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.
Sales of automobiles made in Alabama up 16 percent
Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 6:30 AM
By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Combined U.S. sales of Alabama-made automobiles rose nearly 16 percent in July, a performance bolstered by strong demand for the lineups built by Honda and Hyundai in the state.
In year-over-year growth, two Honda models were at the top, according to sales reports issued Wednesday.
Sales of the Odyssey minivan totaled 11,953, up 89 percent over July 2011, while sales of the Ridgeline pickup, a niche model, jumped 160 percent to 981.
And in terms of volume, Hyundai was the leader.
Sales of the Elantra compact totaled 18,512, a 22 percent improvement from the year-ago period. While sales of the Sonata sedan, at 20,978, were flat compared to a year ago, it was still the top-selling U.S. model for Hyundai in July.
[The Birmingham News]
Gulf Coast Business: August 2012
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 8:23 PM
By Gulf Coast Business
School is just around the corner, and this month's edition of Gulf Coast Business focuses on the economic impact of education along the Gulf Coast.
Editor K.A. Turner discusses the benefits of educational partnerships. The city of Fairhope, Faulkner State and Enterprise State community colleges, and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance are part of the project located at Fairhope's Sonny Callahan Airport. "Graduates" of training there could go on to the Alabama Aviation College run by Enterprise State at Brookley.
Industry and education a two-way street along the Gulf Coast.
Education and industry are inextricably linked, each serving as a catalyst to help the other grow. Nowhere is that more evident than on the Alabama and Mississippi coasts, where economic development officials tout their education efforts -- whether it's public or private schools, college, or vocational training -- to attract industry, while businesses, in turn, work with area schools to start grooming their workforce.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community college works with local industry to provide training. Mississippi Power anticipates that about 15 percent of its 1,250 employees are nearing retirement. Along with the rest of the energy industry, the company is also entering an era where -- given the tighter environmental regulations -- being able to operate instrumentation and controls is ever more important.
Institutions of higher learning enrich economies of South Alabama, Mississippi. From payroll to power bills to paper towels, not to mention graduates with increased spending power, area colleges and universities have a big economic impact on the Gulf Coast.
Ex-governor Riley returns to Rocket City and talks taxes, jobs and motorcycles
Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 2:55 PM
By Kenneth Kesner, The Huntsville Times
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Bob Rileyhasn't been governor for years and has no plans to run for any office. But he's still talking strong about opportunities for Alabama, taxes and jobs.
Riley, 67, was critically injured in June of 2011 when he crashed his Harley Davidson during a dream trip to Alaska.
"The one thing that I found out is that I wasn't nearly as tough as I thought I was," he said today, before a luncheon at The Westin Huntsville. "I've never had anything hurt as bad as broken ribs."
It took more than six months to get past the pain, but Riley says he's now fully recovered. He favors his left knee and talks about getting it replaced, but that's genetics and nothing to do with the accident.
"Still the greatest trip I've ever been on," he said.
Riley's only been on a motorcycle once since the crash, but he'll be saddling up again soon: He's got a new Harley Davidson on order.
"That bike was fantastic for 5,380 miles," he said, chuckling.
Riley, a two-term governor, and three-term Congressman, has joined the strategic advisory board of alliantgroup, a national provider of specialty tax consulting and services. The firm sponsored a luncheon for small and medium businesses where Riley and others - including former Congressman Rick Lazio, now a director at alliantgroup, and former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, the firm's vice chairman - were part of a discussion on "Helping American Business Remain Innovative and Competitive."
During a visit to the firm's Houston offices, Riley learned more about tax credits available for businesses involved in research. He said he told them, "You need to be in Madison County, Alabama. Because everything that they do up here is some way related to research and development."
[The Huntsville Times]
Military, medical communities take notice of CFD's biobattery
Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 8:40 AM
By Mike Kelley, 42 staff
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - The buzz on the biobattery is getting out.
From local Huntsville TV to the respected Economist magazine, the biobattery is getting noticed, and not just in scientific circles. A research project begun more than three years ago at Huntsville's CFD Research in Cummings Research Park, the biobattery uses natural sugars to produce electric power that could be put to a wide array of uses, from running heart pacemakers to powering soldiers' night vision goggles.
The battery would be recharged with fuel that could come off supermarket shelves, or the body itself. Coca Cola in batteries? Who could have guessed?
They certainly know about it in Washington. Sameer Singhal, Director of CFD's Biomedical and Energy Division, was somewhat surprised when he got a call in early June from Bloomberg News asking about the biobattery concept. On June 18 a reporter and camera crew showed up at CFD's lab at the HudsonAlpha Institute to record a segment on the biobattery, which aired in Mid-July.
It seems that Mayor Tommy Battle, in Washington for the annual Planet Forward summit, had been prompted by Energy Huntsville to show a one-minute video of CFD Research's work on the innovative battery concept.
"We would never have known about the summit if Energy Huntsville had not informed us," said Singhal.
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