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.
Thomasville mayor depicts Golden Dragon project as model for rural approach to development
Published: Sunday, June 03, 2012, 7:15 PM Updated: Sunday, June 03, 2012, 8:01 PM
THOMASVILLE, Alabama -- Mayor Sheldon Day exudes the same enthusiasm about economic development whether he's talking to a recruitment target or, as was the case this afternoon, to a Japanese news crew.
Representatives from the Japan Broadcasting Corp. came to see the 274-acre property in neighboring Wilcox County that soon will become home to the giant Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group plant. It is one of 7 projects that will bring some $300 million in investments to the greater Thomasville area over a 3-year period.
Yuichiro Hanazawa, chief correspondent in Japan Broadcasting Corp.'s Washington bureau, wanted to know how Thomasville landed the project and how it might change local perceptions to China, where the manufacturing company is based.
Day said state tax incentives, proximity to a rail line and access to the Port of Mobile each played a role in beating out 61 other communities that bid on the project.
But most importantly, he said, is improved cooperation among neighboring cities and counties that used to compete with one another, and a realization that rural Alabama could not beat out large metro areas on their terms. In so doing, he said, Thomasville and the surrounding areas have tried to turn a perceived weakness into a positive.
Time runs out on Huntsville-backed jobs bill, but supporters say passage likely in 2013
Published: Sunday, June 03, 2012, 7:40 AM
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says the Legislature's failure to pass a jobs bill could put the Rocket City at a competitive disadvantage as it works to court new industry.
The "Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone" act -- co-sponsored by Republican state Sens. Arthur Orr, Bill Holtzclaw and Clay Scofield -- sought to broaden current tax increment finance, or TIF, laws to include large industrial sites capable of attracting more than $100 million in private investment.
Although the bill enjoyed broad support, it got caught in a logjam on the final day of the regular session and never made it to the House floor for a vote. Supporters were also unable to pass the measure in a special session called by Gov. Robert Bentley to draw new legislative districts.
"We're disappointed that it didn't make it through," Battle said Friday. "If that magical industrial client comes along, it does limit us in being able to fully market the property."
He's referring to is the Sewell farm in southeast Limestone County. The 1,500-acre property on the western edge of the city limits was a finalist for Volkswagen's first U.S. automotive plant in 2008 and was also rumored to be on Audi's short list.
VW ultimately chose Chattanooga; Audi, VW's luxury brand, recently announced plans to build its Q5 sport utility vehicle in Mexico.
The bill would have given Alabama cities the ability to create a "Major 21st Century Manufacturing" TIF zone for automotive, aviation, medical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, computer, electronics, energy conservation, cyber technology or biomedical companies willing to invest a minimum of $100 million on a site larger than 500 acres.
Huntsville native assumes command at Redstone Arsenal, Aviation and Missile Command
Published: Friday, June 01, 2012, 5:00 PM Updated: Friday, June 01, 2012, 5:04 PM
Rogers ceremonially passed the AMCOM flag to Gen. Ann Dunwoody, head of the Army Materiel Command, who then put it - and the responsibility the colors represent - in the hands of Collyar. AMCOM is a subordinate command of AMC.
"Lynn brings global experience to our team," Dunwoody said, citing Collyar's experience and achievements in Haiti, Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere over the years. "He's a gifted and visionary leader, and we're so fortunate to have him take the reins at AMCOM."
Collyar, who grew up in Huntsville and whose parents both worked on the arsenal, recognized many old friends in the audience at the Sparkman Center's Bob Jones Auditorium.
"How often does an officer or a soldier or anybody get to grow up in a community, leave that community for 30 years, and then get to come back and command something in their own hometown?" he said. "That's very, very special, and I appreciate the opportunity."
Along with family and his wife, Col. Sarah Green, many of Collyar's friends from the Army were at the ceremony, including Dr. Casey Wardynski, a retired colonel who is now superintendent of Huntsville City Schools. Collyar first met him when both were 2nd lieutenants "at a remote site somewhere. ... It's amazing the way that things come around and go around."
Wallis to take ThyssenKrupp Stainless CEO post
Published: Friday, June 01, 2012, 9:57 AM Updated: Friday, June 01, 2012, 5:01 PM
ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA said Friday that its board had approved the appointment of Michael Wallis as chief executive officer, effective June 15.
In his new position, Wallis will be in charge of the coordination of Inoxum's operations in the NAFTA region. Inoxum is the new name of ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel business, which it is preparing to sell to Finnish firm Outokumpu Oyi.
Wallis comes to ThyssenKrupp with 30 years of general management experience in the stainless steel and aluminum business in Europe and North America. He will replace Ulrich Albrecht-Frueh, who is returning to Europe though keeping his positions as chief technology officer of the Inoxum Group and chief operating officer of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta GmbH in Krefeld, Germany.
"We really don't want Uli and his family to go back to Germany." said Claudia Zimmermann, director of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. "He and his family embraced Mobile right away and it was very easy for the community to embrace them."
Albrecht-Frueh was named CEO of ThyssenKrupp Stainless in August 2007. He had held several prior leadership positions with the company, including a key European innovation project and the stainless steel melt shop operation in Krefeld, Germany.
Albrecht-Frueh also served on the ThyssenKrupp site selection team that chose Alabama for the steel mill.
He was named to the global management team for Inoxum in 2011.
Austal USA discusses future of U.S. Navy's LCS program
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 4:41 PM Updated: Friday, June 01, 2012, 3:58 PM
-- Austal USA joined representatives of over 50 suppliers from 25 states earlier this month at a conference in Washington D.C. for the future of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship program.
Austal USA's president and CEO, Joe Rella, joined top Navy officials in educating attendees on the Navy's plans for the program, its acquisition plan and providing an overview on program challenges .
"Besides the needs expressed by the Navy for the LCS program to continue to deliver ships in support of their vital multi-mission capabilities, we need to ensure that representatives from around the country realize that folks are employed beyond the borders of the shipbuilder's home state," Rella said in a statement. "Thousands of people are employed directly as first tier suppliers in over 25 states and when considering second tier suppliers the reach extends to the entire nation."
Austal USA in Mobile builds Joint High Speed Vessels and LCS vessels. It is the Mobile area's largest industrial employer, with about 2,800 employees.
The shipyard is under contract with the Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter Independence-variant LCS vessels, four of which are part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.
The two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile workforce to about 4,000 employees in order to fulfill the contract requirements.
"With almost ten percent of these workers expected to reside in the neighboring states of Florida and Mississippi, we are proud that Austal is an engine of regional growth for the Gulf States and the entire Nation," Rella said in a statement.
Tools to land those industries need to reside with local government, not the Alabama Legislature (editorial)
Published: Monday, June 04, 2012, 10:01 AM Updated: Monday, June 04, 2012, 10:08 AM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama _ The Madison County legislative delegation dropped the ball on an economic incentives bill aimed at luring a major industrial plant to the city's undeveloped western edge.
Although the bill had broad support, it died behind an avalanche of other bills on the final night of the 2012 legislative session.
Supporters were also unable to pass it in the just-ended special legislative session to draw new legislative districts.
Area lawmakers need to be more aggressive in working their bills through the legislative sausage grinder. It would be even better if legislators would write a new constitution that allows local governments to do more for themselves.
A huge fight by the Jefferson County delegation over a local occupational tax dispute scuttled numerous non-controversial local and statewide bills.
"Somebody may not come this year," Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle told The Times late last week. "But if they do, it would set us at somewhat of a disadvantage compared to a state that already has their financing package in place."
Failure to secure a final vote means it will have to wait until the 2013 legislative session, which will begin in February.
The 2012 legislative session was a tough climate in which to pass anything. Fights over tight budgets, charter schools and illegal immigration made it difficult to get local legislation to the floor. Madison County legislators should have pressed the bill's importance with the House and Senate leadership. Then they should have lobbied the respective Rules committees to give it priority on House and Senate calendars.
Summary of 2012 Alabama Incentives Legislation
Economic Development Alert - Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
This alert summarizes the incentives-related legislation recently enacted by the Alabama Legislature during the 2012 Regular Session, which was certainly focused on proposals to create jobs and spur investment in Alabama's economy. The House and Senate leadership successfully passed many of the proposals that were supported by Governor Bentley, many of which expand the scope and improve the operation of Alabama's existing statutory incentives. However, the cornerstone of the Governor's incentive package - H.B. 160, the Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act of 2012 - failed to pass this session.
Act 2012-210 - Alabama Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Act of 2012: In order to encourage large data center projects to locate in Alabama, this act enhances the current statutory sales, use, and property tax abatements ("TIRA") available to these qualifying projects. The act extends the existing abatement periods as follows: (i) If the aggregate capital investment in a data center is more than $200 million during the 10 years after it is completed, the abatement period is extended from 10 to 20 years; and (ii) If the aggregate capital investment in the data center is more than $400 million during the 20 years after it is completed, the abatement period is extended to 30 years.
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