Slade Blackwell of Mountain Brook, and it passed the Legislature without a dissenting vote.







JOB TITLE:  Executive Director                            

LOCATION: Covington County Business Development Center at the South Alabama Regional Airport


Under direction of the Covington County Economic Development Commission, the Executive Director is responsible for the planning and development to attract new businesses and encourage retention and expansion of existing businesses; to coordinate and assist in the creation of new jobs and investment in Covington County; to promote a strong and more diverse economic base.  The Executive Director will also manage programs and activities designed to enhance the area's marketability; establish long term economic development goals and strategic plans while implementing marketing, advertising, and public relation programs, as well as negotiating with current and future industry representatives.  The candidate for this position will be responsible for recruiting industrial, retail, and commercial businesses to locate and expand within the Covington County area.


Applicants wishing to apply should meet the following minimum requirements:  Possession of a Bachelor's degree, preferably with an advanced degree from an accredited college or university and at least five years economic development experience.  Thorough knowledge of economic development practice and principles, finance, real estate, applicable tax issues, marketing, communications, statistics, workforce issues and common policies/practices, or a combination of training education, and experience which demonstrates the requisite skills and ability required for this job.  Preference may be given to Certified Economic Developer (CED).  This position is expected to perform at a high level with a proven track record for locating industries. 


Candidate may be required to successfully pass Drug Screen, Background & Credit check.


Interested applicants may apply to:


Mr. Ed Short

18836 US Hwy 84
Andalusia, AL 36421


or email  eshort@covington.coop or by faxing a resume to (334) 222-1546





The Covington County Economic Development Commission is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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