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:

Mercedes supplier SMP to open $150 million Alabama facility, creating 650 jobs

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Mercedes-Benz supplier Samvardhana Motherson Group plans to open a $150 million manufacturing facility in Tuscaloosa County, creating 650 jobs by the fourth year of operation, officials announced today.

The new venture, called SMP Automotive Systems Alabama Inc., will manufacture various exterior and interior components for future models produced at the Mercedes assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County. SMP said construction on the 700,000-square-foot facility in the Cedar Cove Technology Park is expected to begin by the end of 2015.

"We are very excited to finally establish a footprint in the Tuscaloosa region. The new plant will be a clear sign of a successful partnership with our customer and the state of Alabama," said Vivek Chaand Sehgal, chairman of the Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG).


Graduating soon? Alabama among top 25 states to start a career
on August 19, 2015 

new list on ranks Alabama among the top 25 states in the U.S. to start your post-college life.

Using each of the top 25 degrees on's Most Employable Degrees list, MSN ranked every state on average and leftover salary, job potential and cost of living with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, American Community Survey and  Council for Community and Economic Research.

Each category received a score out of 10 points, which was then added together for a total score of up to 40.


Huntsville event aims to connect high-tech startups with investors across the Southeast
on August 19, 2015 

Tennessee Valley entrepreneurs are invited to an event next month that aims to connect high-tech startups with investors across the Southeast.

Rocket Hatch will host Investor Day from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. Attendees will hear panel discussions and participate in "speed hatching" sessions led by Rocket Hatch staff during the gathering.

Investor Day will conclude with a Sip + Hatch after party during Biergarten at the Davidson Center. Rocket Hatch co-founder and Executive Director Antonio Montoya said several "distinguished" investors and business owners with a high-tech focus will share their stories.



Huntsville entrepreneur launches crowdfunding campaign for new online search engine
on August 20, 2015 

A former associate education professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville has turned to a popular crowdfunding website to make his educational online search engine a reality.

Vastly, Inc., a company founded by Appleton Learning Vice President of Education Philip Kovacs with collaborator and UAH assistant English professor Ryan Weber, is attempting to raise $250,000 through Kickstarter to fund its free Complexity Engine search engine, a patent-pending technology licensed with UAH.

Complexity Engine, which delivers customized, age-appropriate reading materials using an algorithm, aims to replace traditional textbooks. Kovacs said the multi-year project needs funding to move from "beta to fully-functioning, providing more accurate results and drawing on at least 50,000 websites."


Inaugural TechJunction-Alabama Conference to be held in Birmingham on Oct. 1 
TechBirmingham is proud to partner with the national TechJunction IT Conference series to bring the TechJunction-Alabama IT Conference to Birmingham on Oct. 1.  (
This inaugural TechJunction-Alabama Conference is one in a series of 26 national CPE accredited conferences focusing on IT Security, Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery, Infrastructure, Data Center Technology, Physical Security, and Communications.  
With a "by invitation-only" format, cutting-edge content, interactive labs & exhibits, and other complimentary delegate benefits (coffee, lunch, reception-complimentary beer/wine; etc.) TechJunction has earned the reputation as "THE technology conference" for IT professionals across the country.
The TechJunction Conference will include:
-10 Educational Seminars
-Keynote Speaker - Brunson White, CIO, State of Alabama
-Lunch Buffet
-25 Vendor Exhibits
-Hosted Reception
This event is free to attend. However TechJunction is a conference for invited technology professionals.  Please feel free to pass this invite out to anyone that can benefit from attending TechJunction-Alabama.
Use this link to register as a TechBirmingham affiliated attendee.
A very limited number of Sponsor/Exhibitor opportunities remain.
If you're interested please contact JR Cantrell (with TechJunction) at or 503-641-4323.

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