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 Launchpad finale Friday in Florence
By Jennifer Edwards Staff Writer | 
Sat Apr 2, 2016

FLORENCE - A quarter of a million dollars will be leaving the Shoals on Thursday with hopes of launching business growth across Alabama.

The finale of the Birmingham-based Alabama Launchpad business competition is taking place at 4 p.m. Thursday in the George Lindsey Theatre at the University of North Alabama.

The business start-up company is in its 10th year of rewarding business innovators with funds to grow their business ideas.


Arab lands new Progress Rail facility, 50 new jobs on the way

ARAB, Ala. (WHNT) - Some good economic news out of Marshall County where new jobs are on their way to Arab. Progress Rail Services announced today they are expanding into a site in Arab. It will generate about 50 new jobs.

"Oh it's,king on this since January of last year," exclaims Arab Mayor Bob Joslin.

You can appreciate Mayor Joslin's enthusiasm, luring an international company that's headquartered in nearby Albertville to expand into Arab, bringing new and stable jobs to the area.


How Alabama manufacturers can get their products in Walmart
Ty West Editor-in-chief Birmingham Business Journal
Apr 1, 2016 

Manufacturers from Alabama and around the nation have an opportunity to get their products on the shelves at Walmart.

The retail giant is hosting a pitch-event for U.S. companies that will give them a chance to pitch their products to the retailer's buyers. It is part of Walmart's plan to buy an additional $250 billion in American made products over the next 10 years.

Deals are possible for just a few to thousands of Walmart stores, including and Sam's Club locations across the country.


April 4, 2016

The company reported March sales of 75,310 vehicles in North America, including an all-time record of 28,778 Sonatas.

The Montgomery plant makes Sonata and Elantra sedans, and they remain Hyundai Motor America's two best-selling models. But, in an SUV-hungry market, that could be about to change.


Black Belt of Alabama's future in the hunt
Marty Roney
Montgomery Advertiser
April 2, 2016

UNION SPRINGS - Bob Redfern shouldered a 20-gauge Browning shotgun recently during a covey rise on a picture-perfect morning in the heart of Alabama's Black Belt.

Two shots later, one quail was down. Redfern is host and president of "Bob Redfern's Outdoor Magazine," a television series that airs on the Pursuit Channel, Fox Sports South and WWMB TV 21 out of Florence and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"You couldn't ask for a better day," Redfern says into the camera.


State of the City: Gulf Shores transforming into national destination
By Devan Coffaro, FOX10 News Reporter
Mar 31, 2016 
For years, the city of Gulf Shores remained a little-known vacation treasure, but as the city continues to grow, so does its diverse population. FOX10 news reporter Devan Coffaro tells us how this small beach town is transforming into a national destination.

 It's all part of our "State of the City" series, where we highlight a city on the Gulf Coast every few weeks.

Gulf Shores is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and small town feel. When you walk along the shore, you can spot visitors from far and wide.
 "Tourism is really what's been driving the economy ever since the early 1970s," said economic development coordinator Blake Phelps.



 Mobile, Ala. - April 1, 2016. The Alabama State Port Authority and its partner, APM Terminals, are pleased to announce new service to and from Asia for Alabama's containerized cargo shippers.  Maersk and MSC jointly announced new service beginning May 2, 2016, through the Port of Mobile serving major seaports in China and Korea.
Maersk and MSC will provide direct, weekly, all water service from the Port of Mobile to the ports of Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen and Yantian in China and the port of Busan in Korea.  Maersk and MSC are members of a global 2M Alliance that allows shippers to book cargo either through the Maersk TP18 service or the MSC Lone Star Express Service.  "We are pleased that the world's two top container shipping companies chose to add the Port of Mobile to its U.S. Gulf / Asia service.  This service adds much needed capacity and cost efficiencies for Alabama businesses and industries shipping to and from China and Korea," said Jimmy Lyons, director and chief executive officer for the Port Authority. 
To date, the Alabama State Port Authority has invested over $200 million in container intermodal investments at its Choctaw Point Complex, including the new $50 million Intermodal Container Transfer Facility scheduled to open in May.  The Port Authority's partner, APM Terminals, has also invested $150 Million in the container terminal and recently announced an additional $47.5 million container terminal expansion to be completed by year end 2017.  Mobile's port investments are designed and constructed to serve post- and super post-Panamax vessels that will transit a newly expanded Panama Canal scheduled to open this summer.  "Our investments, coupled with a year-round 45 ft. draft channel and a new Panama Canal, positions the Port of Mobile to capitalize on new service offerings between Asia and the U.S. Gulf," said Lyons.
The Alabama State Port Authority owns and operates the public deep-water port facilities at the Port of Mobile handling over 26 million tons of cargo annually. Marine cargo activity through the Port Authority's terminals directly and indirectly employs over 124,000 Alabamians and contributes $19.4 Billion in economic value to the State of Alabama. Learn more about Alabama's seaport by


NAITA, PZI International, and the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA) will co-host the second annual NAITA International Human Resources Conference: Talent without Borders on April 28-29, at The Westin Huntsville.

 The conference will focus attention on international business travelers (IBT), short term assignments (STA), and international commuters ("IC"). In today's fast changing environments, corporations are moving away from expensive three year assignments for their international talent needs. 

Today's talent is eager to have international experience, but not necessarily uproot their entire family for a long period of time. Hence, the increase in the IBT/STA/IC groups. This conference will be the place to get answers you didn't even know you had questions for!


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