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:




10 years of Hyundai

Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser


The pieces for Hyundai's $1.7 billion Alabama assembly plant started coming together years before the first car rolled off the assembly line in 2005.


The challenge was making those pieces fit together so that they fit the Korean automaker's vision of its future.


"We all come from different (companies) throughout the country," said Chris Susock, vice president of production at the Montgomery plant. "We all come from different business cultures. Some of those first meetings we had, it was, 'No, this is the way it's got to be done because this is how we do it at Ford,' or, 'This is how we do it at GM.' 




[Montgomery Advertiser]





LEND A HAND: Pre-kindergarten program is praised for high quality
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
May 16, 2015 

Alabama's First Class Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program continues to lead the nation in quality for the ninth year in a row, according to a new study released May 12.


Alabama is one of only four states in the country to meet all 10 quality benchmarks established by the National Institute for Early Education Research.


"A strong economic future is grounded in high quality education, and Alabama's First Class Pre-K Program provides a great foundation for students to prepare for success in life," Gov. Robert Bentley said in a news release.



Cuba trade expansion could mean good things for Alabama businesses
Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser
May 18, 2015

Maneuvers in the halls of power in Washington, D.C., could pay dividends in Alabama's fields, forests and factories.


President Barack Obama wants to move to normalize relations with Cuba, and a big part of that is doing away with a trade embargo that went into effect in 1962. Any lifting of the embargo would have to get congressional approval, which promises to be a lengthy, hard-fought battle.


Still, Alabama could profit from a shift in Cuba policy, said Jimmy Lyons, chief operating officer for the Alabama Port Authority, which operates the Port of Mobile.


"Cuba, pre-revolution, was a key American trading partner," he said. In fact Havana and Mobile were sister cities in the pre-revolution days. "If trade is re-established, I can see Alabama businesses sending products to the country. Everything from steel sewer pipes made in Birmingham to paint and building materials to other goods. There are a lot of good possibilities present in trade with Cuba."




[Montgomery Advertiser]


Chamber garners interest in RFP for new Cummings Research Park master plan
on May 15, 2015 

The Chamber of Commerce in Huntsville is fielding interest from about 15 companies across the U.S. two weeks after issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to help guide the new master planning process for Cummings Research Park.


Mike Gillespie, former chairman of the Madison County Commission, was hired as a contractor in March to help revitalize the master plan, which has not been updated in more than 30 years.


A Q&A conference call was held earlier this week with potential respondents. Gillespie, the Chamber's Vice President of Economic Development Lucia Cape and City of Huntsville Manager of Urban & Long Range Planning Dennis Madsden were on the call.






Five New Towns Become Alabama Communities of Excellence
May 18, 2015

Tuscaloosa, Alabama-Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) recently designated five new communities after they successfully completed the ACE three-phase approach to economic and community development for cities with populations between 2,000 and 18,000.


Alexander City, Elba, Fairhope, Rainsville, and Saraland were recognized as the newest members of an elite group of Alabama's small communities. They have all completed each of the three phases for becoming an Alabama Community of Excellence and join the ranks of 26 of Alabama's finest small towns as they shine as true centers of excellence.


"We commend the leadership and many stakeholders of the designated communities for their dedication to ensuring long-term economic success for their communities through the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) process," said ACE President Lisa Miller. "The ACE program offers a systematic three-phase approach with technical resources and the tools needed to help Alabama's small towns foster growth and prosperity by focusing on their distinctive assets and resources."



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