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 tops Forbes' 2015 list of most affordable cities
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
March 13, 2015

Business magazine Forbes has ranked the Birmingham metro as the most affordable city in America for 2015.


Birmingham is primarily recognized for its affordable housing. During the fourth quarter of 2014, the median sales price for a home was $130,000. The report also notes that while the median family income for Birmingham was around $3,000 lower than the national average of $63,900, 81.5 percent of homes were affordable for families earning median pay.


Also highlighted in the report is the city's quality of life, its medical research industry and the number of large companies setting up plants nearby.




[Birmingham Business Journal]





Slingshot, Huntsville IMPACT accelerator for high-growth startups, taking applications

on March 12, 2015

A Huntsville-based semi-residential accelerator for high-growth IMPACT startups across the Southeast is now accepting applications for its inaugural program.


Rocket Hatch, the Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy, Fortnum Capital and Cleantech Open announced today the formation of Slingshot, a new initiative that will allow select startups to engage in a two-month intensive program, where they will fine-tune their business plans and prepare for investment.


Slingshot is taking applications through May 3 and will announce participants at the end of the month. The program starts June 5 and will continue through early August.









Johns Manville to boost Scottsboro manufacturing plant capacity by 20 percent
on March 12, 2015 

Johns Manville (JM) is on target to expand its thermoplastic polyolefin plant's capacity next month in Scottsboro, the company announced this week.


The global building and specialty products manufacturer said construction on the TPO facility, which has been in planning for several months, will boost the plant's overall production by 20 percent when it moves online in a few weeks.


The facility, located on 117 Lequire St., opened in October 2008 but began production in July the same year. JM continued its investment four years later with the launch of an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) manufacturing plant in Milan, Ohio.








New east Montgomery plant hopes to expand work force

Paul Sullivan
March 11, 2015

The first Conner Industries facility in Alabama is up and running in east Montgomery off Smothers Road and will hold a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. on March 24.


Conner is a national wood packaging supplier with 13 plants from Texas to Virginia, plant manager Bryan Welch said.


"We specialize in the design and manufacture of wood shipping crates, skids and pallets," Welch said. "All of our products are customer-specific. The Montgomery plant service area covers approximately a 100-mile radius."





[Montgomery Advertiser]







Governor combines economic development, turkey hunting

By Staff Reports

March 13, 2015


With the majestic wild turkey as the centerpiece, Gov. Robert Bentley will showcase the great state of Alabama's abundant natural resources, friendly business climate and the usual great Southern hospitality at the annual Alabama Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt March 16-18 at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery.


Combining the efforts of the Governor's Office, the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation and the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Governor's One-Shot Hunt focuses on potential economic partners and is designed to highlight Alabama as the preferred destination for business, industry and nature-based tourism. The event puts Alabama in the global spotlight and helps strengthen relationships with existing Alabama industry leaders as well as developing relationships with new industry prospects.


The Governor's One-Shot Hunt will pair the participants with hosts, who will provide hunting property and guides to hunt one of Alabama's premier big-game species.




[Andalusia Star News]




Want to work at Mercedes? Deadline extended for automaker's student training programs
on March 12, 2015


VANCE, Alabama -- The Tuscaloosa County operations of Mercedes-Benz has extended the deadline to apply for two technical training programs that could lead to a job at the German automaker's factory.


Candidates have until April 10 to apply for the Mechatronics or Automotive Technician programs, which start this fall. The previous deadline was March 10.


There are currently 120 students involved in the programs. By extending the deadline, the company hopes to strengthen the candidate pool by targeting high school seniors.






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