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:
Hyundai supplier finishes latest expansion
County OKs $24.2M in tax incentives for Topre America, American Proteins
Boeing starts work on expansion of Huntsville research and technology center
Alabama high school graduation rate soars to record high
Eleven teams chosen for the 2015 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition



 Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED expanding in Montgomery with $35 million investment, plans to add 37 jobs
on December 12, 2014 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, the third largest Coca-Cola bottling company in the U.S. is expanding into the Montgomery area with a $35 million capital investment.


The Birmingham-based company began its Montgomery operations on Nov. 22 with plans to add 37 new jobs. Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Company currently employs 247.

The expansion was announced Friday at Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Company's Westport Boulevard location.


"Great brands and great people, coupled with our locally focused operating structure, are the pillars of Coca-Cola UNITED's business model. That model, executed by our local employees, emphasizes excellent customer service and strong community engagement," said Claude Nielsen, chairman and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED.  "This investment demonstrates our commitment to a great Coca-Cola franchise and optimism for the future in Montgomery."





County OKs $24.2M in tax incentives for Topre America, American Proteins

By Tiffeny Owens

Dec. 11, 2014


The Cullman County Commission approved $24.2 million in tax incentives Tuesday to support two local industries, including an expansion that will create 77 new jobs.


Topre America Corporation in Good Hope is getting a $20 million tax abatement for new equipment and machinery. The Japanese-based company is adding a new line that's expected to create 77 new jobs, said Kevin Jackson, existing industry and economic coordinator with the Cullman Economic Development Agency.


Topre plans to produce a new line of components for Honda and Nissan, with the entire project expected to be completed by 2016, Jackson said.






Boeing starts work on expansion of Huntsville research and technology center

on December 11, 2014 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Boeing has started construction on a 7,000-square-foot addition to its research and technology center in Huntsville. The company said today the Center for Applied Simulation and Analytics (CASA) will open in 2015 at the company's facilities in the Redstone Gateway complex.


Boeing said the center will allow its workers, research partners and academic collaborators to model, simulate and research new products from simulation through operations. It will contain seven laboratories and one large collaboration center. Hiring for the center will be part of a 350-person ramp-up of Boeing's research employment here.


"This lab will help us create flexible and affordable environments for modeling, simulation and analytics research," Steve Swaine, leader of Boeing's Research & Technology-Alabama research center, said in a statement. "Our goal is to bring the best and brightest in the support and analytics industry together in one location and give them all the tools they need to create the most effective simulations and analysis methods for validating new technologies."







Alabama high school graduation rate soars to record high
By WSFA 12 News Staff
December 11, 2014

Alabama's graduation rate has climbed to a record rate of 86 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Alabama Department of Education. The rate is four years ahead of schedule in accordance with PLAN 2020 which seeks to reach a goal of 90 percent by the end of the decade.

Only 72 percent of Alabama high school students walked across a stage and were handed a diploma just three years ago. That number climbed to 75 percent the next year and 80 percent last year. The 86 percent goal was not expected until 2018.


State officials say for every percentage point climb, approximately 600 more students graduated.


"We are absolutely delighted to see the graduation rate making these kinds of unprecedented gains," said State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice. "It is the result of teachers focusing on identifying the specific needs of students, removing barriers to learning, and helping students meet their goals."






Eleven teams chosen for the 2015 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition


The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation today announces that 11 early-stage companies have been selected to compete in the first round of the 2015 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition.


Twenty startups met the Nov. 16 deadline to compete in this latest round of "Proof of Commercial Relevance" competition.


Judges selected the 11 early-stage companies Wednesday after reviewing submitted applications.


The teams are in the "pre-seed" phase and are competing for a share of up to $250,000 in award money. The competition is geared to promote, reward and increase the pipeline of high-growth, innovative ventures that have the potential to create and keep jobs in Alabama.

 The teams will make their first pitch presentations on Jan. 23 at Evonik Industries, 750 Lakeshore Parkway, Birmingham. The free event begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

 Greg Sheek, Launchpad Programs director, said Alabama Launchpad looks forward to working with this innovative group of early-stage companies for commercialization.


"Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global market," Sheek said.  "Alabama Launchpad remains committed to fostering innovation and helping Alabama's aspiring businesses grow. We are not just a start-up competition. We support entrepreneurs through this competition as well providing federal grant writing assistance and assisting them to build networks to access capital investment to take their ideas from concept to high growth jobs."

Startups selected to proceed are:

  • Abel Healthcare Enterprises, based in Birmingham with a University of Alabama at Birmingham affiliation, has a product,, which is a cloud based medical image transfer and viewing solution that solves the universal problem of access to medical images, minimizing wasted resources, saving lives, and making life better for doctors, patients, and healthcare facilities.
  • Bama Mine and Milling, based in Birmingham with a University of Alabama at Birmingham affiliation, has developed a new, patented diamond coating process for rock mining/drilling that produces tools with a higher performance to cost ratio than traditional carbide without the need for new training.
  • Brewery Buddy, based in Tuscaloosa, is an affordable web-based brewery management platform designed to automate business so customers can get back to what they love, brewing delicious craft beer.
  • Conductive Chemistry, based in Tuscaloosa with a University of Alabama affiliation, produces a new, novel material that has many of the electrical properties of platinum but is less than half the cost.  
  • In the Sports Zone, LLC, based in Birmingham, creates sports team activity books, activity pads and apps.
  • Lawditor, based in Birmingham, automatically asks employees about their current practices and relays problematic answers to the business' attorney to sort out the problems in regular, privileged communications. 
  • NextStorm, Inc., based in Huntsville with a University of Alabama in Huntsville affiliation, develops applications and customizes satellite-focused hyper-local forecast products (severe weather, lightning, rainfall) that mesh with existing weather prediction and forecasting systems whereby doubling the accuracy and lead time of currently used weather methods.
  • Skills For Success LLC, based in Birmingham, provides practical, hands-on materials and resources to teach children with special needs basic safety and life skills.
  • Wires, based in Birmingham, is a notebook for app ideas. Wires believes inspiration is spontaneous, and wireframing should be too. The Wires iPhone app creates sleek wireframes for app ideas while helping a customer focus on the big picture.
  • Wizard Lounge Software, based in Birmingham, gives not only accurate real time reporting on where a developer is spending his or her time to project managers, but it will shift the responsibility of time entries to the project manager, freeing up valuable development time.
  • Xplendid Research LLC,  based in Mobile, with a University of South Alabama affiliation, offers an unobtrusive, sensor embedded within high-value and operationally critical carbon-fiber  components, ensuring  structural integrity and product quality ; the sensor provides production cost savings and enhanced quality control for  composites manufacturers and aerospace companies.

The Alabama Launchpad Competition, started as a pilot project in 2006, is financed by business, the state of Alabama and seven universities.  Since its inception, more than $1.5 million has been awarded to 35 companies through the competition.

Judges for this second round competition are once again comprised of entrepreneurs, investors and corporate stakeholders:

  • Tanveer Patel, serial entrepreneur, CEO, Concert Care
  • Nate Schmidt - co-founder/CEO, Instagift
  • Mel Washington - director and lead counselor, University of South Alabama Small Business Development
  • Avery Tucker - senior wealth director, BNY Mellon Wealth Management
  • Robert Hergenrother - director, Southern Research Institute's Medical Technology Department

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