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
U.S. South, not just Mexico, stands in way of Rust Belt jobs revival
By Howard Schneider | MOBILE, ALA.
Fri Apr 7, 2017
In the years since the 2008 financial crisis, this southern U.S. port city has attracted a new Airbus factory, seen its steel industry retool, and gained thousands of jobs building the Navy's new combat vessel.
Some 300 miles north in Huntsville, new businesses sprout in farm fields drawn by readily available land, low taxes, flexible labor rules and improving infrastructure.
As President Trump faces pressure to deliver on his promise to revive manufacturing in the northern "rust belt" states that put him in the White House, his biggest challenge may not be Mexico or China, but the southern U.S. states that form the other pillar of his political base.
States like Alabama have built a presence in the global supply chain in direct competition with the country's Midwestern industrial heartland, and even if Trump coaxes jobs back to the United States they may well head south rather than north.
Alabama-Germany partnership shows new strength after decades of growth
April 06, 2017
German companies have invested $8.4 billion and created nearly 15,500 jobs in Alabama over the past two decades, and the prosperous relationship is poised to grow even stronger.
State exports to the European nation are on the rise, and at the same time, Germany's foreign direct investment in Alabama remains strong.
There are also new and ongoing efforts to develop more business, cultural, educational and social ties between individuals and organizations with a vested interest in each side.
Germany is one of Alabama's most important economic allies, said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
A New Vision for Samford
TEXT BY KATHY HAGOOD /
Samford University, a private, Christian institution based in the Birmingham area community of Homewood, is in growth mode as it celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.
During the past decade, Samford has increased enrollment by 22 percent, raised $200 million, expanded and updated facilities, added more student housing and created a bold vision for the future. That vision will be fueled by its new six-year, $300 million "Forever Samford" fundraising campaign. "We are benefitting from the efforts of those who came before, and we want to lay a strong foundation for future generations," says Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, who has led the university for the past 11 years.
Samford estimates its annual economic impact to the state of Alabama is approximately $335 million, including everything from staff payroll to student purchases. Its students provide about $16.5 million in volunteer services to the community.
New Millbrook Business Park set to open in Elmore County
MILLBROOK, Alabama - Economic development efforts in one of Alabama's fastest-growing cities are poised to get a boost from the opening of a new 90-acre business park just off Interstate 65 in Elmore County.
"We look forward to working with new businesses that will be looking to locate in Millbrook," Mayor Al Kelley said. "A special thanks to the Elmore County Commission for their assistance in getting the entrance in place."
Alabama couple has designs on sunglasses industry with Maho Shades
on April 06, 2017
If you're going to Maho Bay, you expect to need sunglasses.
A place of blue skies, pristine beaches and coconut palm trees, this part of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a favorite destination of families and travelers, just as it was a few years ago to Alabama residents Kris and Alex Anderson.
Out for a day of paddleboarding, they both managed to lose their sunglasses and ended up lamenting the exorbitant price of paying $250 or more to keep the sun out of their eyes.