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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 taps Mobile general contractor for $6M Alabama Aviation Training Center
Industry leaders discuss M&A and the economy
Governor meets with Huntsville leaders
Census shows Calhoun County population shrinking
Back home again: Alabama Launchpad Judge Mel Washington shares ideas for entrepreneurship, volunteerism
News Release...Northeast College Site Designated on TVA's List of Sites as "Ready to Recruit" Data Centers


AIDT taps Mobile general contractor for $6M Alabama Aviation Training Center
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
on May 22, 2013 

MOBILE, Alabama - Construction is slated to begin on the Alabama Aviation Training Center at Brookley Aeroplex within a matter of weeks, and Mobile's Rod Cooke Construction Inc. will serve as general contractor for the $6 million project.


The 35,600-square-foot, multi-story training facility for the Alabama Industrial Development Training program will house labs and classrooms to train potential Airbus employees.


Lee Hammett, assistant director of AIDT for south Alabama, said the project is on schedule and slated for completion by March 2014, two full years before the first Mobile-assembled A320 family aircraft are expected to roll off the $600 million final assembly line currently under construction at Brookley.






Industry leaders discuss M&A and the economy
Antrenise ColeReporter-Birmingham Business Journal
May 21, 2013
 Industry leaders shared their expertise this morning on the current merger and acquisition environment and what it means for Alabama's economy.

The panel discussion was presented by PNC's corporate banking group and the Birmingham Business Journal.

William Roman, managing director and member of the executive committee of Harris Williams & Co., said merger and acquisition activity was constant during the first three quarters of 2012, but then spiked at the end of the year due to tax uncertainty.


Merger and acquisition activity in Alabama mirrors the activity on the national level, he said, adding that the number of transactions in the state grew from 90 in 2006 to 130 in 2012, which was a record year in Alabama.


Steve Sewell, executive vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said the activity he's observed in the state has been mostly positive.




Governor meets with Huntsville leaders 
By WAFF.com Staff 
May 22, 2013
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -A high-level discussion between the governor, Huntsville's mayor and top-ranking business leaders focused on ways to improve growth for the future in the city and region.

The meeting with Governor Bentley lasted an hour and a half Wednesday at City Hall before the Governor spoke at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Mayor Tommy Battle's office confirmed more than a dozen CEO's took part in the meeting along with Gen. Dennis L. Via.

The mayor's office called the meeting a private conversation to talk about ways to promote research and development as well as job creation.


Both sides called the meeting productive with lots of good discussion.


"I enjoyed getting to meet with the Mayor of Huntsville as well as business and community leaders to discuss economic development and job creation," said Governor Bentley. "There is a positive business climate throughout Alabama and especially in Huntsville and Madison County. I look forward to continuing to work with leaders from the Tennessee Valley on ways to move the region forward."




Census shows Calhoun County population shrinking
by Patrick McCreless
May 23, 2013
U.S. Census figures released Wednesday show Calhoun County's population shrank last year, extending a 2011 trend that, if it continues, could stifle the area's economic growth.

The census estimates show the county lost 2,037 residents between 2010 and 2012. The population decline comes after growth in the previous decade and corresponds with the loss of hundreds of military industry-related jobs in the area. Some economic experts say the county can withstand a prolonged population decline and still attract industry due to its prime location and skilled workforce. Other experts, however, say a steep population decline could cause interested industries to look elsewhere in the state.

According to the Census Bureau's estimates, the county's population decreased to 117,296 in 2012 from 118,572 in 2010, a loss of 1,276 residents. The county lost an estimated 757 residents in 2011. In contrast, the county grew by more than 6,000 residents in the previous decade.

Population estimates for all of the county's cities and towns declined, too, except for Weaver. That city saw its population rise by 30 residents, about 1 percent. 

The county's population decline is in contrast to the state average, which had a gain of more than 42,000 residents in 2012.


[Anniston Star]







Back home again: Alabama Launchpad Judge Mel Washington shares ideas for entrepreneurship, volunteerism
By Sally Pearsall Ericson | sericson@al.com 
on May 22, 2013


Mel Washington has discovered that you can go home again, even after more than 35 years. Not only that, but you can bring in new ideas and start making your town better than you left it.


Washington recently left behind a long and productive career in finance and with nonprofits to move back to Mobile, and has wasted no time in making connections. He joined the boards of directors at Mobile Baykeeper, Prichard Preparatory School and the History Museum of Mobile, and serves on the advisory board of the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of South Alabama.


"I'd like to see Mobile become a center for entrepreneurship," he said.


He's about to come full circle with Springhill Medical Center's Grandman Triathlon, coming up on June 1 in Fairhope. The fundraiser, which benefits Mobile Baykeeper, the Baldwin County Trailblazers, the Gulf Coast Area Triathletes and Camp Rap-A-Hope, was one of the first local events he volunteered with, helping set up the course.








News Release


Northeast College Site Designated on TVA's List of Sites as "Ready to Recruit" Data Centers


May 1, 2013 - The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has recognized the 100-acre Northeast College Site, located adjacent to Northeast Alabama Community College, on their list of primary data center sites that are "Ready to Recruit."


The application was a joint-effort of Jackson County EDA and DeKalb County EDA. The primary data center designation means that the site is ideal for building and operating data center facilities which house computer systems and components, such as telecommunications and storage systems used by internet search engines and other high-tech industries.


TVA hired Chicago-based Deloitte Consulting to identify and evaluate potential sites in the TVA 80,000-square-mile region, which includes North Alabama and six other southeastern states. A total of 21 sites have currently been designated in the Valley as pre-qualified sites with attributes ready for enterprise data centers and technology companies. Property attributes include accessibility, strong telecommunications infrastructure and the availability of reliable, competitively-priced electric power.


"We are always looking for opportunities to give Jackson County a competitive edge, and this designation will immediately give us an advantage when data center companies are looking for an optimal site," said Dus Rogers, President and CEO of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority. "We appreciate the support of TVA, Deloitte, Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative and other utility and economic development partners for their assistance in attaining this primary site recognition."


TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said, "It is our economic development role to help communities like Jackson County be prepared for growth opportunities and promote their community's assets and strengths to data centers and other targeted companies. We will partner with Sand Mountain Electric and regional, state, and local partners to actively market these sites as part of our global target industry recruitment."

 For more information, visit TVAsites.com and www.JacksonCountyEDA.org.





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