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 communities make Site Selection's top 2015 metro, micro areas
on March 22, 2016 

Two Alabama metros are among the country's top for attracting business in a March ranking by Site Selection magazine.

Decatur-Morgan County and Auburn-Opelika were named top metros with populations of less than 200,000 people. Auburn-Opelika tied for sixth place with Lima, Ohio, while Decatur-Morgan County tied for sixth place with Burlington, N.C.

The rankings are based on the number of projects announced in 2015. Site Selection said Auburn-Opelika had 10 last year, with Decatur-Morgan County following behind at eight.


Alabama aerospace industry takes off with Airbus first flight
By Robert DeWitt

With an American flag fluttering from the pilot's window, the first Airbus passenger jet manufactured in the United States rolled to a stop Monday next to the Airbus Manufacturing Facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley after successfully completing its first flight.

"We did it," said Daryl Taylor, vice president and general manager of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility, at a brief ceremony. "It has flown."

Airbus workers cheered as the door opened and the flight crew emerged from the jet, all decked out in its glittering blue and white color scheme. The A321, which will be delivered to JetBlue in a couple of weeks, took off shortly after 9:30 a.m. and returned shortly after 1 p.m. Several hundred Mobile residents watched the takeoff and flight from Doyle Park. 


Will This Fly? startup competition seeks entrepreneurs, innovators in Huntsville
on March 22, 2016 

Entrepreneurs and innovators can now apply for Rocket Hatch's second-annual Will This Fly? startup competition in Huntsville.

The May 7 event at Campus No. 805 will allow competitors to share their startup concepts and possibly pitch their ideas to a panel of investors, mentors and potential partners. The competition will take place at the end of Innovate Huntsville Week, a collaborative project hosted by the Women's Business Center of North Alabama and BizTech.

Applications are due April 16 on


Jobs bill passes Alabama Senate
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 

A significant economic development bill and Alabama Senate Republican priority on Tuesday passed the State Senate.

House Bill 34, sponsored by Representative Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) and Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper), builds upon last year's "Made-in-Alabama" economic incentive legislation to provide additional, pay-as-you-go incentives for existing business expansions and new industrial projects.

"Our economy is improving and the legislature is committed to doing everything possible to create more jobs, especially in rural Alabama," said Senator Reed. "The Alabama Renewal Act will help us achieve this goal while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers."


Wallace College enhances Geneva business with workforce training

GENEVA - When the Reliable/Ruskin/JCI facility shifted from producing aluminum products to manufacturing more steel products, its workers needed training to help them adjust to the change. Thanks to Wallace Community College's department of workforce development, the company was able to get the training at no cost.

Vincent Vincent, director of non-credit training at Wallace, wrote an incumbent employee training grant and obtained $14,000 in funds from the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. Incumbent employee training grants pay for training for workers already employed by a company.

The grant allowed Wallace to send welding instructor Dewey Lee to the facility to provide training to about 15 Reliable employees.


Danby Group Announces Warehouse & Distribution Center in Saraland
MOBILE, Ala. - Danby Products, a manufacturer of appliances announced it will open a southern distribution warehouse in Saraland, Ala., to serve customers located across the Southeastern U.S. in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and parts of Texas. The operations will be located in a 125,000 square-foot facility that will ultimately include a small factory outlet retail store.
The new facility, slated to open in late April, is located at 252 Jacintoport, and the company worked with NAI Mobile on the lease. Once fully-operational, the company will employ 25 full-time workers.
Eian Campbell, director of operations with Danby, said the company evaluated the ability of numerous locations to receive inbound ocean containers in conjunction with a review of outbound transportation services - specifically road transportation and intermodal rail service. They also evaluated warehousing opportunities coupled with a review of the skill sets of the local workforce. 
"The results of this study determined that Mobile and the surrounding area was the ideal location for the Danby group of companies to put its new distribution warehouse," he said.
Danby will be utilizing the Port of Mobile to receive incoming merchandise in ocean containers, and with this expansion, will be able to extend current business relationships with its transportation providers to utilize the readily accessible rail intermodal and transport truck over the road services.
"Danby is a great example of the positive impact that the Port of Mobile has on new and expanding industry. The new intermodal and container expansions at the port will continue to support industry growth and investment in the Mobile area," said David Rodgers, project manager for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
"(We are) extremely excited about this new business opportunity and the ability it enables to grow our business with our current and new customers located in the southern United States," said Campbell.
"We are excited that Danby has decided to add Saraland to the list of cities it calls home. Mobile County and the entire region benefit from the diversity this distribution center adds to our business and industry profile," said Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood whose district where Danby will be located. "Danby's record of environmental stewardship makes it a welcome partner as we work to maximize port operations while protecting our water resources that we value so much."

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