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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:
Asahi Kasei Plastics plans Alabama production facility with up to 100 jobs
Elkmont's Electricfil (EFI) expanding with plans to create at least 125 more jobs
New tax credit expected to increase funding for state's career technical dual enrollment program
New teaming in Alabama rocket industry as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Dynetics link up
How Sears Fuels Startup Culture in Birmingham, Alabama
Could 'sewbots' bring clothing manufacturing back to US?
Bentley tours Pike County (PHOTOS)
German auto supplier gets land in Tuscaloosa Airport Industrial Park


Asahi Kasei Plastics plans Alabama production facility with up to 100 jobs

ATHENS, Alabama - Asahi Kasei Plastics North America plans to invest more than $30 million to open its second U.S. production facility at a site in Limestone County, where the company plans to employ up to 100 people at full capacity, Governor Robert Bentley announced today.


Asahi Kasei Plastics' Athens plant will process plastic resin into a finished pellet product that will be shipped to plastic injection molding facilities, where the material will be transformed into automobile components. The company's plastic compounds also are used in furniture, pool and spa, industrial equipment and many more applications.


"This facility will be central to our strategy to increase our presence in the South and provide ongoing support to customers," Asahi Kasei Plastics' President John Moyer said. "We see Alabama being very central to the strong recovery in the automotive industry and other markets we serve and are proud that we will be able to be a part of this exciting growth."








Elkmont's Electricfil (EFI) expanding with plans to create at least 125 more jobs

By Lora Scrippslora@athensnews-courier.com

May 20, 2104



An Elkmont industry is expanding and has plans to grow their employee base by more than 125 jobs.

EFI Automotive Inc. (Electricfil Corporation) plans to construct the North American Corporate office in Elkmont beginning this summer.

The project is scheduled to cost $2,668,000.

EFI began in Elkmont in 2004 with a commitment to grow up to 84 jobs. The company expanded in 2012 with another commitment of 120 jobs.



 New tax credit expected to increase funding for state's career technical dual enrollment program 

By Ed Enoch
Staff Writer
May 19, 2014 

State lawmakers and representatives with the Alabama Community College System predict a new tax credit will help boost funding and enrollment in the state's career technical dual enrollment program for high school students.

Terry Waters, executive director of economic and workforce development for the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, said taxpayers can contribute as much as $10 million annually under the new tax credit program.

"In my opinion, this is the beginning," said Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa.


Poole was among legislators and officials with Shelton State Community College, the Department of Postsecondary Education, and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International who discussed the dual enrollment program Monday, using a lab filled with mills and other precision machining equipment at Shelton as a background.




New teaming in Alabama rocket industry as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Dynetics link up

on May 19, 2014 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Rocket propulsion company Aerojet Rocketdyne and aerospace and defense engineering services company Dynetics are teaming up to collaborate on new aerospace technologies and systems in Huntsville


"The goal is to do more design, development, testing and manufacturing in Huntsville," Dynetics Director of Development Steve Cook said Monday. "Combining high performance and affordability is critical to future booster and space propulsion systems. We believe this partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne allows us to collectively bring the best people and technologies of the 'Rocket City' to our NASA, Department of Defense and commercial customers."


That could include working together on one of the big rocket challenges facing America today: designing and building a replacement for the Russian RD-180 engines that now propel United Launch Alliance's defense satellite-launching Atlas V rocket. The supply of those engines is being threatened by tensions between the U.S. and Russia.






How Sears Fuels Startup Culture in Birmingham, Alabama

Joe Deaux
May 20, 2014

Birmingham, Alabama rose from the ashes of reconstruction to become an industrial powerhouse in the southeastern United States. 
But today Birmingham Mayor William Bell tells TheStreet's Joe Deaux that the country's 100th largest city, with the help of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is fostering entrepreneurial businesses through a start-up hub founded at a former Sears department store.

 Much of the program's success emerges from UAB's large medical center, which UAB President Ray Watts says generates along with the university some $3.4 billion a year. Here's how the city and the university are attracting a generation of innovators in a town known for its civil rights past.



[The Street]



 Could 'sewbots' bring clothing manufacturing back to US?

May 19, 2014

ATLANTA - Made in the USA: That's not a common claim these days, especially when it comes to clothing. 

Textile mills used to be as common in southeast as the cotton fields, but the U.S. garment industry is now a memory.

American closets are now full of clothes made in China, India, Bangladesh and other countries.  

More than 90 percent of garments in the U.S. are not made in America. 

Channel 2 Action News anchor Justin Farmer found a Georgia Tech spinoff that is trying to change that.

"It's about 100 percent probability that it'll work," said Dickerson.

The "it" to which Dickerson refers is a sewing robot. 


Today on Channel 2 Action News at 6, Farmer takes a look at the emerging technology and finds out how it could bring highly skilled jobs to the U.S.

Dickerson and his team of engineers plan to test the sewing robot at the American Apparel Factory in Selma, Alabama; one of the few places in the U.S. that still makes clothing.







 Bentley tours Pike County (PHOTOS)

 May 19, 2014


While in Troy on Monday, Bentley toured the Troy-Pike Center for Technology and KW operations.

First on the tour was Julia's for lunch.

"I met every person there and the food was delicious," he said.

Bentley was impressed with what he saw at Troy-Pike Center for Technology.

"The Governor has put a lot of emphasis on technical education and he wanted to see that being applied. He saw that at Pike County Technical School," said state Rep. Alan Boothe R-Troy.

KW owner Kenny Campbell, toured the governor, accompanied by Boothe, and Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Elba, through both KW Plastics Recycling Division and KW Container, the injection molding facility that makes the KW all-plastic paint cans.

Boothe and Holley were instrumental in passing a recycling bill during the recent legislative session. The bill, which the governor has signed, protects recycling and the 580 employees throughout the KW companies.





 German auto supplier gets land in Tuscaloosa Airport Industrial Park 

By Patrick Rupinski

Business Editor
May 15, 2014

The Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority on Thursday transferred

40 acres in the Tuscaloosa Airport Industrial Park to a German automotive parts manufacturer that plans to build a plant on the site that will employ about 350 people by 2018.


Bolta Werke GbmH, which is based near Nuremberg, Germany, announced plans to build its first American plant in Tuscaloosa in September 2013.


Thursday's action was one of the final steps before construction begins this summer, said Johannes Carl, the future managing director of the plant, which will be called Bolta US Inc.



[Tuscaloosa News]



 Spark Workshop to be held Friday on how to apply to the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition

Event Details


This half-day workshop for inventors and entrepreneurs includes a series of short seminars to help Birmingham-area teams complete their Alabama Launchpad start-up competition application for a chance to win up to $300,000 in cash proof-of-concept grants.  



30 min expert presentations followed by Q&A



Launchpad Fluid Review

3 min Pitch Video

10-slide Pitch Deck

Business Model Canvas

Launchpad Budget



The Alabama Launchpad start-up competition gives early-stage start-ups from across Alabama the momentum to take an idea from concept to reality. Up to $300,000 in cash are awarded each competition cycle. More information at www.alabamalaunchpad.com    



Spark is a free mentoring and coaching program organized by the Birmingham Business Alliance in partnership with UAB and Innovation Depot to help Birmingham-area start-ups succeed in Launchpad. Over the past four competition cycles, 9 Birmingham teams have won close to $350,000 in cash awards with support from Spark mentoring and coaching.

For additional information about the Spark workshop and mentoring and coaching program, please contact Steven Ceulemans, VP for Innovation and Technology at the Birmingham Business Alliance at (205) 578-2228 or sceulemans@birminghambusinessalliance.com.



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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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