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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:
Mercedes-Benz builds 2 millionth vehicle at Alabama plant
Director: State Port poised to ship automobiles within a couple of years
MT expands - Adding jobs!
Alabama 'very attractive' as Southeast gains attention from international businesses and manufacturers
SBA Lenders Conference 2014: New and Improved - Not Your Father's SBA
Registration is open for the 2014 4th Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in Birmingham Sept. 25-26
Nominations end tomorrow for the 2014 Alabama Launchpad Innovation Awards


Mercedes-Benz builds 2 millionth vehicle at Alabama plant

on July 29, 2014 at 5:39 PM 


VANCE, Alabama -- German automaker Mercedes-Benz has produced its 2 millionth Alabama-made vehicle.

The milestone was celebrated today at the Tuscaloosa County plant, according to a company statement. There was a brief ceremony to mark the completion of the white ML 350 BlueTec, which is bound for an internal customer in Germany.


Mercedes began auto production in Alabama in 1997. It reached the 1 million vehicle milestone in 2007.

Along with the M-Class, workers there also produce the GL-Class SUV and R-Class crossover. And, last month they launched production of the C-Class sedan.

A new SUV is expected to join the assembly lines next year.








Director: State Port poised to ship automobiles within a couple of years 


on July 30, 2014 at 7:48 AM, updated July 30, 2014 at 8:17 AM 


POINT CLEAR, Alabama - The head of the Alabama State Port Authority said it has identified a site for a $54 million automotive shipping terminal and the port hopes to be ready to ship Alabama-made cars and SUVs in a year or two. 


Speaking to the Economic Development Association of Alabama's Summer 2014 Conference, Jimmy Lyons, director and chief executive of the Port Authority, said while most of the vehicles produced in Alabama and surrounding states are for the domestic market, some of those vehicles are bound for other countries.


Up until now, the Port has not been equipped to ship cars. That could change with the new terminal, which would allow for marshalling cars and roll-on, roll-off operations.Not only will a new terminal allow for shipping cars bound for foreign markets, but it opens the door to receive cars from those markets - particularly cars that are produced in Mexico or South America.


The $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal could also increase that potential as well as other shipping opportunities, Lyons said.







MT expands - Adding jobs!

Phil Johnson


July 30, 2014 


The old Brantley's Tire building on North Main Street in Atmore has been going through a lot of changes in recent days. The south side of the building has been torn down and changes in the north side of the building are paving the way for an expansion of Muskogee Technology into metal fabrication on a large scale.


According to Mal McGhee, Muskogee Director of Marketing, the Brantley building was the perfect place for several new lines of fabrication that could not be built in the Muskogee building located inside the old Vanity Fair.







Alabama 'very attractive' as Southeast gains attention from international businesses and manufacturers


on July 29, 2014 at 3:54 PM, updated July 29, 2014 at 4:05 PM 



Business leaders who call Alabama home know how much the state has to offer in terms of economic development potential. In the last five years, the state has attracted companies including RemingtonCarpenter Technology and Golden Dragon Copper, among others. 


Thanks in part to those recent successes, Alabama is in a position to compete "very well" for future opportunities in manufacturing, explained William Hearn, senior vice president of strategic consulting at real estate firm CBRE at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's summer 2014 conference






SBA Lenders Conference 2014: New and Improved - Not Your Father's SBA

Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel

August 5-6, 2014

The Alabama SBDC Network and US Small Business Administration will host the annual SBA Lenders Conference at the Hyatt-Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham on August 5-6.  The conference is expected to draw small business financing pros from around the state.  


Last year, attendees included regional and local banks, non-bank lenders, certified development companies and other associations, professionals and service providers that are active in origination, support and management of small business loans.  "One of the primary objectives of the event is to highlight and recognize the loan guarantee programs that are working in the state, and, in the long run, to improve the lending environment for small businesses in Alabama," say Bill Cummins, Executive State Director of the Alabama SBDC Network.  


Scott Latham, President & CEO of the Alabama Bankers Association, and John Harrison, Superintendent of Banks, will open the welcoming reception on August 5.  The Lenders Conference and SBA awards luncheon will follow, on August 6.  Sponsorships and vendor exhibits are welcome.

The agenda and registration form are available on-line at: [asbdc.org/lenders]

Don't miss this information-packed meeting, which helps lenders utilize SBA loan guaranty programs and expand their small business market.


Questions? Call us toll free at 877-825-7232 or email ASBDC@ua.edu




 Registration is open for the 2014 

4th Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference to be held Sept. 25-26 in Birmingham!



Register here to attend the conference, the only kind in the state where entrepreneurs, startup founders, government leaders, economic developers, university leaders and small business owners gather in one place to network and to shine a spotlight on Alabama's innovation economy. 


Our speakers for this year include:

  • Gov. Robert Bentley, who has made research and development, commercialization and entrepreneurship key elements of his Accelerate Alabama strategic plan.
  • Peter H. Diamandis, an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space.  In the field of Innovation, Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight.  Today the X PRIZE leads the world in designing and operating large-scale global competitions to solve market failures. - See more at: http://www.diamandis.com/
  • Brandon Byrne, Vice President of Finance for Curse, one of the world's largest video gaming information companies based in Huntsville. 

    We also are including:




The conference begins on Thursday, Sept. 25, with the Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition Finale, where six startup teams will pitch their businesses in hopes of winning a share of $300,000. There also will be a kickoff reception and an awards luncheon. The event continues with a full-day agenda on Friday, Sept. 26.












Our deadline is almost here! 


Nominations end tomorrow for the 2014 Alabama Launchpad Innovation Awards.  


The awards will recognize companies, businesses and people doing innovative things for the state. Winners will be honored on Sept. 25 at an Awards Ceremony Dinner at WorkPlay, Birmingham.




  Visit the Alabama Launchpad website to make your nomination








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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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