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:


Paris investment firm acquires Auburn-based CSP Technologies

Special to the News

Feb. 1, 2015


Wendel, a global investment firm based in Paris, has acquired Auburn-based CSP Technologies for $360 million.


As part of the transaction, the Wendel Group has invested $198 million for a 98 percent ownership in CSP, according to a statement from Wendell. CSP produces specialty plastic packaging solutions for the healthcare, food and beverage markets, including vials for the diabetes test strip market.


John Belfance, CEO of CSP Technologies, said, "Wendel's long-term investment philosophy and 300-year track record of building exceptional manufacturing companies make them the ideal partner for us. We welcome them as a strategic partner as we continue to execute our domestic and international business objectives."




[Opelika-Auburn News]


Proposed theme park for the Shoals: "It would change us forever"
 JANUARY 30, 2015

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) - DreamVision Co. has sent out an email notification that it will hold a news conference Feb. 11 at Marriott Shoals Hotel to discuss the development of a destination theme park-type attraction in the area.

DreamVision is based out of Fort Worth, Texas.  Information provided by the company shows it's proposing to build a pair of theme parks, one in Fort Worth and one in Muscle Shoals.  There's very little information at this time, but Shoals Area Chamber of Commerce President Steve Holt said he's optimistic.


"It would change us forever," Holt said. "The magnitude of it is very likely to be the largest private investment that we've seen in the history of the Shoals."







More than a paycheck: Alabama community colleges poised to feed workforce
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer-Birmingham Business Journal
Jan 30, 2015

Aaron Connell, 20, graduated from Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa after a year and immediately found work at Hunt Refining Co.


"The on-the-job experience is greater than anything you can learn in a classroom," he said.


Connell, like many other young people entering the workforce, chose to pursue an education through a trade program at Shelton State. It's a path being encouraged at the federal level, with President Obama saying in his recent state of the union address there should be a change in how community colleges are funded with a potential for free two-year degrees to boost workforce training.




[Birmingham Business Journal]


Get those resumes ready: City of Mobile accepting applications for 3 'Innovation Team' hires via Bloomberg Philanthropies grant

on January 30, 2015 

Barely six weeks after landing a three-year, $1.65 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant for neighborhood revitalization, the city of Mobile is ready to hire its "Innovation Team" members.


Initially, the Mobile i-team will be charged with developing innovative neighborhood revitalization solutions, functioning as in-house consultants "moving from one mayoral priority to the next."


Specifically, the city is accepting applications for the following:

  • I-team executive director
  • I-team senior project manager
  • I-team analyst





Southeast Community Development Institute Registration Now Open


The Southeast Community Development Institute, located at Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama is one of only 5 sites in the country to attend to become a Professional Community & Economic Developer (PCED) through the three-year Community Development Institute and subsequent certification exam.


The Community Development Institute is a three year professional development program, with one week of training per year (in April) at a single site or fast tracked at multiple sites.  Participants are exposed to a comprehensive and applied approach to community economic development in which both practitioners and academics instruct.  Each year of programming brings a more complex curriculum thus making it appropriate for seasoned professionals as well as new professionals. 


The Southeast CDI is part of a national network of institutes working to help provide professional development for those engaged in purposeful effort to enlist individuals in the community to collaboratively work to shape and guide the development and economic prosperity of their community making full use of local and external resources. 


For more information, please click here or contact Courtney Taylor at








Marengo County Economic Development Authority to host

Delta Regional Authority's Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition, "Delta Challenge"


The Marengo County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) is proud to announce that the Marengo County Business Development Center has been chosen by the Delta Region Authority (DRA) as one of 5 host sites throughout the Delta Region for the Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition, "The Delta Challenge," that will take place March 2nd beginning at 6pm in Linden Alabama.  The Delta Challenge is a series of entrepreneurship pitch competitions, and a part of a newly established program called the DRA Entrepreneurship Network, to boost entrepreneurial success in the Delta region and DRA Black Belt Counties in Alabama.  


The Pitch Competition is much like some of the current shows airing on television.  An individual or company has 3 minutes to "pitch" their idea to a panel of judges who are experts in various business fields.  There will also include a 1 minute Q&A time immediately following the 3 minute presentation. The top 3 winners from each location will qualify to compete in New Orleans March 25-27, with one additional alternate chosen from all locations for a total of 16 finalist.


"This is a tremendous opportunity for our entrepreneurs and small businesses that are ready to take their idea or business to the next level," says MCEDA's Executive Director, Brenda Tuck.  "Locally, we will have resources available that may be of great assistance to those competing regardless of whether or not they make the finals, but we certainly look forward to the winners competing in New Orleans and the opportunities that will bring." 


Within Alabama, anyone within the 20 DRA Counties may register to compete for an opportunity to advance to the finals in New Orleans as an Entrepreneurship Network Fellow.  Eligible Alabama counties include Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Russell, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox.  This is an 8 state event; entrepreneurs and small businesses from any DRA County throughout the DRA's 8 state region are eligible to compete in any or all of the 5 competitions. 


For more information click here







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Val Walton
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