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:

Alabama mayors share 2016 growth priorities

Made In Alabama checked in with the mayors of the state's four largest cities to get an idea of their 2016 economic development priorities and how their growth strategies paid off last year.
  • Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange believes Alabama's capital is primed for growth in the technology and automotive sectors in 2016.
  • For Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, the year should bring a renewed focus on the Rocket City's R&D heritage after it landed a series of large-scale advanced manufacturing projects, creating thousands of jobs.
  • In Birmingham, Mayor William Bell expects a major pharmaceutical company to announce a project in Alabama's largest city this year, building on the momentum created in its already robust health-related fields during 2015.

Innovative 2017 Honda Ridgeline Pickup 'Leads the Flock' in New Super Bowl Commercial
Feb. 1, 2016 

TORRANCE, Calif./PRNewswire/ -- Honda today offered a sneak peek of the brand's commercial for Super Bowl 50 starring the highly innovative 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup, a wily herding dog and a flock of sheep singing a classic Queen song, "Somebody to Love."

 Fans tuning in to Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, will see the 60-second spot, "A New Truck to Love," during the third quarter, but the entertaining commercial is now available for viewing in its entirety on Honda's YouTube channel (

Directed by Oscar-nominated director Bryan Buckley - dubbed "King of the Super Bowl" for his role in bringing to life more than 40 commercials for the big game - the new Honda commercial imagines how a rancher might use one of Ridgeline's available features, the industry's very first factory truck-bed audio system, enabling music to play outside the truck. 


Alabama Business Optimism Improves at Onset of 2016
on February 01, 2016 

Business confidence rose to 53.0 on the first quarter 2016 Alabama Business Confidence Index™ (ABCI) survey, conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce.

 The index increased 1.8 points but closed at its second lowest level since the first quarter of 2014. Panelists are now less optimistic than a year ago when the ABCI registered 57.4. An index value above 50 indicates positive outlook.

Panelists continue to see expansion in the Alabama economy, but are less optimistic about the national economy. The outlook for the state economy rose to a moderately confident 54.6, while the national economy index remained below the neutral mark at a slightly negative 49.2.


Students put hands on careers during East Alabama expo
By Katie Thomas
The expo was held at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, giving 8th graders the chance to explore the many opportunities regional employers can offer.

Thousands of students from across east-central Alabama had their eyes opened - and even put their hands on - an array of potential career paths during the EAWIN Career Discovery Expo at Auburn University.

The event, at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum Jan. 26-27, offered 8th graders the chance to explore the many opportunities regional employers can offer when they are ready to head into the working world. Organized by the East Alabama Workforce Investment Network or EAWIN, the expo was divided into 11 "clusters" representing a diversity of career options, from agriculture to the hospitality industry, to manufacturing.


Railroad Park ranked among top urban "green spaces"
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer Birmingham Business Journal
Jan 29, 2016,

Railroad Park has become a popular example of the city's downtown revitalization, and it was recently mentioned alongside some of the most prominent green spaces in the country. recently unveiled its list of 6 Urban Green Areas That Are Revitalizing U.S. Cities- and the 19-acre park in downtown Birmingham made the cut.


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