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.
Airbus made Mobile a darling at airshow, says Mayor Sam Jones
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012
By Robert McClendon, Press-Register
MOBILE, Alabama -- In years past, Mobile officials had to make cold calls as they circulated around airshows in an effort to court aerospace manufacturers.
This week, though, as some of the same officials worked the rooms at the Farnborough International Air Show, they didn't have that problem.
"We didn't have to bring a map to show them where Mobile, Alabama, is," said Larry Wettermark, Mobile's city attorney and a chief negotiator for Mayor Sam Jones in the effort to woo commercial jet manufacturer Airbus to Mobile. "They already knew."
Instead of having to scrape together meetings, Jones said, representatives from parts suppliers hoping to land work with Airbus sought out members of the Mobile delegation.
In all, the group met with about 30 different companies, he said.
Airbus announced earlier this month that it would build an aircraft assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex south of downtown Mobile. The plant is expected to employ about 1,000 people directly, while suppliers attracted by the operation could create thousands of additional jobs.
County Commission President Connie Hudson, who attended the airshow along with her fellow commissioners, said that Mobile was "center stage."
Auburn engineers, UAB researchers to collaborate on brain imaging (with video)
Published: Friday, July 13, 2012
By Jeff Hansen -- The Birmingham News
A unique scientific retreat happens tonight and Saturday morning on the shore of Lake Martin -- a mingling of high-powered Auburn engineers and high-powered UAB biomedical researchers who hope to lay the foundation for collaboration between the two universities.
At the heart of this Brain Imaging Retreat is one of the strongest MRI machines in the world that will become active this month at Auburn's Ginn College of Engineering MRI Research Center. It has a 7-Tesla magnet, making it one of fewer than 35 such powerful instruments in the world. Tesla is a unit of measure for the strength of a magnetic field.
A 1-Tesla magnet is about the strength of the junkyard magnet that picks up old cars.
Dr. Lori McMahon, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Comprehensive Neuroscience Center, called the collaborative retreat "absolutely unusual," because it is trying to mix the disparate skills and talents of engineers and biomedical types from two separate universities.
[The Birmingha News]
Alabama Power parent company spent $1 billion on 'smart' devices and infrastructure for energy efficiency
Published: Friday, July 13, 2012
By Martin Swant, The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Southern Co., the parent of Alabama Power Co., has spent $1 billion on building "smart" devices and infrastructure to help the Georgia-based powerhouse help increase customers' energy efficiency and the company's operating efficiency, the chief of Southern Company Services said.
Susan Story, president and CEO of Southern Company Services, said utilizing what is known as a smart grid helps network energy efficiency, which ultimately helps Southern Co. teams operate better and saves customers money on their power bill. Southern Co. is the only U.S. utility using an integrated distribution management system, she added, which compiles data from a number of places to help the company more efficiently.
"We deploy technology at the speed of customer value," said Story, who spoke Thursday at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Leader to Leader Breakfast Series.
Story joined Southern Co. as a nuclear power plant engineer in 1982, and became CEO of Southern Company Services in January 2011, according to her biography. In her current role, Story's duties include overseeing the company's information technology, human resources, supply chain management and marketing services. She previously served as president and CEO of Gulf Power and also held a number of other management positions at Southern Co.
During her presentation to the business leaders, Story also discussed alternative energy solutions that Atlanta-based Southern Co. is pursuing. While North America has between 200 and 300 years of coal resources, she said this year will be the first that Southern Co. gets more kilowatt hours of power from natural gas than it does from coal.
[The Birmingham News]