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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:
Benz and barbecue: Outgoing head of Mercedes plant reflects on time in Alabama
Gov. Robert Bentley announces expansion of voluntary pre-K programs
Curse Inc., online game portal, moves headquarters to Huntsville from California
Alabama, S.C. in race to grow aerospace industries
Alabama energy providers assist with aerospace industry meetings
City strives for excellence
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes new economic developer
Are your children ready for the workforce?

 


Benz and barbecue: Outgoing head of Mercedes plant reflects on time in Alabama

on June 27, 2013 

VANCE, Alabama - It may be a cliché, Markus Schaefer says, but one of the things he'll miss most about Alabama is the barbecue.

 

The head of the Mercedes-Benz operations in Tuscaloosa County - who presided over a drastic turnaround in the auto assembly plant's fortunes in the past three years - is returning to his native Germany to fill an executive role at the company's headquarters in Stuttgart.

 

To help him prepare for the move, Schaefer's colleagues at the Vance plant gave him a Big Green Egg grill, in hopes that he can recreate the Southern flavor he loves in his new backyard.

 

"You can't get good barbecue in Germany," he said in an interview this week. "I don't know if it's the cattle here, or the way they grill the meat, but you won't find that in Germany."

 

 more...

[al.com]

 

 

 

 


 

 

Gov. Robert Bentley announces expansion of voluntary pre-K programs
on June 26, 2013 

LEEDS, Alabama -- While Alabama's pre-K programs are nationally recognized -- the state is one of four to meet all 10 the National Institute for Early Education Research's quality benchmarks -- it also ranks 33rd in access among the 40 states that offer pre-k programs.

 

Gov. Robert Bentley spoke at Leeds Elementary School today to announce 93 grants totaling $7.3 million that will expand that access.

 

"Year after year for the last few years, it's been recognized all over the country," Bentley said of the pre-K program. "We just don't have enough children enrolled in it."

 

Only 6 percent of Alabama's 4-year-olds are currently enrolled in the First Class program, according to the governor's office.

 
more...

[al.com]
 

 

 


Curse Inc., online game portal, moves headquarters to Huntsville from California


HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Curse Inc., an operator of an online game portal that was named one of Inc. magazine's 500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2011, announced plans to locate its corporate headquarters and content team in Huntsville and bring 20 new jobs to the area.

 

The company provides editorials, videos, wikis, databases, forums, add-ons, blogs, and guild website hosting for massively multiplayer online (MMO) gamers. The company is currently based in San Francisco, California. The project is adding 20 jobs to its existing operations in Huntsville as well as moving its headquarters from California to Alabama.

 

Curse executives made the announcement this morning in its new headquarters in the BB&T building on Church Street, where its development office has been located for more than three years.

 

"Jobs such as these not only reflect a new technology and important sector for our state, but are a critical step in the implementation of our economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama," said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.  "These are type of jobs we are working to attract to the state and today's announcement is a sign that our plan is working."

 

more...

 

 


Alabama, S.C. in race to grow aerospace industries
Staff Report 

Published June 26, 2013

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama officials, led by Gov. Bob Brantley, spent the past week at the 2013 Paris Air Showrecruiting suppliers to serve Airbus' $600 million manufacturing facility under construction in Mobile.

While Alabama trolled Paris for aerospace deals, a federal report showed that South Carolina's aerospace industry is rapidly growing.

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina's aerospace sector was the fastest growing in the nation between 2007 and 2012, thanks in large part to the 787 Dreamliner assembly plant that Boeing opened in North Charleston in 2009.

 

The facility now employs 6,700 workers and the S.C. Commerce Department reports that more than 200 aerospace-related companies have invested billions of dollars in the state and employ some 23,000 workers.

Historically, the two states have been developing a similar manufacturing sector.

 

South Carolina landed BMW in 1992. Alabama followed a year later when Daimler AG announced plans to build a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County.

 

more...

 

[Charleston Regional Business Journal]

 

 

 

 


Alabama energy providers assist with aerospace industry meetings

One of the unique components Alabama brought to its recruiting efforts at the Paris Air Showwas attendance from energy provider representatives.

 

Energy supply and cost is always a critical consideration when a company decides on a location for their business or expansion, and representatives from Alabama PowerPowerSouth Energy Cooperative and North Alabama Industrial Development Association, which represents the TVA power distribution region, participated in select meetings and fielded questions about pricing, timing and ability to serve company needs.

 

However, representatives of each of the providers said their attendance at the air show was about far more than relaying information about their services.

 

"The reason that we participate in economic development at places like the Paris Air Show is because we want to create jobs for the people we serve," said Seth Hammett, Vice President of Business Development for PowerSouth. "It's not about selling electricity, it's about creating quality of life. ... Our three different companies all work together in a statewide fashion to support the Department of Commerce in job creation."

 

Patrick Murphy, Economic and Community Development Manager for Alabama Power, said the electric utility has been involved in economic development for decades. "Quality growth in our state is good for Alabama Power as it is good for any company operating in Alabama," he said.


more...

 


City strives for excellence
By Alison James
June 26, 2013

Alexander City is on its way to excellence - as determined by a statewide community development program.

 

Alabama Communities of Excellence has selected Alexander City to be part of the 2013 class, making the community one of six to be chosen for the three-phase process.

 

"You submit an application plan, and they review those and select certain communities," explained Randy Thomas, Alexander City community developer. "We're very confident that it won't be that big of a process for us. We will not be reinventing the wheel."

 

Also chosen to participate in the ACE program were Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville and Saraland.


more...

 


Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes new economic developer
on June 26, 2013 

MOBILE, Alabama - Thomas Tyson II has joined the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce's economic development department as a project manager.

 

Tyson, who most recently served as a project manager for the city of Opelika's economic development division, will assist and recruit companies either looking to locate or expand in the Mobile area.

 

While in Opelika, Tyson focused on economic recruitment and led the area's retention efforts of existing companies, including auto supply firm Mando America Corp. He also helped recruit Pharmavite, a $75 million project that will create 280 jobs.

 

Troy Wayman, the Mobile chamber's vice president of economic development, cited Tyson's wealth of knowledge and keen business sense for his selection.

 

more...

 

[al.com]


 


Are your children ready for the workforce?
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
June 26, 2013

Shelby County Schools are looking to "break the cookie-cutter mold" of every high school graduate going on to a four-year college, the school system's coordinator of career tech said on June 26.

 

During a Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena, Shelby County Schools Career Tech Education Coordinator Rene' Day said the school system is working to prepare the county's students for high-demand careers after high school.

 

"It's all about looking at a student's individual potential and breaking that cookie-cutter mold," Day said. "We need the students to understand that high school graduation is not the end. High school graduation is the means to an end."

 

Day said Alabama has a high demand for skilled labor positions, such as manufacturing and health sciences jobs. Workers in Alabama and across the nation currently are retiring faster than their positions can be filled, Day said.


more...




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