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:

AT&T will launch fast gigabit speeds in Huntsville by late 2016
on December 07, 2015 

More north Alabama homes and companies will soon have access to ultra-fast Internet as AT&T expands its coverage area in 38 U.S. metros.

The Texas-based telecommunications provider announced Monday it will offer GigaPower speeds to Huntsville-area residential and business customers by late 2016. The service, established in Austin, Texas, is available over a 100-percent fiber network at up to one gigabit per second.

"We're proud to announce plans to launch our AT&T GigaPower network in Huntsville, where we will offer ultra-high broadband speeds to local consumers and employers in the area," said Fred McCallum, president of AT&T Alabama, in a statement. "At AT&T, we are committed to innovation and bringing cutting-edge technologies, services, and products that provide opportunities for enhancements in all segments of our economy - education, health, research and business."


5 startups gearing up for Alabama Launchpad competition in Huntsville
on December 08, 2015 

Five teams will compete for their chance of up to $250,000 in funding this week during Alabama Launchpad's Startup Competition Finale in Huntsville.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama program will begin at 4:05 p.m.
 Thursday with a pitch event at Design Lab at Lincoln Mill on 1300 Meridian St. Attendees will enjoy free food and drinks during a networking session after the final startup finishes.

Teams from Huntsville, Florence and Tuscaloosa will participate in the finale:


Custom Synthetic Fibers to begin operation in 2016
By Tom Smith Senior Staff Writer | 
December 8, 2015

ROGERSVILLE - Earlier this year, Joseph Ku was driving around looking for empty buildings that could potentially be a location for a new manufacturing business when he came through Rogersville and saw a large building for lease.

"He took a picture of the building, of the sign with the lease information on it, and when he got back he talked with the company partners and they made some calls," Rogersville Mayor Richard Herston said. "And now it is becoming a reality - dreams do come true."

Ku was at Rogersville Town Hall on Monday to introduce Custom Synthetic Fibers - the company leasing the large Shoals Economic Development Authority-owned speculation building on U.S. 72.


Allied Energy to expand petroleum facility in southwest Birmingham, invest $8.9 million
on December 07, 2015 

A petroleum distributor and refinery is embarking on an $8.86 million expansion in southwest Birmingham.

Allied Energy Corp. will buy and install a hydro treater, which will essentially allow the company to produce an ultra-low sulfur diesel. This has environmental benefits, but it will also allow the company to sell the diesel in Birmingham.

Recent environmental regulations have kept low sulfur products from being sold as diesel fuel, so Allied has had to ship its fuel to Mobile to be sold as marine industry fuel or send it to Tuscaloosa to be processed. With the new treater, Allied can get the sulfur content low enough to be sold in Birmingham. 


Biotech Startup Specialist  
December 2015

It's a bright Friday afternoon, and the sunlight pours into the glass-faced foyer of the Mitchell Cancer Institute, in Mobile. Michael Chambers, president and CEO of Swift Biotechnology, clutches an oversized coffee mug and explains he's been on the road for the past several days attending speaking engagements throughout the region. Where exactly? "Let me think about that for a second," he says with a tired smile.

If it seems like Chambers is a busy man, that's because he is. Swift Biotech, working in collaboration with MCI, is developing screens and diagnostics for ovarian and endometrial cancer, the ramifications of which could be substantial for women's health and the healthcare system. This particular research has even garnered international attention. In 2013, the technology was awarded the Eugene Bricker Award at the international meeting of the Society of Pelvic Surgeons in Dusseldorf, Germany, and a year earlier received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The path for lawyer turned angel investor has been a winding one that continues to follow unexpected turns.


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