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:
Birmingham Mayor William Bell travels to Japan, co-chairing business leadership delegation
Abatement OK'd for Lester metal fabricator
The Countdown is on for the Start of the 2014 Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference on Sept. 25-26 in Birmingham
Students tour mobile robotics lab
UAB ranked one of nation's top up-and-coming universities
Roanoke City Schools Receives Grant


Birmingham Mayor William Bell travels to Japan, co-chairing business leadership delegation

on September 16, 2014 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Mayor William Bell is in Japan along with more than 40 Alabama business and government leaders gathered to finalize and promote an international conference coming to Birmingham in 2015.


The group is led by Bell and Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield to plan the 38th joint meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan and the Japan-U.S Southeast Associations.


The Southeast U.S./Japan Association was established in 1976 to promote trade,

 investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and U.S. member states.






Abatement OK'd for Lester metal fabricator

by Rebecca Croomes
Posted on Sep 16, 2014

A West Limestone metal fabrication company received approval for a tax abatement Monday from the Limestone County Commission to purchase additional equipment and hire new employees.


Greg Weatherford of North Alabama Laserfab Inc., said the abatement would let his company expand into new areas of business.


"This machine here will allow us to go into copper and brass cutting and it opens up a lot of new doors," he told the commission.


North Alabama Laserfab has operated in the Lester community since 2010. They laser-cut metal parts for businesses to use in automotive enterprises. Weatherford said his company is planning to add a flatbed sheet laser machine and was approved a one-time sales tax break on the $490,000 investment. The business would still have to pay more than $7,000 in local taxes that pay for schools.




[News Courier]





The Countdown is on for the Start of the 2014 Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference on Sept 25-26 in Birmingham

Don't Procrastinate, Register Today!


The conference offers:

  • 2014 Alabama Innovation Awards and award winner activities
  • Engaging keynote speakers discussing the importance of innovation in building a sustainable economy across many environments, including rural, metro, big business, small companies, high-tech and low-tech
  • Two panel discussions, one in which some of Alabama's top CEOs will discuss the importance of innovation in business. Another discussion will feature educators and technology leaders to talk about preparing the state's future entrepreneurs
  • One-on-One Mentoring to connect and network with experts, including entrepreneurs, investment bankers and research university presidents
  • An Innovation Showcase spotlighting Alabama-based startups and technologies
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues during a reception, breakfast and refreshment breaks
  • Start-Up Competition Finale in which six teams compete for a share of up to $300,000 in funding. The competition is so important to help the state's aspiring entrepreneurs gain access to funding and mentors to take their ideas and concepts to actual high paying jobs for Alabama residents.

Scenes from last year's conference:









Students tour mobile robotics lab
By Emily Beckett
September 15, 2014

About 400 Maplesville High School students had the chance to test their skills with operating robotics equipment in a mobile lab Wednesday.


Students in all grades were able to walk through the Alabama Robotics Technology Park's mobile lab parked beside the school to view robots and programmable logic controllers used in training or education and industrial settings, and to try operating some of the equipment themselves.


"We're trying to interest these young kids to get in these high-paying jobs," Automation and Robotics Technical Specialist Art Meadows said. "The more kids we can touch, the better chance we have of getting people in the company."


Meadows showed students an OTC (Osaka Transformer Company) robot used in the welding industry and led them through how to move and program the robot "to get them comfortable so they would think of it as a job one day."




[Clanton Advertiser]





UAB ranked one of nation's top up-and-coming universities
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer-Birmingham Business Journal
Sep 16, 2014

The University of Alabama at Birmingham continues to boost its reputation after recently making a list of top up-and-coming national universities.


UAB finished No.14 in the rankings, which were compiled by U.S. News and World Report. Universities were selected based on their peer group and how progressive the school is in terms of academics, faculty and student life.


With a growing student body of 11,500, UAB is a modern university located on a 323-acre urban campus, which helped the school make its way onto the list.



[Birmingham Business Journal]




Roanoke City Schools Receives Grant


Roanoke City Schools(Roanoke, Alabama) received a $333,200.00 grant from the Career and Technical Education Bond Issue Competitive Funds, 21st Century Workforce Act for the STEM program at Handley High School.


 These funds will be used to implement the Outdoor Educational Center (OEC) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) initiatives.


The OEC is a six acre site that will include a greenhouse, fishponds, gardens, orchards, vineyard, bee hives, and an area dedicated to forestry. The OEC will have wireless connections that will allow students to blend agriculture and academic standards together. The goal is to provide students with hands on opportunities to make them college and career ready upon graduation.


The PLTW initiative is a STEM initiative at the high school level that gives our students opportunities to develop technological skills. These skills include computer programming, writing computer code and other skill sets. One way these results are achieved is through a robotics program.  


Mr. Greg Foster, principal at Handley High School, said, "these two initiatives give students the opportunity to broaden their horizons, giving them work-related skills with career options." Students will be able to earn state approved credentials that they will use as they enter the work force or pursue higher education.








Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "forward email" link below. Note also, that you can now make changes to your e-mail address and contact information through the link at the bottom.    
If you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
Join Our Mailing List