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:

Remington exceeds hiring, wage milestones at new Alabama gun plant
on January 27, 2016 

Remington Outdoor has exceeded its hiring and wage milestones at its new advanced manufacturing and research and development center in Huntsville.

A report from the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County shows the firearm maker had 324 employees as of Aug. 31 with an average hourly wage nearly $10 higher than stated in the development agreement between the company, City of Huntsville and state. Remington was required to create at least 280 full-time positions by the close of the second project year ending Feb. 28.

Remington, which is still hiring production team members through AIDT, received an extensive incentive package from the city, local counties and state to launch the $110 million plant on 100 Electronics Boulevard in Huntsville.


Cullman sees $99 million in industrial investment, 411 jobs announced in 2015
By Trent Moore 
Jan 27, 2016

Over the past several years, Cullman has been among the most progressive and successful communities in the state when it comes to industrial development - and that didn't change in 2015. 

In 2015, the area saw three new industries open, 49 company expansions, 411 new jobs announced and a capital investment of more than $99 million. The three new companies include Goat Island Brewery; safety belt and fall protection equipment manufacturer Jelco; and wire harness and power supply manufacturer Design Technologies. Expansion projects last year occurred at Louisiana Pacific, American Proteins, Rusken Packaging, Wal-Mart Distribution, REHAU, HomTwex and several others.

The preliminary totals were announced at Tuesday night's Industrial Appreciation Reception.


Alabama tech business makes Forbes' America's Best Small Companies list
on January 28, 2016

A technology hardware and equipment business in Huntsville is among Forbes' "small giants" in the magazine's America's Best Small Companies list.

Torch Technologies was the only Alabama company to make the inaugural ranking, which includes 25 firms that "have chosen to be great, instead of big."

"At most companies, proposals for government contracts are handled by senior managers," Forbes said. "At Torch Technologies, which is 100-percent employee-owned and provides engineering services such as missile-systems modeling and simulation to the U.S. Army, everyone is encouraged to participate."


NEW RECORD: Alabama now has over 23 million acres of timberland, third most in the country
By Marlee Moore
January 28, 2016

Alabama timberland is growing like words dripping off a Southern drawl - slow and steady.

In 2014, Alabama timber acreage increased from 22 million acres to an all-time high of 23 million, according to Service Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest.

"That million acres of growth didn't just happen," said Greg Pate, Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) state forester. "We've seen a steady growth in Alabama's timberland in the past 15 years.


New adjunct policy allows hiring of non-certified teachers in Alabama

The Alabama State School Board has passed a resolution allowing school districts to hire adjunct teachers - teachers without certification who can work half-time.

The resolution was recently adopted by the state board. It allows school systems to hire non-certified teachers and employ them up to half time. The minimum requirement for these teachers is a high school diploma or equivalent and a clean background check by the Alabama Department of Education. Adjuncts can't teach early childhood or elementary school and they're also barred from teaching special education classes. They won't be eligible for benefits and they must work under the guidance of a mentor. If they're teaching a career tech course, they must have business or industry certification in the field.

Although the focus of the resolution appears to be finding teachers for career tech education jobs, which can be tough for school districts to fill, adjuncts are not limited to those positions. They can also fill open academic teaching positions.


KBR signs big lease in Hoover's Galleria Tower
By Bryan Davis

General Growth Properties (GGP) has committed tens of millions of dollars to renovating and enhancing Riverchase Galleria in Hoover over the past three years.

The result has been a resurgence in retail occupancy at the over-half-million-square-foot shopping mall.

In addition to the retail real estate giant's financial commitment to the mall and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel, GGP has spent millions on renovating the 17-story Galleria Tower, the 275,000-square-foot Class A office property.


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