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:

Supplying demand: How Alabama's automotive growth is generating jobs
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer
Birmingham Business Journal
Nov. 11, 2015

Over the last three decades, Alabama has attracted four of the biggest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the world, and following them have been scores of suppliers that have generated thousands of jobs for the state.
While threats to the industry will continue to exist moving into the future - whether in the global market or at home - many experts are certain that the supplier sector in the state will see growth on the horizon.

The BBJ recently caught up with experts, state officials and the companies themselves to learn more about what could lie ahead for the supplier sector.


Honda offers peek of new Alabama-made pickup
on November 12, 2015 

Honda has unveiled a new race truck that also offers a preview of the redesigned 2017 Ridgeline pickup, a vehicle that will be produced at the Japanese automaker's Alabama plant.

The Ridgeline Baja Race Truck, revealed last week at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, marks the company's return to off-road truck racing.

"While this race truck is unique and different from the production Ridgeline, it does a nice job of expressing not only our styling direction but also the fact that the Ridgeline, for all its unique qualities, has been and will continue to be a pickup with true truck capability," Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, said in a written statement.


International SEUS Japan 38 forum to kick off in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Business leaders and top government officials from Japan and seven Southeastern states will begin arriving in Birmingham this weekend for a major conference that aims to strengthen cultural ties and expand commercial opportunities.

The annual joint forum of the Southeast U.S.-Japan and Japan-Southeast U.S. associations begins Saturday, Nov. 14, with an invitation-only gala dinner and wraps up Tuesday, Nov. 17, with a special closing ceremony. The event is called SEUS Japan 38 because it represents the 38th installment of the gathering.

Highlights of the conference include:

BL Harbert talks Southside VA clinic, other Alabama projects
By Bryan Davis
November 11, 2015
It has been just a little over a year since ground was broken on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic on Birmingham's Southside, and the project's general contractor is in the final stages of an early completion on the project.

Birmingham-based BL Harbert International will wrap up the $60 million Molasky Group/Graham & Co. development in the next few weeks, according to Dan Price, vice president at BL Harbert's Nashville office.

"This new VA Facility will provide ease of access and a new state of the art medical clinic for our Veterans who have sacrificed so much for each of us," said BL Harbert U.S. Group President Gary W. Savage. "The late Bill Harbert, Sr. was a Veteran of World War II and he would have been extremely proud of this facility, the services it will provide and the fact that BL Harbert International is serving as the general contractor."


on November 10, 2015
While RMCI, Inc. Chief Executive Ken Speaks was in Paris this past June looking for new opportunities to reach customers in the U.K. and in Europe, EDPA's Alabama Launchpad team was busy processing an application from RMCI's Huntsville headquarters office for a Phase 0 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) accounting assistance. 

 It is kind of hard to imagine that such a sophisticated technology company experiencing product demand from around the globe might need our help, but that was exactly the case.

Alicia Shelley, Public Affairs Liaison for RMCI, wrote in the application, "we currently have part-time staff, and our accounting firm does not specialize in government contracting."  At that time, RMCI-Inc. had just won a Department of Energy (DoE) Phase I SBIR award and was applying for its first Phase II SBIR award, a Department of Defense (DoD) award for the Navy.  Recognizing a federally compliant accounting system is instrumental in the government contracting industry for continuation of current contracts as well as future bids and proposals, RMCI sought Alabama Launchpad's help.


AT&T expands fiber internet with two locations in Jefferson County
Alan Alexander Reporter Birmingham Business Journal
Nov 9, 2015

AT&T and numerous local economic development groups announced last week that the first locations in Jefferson County have been designated as "fiber ready" and capable of hosting high-speed fiber optic internet.

Jefferson County Metropolitan Parks locations at Lakeshore and McCalla will be the first sites currently hosting AT&T Fiber in the greater Birmingham area. Other Alabama metros have been gaining fiber optics and some franchise agreements have been signed within Birmingham city limits with Mississippi-based Southern Link.

Fiber internet, also called gigabit internet, provides connectivity speeds nearly 100 times that of other providers and is a big draw for high-tech businesses with a lot of server and data needs.


Technical Education Center opens at BSCC-Sumiton
Written by Jennifer Cohron
November 10, 2015
SUMITON - Leaders in the fields of education, industry and labor came together Monday to dedicate the Technical Education Center on the Sumiton campus of Bevill State Community College.
The center is a partnership among Alabama Power, BSCC and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. 
The multi-million dollar facility, which offers training for technical and craft positions at Alabama Power's electric-generating plants, is the only one of its kind in the state and one of four within Southern Company's system. The others are in Georgia and Mississippi.


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