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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:
Exporting Alabama: See the top products and destinations of the state's record year
Baldwin County schools focus on career, technical education
UAH researcher wins $400,000 to study transferring information by light waves
Regions recognized by J.D. Power for social media success
U.S. manufacturing looks brighter despite dip in January
Randolph County Unveils New Economic Development Website





Exporting Alabama: See the top products and destinations of the state's record year (slideshow)
By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 
on February 15, 2013

A record $19.5 billion in exports last year pushed Alabama further into the top half of U.S. states for such activity.

The state now ranks 22nd in the nation for total dollar value of exports, up from 25th in 2011.


Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said last year's growth builds on the success of previous years.


Since 2009, the state's export value has grown 59 percent.


That year, Alabama's exports plunged to $12.4 billion amid the recession and a global sales slump for the auto industry. But as the state's auto industry has rebounded since then, so have exports.




















Baldwin County schools focus on career, technical education
 By Tina C. Covington | AL.com 
on February 14, 2013

DAPHNE, Alabama -- Morgan Halford is a sophomore at Daphne High School, but she's already thinking ahead to a life - and career - outside of high school. 


She dreams of becoming a flight attendant for a few years, before settling into life as a personal chef. The Baldwin County School System is working to help her accomplish that goal by expanding the technical courses aimed at introducing high school students to a variety of career opportunities.


 Morgan is enrolled in the expanded culinary arts curriculum at Daphne High, where Leslie Thorpe teaches courses in hospitality and tourism, chemistry of food, food and nutrition and Culinary Arts 1 and 2.


Principal Meredith Foster said the class will move to Trojan Hall after the kitchen has been modified to commercial standards. "These courses can lead to career options for students as well as teach them important life skills. They have a lot of fun learning techniques for fancy entertaining as well," Foster said. 











UAH researcher wins $400,000 to study transferring information by light waves
By Martin Swant | mswant@al.com 
on February 14, 2013 

UAH researcher Lingze Duan has won a National Science Foundation grant to study how ultrafast light can carry information. 

Lingze Duan's five-year, $400,000 grant from the NSF will help determine the precise measurement and control of light in ultrafast lasers and other applications. The research could open up a new area of optics that can be used to carry information, leading to new ways of optical communication and information processing.

"The overarching theme of my research at (UAH) is precise measurement and control of the fundamental properties of light, such as amplitude, frequency and phase," Duan, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, said in a statement. "Understanding how to manipulate light at high precision can help us develop better technologies in communication, navigation, sensing, imaging and fundamental science."













Regions recognized by J.D. Power for social media success
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 
on February 14, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Regions Bank was one of four banks recognized nationally for its social media marketing successes in J.D. Power and Associates' inaugural Social Media Benchmark Study.

The study considered the social media strategies of more than 100 U.S. brands across six industries, distinguishing between two key uses of social media: servicing, and marketing.

"Marketing engagements include connecting with consumers to build brand awareness and affinity, in addition to promoting coupons and deals," the report explained, while examples of servicing include "answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems."
















U.S. manufacturing looks brighter despite dip in January
By Don Lee

February 15, 2013


WASHINGTON -- American manufacturing activity dipped slightly at the start of the year as companies felt the weight of a weak global economy and automakers took a breather after heady production late last year.


But on the whole, new Federal Reserve data Friday were largely positive and heartening for the manufacturing sector -- a major engine of economic growth that slowed last year.


The Fed report showed industrial production in last year's fourth quarter was much stronger than previously reported. And recent regional manufacturing reports suggest that production looks to be turning up.


The New York Fed said Friday that its Empire State manufacturing index jumped 10 points in February, with new orders and employment showing surprising vigor. The unexpectedly strong reading from New York follows a separate report earlier this month indicating improved factory conditions in the Midwest.


Taken together, analysts said there was little to be concerned about concerning the 0.1% drop in January of overall industrial production. That came on the heels of a 1.9% annual rate of increase in manufacturing in the fourth quarter. Previously, the fourth-quarter gain was estimated at just 0.2%.













Randolph County Unveils New Economic Development Website as Part of Economic Development Website Initiative


Roanoke, Randolph County, Ala. - The Randolph County Economic Development Authority recently launched a new economic development website www.randolphcountyeda.com that will give site selectors and prospective companies easier access to community and business data.  The new website was developed by Red Sage Communication, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in economic development marketing and web design, as part of the Economic Development Website Initiative.


The Economic Development Website Initiative provided financial assistance to rural counties in Alabama to develop a professional community economic development website with county-specific information. All of the websites created through this initiative share a standard overall style, layout and navigation structure. Each website features county-specific maps, demographics, and quality of life information.


"We are excited about the new website and how it will further promote our community," said Cotina Terry, Executive Director, Randolph County Economic Development Authority.  "This is just one of the many recent improvements we have made to make our community stand out to site selectors. We're grateful to PowerSouth and Red Sage for making this vision a reality."


The new Randolph County Economic Development Authority website features an available sites and buildings section with property photos and downloads.  The site also includes downloadable maps, existing business contact information, and expanded content for state and local tax information, transportation, and labor force. 












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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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