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:
100 workers to lose jobs as Cinram shuts plant in Tuscaloosa County
Landing new industry mayor's top priority for 2015
BRHS and CACC educators meet to share ideas
Neel-Schaffer promotes Nicholson to manage Birmingham operations



100 workers to lose jobs as Cinram shuts plant in Tuscaloosa County
By Patrick Rupinski
Business Editor
January 6, 2015 

Cinram Operations Inc., formerly JVC America, is closing its Cottondale plant, permanently laying off at least 100 employees.


The company informed its employees of its decision Tuesday and sent workers home at 2 p.m.


Cinram has a 100-acre site with two large plants located just off Interstate 20/59. It most recently made and packaged compact discs - products whose demand has decreased with changing technology.



[Tuscaloosa News]


Landing new industry mayor's top priority for 2015

By Andy Brown

January 7, 2015

Job creation is the top priority for Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson entering 2015.


"The No. 1 goal is that we have got to have economic development," Grayson said. "That sounds so trite to say that ... but we've got to do that. I'm frustrated in the sense that we have not been able to get anything that we have worked on that would be sizeable.

Now certainly we're grateful and blessed that we've had new businesses come out of the ground like the new Wendy's and the local investment like Parr's doing what they have done (with their new station), but we need something of a manufacturing or industrial nature."


Grayson cited the arrival of Gulf States Paper, now Rock-Tenn, to the area in the late 1950s as the type of development the area needs.


"That was a game changer," he said. "We are positioning ourselves for another game changer, but being somewhat of an impatient person, I'm ready for that to happen."



BRHS and CACC educators meet to share ideas
By Mitch Sneed
January 7, 2015

How can educators be sure that a student is ready for the next level? Local leaders say that it starts with communication, and a session Tuesday started a sharing process that all hope will prove to be a "difference maker."


Tuesday morning at Central Alabama Community College, teachers and administrators from Benjamin Russell met with instructors and staff from the college to compare notes and look at ways they can better educate students. The goal is to make sure that whether students are headed to college, or headed to a new job - they have the tools to succeed.


Called a Joint Discipline Meeting, the sessions included teachers in Math, Science and English, all working together and in discipline specific sessions to solve problems and share ideas.




[Alex City Outlook]



Neel-Schaffer promotes Nicholson to manage Birmingham operations


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 7, 2015) - Mary Margaret Nicholson, PE, has been promoted to Engineer Manager, and will manage the Birmingham operations for Neel-Schaffer, Inc., the engineering and planning firm announced today.


"I am very excited about Mary Margaret accepting the opportunity to lead our Birmingham operations," said Chris Sellers, who oversees Neel-Schaffer's operations in Alabama. "She has been a tremendous asset to our company through her leadership and hard work while serving as our Senior Bridge Engineer for the Alabama division. Those wonderful traits and numerous others are why we have asked her to lead our Birmingham operations into the future."


Nicholson will manage Neel-Schaffer's Birmingham and Hoover offices. Neel-Schaffer also has offices in Tuscaloosa and Mobile. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Neel-Schaffer was founded in 1983 and now has more than 400 employees, with 37 offices spread across nine Southeastern states.


Nicholson joined Neel-Schaffer in 2012 and has nearly 30 years of experience as a bridge designer and in management, including eight years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, and a Master's in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.


"I look forward to many new challenges and opportunities in leading the operations for our talented and committed team," said Nicholson.


About Neel-Schaffer, Inc.

Neel-Schaffer is a multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm with offices throughout the South. Founded in 1983, the firm has more than 400 professional and technical staff. In 2014, it was ranked 199th nationally among the Top 500 Design Firms by Engineering News-Record. 


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