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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:
Many worked for American Apparel announcement
Pell City industry expanding, adding 25 jobs
Auto supplier opening in Auburn
Innovation Depot's Susan Matlock finishes her 26-year career this week
Alabama Senate gives final passage to dual enrollment scholarship program for job training classes
Regions chief investment officer offers predictions on 2014 economy
EDPA launches program to help Alabama small businesses land lucrative federal grants




Many worked for American Apparel announcement
By Michelle Guerlach
 March 5, 2014

Opp and Covington County got great news yesterday when American Apparel, Inc. announced it would reopen its doors in Opp, after being closed for nearly a year.


The announcement means jobs for 70 to 75 people, and the company CEO said he hopes American Apparel can hire as many former employees as possible.


For all the months that the local facility has been closed, many people have worked together behind the scenes to make it possible for the Opp plant to reopen. We salute those who never gave up on the idea, and who wouldn't take less than "yes," from those in position to help make the idea a reality.


"People stayed involved in Opp and never stopped trying to bring it back, and that's what was instrumental in bringing the jobs back," Covington County Economic Development Council's Rick Clifton said.




[Andalusia Star News]





Pell City industry expanding, adding 25 jobs
By David Atchison
Mar 04, 2014 
PELL CITY - The St. Clair County Economic Development Council announced Tuesday that another local industry is expanding and adding new jobs. 

"Amtech has continued to grow since we first located here in Pell City 20 years ago," said Jim Davidson, president of American Metal Technology, which is adding 30,000 square feet to their current operations in the Pell City Industry Park. "Our decision to expand here again was due to Mayor (Joe) Funderburg and the incredible team he assembled during the decision-making process. They acted quickly and provided us detailed information and support in gathering the information needed to make our decision. The local support we received made the decision much easier for us."

American Metal Technology, also known as Amtech, is an international company specializing in tube fabrication and assemblies. Amtech makes tubing for the automotive industry, as well as for heat exchanges in heating and air units. 




 Auto supplier opening in Auburn

March 5, 2014

Associated Press


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - A German automotive supplier is cutting the ribbon on a new plant that will mean 105 jobs in Auburn.


Rausch & Pausch is unveiling a production center and headquarters on Wednesday morning.


The 70,000-square-foot facility is located in Auburn Technology Park West.


The company will produce automobile parts and components to reduce fuel consumption. They do that by reducing the amount of time a vehicle idles.


The company is a supplier to both Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler.


The Auburn facility will represent an expected capital investment of $18 million as production increases.







Innovation Depot's Susan Matlock finishes her 26-year career this week
Cindy F. Crawford Editor-Birmingham Business Journal
March 4, 2014

Longtime Innovation Depot CEO Susan Matlock gave her last speech as leader of the entrepreneur startup hub at the Birmingham Kiwanis Club Tuesday.

After much talk about her retirement and her last day up in the air for some time, she said Tuesday her retirement party is March 7 and that her successor, Devon Laney, who has served as COO for eight years, will take the reins as early as next week.


Matlock said she plans to start packing boxes next week to join husband Michael Calvert, former leader of Operation New Birmingham, in retirement.


Matlock was a pioneer in entrepreneur incubation in Birmingham, starting Innovation Depot in 1986. For history on her career, click here. The depot brought in more than $1 billion in economic development impact to the community in just five years and is now home to 90 companies with 540 employees total.




[Birmingham Business Journal]







Alabama Senate gives final passage to dual enrollment scholarship program for job training classes
on March 04, 2014 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama ---A bill to set up a scholarship program for high school students to train at two-year colleges to become welders, electricians, mechanics or other types of skilled workers won final passage today in the Alabama Senate.


HB 384 by Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman, is one of the priority bills of the Republican majority, who say it is a way to fill gaps in the workforce and lower the dropout rate by keeping some students interested in school.


It had already passed the House and goes to Gov. Robert Bentley, who could sign it into law.








Regions chief investment officer offers predictions on 2014 economy

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - From a hot stock market to a lukewarm labor market, the U.S. economy will experience growth and should hit a psychological milestone by the end of the year, the Regions Financial Corp.'s chief investment officer said today.


Brian Sullivan, president and CIO at Regions, told an audience of Regions employees and customers at The Club today the economy in 2014 should grow between two and three percent and the stock market still has some upside.


"Our outlook for the market is a positive on the year," Sullivan said. The economy's growth, he said, will hinge on Fed policy keeping interest rates low, the housing market continuing its recovery and the U.S. continuing to enjoy gains in domestic energy production.


"This has been a very slow-growth economy and one of the slowest we've ever had," Sullivan said. The slow growth has, however, been manageable without stressing the economy.












The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is launching a new program to boost the success of Alabama's entrepreneurs receiving the highly-competitive, federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.


The federal government awards more than $2 billion in grants annually to advance research into real small businesses. In 2012, Alabama companies received just over $40 million.


Beginning March 28, Alabama Launchpad will host workshops across the state to assist Alabama's small businesses in securing more of these grants. 


Writing assistance is available now for companies in the process of writing or resubmitting SBIR/STTR proposals. If you know of any companies or entrepreneurs that could benefit from writing assistance, please pass along this information.  


Click on Alabama Launchpad SBIR/STTR Program for an overview, for workshop locations and for details of writing assistance.











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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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