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:

Steve Spencer elected president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama

Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 17 -- After a successful 37-year career at Alabama Power, Steve R. Spencer has been elected president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, EDPA's board of directors announced today.

Spencer will succeed Bill Taylor, who is retiring after serving as EDPA's president since 2009. Spencer will become EDPA president effective April 1.  

"We are thrilled that Steve has agreed to take on this vitally important position," said EDPA Chairman Mark Crosswhite. "Steve has been actively involved in economic development in Alabama for decades, and he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership skills to the organization."

Crosswhite thanked Taylor and praised his leadership of EDPA over the past six years. "Bill has been a force in economic development and in the automotive industry. We wish him the very best in retirement."

Prior to his role at EDPA, Taylor served as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance.  He was a key figure in the start-up of the Alabama plant, led production for five years and became president of the company in 1999. Taylor also was instrumental in establishing the Mercedes Production System, which is now a global standard for all Mercedes-Benz plants in achieving the highest levels of quality and efficiency.

"My time at EDPA has been a rewarding experience," Taylor said. "I have had the opportunity to work with dedicated team members who strive every day to make Alabama a leader in business attraction and expansion."

Spencer joins EDPA after serving as executive vice president of Alabama Power, where he was responsible for all operations that touch Alabama Power's 1.4 million customers, including economic development. In prior roles at Alabama Power, he oversaw state and federal governmental relations, as well as regulatory affairs, community development, public relations and environmental affairs.
Spencer also has held leadership roles at Southern Nuclear Operating Company and at Southern Company in Atlanta, where he served as senior vice president of external affairs, with responsibility for Southern Company's governmental affairs, environmental policy, and corporate communications and public relations activities. 
A native of Birmingham, Spencer graduated from Woodlawn High School. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Auburn University and completed the Executive Finance and Accounting Program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife Lynne have two children.
"I am excited to be joining the extraordinary team at EDPA," Spencer said. "They are making a difference every day in promoting Alabama as a great place to do business. I look forward to doing what I can to support them and to contribute to their success."   

About EDPA: EDPA is a private, non-profit organization supported by more than 60 corporate partners across the state. Its main focus is to help Alabama attract and retain industry by marketing and promoting the state as a business location and providing information analysis and fact-based proposals to companies and consultants looking for sites. EDPA also works closely with Alabama communities and companies interested in becoming more competitive in the national and global economy. To learn more, please visit

Steve R. Spencer

Toyota Alabama sets records as it works to be the 'engine capital of the world'
on February 16, 2016

2015 was a milestone year for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama as the plant produced more than 631,000 engines, a 3.5 percent increase over 2014.

The Huntsville facility on Cottonvalley Drive also built its 4 millionth engine in September, just a little more than a year after completing its latest $80 million expansion to machine parts for V6 engines for the Toyota Tacoma and Lexus RX. The project created 125 new jobs.

As the only Toyota plant to build four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof, the site makes engines for eight of the 12 Toyota vehicles produced in North Alabama. That's a big responsibility for the company's 1,370 employees, who are working to transform the site into the "engine capital of the world."


Prattville transportation development project on tap
Marty Roney
,Montgomery Advertiser
February 16, 2016
PRATTVILLE --- The Autauga County Commission and the Prattville City Council agreed Tuesday night to support a $6 million project to improve access to the city's South Industrial Park.

Each government agreed to pay half of the cost of the project, which includes building a bridge over railroad tracks and constructing a new access road to the park. The votes were unanimous on the respective boards.

Over the past five years, the county and city have lost out on about $1.2 billion in industrial investment because of transportation access shortcomings, said Commission Chairman Carl Johnson.


Baker named Legislator of the Year by EDAA
By Submitted  
 February 17, 2016

MONTGOMERY - Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton) was named Legislator of the Year by the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA) at their conference last week. Each year the EDAA selects an Alabama Legislator for the award who best exemplifies a commitment to economic development in the state.

"Representative Baker was selected this year for his sponsorship of the Alabama Jobs Act during the 2015 legislative session," EDAA Executive Director Jim Searcy said. "Alan's unwavering support for education, workforce development, and other economic development legislation, throughout his tenure in the Alabama House of Representatives made him an ideal choice for this year's award."

Unlike previous incentive packages that provide up-front funding to businesses promising to create new jobs, Baker's Alabama Jobs Act provides incentives on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means that incentives are provided only after new jobs come on-line and the state has begun to receive the economic benefits from them.

The AlabamaGermany Partnership's Annual Celebration Dinner is set for March 3 in Birmingham

The AlabamaGermany Partnership's (AGP) Board of Directors will recognize several German companies with recent investments and expansions in Alabama at their Annual Dinner to be held in Birmingham on March 3rd at the home of Birmingham Barons, Regions Field. Reception starts at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.

Among the guests is Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. This is the 18th Annual Dinner of the AlabamaGermany Partnership. The program will furthermore include special guests; Deputy Consul General of Federal Republic of Germany Thomas Wülfing, and Jonathan Nelson, Birmingham Barons.

 Two other awards will be presented at the dinner - Dr. Barbara Fischer Education Award and the Rainer Bauer Award. The Annual Celebration Dinner will be followed by "Innovation - Getting ahead in the Global, Knowledge-Based Economy" Business Forum the following day.   Click here to register for the Annual Dinner and/or Business Forum. 

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