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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:
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology joins genetic fight against ALS
Robotics park money source exhausted
Alabama's river trail earns national designation
Hyundai puts brakes on growth
1st Annual Global Supply Chain & Logistics Summit






HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology joins genetic fight against ALS

Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 7:00 AM Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 8:36 AM

By Lee Roop, The Huntsville Times


HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Huntsville's HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is joining top researchers across America and Canada to fight one of the world's most devastating diseases. HudsonAlpha will work with Duke University to sequence the genomes of 500 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) over the next two years. The ultimate goal is to sequence the genomes of 1,000 people within five years.


The disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and motor neuron disease, is a fast-moving, fatal disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Its cause is unknown.

There is only one approved drug for ALS, and it typically extends survival by only a few months. Life expectancy after the onset of symptoms is usually three-to-five years.

The new study, funded by the biotechnology company Biogen Idec, puts HudsonAlpha and Duke in partnership with several ALS and genetic researchers. Dr. David Goldstein, director of Duke's Center for Human Genome Variation, will lead that university's effort.



[Huntsville Times]  






Robotics park money source exhausted

By Bayne Hughes


The search for money to build the third phase of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park has turned to the November general election.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, told the robotics park executive board Monday that the $124.9 million in incentives the state used to lure Airbus to Mobile exhausted the economic incentives fund.

Park officials had hoped money from the fund would pay for the $7 million to $8 million Phase 3, an Integration and Entrepreneurial Center.

"After talking with Gov. (Robert) Bentley, we knew this was a possibility," Orr said. "This was the project (Airbus) we hoped it would fund."

Robotics officials' next hope for funding is a constitutional amendment voters will consider in the Nov. 6 election.

The amendment, if approved, would allow the state to refinance existing bonds at lower interest rates, freeing up more funding. This state currently is not allowed to refinance and take advantage of lower interest rates, Orr said.

Orr said the state has paid $250 million on a $750 million bond. If approved, the state could increase the bond amount back to the original level to fund additional projects like Phase 3 of the robotics center.

Ed Castile, executive director of the Alabama Industrial Development and Training Institute, said he doesn't know where Phase 3 funding will come from if voters reject the bond financing amendment.

"I guess we'll have to figure out what plan B is," Castile said.

Castile, who visited an Airbus plant in Germany during a European economic development trip with Bentley, said the center could get some robotics training business from the new plant




Decatur Daily







Alabama's river trail earns national designation

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 7:00 AM Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 7:18 AM

Two golden retrievers, Roscoe and Bailey, pictured here on the Alabama River South of Selma, are making a 631-journey in a canoe with owner David Haynes along the Alabama Scenic River Trail.

The 631-mile Alabama Scenic River Trail was named Monday as a National Water Trail, part of a newly established system of recreational trails along rivers and creeks through bayous and bays.

Jim Felder, executive director of the organization that maintains and publicizes the trail, said they were pleased to be one of the handful of trails designated thus far. Along with the Alabama trail, which begins on the Coosa River at the Alabama-Georgia border in northeast Alabama and ends at the Fort Morgan Peninsula near the mouth of Mobile Bay, a trail through Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and The Mississippi River Water Trail in Missouri were added to the system on Monday.

"We are thrilled," Felder said.

The new water trail system is a subset of the National Recreational Trail system, and information on trails is compiled by the National Park Service.

"Restoring our nation's rivers and expanding outdoor recreational activities on them is one of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. "Through a national network of National Water Trails, we are not only connecting people to the outdoors and supporting conservation efforts for our scenic rivers, but also supporting tourism and the recreation economy in nearby communities."




Birmingham News





Hyundai puts brakes on growth

1:33 AM, Jul. 17, 2012 |



The addition of a third shift and and 877 more jobs at Montgomery's Hyundai plant puts it in rare company - it's one of only a handful of facilities worldwide where the Korean automaker is increasing production capacity.

That's not because of a lack of demand. Hyundai has rocketed to the world's No. 5 automaker and is on pace for a record-setting year of sales.

But the company has decided to stop its physical growth to save something that was much harder to build than its cars: its reputation.

"Back in the 1980s and 1990s, as you well know, we had quality problems. And we own up to them," Hyundai Motor Co. global spokesman Frank Ahrens said Monday while visiting the Montgomery facility. "If you focus too much on numbers, you're going to lose quality, and that's exactly what happened to us."

That began to turn around when the company launched a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty in 1999, a move that Ahrens said most in the industry at the time considered "ludicrous," especially for a Hyundai car.

"You would think the warranty costs alone would cripple the company," he said. "But we knew by that point that our quality was on a road to improve so that we could do that kind of Hail Mary."

It worked, and Hyundais now are routinely ranked among the most reliable and efficient automobiles in the world. They're also in demand, with products like the Montgomery-produced Sonata selling nearly as quickly as the plant can make them.




Montgomery Advertiser


NAITA & the Export Alabama Alliance Invite You to Attend the
1st Annual Global Supply Chain & Logistics Summit
Tuesday * August 21, 2012 * 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel * Port of Huntsville
1000 Glenn Hearn Blvd. * Huntsville * 35824
A one-day conference to provide Alabama small and medium-sized companies (SME's)
with the tools and strategies to improve their global supply chain and logistics processes.

The Export Alabama Alliance and its partners invite Alabama companies to participate in the 1st Annual Global Supply Chain & Logistics Summit: CHEAPER - FASTER - BETTER, on Tuesday, August 21, at the Port of Huntsville. The seminar will be held from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel located at Huntsville International Airport.
Please click here for the flyer, including speakers and discussion topics.

Presentations and discussion will cover best practices through a series of case studies from companies like ADTRAN, Mercedes, NAVISTAR and Jack Daniels, that are successfully moving products and components through the global supply chain. The U.S. Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) and the University of Alabama will also provide input on how to manage your supply chain CHEAPER - FASTER - BETTER.
To reserve your seat at this free seminar, please contact Dara Steele, Alabama Department of Commerce Dara.Steele@commerce.alabama.gov or 334.353.1762. While there is no fee to attend, registration is required.
 This Conference is made possible in part by the generous support of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

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
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