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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:
Toyota, Honda will boost operations in US
GE Aviation official is speaker at Tuesday Talk event
Exxel thrives in the wake of tariff battle
Second Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference



Reporter's notebook: Toyota, Honda will boost operations in US

Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012, 9:45 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Two Japanese automakers with a presence in Alabama plan to boost their U.S. operations in the coming years.


Toyota's top U.S. sales executive said his company will add jobs and manufacturing capacity in North America as a hedge against a strong yen.


Speaking at an auto industry conference near Traverse City, Mich., last week, Jim Lentz said Toyota now produces about 70 percent of the models sold in North America in the region, and that number is projected to grow, The Associated Press reports.


In the past eight months, Toyota has said it would hire 3,500 workers in North America and invest $1.6 billion in its factories here.


That includes its Alabama operations. Earlier this year, the automaker announced plans to expand its engine plant in Huntsville with a new 300,000-square-foot building and about 125 new jobs, bringing total employment up to about 1,150.




[The Birmingham News 



GE Aviation official is speaker at Tuesday Talk event

Published: August 12, 2012 

By: Staff report | Opelika-Auburn News   


The human resources manager for the local GE Aviation plant will share an overview of the company as well as provide a progress report on the new facility during the Auburn Chamber of Commerce's upcoming Tuesday Talk program.


Tim Hickman will be the speaker during the Auburn chamber's monthly program at 8 a.m. Tuesday. GE Aviation broke ground in 2011 on a $50 million facility in Auburn's Technology Park West that will produce jet engine parts.

Once production fully ramps up, the facility is expected to employ between 300 and 400 workers.


The Auburn Chamber of Commerce hosts Tuesday Talk on the second Tuesday of every month.



What: Tuesday Talk

When: 8 a.m. Tuesday

Where: Auburn Chamber of Commerce, 714 E. Glenn Ave.

More information: Call 334-887-7011



[Opelika-Auburn News


Exxel thrives in the wake of tariff battle

By Bernie Delinski


HALEYVILLE - All Harry Kazazian wanted was a level playing field.


Receive that wish, and some 84 northwest Alabama jobs are saved. Otherwise, they head to Bangladesh.


"Sometimes what you think is a no-brainer gets caught up in crosswinds," said Kazazian, owner of Exxel Outdoors, a manufacturing plant in Haleyville. "We're pro-trade, but it should be fair."


U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Kazazian's win in this battle could open doors for other manufacturers in similar situations to return their operations to the United States.


The battle began after Kazazian wanted to take over the Haleyville plant - which had been scheduled for closure - and manufacture sleeping bags.


The problem: Overseas competitors would have produced them cheaper by taking advantage of tariff reductions.


Kazazian petitioned to exempt the Bangladesh- produced sleeping bags from the reductions. With help from Sessions and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, he won the battle.


That has paid off for Kazazian and the community. Today, Exxel has more than 100 workers and is the largest sleeping-bag manufacturer in America, churning out more than 2 million bags annually.


"We're on an expansion project," Kazazian said. "We're looking at other products."






Registration for the Second Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference Now Open!


Date: Oct 2 & 3, 2012

Time: 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m. Oct 2; 8:00a.m.-3:30p.m. Oct 3

PlaceWynfrey Hotel, Birmingham, Ala.



Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation, presents the second annual Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference, a "Launchpad" to bring together and engage Alabama's most innovative leaders seeking to grow Alabama's entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

Join us to examine activities already taking place inside the state and be a part of the next step forward for Alabama. 


We are pleased to announce Peter Goodman, executive business editor of The Huffington Post as a keynote speaker. More details to come!


Registration (limited, so register early, save, and guarantee your place): http://www.innovatealabama.com/registration.html


2011 Agenda: http://www.innovatealabama.com/agenda.html


Sponsorship (for levels, see pdf at bottom of page):  http://www.innovatealabama.com/sponsors.html 


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Enjoy the day, 

Sam Grimes
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