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Greetings!

 

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:
Tools for growth: Toolmakers hold key to auto industry jobs, expert says
Commercial construction a $10 billion industry in Alabama, report finds
Davidson Technologies in Huntsville breaks ground on $3.5 million addition at Cummings Research Park
From 'Tusca-where?' to $4 billion: Mercedes celebrates 20 years in Alabama
AIDT, Mercedes-Benz partnership going strong after two decades in Alabama
Shortage of tool shops could stall U.S. industry's upturn
Chambers County trades spindles for suppliers as Alabama auto industry rises
Economic dynamo: TVA has major role in industrial development
Japan External Trade Organization to present luncheon and seminar on Oct. 24 in Birmingham

 


 

 

 

Tools for growth: Toolmakers hold key to auto industry jobs, expert says

By Brad Harper

October 7, 2013


When leaders of a car-seat maker broke ground on a $37 million manufacturing facility in Montgomery this summer, their eyes were on the future.

 

DAS North America officials said they saw the chance to grow while also saving money in the long term, and a part of the plan was parts. The company realized it could save money by making their own parts in Alabama instead of buying them overseas and having them shipped here.

 

It's a success story that hints at a larger problem and a larger opportunity: Auto experts say the industry's growth in the Southeast could be stunted if manufacturers can't get the tools they need locally. Without locally produced parts, they say the manufacturing boom could be being built on an unstable foundation, potentially hurting the industry and costing jobs.

 

"If you're Hyundai, you're still importing a lot of the parts you're using on the car," said J. Scot Sharland, executive director of the Automotive Industry Action Group. He said buying the same parts stateside could offer a 32-percent cost advantage.

 

 more...

 

[Montgomery Advertiser]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Commercial construction a $10 billion industry in Alabama, report finds

on October 04, 2013

 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - The commercial construction industry has close to a $10 billion annual economic impact on Alabama, the first-ever study of its kind found.

 

The Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama commissioned the first detailed look at the economic impact of the construction industry on the state.

 

The findings by Dr. Keivan Deravi, economics professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, were surprising to ABC Alabama officials. Consider:

  • The total economic impact of the commercial construction industry in the state is more than $9.6 billion.
  • The economic output - payroll and non-payroll expenditures - of construction is more than $9.3 billion, making it the largest industry in the state, accounting for 41 percent of all output in Alabama. By comparison, all of manufacturing accounts for 19 percent of output and the services industry accounts for 16 percent.

 

more...

 

[al.com]

 


 

Davidson Technologies in Huntsville breaks ground on $3.5 million addition at Cummings Research Park 
on October 03, 2013 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Huntsville-based Davidson Technologies broke ground Thursday on a new $3.5 million, 22,000-square-foot building at the company's corporate headquarters in Cummings Research Park.

 

Designed by Fuqua and Partners, the facility will be capable of serving between 94 and 100 new employees and is scheduled to be completed in April. Turner Construction of Decatur is the general contractor for the building, which will be an addition to the 27,000-square-foot structure already operating at the park.

 

The groundbreaking drew a large crowd of Davidson Technologies employees, elected leaders and members of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County.

 

"We are growing and the building expansion is reflective of that," said Dorothy Davidson, chief executive officer of Davidson Technologies. "Our growth is due to a strategic diversification of our customer base, as well as growth in services provided to our current customers."


more..

 

[al.com]

 


From 'Tusca-where?' to $4 billion: Mercedes celebrates 20 years in Alabama (photos)

on October 05, 2013

 

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama - Andreas Renschler remembers, back in 1993, when Mercedes-Benz chose Alabama as the site of its first full-production plant outside Germany, the collective question inside the company was "Tusca-where?"

 

But today, Mercedes' most talented people are lining up to work there, he said, knowing it's a place they can prove themselves. Twenty years after the decision, there is a thriving operation in Tuscaloosa County that has nearly 3,000 full-time workers and an investment that will soon top $4 billion.

 

In 1993, Renschler was a rising young star at the German automaker who was in charge of its U.S. project. He was instrumental in choosing the site, and he also became the Tuscaloosa County plant's first president.

 
more..

[al.com]

 

 


 

 

 

AIDT, Mercedes-Benz partnership going strong after two decades in Alabama

October 4, 2013

 

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama - When the first production jobs at Mercedes-Benz's new Alabama plant were advertised, an avalanche of applications followed - 63,000 to be precise. In stepped AIDT, the state's workforce training agency, and a partnership was born.

 

AIDT has been with Mercedes on every step of the automaker's journey in Alabama over the past 20 years - helping to assemble the initial workforce, training job candidates in the basics, lending a hand when expansions required additional employees.

 

Today, that relationship is stronger than ever. Currently AIDT is assisting Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI), as the automaker's Alabama operation is known, in the recruitment and training of 1,400 new hires as the Tuscaloosa plant prepares to add two new vehicles to its production lineup.

 

"Working with MBUSI since 1993 has been a very rewarding experience and one in which AIDT has learned a tremendous amount. An indirect result of our partnership with MBUSI is that AIDT has been propelled the AIDT program into the international spotlight," said Ed Castile, AIDT's longtime director. "They helped us perfect many of our programs and we continue to learn from the Mercedes experts new and innovative ideas.

 

more...

 

[madeinalabama.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


 

Shortage of tool shops could stall U.S. industry's upturn
Automotive News
October 7, 2013 

In the little corner of the car business where skilled machinists repair broken dies through the wee hours of the night and perfect the tools that will turn out smooth body panels, an alarm bell is ringing.

 

The American tool and die industry is shrinking. But having adequate tooling support is crucial for the recovering industry to keep production and sales strong. 

 

Over the past eight years, one-fifth of North America's tool and die shops have disappeared, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the sector focused on automotive needs may have declined by as much as a third, according to another estimate.

 

Yet new-car sales are surging. Automakers are expanding model variations and adding 3.5 million units of annual North American vehicle manufacturing capacity, according to a Morgan Stanley study. All of that creates new pressure on the smaller pool of shops.



more..

  

  

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


Chambers County trades spindles for suppliers as Alabama auto industry rises

October 4, 2013

 

LANETT, Alabama - In East Alabama's Chambers County, the textile industry facilities are all gone, many of the last survivors wiped away in one brutal year of rapid-fire plant closings. In their place have come a string of companies that use plastic injection molding machines to make automotive parts and firms that stamp out metal body panels.

 

Valerie Gray, executive director of the Chambers County Development Authority, has had a first-hand view of the dramatic shift that began reshaping Alabama's manufacturing sector whenMercedes-Benz announced on Sept. 30, 1993, that it would build vehicles in the state.

 

The shift has played out in many rural communities across Alabama as the old-line textile industry, a longtime provider of bread-and-butter jobs, accelerated a decline that had started years before. At the same time, the rise of Alabama's auto industry, powered by Mercedes' arrival, began bringing many supplier companies to communities such as Alexander City, Opelika, Greenville and Selma.

 

more...

 

[madeinalabama.com]


 

  

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


Economic dynamo: TVA has major role in industrial development 

By Wayne Smith Staff Writer |

Sept. 30, 2013

 

When most people think about the Tennessee Valley Authority, they instinctively think about electricity.

 

It's a logical thought considering TVA was brought to the South in the mid-1930s as a key component in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal package to help the country pull out of the Great Depression. TVA brought electricity for the time to thousands of Shoals residents and has been a constant in the region since that time.

 

TVA is being recognized for providing another major service to the seven-state region it serves - economic development.

 

Forrest Wright, president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority, can offer a few examples.


more...

 

[Florence Times Daily]

 


 

  

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


Japan External Trade Organization to present luncheon and seminar on Oct. 24 in Birmingham 

 

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) will present a luncheon and seminar entitled, "The Mindset of Monozukuri: Encouraging a Culture of Talent and Innovation in Manufacturing," on Oct. 24, 2013, in Birmingham.

Since 2007, JETRO Chicago has promoted the manufacturing philosophy of "Monozukuri" to facilitate better understanding and collaboration between the Japanese and North American automotive supplier communities. This seminar will provide insights and expectations on how to establish a successful company culture based on continual production improvements, innovation, and human resource development.
 
The seminar will be held from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. within the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC). The luncheon portion of the program will take place in Medical Forum Ballroom G, and the afternoon seminar will take place in the Medical Forum Auditorium. 
 
A special luncheon presentation from Ichiro Sone, Chief Executive Director of JETRO Chicago, will review the latest policy updates on "Abenomics," the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and Japan's recovery efforts from the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. Additionally, an economic overview of the Japanese automotive industry in Japan and North America will be provided.
The seminar portion of the program will feature an OEM panel followed by a panel of Japanese and US supplier companies.
The OEM panel will feature pers
pectives on Monozukuri from the following speakers:
  • Tom Shoupe, President, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Inc., Lincoln, Alabama
  • Mark Brazeal, General Manager, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama
A question and answer session will follow the panel session, moderated by Ron Davis, President, Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
The supplier panel discussion, "How to Sustain US-Japan Supplier Collaboration," will feature the following speakers:
  • Melanie Hart, President, TASUS Corporation, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Billy Vickers, President & CEO, Modular Assemblies Innovations, Dublin, Ohio
  • Charlie Russell, Founder & President, PTM Corporation, Fair Haven, Michigan
A question and answer session will follow the panel session, moderated by Glenn Stevens, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).
 
The program will be followed by a networking reception at 5:00 p.m., sponsored by the Birmingham Business Alliance and the Japan-America Society of Alabama.
 
 Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.; Program and Luncheon begin promptly at 12:00 p.m.
 
Registration: The cost of the luncheon seminar is $50. Advance online registration is required for this event through the Japan-America Society of Alabama, http://www.jasaweb.org.
Contact: For registration and payment information, contact Tamara Moriya at JASA: 205-943-4730 or jasa@mindspring.com. For information about the seminar program, or for media inquiries, contact Kevin Kalb of JETRO Chicago at: 312-832-6023 or Kevin_Kalb@jetro.go.jp.
 

 

 

 


 

  

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  




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