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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:
AIDT selects Mobile architect for first Airbus training facility at Brookley Aeroplex
OUR VIEW: Don't think of Airbus passenger jet assembly plant as a Mobile-only enterprise
Regions signs deal with PrimeVest, will hire 100 to bring financial advisory services to branches
More Alabamians buying the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Aligning Business and Education for Workforce Success



AIDT selects Mobile architect for first Airbus training facility at Brookley Aeroplex
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
November 14, 2012 

MOBILE, Alabama - Mobile-based Watermark Design Group has been tapped to design the first structure associated with Airbus' planned $600 million final assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex.


The 35,000-square-foot, multi-story training facility for the Alabama Industrial Development Training program will house labs and classrooms to train potential Airbus employees. The construction budget for the project is about $6 million.


Jim Clarke, Watermark's senior architect, said the architectural and interior design firm is excited to rekindle partnerships with both AIDT and Airbus.


"Watermark has a great relationship with AIDT that began when we were chosen to design the AIDT facility at ThyssenKrupp," Clarke said.


Airbus unveiled plans in July to construct the Mobile facility, expected to employ 1,000 directly by 2016. Construction is slated to begin in summer 2013, with assembly of the A320 family to start in 2015 and first deliveries expected in 2016.
















OUR VIEW: Don't think of Airbus passenger jet assembly plant as a Mobile-only enterprise
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By Birmingham News editorial board 

Anybody who thinks the $600 million, 1,000 job, aircraft assembly plant being built by Airbus in Mobile is a south Alabama project only is thinking very small.

Think beyond south Alabama and even the Florida panhandle and southern Mississippi. Think north of Montgomery and Birmingham. Think North, East and West of Alabama, to Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and beyond. The halo from the Airbus development could encourage economic development, suppliers and support industries at any location where parts and equipment can be moved quickly and efficiently to the assembly hangar at the Brookley Aeroplex.
The impact on the Birmingham area could be especially significant, and not just from parts suppliers.

Once up and running, likely in early 2016, Airbus will produce four A320 Family aircraft per month. These are single-aisle passenger jets that seat 125 to 200 passengers, depending on the model, and are the best-selling aircraft in Airbus' passenger fleet.











Regions signs deal with PrimeVest, will hire 100 to bring financial advisory services to branches
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 

PrimeVest Financial Services will provide financial advice and investment services to Regions Bank clients, as part of a new agreement between the two separate companies. 

Through the partnership, Regions hopes to deliver an expanded menu of financial services to a larger group of customers than is currently served by its Wealth Management division, says Evelyn Mitchell, a spokesperson for the bank. 

The partnership could lead to up to 100 hires by the end of 2013, Mitchell says, with new employees being added across Regions' 16-state footprint.

Jim Nonnengard is executive vice president of Regions Investment Services, a division of the bank's wealth management operations. "Choosing PrimeVest allows Regions to expedite our investment offerings for mass market customers," Nonnengard said in a statement. 






More Alabamians buying the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The popularity of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class jumped among Central Alabama car buyers last month.

The vehicle, which is set to join the German automaker's Alabama assembly lines in 2014, was the No. 5 most popular new model sold at dealers in a 21-county swath of the state during October, 
a Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association report shows.

Typically, the luxury car, with a starting price tag of about $36,000, doesn't rank so high with Alabama drivers. But Mercedes has been heavily advertising the C-Class, which is available as a sedan and a coupe.

During the month, 147 C-Class models were sold. By comparison, just 26 were sold in October 2011, ranking it No. 52 that month. In September, 87 were sold, ranking it No. 20.






Aligning Business and Education for Workforce Success

As strategic consultant and director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority, Joe Turnham sees firsthand the need for an educated and highly-skilled workforce.

He fields queries from business and industry looking to expand, and he knows that Alabama communities compete not only with their in-state counterparts to land potential jobs, but also out-of-state communities.

"At the end of the day, we have to be able to fill those opportunities with the best and the brightest workers,'" he said.

That's why he was impressed that during our November Community Partner Roundtable, Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice and Alabama Community College System Chancellor Dr. Mark Heinrich addressed how the state's K-12 and two-year systems are teaming up to provide opportunities for students to be prepared for either a career immediately following high school or college.

Dr. Heinrich noted that Alabama has a vast number of adults working below ability, but a large percentage could be upgraded with additional skills training through a remedial standpoint. Dr. Bice said efforts are underway to repurpose high school programs to sync with the two-year system for workforce preparation.

Dr. Bice also is committed that K-12 in Alabama will focus on giving our students the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for technical programs, two-year or four-colleges. Likewise, Dr. Heinrich is focused on making sure that the two-year schools in the state will align programs and curricula with the necessary skills that businesses in the region must have in order to be sustainable.

"I was very impressed with both gentlemen in their candor, their commitment to understanding and to get outside the box with the educational situation as it relates to economic development," Turnham said.

For EDPA, it was inspiring to see top education leaders in Alabama speaking at our fall Roundtable luncheon in Montgomery who are aligned so closely in both philosophy and commitment when it comes to meeting the needs of business.

EDPA President Bill Taylor has been vocal in the need for Alabama to develop a strategy that knits together its two-year and four-year college systems and agencies offering job-specific training.

"That's a great leadership role for EDPA to play," Turnham said.

When work began on the state's strategic plan for economic development nearly two years ago, we enlisted the active participation of Alabama's two-year system and the universities. We believed that education must be a part of the effort to develop a plan for economic growth, given its critical role of educating and preparing a workforce that will be needed to help companies meet tomorrow's challenges.

Now the alliance is even stronger with the addition of Dr. Bice as the state's K-12 superintendent to the Alabama Economic Development Alliance, which manages implementation of the strategic plan, Accelerate Alabama.

We're fortunate to have both Dr. Bice and Dr. Heinrich at this critical time for our state's and our nation's economy.

"The collaboration is absolutely necessary," Turnham said. "We are going to have to be innovative."

Val Walton





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Val Walton
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