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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:
Supplier to build $3M plant, bring 27 jobs to Pike Road
Auto parts supplier coming to Shoals
Mobile named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People
Owner: Fayette apparel plant to stay open
Alabama Public Service Commission extending special electric rates
Hyundai's Montgomery plant hits new auto production milestone
International Paper Co. plans $27 million maintenance project for Pine Hill mill
Airbus winning innovation nods at Berlin Air Show


Supplier to build $3M plant, bring 27 jobs to Pike Road

12:14 AM, Sep. 12, 2012

Written by Scott Johnson and Brad Harper


Hyundai Heavy Industries supplier TK Electric LLC will open a new $3 million facility in Pike Road by 2014 to build power transformer parts, city officials said Tuesday.

The facility will employ 27 people initially, and the jobs will have an average salary of $50,000, Mayor Gordon Stone said.

The company will set up shop in the former Dixie Electric location. Company representatives are currently at another Pike Road facility and are working to procure equipment for the new location.

TK Electric manufactures electrical control panels and flanges for power transformers. Once at full capacity in 2014, the facility will produce about 180 panels and flanges per year.

Stone said it is an exciting step for the fast-growing city.

"One of the things we are most excited about is that it communicates to others who are looking for a place to locate that we have a location that is viable," Stone said.




[Montgomery Advertiser


Auto parts supplier coming to Shoals

By Bernie Delinski


FLORENCE - Japanese auto parts supplier TASUS Corp. announced plans Tuesday to build a plant at the Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park in a $19.1 million investment that will provide 135 jobs.


The company, which is a major supplier for North American Lighting's Muscle Shoals plant, will start with about 15 employees at a temporary site in November, TASUS President Melanie Hart said. She said plans call for the 104,000-square-foot permanent structure to be in operation by October 2013.


"Most of the parts (produced) here will be for Nissan and Toyota," Hart said.


Koichi Ohara, the president of TASUS' parent company, Tsuchiya Co. Ltd., said he was impressed during recruiting visits to the Shoals.


"It's a great pleasure to announce that TASUS Corp. is establishing this company in Florence, Alabama," Ohara told a crowd during a ceremony at the Parkway Drive site where the plant will be built. "It's our plan that this company will become an important part of this community and its goals."


About 65 percent of the 135 jobs will be entry-level positions, Hart said. Those jobs will start at $10 per hour and include a benefits package.


A release on TASUS' website, tasus.com, Tuesday afternoon states the company will begin hiring for positions such as production team members, shift supervisors and maintenance and tooling technicians as early as this month. The company will hire all 135 workers over the next three to five years.


Hart said anyone interested in applying can do so online at hrtex@tasus.com.






Mobile named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 8:11 AM   

By Rena Havner Philips, Press-Register 


MOBILE, Alabama -- Mobile has just been named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, by America's Promise Alliance.


City and school officials are planning to hold a "watch party" at 11 a.m. at Pillans Middle School off Dauphin Island Parkway for the official announcement. That's when the entire list will be revealed live via webcast.


This is the Port City's first time to be recognized with this title, which is presented by ING US, an investment company. According to a news release from America's Promise, Mobile is making strides toward increasing its 64 percent graduation rate and has programs to help feed hungry children.


The Mobile County Public School System, along with the Mobile Area Education Foundation, has launched the 80-20 graduation initiative, which sets a goal of increasing the graduation rate to 80 percent by 2020.







Owner: Fayette apparel plant to stay open

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.

By Patrick Rupinski


The owner of a Fayette apparel plant that informed its 119 workers less than two weeks ago that it would permanently close the factory by the end of October issued a statement Tuesday indicating it would keep the plant open but would lay off fewer workers.


American Power Source Inc., which owns the Fayette factory and another apparel plant in Columbus, Miss., told workers at both factories just before Labor Day that the two plants would close because of the company's loss of contracts to make military apparel.


The Columbus plant has 142 employees. Both plants make clothing for U.S. Air Force personnel.


In a statement issued Tuesday, American Power Source said a total of 50 of its employees who work in the companies' Fayette and Columbus plants would be let go. It did not specify how many workers from each plant would be let go.

"Due to the size of the layoffs, the company is required by law to issue a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) that states that the plants will close on Oct. 27th, 2012," the company said in a statement.


"At this time it is American Power Source's intention to lay off only those 50 people affected by the loss of work to Federal Prison Industries and to keep both the Fayette and Columbus, Miss., plants open. The company is presently working diligently to develop additional business to sustain the employees who will remain with the company after this layoff."




[Tuscaloosa News


Alabama Public Service Commission extending special electric rates

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 6:27 PM


MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday for Alabama Power Co. to extend special electric rates that were started last year to stimulate the economy.


So far, 77 businesses of all sizes have taken advantage of the special rates. Commissioners Lucy Baxley, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Terry Dunn said the rates are designed to give businesses one more reason to create jobs during tough times.


Alabama Power's vice president for corporate relations, Nick Sellers, said the utility sought the extension because the special rates help bring in more customers.


One of the special rates provides a one-year rate discount for a business that opens in a building that has been vacant for at least six months. The incentive applies to a new business or to a business that opens an additional location. Relocations don't qualify. Sixty-six businesses have used that program to save about 10 percent of their bill for one year. So far, the savings have totaled $45,000, Alabama Power officials said. Officials did not have an estimate of the jobs created by those 66 businesses.


The program was due to end at the end Jan. 1, 2013, but the PSC extended it until Jan. 1, 2014.






Hyundai's Montgomery plant hits new auto production milestone

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 5:50 PM    

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News 


MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Hyundai's Montgomery factory produced 35,254 vehicles during August, a new monthly record for the Korean automaker's state operations.

Last month, Hyundai's workers built 21,295 Sonata sedans and 13,959 Elantra compacts, surpassing a previous record of 32,300, set in August 2011.

There were 24 production days in August, which contributed to the high total, said plant spokesman Robert Burns. There also was ongoing training of new employees for the third shift that started Sept. 4, so there were a lot of hands on the assembly lines.

Now, the third shift is underway, and the plant's daily vehicle production target has moved to 1,532, up from 1,370 previously.



[The Birmingham News


International Paper Co. plans $27 million maintenance project for Pine Hill mill

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 2:01 PM    

By Ellen Mitchell, Press-Register 


PINE HILL, Alabama -- The world's largest paper company, International Paper Co., has scheduled major maintenance activities at four of its U.S. mills, including its Pine Hill facility, starting in October.


The Memphis, Tenn.-based company said it plans to do preventative maintenance, major repairs and overhaul and equipment replacements at its mills in Eastover, S.C., Augusta, Ga., Cantonment, Fla., and Pine Hill, a containerboard mill in Wilcox County. The maintenance is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of this year.


International Paper spokesperson Susan Poole said work at the Pine Hill facility will consist of routine maintenance and inspection and repair of major equipment.


"This is a standard business operation," Poole said. "These outages happen throughout the organization on a regular basis."


Total spending for the Pine Hill mill will be about $27 million, the majority of which will be spent with outside contractors and suppliers, according to Poole. The maintenance at all four facilities includes repairs to paper machines, pulp and stock processing equipment and boilers, according to the company.






Airbus winning innovation nods at Berlin Air Show

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 1:33 PM    
By Kelli Dugan, Press-Register  
MOBILE, Alabama -- It might be three years before A320s assembled in a $600 million Mobile facility take to the skies, but Airbus officials are taking steps at this week's ILA Berlin Air Show to keep the company and its innovations center stage.


Although speculation has run rampant since late last week that a $9 billion, 100-plane deal is imminent between the European planemaker and AirAsia, the latter announced today it will also become the first operator by year's end to take delivery of the A320's newest fuel-efficient design. Unveiled during the air show, the innovations known as "Sharklets" are fuel-saving wing-tip devices, and AirAsia will begin accepting delivery in December.


"The A320 has played a key role in our success, enabling us to offer our passengers the lowest fares possible and completely redefine short haul travel in Asia," stated Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO, in a press release. "Now we are looking forward to become the first airline in the world to start operating this most fuel-efficient aircraft."





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