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:


Torch Technologies will add 150 defense jobs at expanded Huntsville campus

on March 20, 2015 

Defense contractor Torch Technologies announced Friday that it will create 150 new jobs as part of a $10 million-plus expansion project that city officials said will boost efforts to revitalize south Huntsville.


During a well-attended groundbreaking ceremony, Torch CEO Bill Roark said the new positions will be added over "the next couple of years" as the employee-owned technology services and solutions firm overhauls its South Memorial Parkway campus.


Along with renovating its existing office buildings - the original home of Nichols Research - Torch plans to develop a new corporate headquarters and large conference center on the property.







Tuscaloosa startup gets share of Launchpad funds

Staff report | The Tuscaloosa News

March 20, 2015 

Brewery Buddy, a Tuscaloosa startup company, was among five fledgling companies to win a share of $214,300 in the Alabama Launchpad business startup competition finale on Friday.


Brewery Buddy, founded by University of Alabama graduate students Josh Sahib and Wes Eldridge, is a web-based brewery management platform designed to automate business for craft brewers. It gives users more time to devote to brewing and developing their craft beers.


The Brewery Buddy team was awarded $24,600 by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation.



[Tuscaloosa News]


High school students build skills, careers

Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser

March 21, 2015

A touring high school class watched college students work on a simulated assembly line while instructor Michael Barnett talked about how some of them are taking automotive classes while still in high school.


Then he mentioned that one recent graduate is now making $35 an hour.

Hands shot into the air.


"Can sophomores sign up for this?" asked one of the visiting 10th-graders from Robert E. Lee High School.




[Montgomery Advertiser]


Dynetics Technical Services in Huntsville wins $59.3M MITS contract extension

on March 20, 2015

A technology contract originally awarded in December 2009 was recently extended at Dynetics in Huntsville.


Dynetics Technical Services has won a sole-source extension modification for the $59.3 million Marshall Space Flight Center Information Technology Services (MITS) contract. DTS received the contract nearly six years ago to provide IT planning, development and support services for the MSFC, the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.


Under the extended contract, DTS will provide management, IT security, policy, planning, architecture, innovation, help desk, integration, telecommunications, data center, computing services and audiovisual information services. 



Firms selling used auto parts, digital instruction begin in Entrepreneurial Center

By Bill Campbell Staff Writer | 0 comments

March 22, 2014


FLORENCE - The businesses that started and are operating at the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center are diverse in size, structure and purpose.

But they have two things in common: a desire and a need.


Andy Alonso and Brandon Gillis, both from the Shoals, had a desire to live in their childhood home and still work in a high-tech industry.


Darren Butler and Jennifer Oleham knew they could teach educational skills not only to students, but to teachers who might be out of their element. But they needed a way to reach them.


Both groups - and about 20 others - have found opportunities to create their unique businesses and identify a viable marketplace with the help of the Entrepreneurial Center.



Chambers County launches branding campaign


March 19, 2015


LANETT - The Chambers County Development Authority launched a new communitywide brand at a media conference Wednesday, at Hampton Inn & Suites in Lanett, Alabama.


"In today's global economy and competitive environment, it's critical to promote your community on a unified front," Valerie Gray, executive director of Chambers County Development Authority, said. "Site selection consultants, prospective companies and existing industries need to know our resiliency and what all we have accomplished in Chambers County. It's important for people to understand where we've been and where we are going."


Referencing roots in the community's textile history, the tagline, "Strength Woven In," captures the county's proud past while embracing its unique spirit of strength in over-

coming every challenge it faces. The tagline will support the county as it continues to define its vision for the future.


"The strength shown by our local community many times over has allowed our hospital to maintain its presence in Valley, Ala. As far back as 1947, local citizens gave a day's pay to supplement the building fund, and in more recent times their generosity has come through over and over again. We are fortunate to have such a strong and caring community throughout our greater Valley area. They are always there for each other." notes Cindy Brooks, public relations director of EAMC-Lanier Hospital.


The dynamic logo features a gray and red pattern woven within the borders of Chambers County. The "Strength Woven In" design created by Alabama community marketing firm, Red Sage Communications Inc., will become a symbol for Chambers County, and synonymous for the vibrant strength of the community.


"The most powerful brands are those that are defined by residents who are passionate about where they live, not those defined by a company that does not live in or truly know the community," explained Ellen Didier, president of Red Sage. "Our job is simply to ask questions, listen well, and then visually capture the unique spirit that is shared with us by residents. We feel the final brand developed, including the logo and tagline, powerfully showcases the community history, spirit and personality expressed to us by the people of Chambers County."


"By using the shape of the county in the logo, we were able to encompass each city and town within the county to present unity. This is strengthened by the woven pattern which definitively ties the tagline to the logo," affirms Kevin Hand, member services representative of the Tallapoosa River Electric Authority.


The brand and tagline revealed serve as the conclusion of the Chambers County Community Branding Project, funded in part by PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in an effort to expand the community's visibility through professional branding and marketing materials.


Red Sage Communications facilitated multiple focus groups with many residents, local officials, community representatives and business leaders to gather core qualities citizens' associate with Chambers County. These core strengths were honed into a clear, cohesive, comprehensive brand with the help of a six-person branding committee. After extensive feedback, discussions and revisions spanning 15 weeks, the final tagline and logo were determined by online survey.


"PowerSouth Energy Cooperative was happy to be able to play a small role in the Chambers County Branding Project. The level of community participation throughout this process lends further proof to the commitment of the citizens of Chambers County and the dedication and professionalism of the Chambers County Development Authority. It is our hope that this will lead to even greater visibility for the county and continued economic development successes," Caleb Goodwyn, economic and community development representative for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.


The final brand and tagline present Chambers County as a community of resiliency and strength. A progressive, pro-business attitude and strategic location aid Chambers County in overcoming any challenges that threaten the community. The brand, tagline and supporting messages will be used in industrial recruitment and tourism efforts, and as a competitive differentiator from surrounding communities in the Southeast USA.


In addition to revealing the new logo and tagline, brand implementation by local entities was discussed. Creating a countywide brand portrays a unified front with a strong brand instantly recognizable as Chambers County. The CCDA has created a brand roll-out plan for its own publications, and will assist in its implementation by other county groups as requested. In addition, the CCDA plans to incorporate branding activities and events to continue highlighting the stories of strength that are abundant in Chambers County.


"The brand campaign including logo, tagline and messaging will be incorporated immediately into our website, social media and promotional and marketing materials. Our next step is to provide an implementation plan to our cities, county and local organizations to best incorporate the brand into their marketing plan and everyday activities. No matter where you go in the County, you will observe a consistent brand that says we are united and strong," Gray said.


"At the CCDA, we have developed future activities that will utilize the new logo and tagline to be used throughout the county. From LaFayette, birthplace of 'Fighting Joe Louis,' to the rejuvenation of the mill towns of Lanett and Valley, strength is apparent in every part of our county. Incorporating this new tagline into everyday activities should come naturally because it embodies who we already are as a County. Our hope is that the brand is embraced by all who live in and love Chambers County," Kimberly Carter, CCDA business retention specialist, said.


For more information about the Chambers County Community Branding Project, contact Kimberly Carter, Chambers County Development Authority at 334-642-1460.


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