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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:
Improving education: It will take educators, lawmakers and business leaders working together
Prattville brake line plant hits the gas after expansion
Alabaster's business growth may come from biotechnology firms
Mobile re-branding campaign nabs Red Square Agency digital award nod
Birmingham's Motus Motorcycles adds to dealer network, expects production to begin this summer.
Board selects Tullos for ECGEDC director position...By Jeremy Wise...January 25, 2013




Improving education: It will take educators, lawmakers and business leaders working together, say panelists
By Marie Leech | mleech@al.com 
on January 25, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Alabama's public schools graduate too few students and fail to prepare them for college or careers outside of high school, panelists said today at an event hosted by the Birmingham Business Alliance and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


The two-day event, Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity, was part of a national tour by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the National Chamber Foundation that made a stop in Birmingham Thursday and today.


The event kicked off Thursday with a private screening of the movie "Won't Back Down," about two mothers -- one a teacher -- determined to transform their children's failing school. The movie stars Viola Davis, who starred in The Help, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.


But today, it was all business. Business leaders, educators, and early childhood advocates were on panels discussing various topics; such as local school boards and their effect on education; the importance of pre-kindergarten; and workforce development.













Prattville brake line plant hits the gas after expansion 

By Bryan Henry

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - With the smooth cut of the scissors, Governor Robert Bentley and Fras'le leaders officially celebrated their expansion Friday in Prattville. 


Until now Fras'le made disc brake pads. The company will continue to make that product but add a new line to the market; heavy-duty brake pad linings, crucial for big trucks, trains, planes and subways around the world. With this expansion the company president expects revenues to increase in short order.


"It has the potential to go up to 23, 25 million dollars a year," said Fras'le President/CEO Daniel Randon. 

With this addition the company added 100 new employees to the payroll, and for one new employee, this is his last stop. 


"My last stop, I hope," Cedric Harkins said with a smile. 










Alabaster's business growth may come from biotechnology firms
By Martin J. Reed | mreed@al.com 
on January 25, 2013

ALABASTER, Alabama -- Alabaster Industrial Development Board Executive Director Cam Ward said business growth in the area is coming from an anticipated surge in major retail distribution centers as well as an industry that some may not even consider.


"I think the next wave after that will be the bio-tech arena," Ward told attendees at this morning's City of Alabaster debut business development meeting. "Alabaster is a key location for those distribution facilities."


Ward, who is a state senator residing in Alabaster, addressed his outlook for business development in the region at the meeting organized by Mayor Marty Handlon and other city officials to talk with proprietors in the area.


Ward said efforts are continuing to explore development of property in Alabaster for retail purposes in addition to recruiting new types of businesses. He emphasized that small business owners remain "the backbone of the city."








Mobile re-branding campaign nabs Red Square Agency digital award nod
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 


MOBILE, Alabama - Twitter. Foursquare. Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.


If one of these things doesn't sound quite like the others, it might be time to check out the buzz Mobile's re-branding campaign has generated in less than three months.


"Mobile Bay-Secretly Awesome," the interactive re-envisioning of how the Port City engages visitors near and far, is one of two digital campaigns created by Mobile's own Red Square Agency to score coveted interactive award nominations from the visionary South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals in Austin, Texas.


Rich Sullivan, Red Square's chief executive officer and executive creative director, said the national agency will make the trek west March 8-12 to rub elbows - and hopefully brain waves - with some of the most creative minds in the world.










Birmingham's Motus Motorcycles adds to dealer network, expects production to begin this summer
By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com 
on January 28, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -Motus Motorcycles expects to deliver its first production bikes this summer, and has added two new dealers to its growing distribution network.


In a statement Sunday the Birmingham company said it's ready for testing and certification and is organizing a promotional tour that will include demonstration rides at dealers


The company, which started out in Birmingham's Innovation Depot business incubator, last year moved into the Southside building that housed the original Barber motorcycle museum. Its 165-horsepower MST-T touring bike was named motorcycle of the year last year by Motorcyclist magazine
















Board selects Tullos for ECGEDC director position
By Jeremy Wise
January 25, 2013

After a few months of vacancy, the Enterprise Coffee Geneva Economic Development Corporation board named Jonathan Tullos its new executive director Thursday.


Tullos replaces Frank Thompson, who left last fall to become a business professor at Troy University.


ECGEDC is responsible for recruiting new industries and growing existing companies in the area. Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell said Tullos' energy and expertise immediately impressed the selection committee.


"He has the knowledge, and most of all, he has the energy. You put in a lot of hours in this position," he said. "His commitment and excitement is radiating through the board."


Tullos, who earned his business management degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has lived in the area since 2002 and helped develop three real estate and natural resource investment corporations. He served in the Army as an aviator for eight years and married Erin Cotter, an Enterprise native.





[Dothan Eagle]








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