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:
Alabama ranks first in nation for increase in students passing Advanced Placement tests
$7M Hartselle expansion to create 20 jobs
Gov. Bentley helps kick off $400 million Town Madison by I-565; bringing 1.5 million square feet of commercial/retail
Entrepreneurs could win business seed money at upcoming summit
Firms in Airbus project form non-profit to revitalize Mobile's Doyle Park
What would make Birmingham better? Rotaract Club goes after $10,000 challenge from Alabama Power CEO
Honda honored for environmental achievement
Who will be named Alabama's top innovators? Find out Sept. 25



Alabama ranks first in nation for increase in students passing Advanced Placement tests
on August 12, 2014 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- State Superintendent Tommy Bice freely admits that it is unusual for Alabama to be ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to public education.


"This is not usually where we're ranked," he said during a press conference.


But Bice received congratulations today from U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Deb Delisle for Alabama garnering the greatest percentage increase nationally for students passing Advanced Placement tests.






$7M Hartselle expansion to create 20 jobs

By Briana Harris Staff Writer | 

August 12, 2014


HARTSELLE - A $7 million industrial expansion that Hartselle Mayor Don Hall said will create 20 jobs within three years after its completion received a tax abatement Tuesday from City Council.


The 10-year abatement for Pro-Fab Machine amounts to $20,339 annually in non-educational property taxes.


Morgan County Economic Development Association president Jeremy Nails said the Hartselle company will add to its existing building and invest in new machinery. The expansion is projected to be complete by September 2015.


The additional jobs will add $655,000 to the company's $1.5 million annual payroll.


"Of course we could use the additional money, but I'm thinking long-term," Hall said. "I want to help these companies grow and expand in Hartselle because that prevents them from thinking about going somewhere else."






Gov. Bentley helps kick off $400 million Town Madison by I-565; bringing 1.5 million square feet  

on August 12, 2014 

MADISON, Alabama - Development of "the most prime property in the Southeastern United States" finally broke ground Tuesday morning that will lead to new roads, an interstate interchange and 1.5 million square feet of retail/commercial space.


The magnitude of the development on 700 acres along Interstate 565 and Zierdt Road drew about 100 dignitaries to a sprawling field of foot-high soybeans, with Gov. Robert Bentley, U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks, five state representatives and a platoon of local officials donning hard hats and grabbing shovels to kick off a project that will serve the community for decades.


The $400 million development called Town Madison will also include 900,000 square feet of retail space, 450,000 square feet of office space, 445 hotel rooms and 668 apartments. It's expected to create 1,600 jobs.


"This will be the gift that keeps on giving after we're dead and gone," said Louis Breland, the chief developer, who began trying to make this project happen since 2006. "I never believed it wouldn't happen."








Entrepreneurs could win business seed money at upcoming summit
by Lance Griffin
on Aug 12, 2014

No, Mark Cuban, Daymond John or Robert Herjavec won't be in Dothan next month to invest millions of dollars in your business idea, but one local entrepreneur will have a chance to walk into a local shark tank and walk away with $1,000 in seed money for a business.


A local shark tank will be one of the features of the new Wiregrass Economic Resource Summit, a rebranding of the old Wiregrass Economic Summit on Jobs. The summit will be held at the Dothan Civic Center Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m.


"I'm excited about the ideas that will come from these entrepreneurs," Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said. "The shark tank idea is a great addition to the summit."




[Dothan Eagle]


Firms in Airbus project form non-profit to revitalize Mobile's Doyle Park

 MOBILE, Alabama - Several firms involved in the Airbus construction project at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, the Mobile Airport Authority, and several community residents are spearheading an effort to rejuvenate a downtrodden, 24-acre city park in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood adjacent to the industrial complex.


Doyle Park, located at 1728 Rosedale Road, was originally part of the Brookley Air Force Base, where 17,000 people were employed before the base closed in 1969.


A non-profit organization called the Friends of Doyle Park has been formed to carry out the campaign, which calls for adding athletic fields, a playground, a walking trail, a splash park, event pavilions, and other amenities. In keeping with Doyle Park's history as a prime location for viewing activity at Mobile Downtown Airport, the project aims to add observation terraces so families can watch flights by Airbus passenger jets assembled at the company's Mobile Aeroplex Assembly Line.



What would make Birmingham better? Rotaract Club goes after $10,000 challenge from Alabama Power CEO
on August 12, 2014 

In the last 72 hours, John Smola and the rest of Birmingham's Rotaract club have devised a plan, formed a committee, and sent hundreds of e-mails flying-- all in an effort to secure a $10,000 prize that the organization will use to build a better Birmingham.


Smola, president of Rotaract Club of Birmingham, a Rotary club for young professionals, said that as soon as the challenge was issued, members sprang into action. The challenge? Come up with an idea that can change or improve Birmingham in an impactful way.


Mark Crosswhite, CEO of Alabama Power, issued the challenge at a Rotaract Club meeting last week. Michael Sznajderman, Media Relations Coordinator for Alabama Power Company, said that as soon as Crosswhite made the offer, several of the 200 members of Rotaract in attendance began tweeting out the news.



Honda honored for environmental achievement
August 11, 2014

The Alabama Wildlife Federation honored Honda Manufacturing of Alabama with the Air Conservationist of the Year Award at its 2014 Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards banquet, held Friday at the Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill in Prattville, according to a press release from the organization.


The banquet was co-sponsored by Alabama Power Company and PowerSouth Energy. Additional sponsors included Consolidated Construction Company, Consolidated Pipe & Supply, Inc., First South Farm Credit, Hinton Lumber Products, Josh and Mary Virginia Mandell, Lee Thuston, Russell Lands and Talladega Superspeedway. The Westervelt Company sponsored the social event prior to the banquet. Alabama Gulf seafood was sponsored by the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission.


The AWF Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards (GCAA) are the most respected conservation honors in the state of Alabama, the release said. Over the past 40 years, AWF has presented these awards to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of Alabama's wildlife and related natural resources.






Who will be named Alabama's top innovators? Find out Sept. 25


The nominations are in, and we have assembled six of Alabama's top business leaders to select winners in eight categories for the Alabama Launchpad Innovation Awards.


The Innovation Awards recognize Alabama's leaders in government, business and research at the state's only Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference set for Sept. 25-26 in Birmingham. 


Join us on Thursday, Sept. 25, for our Awards Dinner Ceremony at WorkPlay Theatre to find out who the winners will be.  Brandon Byrne, Vice President of the Huntsville-based Curse, one of the world's largest gaming-information properties, is our keynote dinner speaker.


Let's celebrate the winners:

Our judges:

Harris Morrissette, President, China Doll Rice and Beans, Inc.

Yolanda Sullivan, CEO, YWCA Central Alabama

Art Tipton, President, Southern Research Institute

Neill S. Wright, President and CEO, First Tuskegee Bank



Innovation and entrepreneurship are keys to Alabama's economic success moving forward and a key component of Accelerate Alabama, the statewide strategic plan for economic development.


This conference will convene state leaders, business leaders, university and research leaders, the startup community and others with a stake in providing support for the growth of Alabama's innovation economy. 

Sept. 25-26
Help support the conference by becoming a corporate sponsor!


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