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:

Top of the List: Alabama's top export markets
Dan Bagwell Research Director Birmingham Business Journal
Dec 9, 2015

Alabama is ramping up its exports to countries around the world, according to data on our newest List.

Our most recent print edition ranks Alabama's top export markets by total 2014 export volume using the latest data from the United States Census Bureau. Exports to the top 25 markets on the List topped $17.5 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent since 2013.

As we reported earlier this year, 2014 was nearly a record-breaking year for Alabama exports. Combined value of Alabama's total exports to its top 25 foreign markets topped $19.4 billion last year, which adds up to 1.2 percent of the U.S. total. Since 2009, Alabama's export volume has increased by upwards of 60 percent.


Area mayors say cities are passenger-rail ready
December 9, 2015

The return of passenger rail service could mean the end of Daphne City Councilman John Lake's long road commute, or at least an extra spot in his van.

Each workday, Lake is part of a six-person carpool, which travels the roughly 50 miles to Pascagoula for jobs at Ingalls Shipbuilding. A self-described fan of Amtrak, Lake said he would be enthusiastic about a return of the Sunset Limited or a similar line to the Mobile area.

"I think it would be highly beneficial as a commuter train," Lake said. "I think it would find a very large commuter base in Mobile."


Rocket Hatch mentors for Alabama Launchpad
 December 9, 2015

HUNTSVILLE - The Rocket Hatch non-profit organization has been mentoring three local startup businesses for the Alabama Launchpad Competition finale.

The startups from Huntsville will vie for their chance to win a share of up to $250,000 in funding from Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Design Lab will host the finale and award ceremony at Lincoln Mill on Dec. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m.


Raytheon wins contract for redesigned SM-3 Block IIA
December 9, 2015

The Missile Defense Agency has just awarded Raytheon a $543 million contract for 17 new and improved SM-3 Block IIA missiles. 

SM-3 IIA is a joint program between MDA and the Japan Ministry of Defense which will expand the capabilities on both Japanese and Aegis ships according to Raytheon. 

This new design will feature larger rocket motors and a more capable kill vehicle, which according to Raytheon, will allow it to protect larger regions of land. 


Auburn professors receive Alabama Innovation Funds awards for efficient energy development and catfish vaccine research

Two Auburn University professors have been awarded Alabama Innovation Fund grants through the Alabama Department of Commerce for research involving efficient energy systems and catfish vaccines.

Professor Jeffrey Suhling of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering received $400,000 for "Developing a High Performance Integrated Building Energy Systems Technologies Research Program," while Associate Professor Mark Liles of the College of Sciences and Mathematics received $250,000 for "Probiotic and Vaccine Development to Benefit the Alabama Catfish Industry."

"The university will match those funds to enhance their outstanding work," said John Mason, Auburn University vice president for research and economic development. "We appreciate the support from the Alabama Innovation Fund to generate research into areas that will benefit the state and region."


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