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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:
Acura reveals prototype of 2014 MDX, an SUV that will be built in Alabama
NASA picks 9 universities, including Auburn, to share $2.5 M in Space Launch System research
REHAU execs announce expansion, addition of 200 jobs
PARCA names Neal Wade as new chairman



Acura reveals prototype of 2014 MDX, an SUV that will be built in Alabama
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on January 15, 2013
Acura today unveiled a prototype of the 2014 MDX, revealing a more aerodynamic design in a redesigned SUV that is roomier than its predecessor.

The debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is key for Alabama's auto industry, since the new MDX will be produced at Honda's Talladega County plant.

Acura is Honda's luxury vehicle division, and this marks the first Acura built in Alabama.


The 2014 MDX is expected to go on sale by mid-year.












NASA picks 9 universities, including Auburn, to share $2.5 M in Space Launch System research
 By Lee Roop | lroop@al.com 
on January 14, 2013

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- NASA chose nine universities Monday to share $2.5 million in research funding for work on its new heavy lift rocket known as the Space Launch System. Auburn University was the only Alabama school with an advanced development proposal accepted.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is leading development of the new rocket system, which will evolve from an initial capability of lifting 70 metric tons to the capability to lift 130 metric tons -- enough lifting capacity to carry the fuel and supplies for deep space missions. 

The new system is being designed to take American astronauts back into deep space, somewhere they haven't been since Apollo missions, and to such destinations as the moon, asteroids and Mars.

NASA sought proposals to help it develop innovations in the areas of concept development, trades and analyses, propulsion, structures, materials, manufacturing, avionics and software. Auburn's proposal was titled "High Electric Density Device for Aerospace Applications."







REHAU execs announce expansion, addition of 200 jobs
Governor, Mercedes-Benz CEO join local dignitaries for groundbreaking

By David Palmer The Cullman Times

 Jan. 14, 2013

CULLMAN - A host of dignitaries, including Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, broke ground Monday for a multi-million-dollar expansion at REHAU that will create 200 news jobs.

Despite what has been a prolonged economic downturn across the nation, Bentley said after the ceremony that REHAU's expansion and the continued strength of Mercedes-Benz US International in Vance are indicators that the state's economy is poised for greater expansion.

"Success begets success. We're successful because of the environment we have in Alabama. We're a business-friendly state with low-cost energy and a strong workforce," Bentley said. "Having parent companies like Mercedes operating in Alabama helps bring in suppliers, like REHAU, and the jobs they create. Mercedes was the company that started this, and in 2012 more than 880,000 automobiles were produced in Alabama, which is an increase of 17 percent over the previous year."

Niklas Braun, chairman of REHAU Automotive Executive Board and REHAU Group Executive Board, said the company's new contract with Mercedes-Benz is significant for both the Cullman facility and REHAU's global company.




PARCA names Neal Wade as new chairman
By George Talbot | gtalbot@al.com 
on January 14, 2013 

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama today named Neal Wade as chairman, succeeding former Gov. Albert Brewer, who led the Birmingham-based research group since its founding in 1988.
Wade, a Monroeville native, is a veteran business recruiter who comes to PARCA from the Bay County (Florida) Economic Development Agency. Prior to that, he headed the Alabama Development Office (now the Alabama Department of Commerce) under Gov. Bob Riley from 2003-2010 and was president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama from 1991-2000.

Wade said he got his first job working in Brewer's 1970 campaign and that he was honored to follow in Brewer's footsteps.

"I look forward to being a part of the PARCA team as we expand the efforts to improve both government performance and the education of our most precious resource," Wade said.



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Val Walton
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