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:


State wants to grow farming by 10 percent

By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau | 

February 10, 2015


MONTGOMERY - State agriculture officials want to increase Alabama's farming and forestry output by 10 percent by 2020, making them a $77.4 billion industry.


Officials also want to raise employment in agriculture from 580,295 jobs to 638,324.

Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan unveiled a strategic plan Tuesday that includes increasing access to capital, growing an ag-specific workforce and expanding marketing and trade.


"We think these are realistic goals," McMillan said. "We tried to be reasonable. These are not pie-in-the-sky ideas."


Some of the recommendations require legislative action, but others do not. One suggestion is to increase interest in agricultural careers by working with the Alabama Community College System to offer agriculture and forestry programs that include "earn and learn" programs.




[Decatur Daily



Madison County wants to create large industrial park to court Remington, Polaris suppliers

on February 11, 2015 


At its meeting this morning, the commission is expected to hire Littlejohn Engineering to study whether the county-owned tract is suitable for industrial development.


 The land is located at the corner of Wall-Triana Highway and 6th Street, just outside the Triana town limits.


Commission Chairman Dale Strong said a new county industrial park could help lure companies that work closely with Polaris, Remington and Redstone Arsenal. The site is less than five miles from the new Remington firearms factory as well as the arsenal's Gate 7 on Martin Road.






What Evonik's globetrotting new Bham boss thinks of the Magic City
Bryan Davis Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Feb.10, 2015

Kel Boisvert is a team builder by nature.


It's been the Canadian-born scientist's passion since his early days out of college with DuPont. And it will be somethin g he carries with him in Birmingham, where he was recently tapped to lead Evonik Corp.'s local operations, which focuses on medical devices and technology.


When Essen, Germany-based Evonik acquired part of DuPont's hydrogen peroxide business, it inherited Boisvert and soon began adapting their own model of training high-performance work teams.


Boisvert was born just north of Vancouver, but he has traveled across the globe, leading various teams and plants within Evonik's $16 billion global operations, including sites in Canada, Ohio, Mobile, Texas and Germany. He arrived in Birmingham in September on the heels of Evonik's announced plans to build the company's first U.S. global innovation center.




Building to house UAB's Collat School of Business, B.L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship approved by Board
February 09, 2015

Stage one planning for a new building that will house the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Collat School of Business and B.L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.


The facility is being supported by two major gifts from the Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation, Inc., and Medical Properties Trust, Inc.


The new building seeks to provide adequate space for growth of the Collat School of Business and Harbert IIE through creating multidimensional learning and collaborative spaces that include breakout rooms for team projects, engaging space for entrepreneurial projects, a financial literacy training room, labs for behavioral research and sales presentations, career services space, and study rooms for students.




Birmingham CEO named one of nation's top 100 entrepreneurs
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Feb. 10, 2015

What does ConcertCare CEO Tanveer Patel have in common with Facebook CEOMark Zuckerburg, Alibaba CEO Jack Maand hip-hop artist Jay Z?


Today, all were named among the nation's top 100 influential thinkers created by our sister publication the Upstart Business Journal.


You can read Upstart's profile of Patelhere


Patelwho is no stranger to regular readers of the BBJ, is recognized for her successes in creating and selling startups as well as her leadership roles in the Birmingham Venture Club and participation with TechBirmingham.




[Birmingham Business Journal]


Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) Training Workshop

Attended by Nine Alabama Communities


Mayors, City Clerks, City Council Members and other key leaders from nine Alabama communities including Abbeville, Chelsea, Geneva, Lineville, Oneonta, Orange Beach, Tallassee, Wetumpka and York, participated in an Application Training Workshop held on February 9 at the Center for Commerce in Montgomery, Alabama. 


 The workshop provided communities information about the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) program and the competitive application process being used to select communities for the incoming ACE 2015 class.  ACE is currently accepting applications from communities desiring to be considered for admission into this 2015 incoming class; the application deadline is March 6th. 


ACE, a non-profit corporation, uses the combined expertise of its 16 partner organizations to provide selected Alabama communities with community development programs and tools needed to ensure sustained and long-term success.  The ACE program targets Alabama towns with populations ranging between 2,000 and 18,000.  At present, 26 cities have achieved the esteemed designation of being an ACE community.  These include:  Arab, Atmore, Brewton, Childersburg, Demopolis, Eufaula, Evergreen, Fayette, Foley, Graysville, Guin, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hartselle, Headland, Heflin, Jackson, Jacksonville, Leeds, Livingston, Millbrook, Monroeville, Montevallo, Thomasville and Valley.  In 2013, ACE accepted Alexander City, Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville, and Saraland into the ACE program, and these communities are currently working to complete the program requirements to achieve designation.


The Application Training Workshop began with an overview of the ACE organization, an assessment of the time commitment and program requirements to achieve designation as an ACE community, and then continued with a discussion of the selection process and a review of the actual ACE application and its required documentation.  Participants heard from Mayor Rudy Rooks and City Clerk Shane Smith of Heflin, Alabama.  Mayor Rooks noted that the ACE program keeps communities focused on their vision, and this has helped Heflin to continue to grow and prosper.  Heflin was accepted into the 2005 class, was designated an ACE community in 2007. 


 Click here to visit the ACE website for more information on the Alabama Communities of Excellence.


Application deadline is Friday, March 6, 2015. Click here for submitting applications via the preferred on-line submission. Communities selected for the ACE 2015 class will be announced during the Alabama League of Municipalities annual meeting in May. 


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Val Walton
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