EDPA NewsFlash


home       about edpa        relocation     resources for     resources for     entrepreneurship &
                                          assistance     companies        communities            technology    




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:
Medical equipment manufacturer Steris to add jobs, expand
Mercedes Benz unveils redesigned GL-Class at Alabama plant
BAE secures new commercial contract, christens chemical tanker...
Birmingham biotech firm spins off company, seeks capital to market invention
Firm marks 40 years in Tallassee: Neptune put state industry into orbit
Birmingham's Cascades Sonoco remaking itself with environmentally friendly products
Agency says it has power to give Ga. water







Medical equipment manufacturer Steris to add jobs, expand

Company to create 80 to 100 positions

1:52 AM, Jun. 29, 2012 | Written byBrad Harper

 At a news conference today, Alabama officials will announce an $11 million expansion at Montgomery medical equipment manufacturer Steris Corp. that will soon mean 80 to 100 new jobs for the area. Besides adding new jobs, the expansion will save the 270 current jobs at the site.

 The news conference, with Montgomery Area Chamber Chairman of the Board Lee Ellis, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean, along with other elected officials and Steris Corp. executives expected to attend, will announce that construction will start by Aug. 1 at the 300,000-square-foot facility, with the expansion scheduled to be in operation by the end of next year, according to project agreement documents obtained by the Montgomery Advertiser. 

 AIDT will handle the recruitment and training of new employees, with at least 40 new hires scheduled to be on board by June 30, 2013, and at least 80 new workers employed by June 30, 2014, according to the project agreement the Montgomery County Commission unanimously approved earlier this week. 

 While the new jobs will provide a boost to the local economy, Strange said the stakes were much higher.






Montgomery Advertiser






Mercedes Benz unveils redesigned GL-Class at Alabama plant


Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012

By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News 


VANCE, Alabama -- Mercedes Benz formally unveiled its redesigned 2013 GL-Class sport utility vehicle today at an elaborate ceremony featuring a former Miss Alabama, top Mercedes executives from Germany and a challenge to the company's Alabama employees.


The new vehicle, more refined and lighter than its predecessor, is expected to push the company to the top of the luxury segment, said Markus Schaefer, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.


"It's looking very muscular, very strong,"Schaefer said after it was unveiled before hundreds of Mercedes workers. "But it's been put on a diet. It's lost some weight."



Birmingham News








BAE secures new commercial contract, christens chemical tanker

Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:00 PM Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 3:29 PM

By Ellen Mitchell, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama -- BAE Systems today said the shipyard has picked up a contract from Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., to build two dump scows, a project that is expected to add about 125 workers to the company's Mobile shipyard.


Vic Rhoades, director and general manager at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama, said the contract also includes the option for the shipyard to build two additional dump scows, vessels used to transport and dump sediments acquired while dredging waterways.

The 295-foot-long and 62-foot-wide dump scows will be built concurrently, with completion slated for 2013. The additional dump scows, if built, would be completed in 2014.

The announcement came at the christening of the American Phoenix, a 616-foot-long, 105-foot-wide chemical tanker that BAE built for owner Mid-Ocean Tanker Company LLC of South Norwalk, Conn., a joint venture between private equity firm Alterna Capital Partners and Mid-Ocean Marine, a shipping company also based in South Norwalk.

Rhoades said that the completion and delivery of the American Phoenix, the largest vessel ever built in Alabama, is a major event for shipbuilding in the Mobile area and the construction of the vessel has helped the company secure follow-on, new construction opportunities.

"It was the stepping stone to the return to new construction here in the yard," he said on the ship's completion. "Primarily, it's the precursor to industry acceptance in the fact that BAE can build ships and deliver a quality product."

Sea trials and delivery for the ship are scheduled to occur in July. The vessel will conduct trade in the Gulf of Mexico on a time charter to Koch Industries.


The christening marks the end of a long journey for the American Phoenix that began when the BAE yard was owned by Atlantic Marine. 



Press Register






Birmingham biotech firm spins off company, seeks capital to market invention

Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 9:43 AM

By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Agenta Biotechnologies, a biotech firm based in the Innovation Depot incubator, has spun off a company to market a new surgical membrane.

The newly-formed Magenta Medical Inc. has filed a U.S. Patent application for its membrane made of chitosan, a sugar polymer created from the shells of shrimp. Agenta President Dr. Arthur DeCarlo and Magenta CEO Tom Dooley said the membrane represents a significant advance because it's flexible, strong enough to hold sutures and it eventually dissolves to be absorbed by the body. The membrane can be engineered to be absorbed at different rates.

Often, such membranes are placed between soft tissue and bone after surgery.

Plans call for a medical device application to be filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year, and international patent filings are planned as well.

Chitosan has long been used in a variety of medical applications, but what makes their new product different is that it combines strength and flexibility, they said. Other such membranes can't easily take sutures. They plan to first market it to oral surgeons, and later for use in orthopedic, plastic and general surgery and dermatology. Grant applications are pending with the National Institutes of Health to develop some of the possible applications.

"This is a game changer for the surgical membrane field," Dooley said.






Birmingham News







Firm marks 40 years in Tallassee: Neptune put state industry into orbit

12:40 AM, Jun. 28, 2012 |
Written by Brad Harper

 Nearly 30 years before Hyundai came to Montgomery, one of the state's first major manufacturing relocations landed in Tallassee.

 Neptune Technology Group Inc., a utility systems and metering company, moved there from New York in 1972 with a $3.72 million investment. 

Its workers were trained by a division of the state Department of Education that eventually would become Alabama Industrial Development Training, and the groundwork was laid for the next three decades of industrial recruitment and development.

Forty years later, the state's manufacturing industry is booming. And Neptune is still there.

"When Hyundai came into town, I think we lost two people. We have very little turnover," Neptune president Chuck DiLaura said. "We've never felt threatened as new business comes in because it's a very nice environment."

DiLaura has been with Neptune 36 years, and he said he's only No. 30 in seniority with the company.

Some of the current workers were there when the plant opened. A lot more have come aboard through the years, including a burst when the city's textile plant closed in 2004.

"When the mill closed, there were 300 employees there," Tallassee mayor George McCain said. "A lot of those employees came over here to work for Neptune.



Montgomery Advertiser





Birmingham's Cascades Sonoco remaking itself with environmentally friendly products

Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 7:30 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham NewsThe Birmingham News 

Call it a hazard of his job. It's not that he can't finish the meal; he's just curious to see what kind of to-go carton the restaurant will send home with him.

As plant manager for Birmingham's Cascades Sonoco, Boullay has been overseeing the company's efforts to remake itself amid a decline and consolidation in the paper industry.

While the Pinson Valley plant's key product is paper-based packaging for giant rolls of paper, it's also expanding the lineup with cardboard-like materials that are environmentally-friendly and have a variety of applications, from restaurant to-go boxes to boxes used to collect harvested produce.

"The market is really pushing towards greener products that can be recycled," Boullay said.

Currently, all four Cascades Sonoco plants in North America make the material that their customers transform into all kinds of to-go boxes, including the ones used at Whole Foods grocery stores across the U.S.

The material is coated with a resin that blocks odor, light and moisture to varying degrees, based on the specifications of customers.

It's also recyclable and an alternative to foam to-go boxes.

Meanwhile, Cascades Sonoco also is providing an environmentally-friendly alternative for the sturdy corrugated boxes used by farmers and others in the agriculture industry.

Most corrugated boxes are coated with wax to add structure and repel water, but wax is not recyclable. Cascades Sonoco's product, called Surf Shield, acts as a wax alternative, and it is recyclable.








Agency says it has power to give Ga. water

12:28 AM, Jun. 27, 2012 |


Written byRay Henry Associated Press

 ATLANTA - Federal officials responsible for a dam at the center of a long-running water dispute between Alabama, Florida and Georgia say they have the legal authority to give metro Atlanta more water, though the agency has not yet decided how much to release.

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in documents released Tuesday that it can legally grant a 2000 request from Georgia to get 705 million gallons of water per day from Lake Lanier on the Chattahoochee River by 2030. The federal agency said it will need to conduct an environmental review before making any final decisions on exactly how much water Atlanta should get. Federal officials said Georgia would have to live up to its promise to return more than 100 million gallons of treated water daily to the lake. 

 The Corps' decision became public after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a dispute over metro Atlanta's use of water from a federal reservoir that severs all three southeastern states. The Chattahoochee River flows past Atlanta, then runs along the border of Alabama and Georgia. It merges with the Flint River at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which cuts through the Florida panhandle and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. 

 Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said he welcomed the Corps' report as federal officials prepare to decide how much water Atlanta can get. 

 "That decision will help us not only plan for Georgia's future growth, but it will also give us greater certainty regarding existing resources," Deal said in a statement.



Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "I'd like to forward this to a contact" link below the green bar.
Note also, that you can now make changes to your e-mail address and contact information through the link at the bottom. 

As always, if you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Enjoy the day, 

Wendy Wallace Johnson
Join Our Mailing List