The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

3 years ago

Alabama Power employee’s focus on safety helps keep the lights on

(Joe Allen/Alabama NewsCenter)

Safety is the biggest concern for Alabama Power Company. Employee Russell Davidson works to ensure he and his crew stay safe so they can keep the lights on for customers.

Davidson started with Alabama Power in January 2007, and has worked his way up to a plant control operator at Plant Gorgas in Walker County, where he has been for three years.

Being a plant control operator requires a high level of skill and extensive knowledge of how the plant operates. A plant control operator monitors and controls all the various sub-systems that work together to create electricity.


Davidson says his priority is to make sure his unit is “producing as much power as needed, so when our customers reach to flip the switch, the light comes on.”

None of what Davidson does would be possible without having a mind for safety. Davidson says the people he works with are like family, so looking out for their safety and well-being is a given. “As a plant control operator, first and foremost, my job is to ensure my crew and myself are working as safely as possible,” Davidson says.

This was one reason Davidson became a member of Plant Gorgas’ Emergency Response Team (ERT). The ERT consists of “medical first responders, high-angle rope rescuers, confined space rescuers and chemical first responders,” says Davidson. He goes on to say, “This volunteer team is on plant site to handle almost any emergency that arises due to the dangerous nature of our jobs and the inherent risk we face on a day-to-day basis.”

Davidson’s heart for volunteering doesn’t stop when he leaves work. He has been a member and volunteer at Farmstead Baptist Church in Jasper for 24 years. At the church, Davidson runs the audio-visual equipment. He says that while he was not blessed with the ability to sing, he was given the talent of being “able to make someone else sound good while singing.”

Davidson has also helped coach Upward basketball for many years. Upward is a Christian sports league for children in grades 5 through 8. He began coaching when his daughter, and then his son, expressed interest in the sport. “I have always loved playing, but I never tried to teach the game. Hopefully, I have made a positive impact on the kids I’ve worked with,” says Davidson.

When he is not busy keeping the lights on or volunteering, Davidson enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, teaching his children how to hunt, fish and enjoy nature.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 years ago

18 new electric vehicle charging stations added to UAB campus

(C. Helton/Alabama NewsCenter)

Dr. Jason Morris has been eyeing electric vehicles, and considering when would be the right time to make the leap. On June 29, in a parking lot at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, his eyes were opened wide about the possibilities.

From a moderately priced Nissan Leaf, to a fully loaded, all-electric BMW i8 that can cost about five times as much, Morris could see and touch the possibilities – while learning more about how UAB is making the switch to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) more convenient for faculty, staff and visitors to the campus and its sprawling medical complex.


Last Friday was the first day that employees at UAB, the state’s largest employer, had access to 16 new electric vehicle charging stations installed at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge.

When UAB’s new home for the Collat School of Business opens later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.

To celebrate, UAB Sustainability held an electric car show “to help people see the different options that are out there if they wanted to purchase an electric vehicle,” said Julie Price, UAB Sustainability manager.

“We are always trying to reduce our environmental footprint and make life better in the sustainability triple bottom line: economic, environmental and social sustainability,” Price said.

She said the new infrastructure will help reduce vehicle emissions in the city center. Another benefit of electric vehicle charging stations is that “once electric cars are plugged in, they are plugging into a multitude of fuel sources, as opposed to just gasoline,” Price said.

Alabama Power partnered with UAB on installing the 18 new chargers for employees only. UAB already has eight chargers available to campus visitors at three campus locations.

While at the car show, spectators could view cars from all price ranges, from the Leaf– with a starting retail price of $29,990 before federal tax credits, which can reduce the price –  to the i8, with a starting price of $147,500.

Morris a physician at UAB, said he was interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, and has been waiting on the infrastructure before he made his move. “When I saw this, I thought it was a good chance to come out and see what all was being offered between UAB and Alabama Power and all the partners.”

UAB Sustainability hosts several events on campus year-round to encourage students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, to do their part in making Birmingham a better, more sustainable place to live, Price said

Alabama Power employees have been working with others in the Birmingham area and around the state who are interested in electric vehicle chargers. Among them is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, which recently added chargers in its parking deck. The airport is scheduled to unveil the chargers to the public at an event on Thursday, July 5.

Learn more about electric transportation at

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)