4 months ago

Alabama’s Bart Starr, Rance Sanders win lifetime achievement award in health care real estate

Birmingham-headquartered The Sanders Trust on Thursday announced that two of its longtime leaders have earned the Healthcare Real Estate Insights 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

According to a release, The Sanders Trust president and CEO Rance Sanders and the late Bart Starr were selected for their significant and unique contributions to the development of the health care real estate industry over time.

Starr’s honor was awarded posthumously. The Alabama native, who became a football legend playing quarterback at the University of Alabama and for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, passed away in 2019 at age 85.

“On behalf of myself and my late friend and mentor, I am sincerely humbled and grateful to be given this award and recognition,” Sanders said in a statement.

“To be named among such a prestigious group of industry leaders is such an honor, and I know Bart would feel the same,” he continued. “When Bart and I began this was a small, fragmented industry with an overlooked asset class. During our 30 plus years, the industry has become widely appreciated by large institutional investors for the exposure to low risk, recession-resistant properties.”

(The Sanders Trust/Contributed)

Healthcare Real Estate Insights selects the Lifetime Achievement Award based on leadership in the industry, excellence in strategy and innovation, professional awards and accreditations, and significant contributions to the sector.

Sanders and Starr were nominated for the highest honor in the industry by Ben Ochs and James Schmid, managing partners of Anchor Health Properties.

“Ben and I nominated Bart and Rance in recognition of all the contributions that they and The Sanders Trust platform have made and the quality and character of the organization they have built. Thanks to their leadership in the development of medical facilities, and particularly inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, the property type has become an institutionally recognized asset class, creating meaningful capital markets liquidity for the sector,” stated Schmid.

The Sanders Trust develops and acquires medical office buildings, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, specialty hospitals and other mission-critical health care facilities nationwide. Located in the Magic City, The Sanders Trust has been a recognized leader in the investment community for healthcare clients since its inception in 1989 and has developed or acquired medical properties in 29 states.

RELATED: Birmingham-based The Sanders Trust completes $240 million sale

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

57 mins ago

Community college presidents: Job training enhanced if education construction process streamlined

Two community college presidents say critical workforce development programs will be enhanced if a proposal to streamline the education construction process is approved by the Alabama State Senate.

In addition to saving what an Alabama lawmaker estimates will be “millions” of taxpayer dollars, the presidents of Bevill State Community College and Jefferson State Community College say the plan will allow their schools to more quickly respond to the job training needs of Alabama industry.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) has sponsored legislation which allows school systems and community colleges to locally control construction projects.

Under current Alabama law, the State Department of Finance’s Division of Construction Management in Montgomery maintains oversight responsibilities for construction projects at K-12 schools and local community colleges.

Shifting oversight from a state agency to a more localized level will not only result in cost savings but also faster completion times, according to supporters of the plan.

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“Time can be a very valuable resource when you are working to achieve a quick turnaround on a training program for business and industry,” Joel Hagood, president of Bevill State Community College, explained to Yellowhammer News.

Hagood believes the flexibility provided by construction directly overseen by the community college system is essential to carrying out its workforce development mission.

“Rapid response to the needs of business and industry is vital for workforce training,” he asserted. “If Bevill State is unable to meet the training needs for industry in a timely manner, they will find other avenues to obtain that training.”

Hagood outlined that the need to quickly get trained workers employment-ready helped drive the creation of Bevill’s Workforce Solutions Rapid Training Center in Jasper. The college is establishing a similar center at its Hamilton campus.

RELATED: Alabama’s Bevill State HVAC Fast Track Program graduates students

He pointed out that community colleges currently have to “wait in line” for approval behind all projects in the state which go through the Division of Construction Management.

Removing that extra layer of red tape “would expedite this process for the schools, facilitating a more rapid response for our students’ needs and industry demand,” concluded Hagood.

Emphasizing that responsiveness to the workforce development needs of business and industry is a “primary mission” of Alabama’s community colleges, Keith Brown, president of Jefferson State Community College, said his school is continually assessing and adjusting its job training programs.

“Many times, these programmatic adjustments require renovating or repurposing space to accommodate new equipment, new technology or an overall change in purpose of the facility,” Brown remarked.

This approach was placed into action when Jefferson State implemented its Heavy Equipment Operator Program, which the school was able to customize to meet an urgent industry need.

“The Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State is a prime example of identifying a need and working with industry to address it in a timely manner through a short-term training solution yielding qualified, certified students who are ready to work on day one,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker.

Bevill State has encountered a similar need to upgrade facilities in order to meet an industry demand, according to Hagood.

“The longwall expansion project at Bevill State’s Mine Technology Program is a perfect example of an addition that was required to meet industry needs,” he noted. “Longwall mining is a highly productive coal mining technique. The expansion of the mine training center will enable all Underground New Miner Trainees to have a greater understanding of the extraction of the coal process from not only a continuous miner section but longwall mining as well. Miners will be shown the safest way to handle all aspects of tasks assigned.”

From Brown’s perspective, no one is better positioned to understand all the demands of a job training curriculum than the community colleges, themselves.

“The ACCS Board of Trustees is well versed in the mission of the Alabama Community College System and has a greater awareness of its ever-changing facility needs,” elaborated Brown. “Vesting oversight of the System’s construction efforts with the ACCS Board of Trustees would provide a narrower focus than the current structure and allow increased prioritization of the System’s projects. This could lead to shorter durations on projects and ultimately provide an increased response time to our business and industry partners.”

RELATED: ‘Saving taxpayers millions of dollars’: Alabama lawmaker wants to cut red tape for local school construction

With 24 main campuses and 32 satellite campuses located across Alabama, Ledbetter has set out to remove what he views as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy in the construction process.

“Taking the bureaucracy out of that will end up saving taxpayers millions of dollars,” he stated.

The proposal includes provisions requiring all projects meet applicable safety requirements and building codes.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. It now awaits approval from the full Senate.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

3 hours ago

New member appointed to Conservation Advisory Board

Kevin Savoy of Dothan, Alabama, has been appointed to the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board by Gov. Kay Ivey. Savoy replaces Patrick Cagle of Montgomery, whose six-year term expired.

A native of Mobile, Savoy is a 1991 graduate of Auburn University. He currently serves as Vice President of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated and Greenbush Logistics, Inc.

Savoy’s involvement in state, community, and professional organizations is extensive. In addition to his position with Great Southern Wood, he serves on the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Alabama Wildlife Federation Board of Directors Executive Committee, the Leadership Alabama Wiregrass Area Board of Directors, is a member of the HNB First Bank Advisory Board, and is the current chairman of the Houston Academy Board of Trustees.

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“This appointment is truly an honor,” Savoy said. “As an Alabamian and an avid outdoorsman, I know that we are fortunate to have a vast treasure of natural resources in every corner of our state. I appreciate the opportunity to join with the other Conservation Advisory Board members to strengthen our conservation efforts on behalf of all Alabamians.”

Gov. Ivey also reappointed four current board members to new terms: Joseph Dobbs, Jr., of Birmingham; Brock Jones of Tuscaloosa; Gary Wolfe of Fairhope; and Grady Hartzog of Eufaula.

“I am very pleased with the addition of Mr. Savoy to the Conservation Advisory Board and I am thankful for the reappointments of four of the current members,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “We have an outstanding Board that brings a wealth of knowledge and outdoor recreation experience to their work. I look forward to working with the Board to continue our progressive management of Alabama’s abundant natural resources.”

The Conservation Advisory Board is composed of 10 members appointed by the Governor for alternating terms of six years and three ex-officio members: the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, and the Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. ADCNR’s Commissioner serves as the ex-officio secretary of the board.

The board assists in formulating policies for ADCNR and examines all rules and regulations. By a two-thirds vote of the members present and with the Governor’s approval, the board can amend, change or repeal current rules and regulations or create and promulgate additional rules and regulations. The board also assists in publicizing the department’s programs and activities.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.co

(Courtesy of Outdoor Alabama)

5 hours ago

Alabama’s U.S. House delegation bands together to oppose forced return of Amtrak to Mobile

Alabama’s U.S. House members are bipartisanly standing strong in the face of Amtrak’s attempt to force the Gulf Coast Passenger Rail project on the Yellowhammer State’s citizens.

Last month, Amtrak filed a petition before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) to require CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Company to permit the operation of Amtrak’s passenger rail service on the proposed Mobile-New Orleans route.

As Yellowhammer News has reported since 2019, the proposal would have two Amtrak passenger trains daily utilize CSX’s existing mainline from the west into downtown Mobile then back west (ultimately traveling to New Orleans).

The Alabama State Port Authority utilizes that line, and it also supports crossings for both the Port Authority’s railroad (Terminal Railway) and five other railroads entering the Port’s main dock terminals, the container intermodal rail terminal and the soon-to-be-constructed finished automobile terminal.

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Under federal law, all of that important freight traffic would have to yield to Amtrak’s passenger service. This is why CSX, the Port Authority and the diverse industries that rely on the Port for transporting goods have been asking for an impact study to be completed that would assess infrastructure needs to accommodate passenger rail and any impact on existing freight rail service.

CSX, Norfolk Southern (which owns tracks elsewhere on the proposed route) and Amtrak ultimately agreed on the parameters of the study, which got underway in spring 2020.

However, as Yellowhammer News reported earlier this year, Amtrak decided to end the study before its completion while also announcing the rail service from Mobile to New Orleans would begin in 2022, regardless of the potential adverse effects on Alabama’s economy.

More than $2 billion has recently been invested in growing and enhancing the Port of Mobile, which already contributes over 150,000 jobs and $25.4 billion in economic impact as Alabama’s seaport.

Despite bailing on the impact study, Amtrak on March 16 initiated a formal process before the STB to require CSX and Norfolk Southern to permit the operation of the passenger rail service.

A large group of job creators in Alabama then publicly requested that Amtrak complete the impact study. This included the Business Council of Alabama, Alabama Farmers Federation, Manufacture Alabama, Alabama Forestry Association, Alabama Mining Association, Alabama Railway Association, Economic Development Association of Alabama and Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Congressman Jerry Carl (AL-01) have done the same, including Shelby’s letter in recent weeks filed with the STB.

Since Shelby’s letter, Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper), House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), Mobile City Councilman Joel Daves, the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Mining Association, the State Port Authority and others also filed respective formal comments with the STB opposing the Amtrak petition on the basis of the impact study not being completed.

Now, Congressman Jerry Carl — who represents Coastal Alabama — has spearheaded a letter to the STB, urging the board to require the completion of the impact and feasibility study prior to the return of Amtrak service to Mobile.

This letter is signed by all seven House members from Alabama: Carl and Reps. Barry Moore (AL-02), Mike Rogers (AL-03), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Gary Palmer (AL-06) and Terri Sewell (AL-07).

“Last month, I expressed my disappointment in Amtrak’s failures to uphold its commitment to a feasibility study to demonstrate the impact of passenger rail on the Port of Mobile and the commercial interests of Alabama. Amtrak’s ongoing efforts to reintroduce passenger rail service are concerning, so my colleagues and I are urging the Surface Transportation Board to require the completion of a feasibility study prior to the return of Amtrak service in Mobile, because all parties have an obligation to protect the economic interests of Alabama’s workers and businesses,” explained Carl in a statement.

Aderholt, the dean of Alabama’s House delegation, commented, “Amtrak service would no doubt be good for the economy of the Mobile area, but if it will come at the expense of the greater economy of the port, then that isn’t an acceptable trade off. Amtrak needs to work with all of the stakeholders to come to an equitable solution.”

“In March, Amtrak abruptly made the decision to attempt to reestablish rail service along the Gulf Coast without having completed a feasibility study, which they previously agreed to carry out. To move ahead with the project despite real concerns about the rail traffic economic impact to Alabama and costs to taxpayers is wrong. The Alabama people deserve to know how this rail line is going to impact their pocketbooks. The feasibility study must be completed before moving forward,” added Brooks.

The concern was bipartisan, with Sewell’s contribution.

“The Port of Mobile is essential to the economic vitality and well-being of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. A comprehensive feasibility analysis should be conducted before this process moves forward,” she remarked.

View the letter here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

As workforce demands surge, ACCS delivers solutions to meet business needs

With the lowest unemployment in the Southeast, Alabama’s workforce demands continue to grow. Job creators all over the state are working diligently to hire and train new employees as their workforce needs surge.

What is great news for the booming Alabama economy also creates new challenges for employers seeking skilled job applicants.

The Alabama Community College System has successfully created a program to meet this challenge.

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“Across Alabama, the demand for short-term, customized, non-credit training for business and industry continues to exceed the state’s current training capacity,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “Alabama’s community colleges across the state are at the table with business and industry leaders to identify solutions to the state’s workforce needs.”

Alabama’s community colleges have served hundreds of companies with non-credit training programs and job attainment skill delivery. But there is more work to be done when it comes to fulfilling Alabama industry’s workforce preparedness needs.

That’s why ACCS has developed Regional Rapid Training Centers (RRTCs) in strategic locations across the state.

RRTCs will focus on rapid, industry-required, non-credit training determined by the region’s workforce needs.

Expanding this needed training will also help the state more easily meet its attainment goal of adding 500,000 newly credentialed employees to the workforce by 2025.

Successfully meeting a need
To find an example of a solution-based approach, look no further than the Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State Community College.

Conversations with industry leaders identified that often new equipment operators took up to two weeks of on-the-job training to learn basic operations before being able to learn company-specific skills.  With industry leaders at the table helping to design curriculum, the Heavy Equipment Operator program was customized to ensure students completing the program would enter the job market with mastery of basic safety and operation skills in addition to 8 hours of ‘seat time’ or actual operation time with the equipment.

“The Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State is a prime example of identifying a need and working with industry to address it in a timely manner through a short-term training solution yielding qualified, certified students who are ready to work on day one,” said Baker.

Demand for more
Job-seeking Alabamians have a myriad of options when searching for a well-paying career, but industry-recognized credentials are often necessary for high-demand occupations.  Short-term, trade-specific training can open employment options for job seekers in a matter of weeks.

Rapid, customizable training can be used to up-skill Alabamians as well as re-train those who have lost their jobs.  The workforce demands of business and industry are dependent upon the future growth of training solutions that work.

Alabama’s community colleges will continue to partner with private sector employers to ensure Alabama can meet its workforce goals. Funding and support for short-term, industry-specific training is vital for the current and future growth of Alabama’s economy.

8 hours ago

7 Things: Derek Chauvin trial in the hands of the jury, Alabama’s gambling future will be decided soon, Alabama prison reform hits funding snag and more …

7. Biden’s words are not the policy of the Biden White House

  • President Joe Biden recently said there was an immigration-related “crisis,” which would lead many to believe he was referring to the situation at the southern border as there are a record number of migrants flooding the area. 
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained that Biden was apparently referring to “the crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from, that that is a situation we need to spend our time, our effort on, and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come.”

6. Alabama ranked top 10 for economic momentum

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  • Washington, D.C.-based State Policy Reports released a list to show where states rank based on economic momentum, and Governor Kay Ivey announced that Alabama ranked in the top 10. 
  • Overall, Alabama was ranked No. 8 nationally. Broken down, the state ranked No. 13 for personal income growth, No. 7 for employment growth and No. 25 for population growth. 

5. Alabama’s Pre-K program is still the best in the nation

  • For the 15th year, the First Class Pre-K program in Alabama has been ranked as the best in the country by National Institute for Early Education Research. 
  • The state of Alabama is currently on track to offer early education to everyone statewide by the 2025-2026 school year. Governor Kay Ivey stated, “Alabama continues to set the nationwide bar for our success with the Alabama First Class Pre-K program.”

4. Three months of misinformation about a U.S. Capitol police officer’s death

  • For more than three months, the American media and their sources have intentionally misled the American people about the events that led to the death of U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick. The weaponized misinformation was utilized by the media to shape the narrative of an armed, violent insurrection that seems disconnected from reality at this point. 
  • As the events of January 6 became clear in the following days, reports of Sicknick being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher led the news; that shifted eventually to the officer’s death being caused by bear mace, and now we are learning the officer died of natural causes after having a stroke. There will be no accountability for the creation of this narrative or introspection by the American media as to how this happened, again.

3. Investment for prisons falls through

  • The investment bank Barclays has decided to pull out from underwriting the finances for two of the private prisons Governor Kay Ivey contracted businesses to build. 
  • State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) shared how this “shows that the Legislature’s concerns about the program continue to be justified,” such as that of funding. Ivey has said that this won’t stop the plan to build more prisons, since they’ve already “put in place new options to advance this vital transaction in a timely and efficient manner.”

2. Future of gambling bill could be clearer this week

  • State Representative Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) is going to sponsor the gaming legislation that made it through the State Senate last week, but there are only a few days left for this legislative session.  
  • Blackshear said that sometime this week they should know if there are any changes needed to the bill to have “a good path moving forward to when we have these bills in committee, when and if we have an opportunity to get these bills and legislation to the floor for a vote before the end of the session on May 17.”

1. Chauvin trial has ended

  • Former officer Derek Chauvin has been on trial for murder in the death of George Floyd, and now the jury is deliberating on whether to convict Chauvin. The prosecutors claimed that Floyd was killed by Chauvin’s actions intentionally and because “Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.” The defense countered that the crowd on hand distracted the police officers and that Floyd’s resistance, heart problems and use of fentanyl and methamphetamine led to his death.
  • Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson did bring up U.S. Representative Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) comment telling protesters to “get more confrontational,” and Judge Peter Cahill said he wishes elected representatives wouldn’t reference the case so freely, “especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law.”