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:

Sierra Nevada unveils plans for new aircraft facility, 200 jobs in Alabama
on February 22, 2016 

Monday was a big day for economic development in Madison County.

Phase I rendering of the new Sierra Nevada facility.

Huntsville first announced itwill be the 10th city in the U.S. to become a "GIG City"with gigabit-speed, fiber optic Internet and television service from Google Fiber. Then, Sierra Nevada said it will create 200 jobs with a new aircraft and modernization facility at the Madison County Executive Airport in Meridianville.

The $4 to $6 million Sierra Nevada project will begin next month with a 30,000-square-foot first phase, followed by a second phase that will span 100,000 square feet for future programs. The plant will be equipped for future fixed- and rotary-winged program support.


Huntsville technology incubator wins millions in grants from Obama Administration
on February 23, 2016 

A technology business incubator at the University of Alabama in Huntsville is one step closer to reality after receiving a $500,000 grant from the Obama Administration.

Jay Williams, assistant secretary for economic development for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), visited the college Monday to talk about the $9 million Innovation to Invention Center (I2C), which will provide office and lab space to startups from the university and surrounding 15-county region.

The $500,000 grant is the second award from EDA, which last year invested $3 million in the 45,000-square-foot I2C building.


Huntsville Utilities OKs, spells out Google Fiber deal
on February 23, 2016 

Huntsville Utilities Electric Board unanimously approved a rate schedule and agreements Tuesday to bring Google Fiber to Huntsville as early as mid-2017. Board members also heard a review of the deals' highlights.

Board members meeting at the utilities downtown office Tuesday morning approved a rate schedule for Google using the utilities' fiber optic cable to stream Internet and TV service. 

They also heard a presentation from utilities' President and CEO Jay Stowe that included these details:


Event puts spotlight on lucrative jobs
By Leila Beem Nez Special to The Tuscaloosa News
February 22, 2016 

West Alabama residents interested in the welding trade are invited by the Tuscaloosa Joint Apprentice Training Center to attend the annual Meet and Greet Industry Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Local 372 apprenticeship facility in Duncanville.

The meet-and-greet event will offer the public the opportunity to get acquainted with experienced welding instructors and major manufacturers of the most up-to-date welding equipment from all over the country. Free food will be available. After the meet-an-greet, the annual two-day welding teacher training, which is an invitation-only event for educators and high school students, will be Thursday and Friday The teacher training that follows will also offer live welding demonstrations, as well as the chance to meet with representatives of employment agencies.

Bob Kimbrell, president of the Resource Center for Technology, a nonprofit technical education center in Northport, worked with the training center for more than 20 years and helps coordinate the annual event. A retired welder with nearly 50 years experience, Kimbrell said the occasion is a good way for aspiring welders to see the opportunities in an increasingly lucrative profession. He said welders can find jobs in a variety of growing industrial fields, such as the building of rigs and ships in southern Alabama.


Black Belt's bamboo bike boom
 Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser
 February 22, 2016

Pam Dorr laughs at the idea that a bicycle made out of bamboo would be flimsy. It's not the first time she's heard that kind of skepticism.

"We just built one for a 300-pound guy in Colorado who's on pretty rough roads," Dorr said. "He told me, 'I'm a big guy, and I want it to last.' I said, 'Alright, I'll get a thick piece of bamboo for you.'"

She doesn't have to go far to get it. There's enough within a block of her group's workshop in Greensboro to build several hundred bamboo bikes a year, and much more in the surrounding area.


Entrepreneurial Center laying groundwork for others' success
By Anna Grace Usery For The Decatur Daily |
February 22, 2016

Inspiring success is the name of the game at the Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center, more casually known as the "E-Center."

The large, nonprofit facility at 1629 Fourth Ave. S.E. serves as a business incubator, meaning anyone who has an idea for a small business can come learn business practices through application. The incubator is used for start-ups, small businesses and businesses in transition.

Larry Waye, executive director of the E-Center who also is a minister, real estate agent, businessman and Rochester, New York, native, is the catalyst for the facility and describes businesses as "going gangbusters" when they rise to their earning potential. Under his direction, companies have generated 383 jobs and more than $7 million in new payroll revenue in Morgan County. The E-Center houses 38 businesses and 21 more in the county.


Alabama Power announces leadership changes
By Michael Sznajderman

Alabama Power today announced several changes in the company's leadership. The changes follow last week's announcement that Steve Spencer, Alabama Power executive vice president, will be stepping down to become president of the nonprofit Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Greg Barker, Alabama Power senior vice president for Marketing and Economic Development, has been elected executive vice president responsible for Customer Services.

John O. Hudson III, vice president of Public Relations and Charitable Giving, has been elected senior vice president for Marketing and Business Development.


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