The Wire

  • Nation of Islam Birmingham chapter leading Hoover boycott efforts

    Excerpt:

    The Birmingham chapter of the Nation of Islam – which is deemed an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and led nationally by the infamous Louis Farrakhan – is heading up the boycott effort in Hoover in the aftermath of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s death in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.

    In a recent Facebook live video posted by Iva Williams, a spokesperson and the vice president for the activist organization led by self-proclaimed Hoover protest leader Carlos Chaverst, Jr., Williams confirmed that Tremon Muhammad, the student minister (pastor) for the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Mosque No. 69 in Birmingham, is leading the boycott.

    He also detailed that the boycott is specifically meant to harm businesses owned by white people, with the activists planning on finding ways to help black-owned businesses in Hoover until their leases are up, at which time the businesses will be expected to move into majority-black areas of Birmingham.

  • AG Marshall: Prosecution of corruption remains a priority after Matt Hart’s departure

    Excerpt:

    On Friday’s episode of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall downplayed the departure of now-former Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart.

    Hart formerly led the AG’s Special Prosecutions Division and was perhaps best known for his prosecution of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

    In the interim, Hart had become somewhat of a media darling, and Marshall’s critics had charged politics was a motivation in Hart’s resignation. Marshall dismissed those claims and touted Hart’s successor, Clark Morris.

  • Women’s clothier raises $4,500 for police, others with ‘#HooverStrong’ T-shirts sales

    Excerpt:

    There’s no question that the last two weeks have been trying for Hoover retailers in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.

    With protests flaring up over dissatisfaction with law enforcement’s handling of the incident’s investigation, the circumstances have been trying for local retailers that were already dealing with the busy shopping season.

    However, one Hoover retailer is making the most of the situation.

2 days ago

Mark Crosswhite leads effort to return BCA to core mission, full strength

(BCA)

This past week the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) named Katie Boyd Britt its new president, an event that served as the culmination of months of work by the group’s executive committee led by its chairman, Mark Crosswhite.

Britt’s appointment to the top job in the state’s largest business organization is the first step in implementing Crosswhite’s vision for a return to the group’s core mission.

“Fundamentally, BCA exists to represent the business community and to help improve Alabama’s economy,” Crosswhite told Yellowhammer News. “We want to create jobs and support Alabama families making a good living here in the state. We want Alabama to be a place where our children and grandchildren stay to work.”

Perhaps no one is better positioned than Crosswhite to understand Alabama, its economy and the people who create and fill jobs in the state.

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As chairman, president and chief executive officer of Alabama Power, Crosswhite runs a company that has 1.4 million customers and employs more than 7,000 people.

Crosswhite leads a company that counts homeowners, small businesses and large manufacturers as its customers, while employing its own diverse workforce.

And, all the while, Alabama Power and its employees are active in communities across the state. Through that type of outreach, Crosswhite’s company maintains its connection to the people it serves.

As a result, when Crosswhite took the lead earlier this year in identifying the need to improve Alabama’s approach to its economic priorities, others paid attention.

It is Crosswhite’s belief that, while things have been good in Alabama, there exists a need for continued evaluation and improvement from the whole of the business community.

“We have an outstanding business climate,” noted Crosswhite. “And we have had a number of leaders focused on cultivating and protecting the business climate. We want to push that forward and make it better.”

Crosswhite pointed out the fact that Alabama is not enjoying the same growth as some of its neighboring states.

“One of the things we would like to have BCA assess is why is that?” remarked Crosswhite. “How do we keep young people in the state, the best and brightest? How can we attract new business and expand industries and good jobs for the people of Alabama?”

During the BCA transition process, Crosswhite and his committee have been intentional in their emphasis on coalition building in the business community.

“We think BCA ought to be the organization that takes an umbrella approach and can bring the entire business community together on significant issues that affect the community at-large and the state of Alabama’s economy,” said Crosswhite.

As evidence of the group’s inclusive approach, Crosswhite pointed out that the BCA executive committee has reached out to more than one hundred business leaders, business associations, elected officials and others from across the state.

“One thing that we have gotten over and over is we need BCA to be a unifying force, one that can bring together businesses of all sorts,” he said. “Everything from big corporations to mom and pop drug stores. There is a desire to have a central voice. One where we can have policy-makers come and have one place where they can get a fair representation of the entire business community.”

According to Crosswhite, Britt shares that same approach to coalition building.

“We have a really strong leader in Katie Britt, and she will be looking to build bridges to other organizations to reach out to all the businesses in the state to make sure BCA is bringing value to the entire business community,” said Crosswhite.

Britt comes to BCA after a successful stint as chief of staff to Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and prior to that the leader of the state governmental affairs practice for Butler Snow.

That experience, for Britt, equips her well to handle some of BCA’s substantive priorities identified by Crosswhite, such as workforce development and federal and state advocacy.

“The entire BCA leadership group is terribly excited about having Katie Britt join us,” affirmed Crosswhite. “She has a remarkable track record and great story. We know that she is the person with the energy, vision and experience to lead BCA through this next chapter. We are very excited about having her at the helm. She has the complete confidence of the BCA executive committee and the BCA board of directors.”

The current composition of the BCA executive committee is a rare collection of accomplished leaders.

And, so, for Crosswhite, there is no better time to return BCA to its core mission and rightful place as the pre-eminent Alabama business organization.

“We are at the very beginning of that process,” he said. “We have looked at things and gotten an assessment. Now that we have Katie lined up and in the chair, look for BCA to establish a strategic planning process over the next few months to make BCA stronger and the voice of Alabama business.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

1 week ago

Rogers objects to major agreement supporting Alabama’s aerospace industry

(Congressman Rogers/Facebook)

In October, the U.S. Air Force announced that it had awarded Alabama rocket-builder United Launch Alliance (ULA) nearly $1 billion to develop a launch vehicle for future national security space missions. But a recent objection to the agreement by one member of Alabama’s congressional delegation could be an obstacle to the large Alabama employer’s future participation.

In a letter to the secretary of the Air Force, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) asked for alterations to the competitive bid process that resulted in Alabama’s ULA receiving the go-ahead to manufacture the Vulcan Centaur at its Decatur plant.

The competitive bid process had been put in place as a response to a congressional mandate to move away from foreign-made rocket engines. ULA’s award under that process was $967 million for development of the Vulcan Centaur which has been dubbed a “next-generation” rocket by the company.

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The Air Force cites the current process, the one objected to by Rogers, as one that allows for shared investments to encourage innovation and advanced capabilities.

“Leveraging domestic commercial space launch systems is good for the Air Force, and a revitalized commercial launch industry is good for the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “Our launch program is a great example of how we are fielding tomorrow’s Air Force faster and smarter.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Rogers expressed skepticism about the agreement which resulted in the award to ULA.

“It’s no secret I’ve been skeptical of the [Launch Services Agreement] and the Air Force’s management of our space programs for years,” Rogers said. “It has led me to call, along with President Trump, for the creation of the Space Force. This letter was simply oversight of this program in my subcommittee’s jurisdiction.”

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has praised the award under the Launch Services Agreement, calling it “great news” for Alabama.

Governor Kay Ivey and numerous other elected officials have also applauded the development of the Vulcan Centaur and ULA’s participation in Alabama’s growing aerospace industry.

Alabamians have powered two historic launches this year.

In August, NASA sent its Parker Solar Probe hurtling toward the sun atop a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket.

Then, just last week, the NASA InSight spacecraft landed on Mars following a five-month journey powered by an Atlas V rocket.

Both rockets were manufactured at ULA’s Decatur plant. The Decatur facility is 1.6 million square feet and the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere.

Tim Howe is the editor and an owner of Yellowhammer News

2 weeks ago

Shelby positioned to deliver more American energy after a decade of fighting radical environmental agenda

(Wikicommons)

Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) tenure atop the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee has resulted in a dramatic return to the smooth and transparent process the Founders envisioned for the allocation of government resources. Now, with a year-end spending bill nearing completion, Shelby is once again playing a leading role.

For the first time in years, spending bills related to a broad range of issues — from veterans affairs, military construction, nuclear security and water infrastructure, to the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education — have advanced through the process as it was designed. After spearheading the funding of the U.S. military for Fiscal Year 2019, Shelby noted that “for the first time in a decade, we are sending a Defense spending bill to the President’s desk on time.”

But while border wall funding and other issues have justifiably taken center stage in recent days, America’s resurgence as a global energy leader is also hanging in the balance.

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Tucked into the omnibus spending bill currently being negotiated is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is poised to deliver clean-burning natural gas from West Virginia to the eastern seaboard. Such projects languished without approval for years during the Obama administration, which restricted U.S. energy production in favor of subsidizing green projects or importing energy resources from other countries.

Reversing course, President Donald Trump has made “energy dominance” a key plank in his economic platform, which has already delivered the lowest unemployment and most robust job growth we have seen in years.

“Permanent energy self-sufficiency — once a pipe dream for Americans who remember waiting for hours in gas lines in the 1970s — is now very close to reality,” said John Fredericks, a political commentator based in Virginia who has closely followed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. “As our energy exports expand, our record trade deficits across the globe will be reduced, keeping cash and jobs in America — instead of going to other countries.”

Fredericks noted that Massachusetts recently took the opposite approach, blocking pipelines that would have delivered natural gas and choosing instead of purchase from Russia. But state and local governments in Virginia and North Carolina have cleared the path for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to deliver American energy resources to American households.

Those decisions have teed up Senator Shelby and his Appropriations Committee colleagues to do what they’ve done better than anyone since taking back control from Democrats: close the deal.

Tim Howe is the editor and an owner of Yellowhammer News

2 weeks ago

How Pratt & Whitney’s engine issues are hurting Alabama’s vaunted F-35 program

(David Ellis/Flickr)

The entire state of Alabama cheered when the Air Force decided to base F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. The F-35, hailed as the U.S. military’s “most cutting-edge war machine,” has already injected millions into Alabama’s economy and is set to continue the Yellowhammer State’s rich history of military prowess.

But a recent crash in South Carolina and the temporary grounding of the F-35 worldwide has resulted in much less laudatory headlines.

In 2016, while the country was paying attention to the presidential race, Alabama was in a heated race of its own. Eighteen Air National Guard units nationwide, including the 187th Fighter Wing in Montgomery, were jockeying to field the new F-35 aircraft.

According to Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-AL2), the 187th Fighter Wing was “the first Air National Guard wing to conduct a stand-alone six-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom… Their reputation in military circles is sterling.” The Alabama congressional delegation touted that reputation, including the 187th Fighter Wing’s history as the legacy unit of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, while making the case for housing the F-35 program at Dannelly Field.

They were ultimately successful.

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In December of 2017, the United States Air Force announced that it had selected Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin and Dannelly Field in Alabama as the preferred locations for the F-35.

“Selecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing 5th Generation airpower around the world,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said at the time. “As F-35As arrive at these locations, we will use the existing aircraft at these fields to replace the aging F-16s at other Air National Guard units.”

After the announcement, Dannelly Field began undertaking a multi-year, $50 million construction project to house between 18 and 24 F-35s. An additional six pilots are also expected to be added to the unit. In addition to the construction workers and federal contractors who will benefit greatly from the flurry of economic activity, the flow of new money from the base and people working there is expected to boost local businesses.

The F-35s are expected to start arriving in Alabama just a few short years from now in 2023, but first, the program is going to have to overcome some startling setbacks.

Last month, the Pentagon decided to temporarily ground F-35 aircraft operating around the world “due to faulty engine tubes,” according to DefenseOne.

Lockheed Martin designed and built the state-of-the-art plane. Their Alabama roots go back a half-century and they continue to enjoy a large presence in Huntsville and at a missile factory in Pike County. But it’s not Lockheed’s work that seems to be the issue here, it’s the work of Pratt & Whitney, the engine maker.

The F-35’s Joint Program Office launched a worldwide inspection in search of “suspect fuel tubes” in the P&W engines, which are believed to have resulted in a downed plane during a training mission in South Carolina. The pilot safely ejected before the crash, but the plane was lost.

“We are actively partnering with the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (and) our global customers and Pratt & Whitney to support the resolution of this issue and limit disruption to the fleet,” a Lockheed Martin spokesman said.

For the sake of the U.S. military, the team at Dannelly Field and Alabama’s River Region economy, let’s hope Pratt & Whitney gets their issues straightened out soon. There’s a lot at stake.

3 weeks ago

Cliff Sims recounts his service on Trump’s ‘Team of Vipers’ in new book

(YHN)

Any book containing the words “viper,” “Trump” and “White House” in the title is bound to be a must-read. And that’s exactly what Yellowhammer News founder Cliff Sims has done with his book set to release on January 29.

Yellowhammer reported last week that news of Sims’ book had leaked out.

This morning more details were reported by the New York Times and Axios, including the book’s title, Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House.

The book is a product of hundreds of pages of notes and countless interactions with President Donald Trump.

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According to the New York Times, the author’s note provides some insight into the direction and purpose of Sims’ memoir.

Excerpt as follows:

I suspect that posterity will look back on this bizarre time in history like we were living on the pages of a Dickens novel…Lincoln famously had his Team of Rivals. Trump had his Team of Vipers. We served. We fought. We brought our egos. We brought our personal agendas and vendettas. We were ruthless. And some of us, I assume, were good people…I was there. This is what I saw. And, unlike the many leakers in the White House, I have put my name on it.

Sims founded Yellowhammer News in 2012 and built the outlet from the ground up until he joined Trump’s campaign communications team in the months leading up to his defeat of Hillary Clinton. It was during this time that Sims became a trusted ally of the soon-to-be president being among those with daily access to him while working out of the Trump Tower headquarters.

Sims made the natural transition to the West Wing where his office was only a few steps from the Oval Office until his departure in May.

A special event in conjunction with the book’s release is planned for the evening of February 9 in Birmingham. Yellowhammer News will have the additional details in the weeks to come.

Team of Vipers is already available for pre-order on Amazon.

 

 

 

4 weeks ago

Yellowhammer News founder Cliff Sims authors book on his service in the Trump White House

(Official White House Photo)

Yellowhammer News founder Cliff Sims has authored a book chronicaling his time in the Trump White House, according to a report from Politico.

The Politico article indicates that Sims’ book will be different from others previously released by former administration officials.

While offering unique accounts of his interactions with prominent officials such as chief of staff John Kelly, counselor Kellyanne Conway and communications director Anthony Scaramucci, according to Politico, Sims book will also provide an honest assessment of his own role in the West Wing and his impact on the approach taken by Trump on numerous fronts.

Trump is known to have had an affinity for Sims and his abilities going all the way back to Sims’ reporting on some of Trump’s earliest travels on the campaign trail.

Politico cited two sources stating that Sims’ book is set for release in January.

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After founding Yellowhammer News in early 2012, Sims enjoyed a nearly immediate ascent in the news and communications industry. He established Yellowhammer News as the go-to news source for influential political and business leaders in the state and then broadened the outlet’s reach with radio programming and a news network that can now be heard on 35 stations around Alabama.

Sims eventually joined Trump’s communications team in the months leading up to his defeat of Hillary Clinton. It was during this time that Sims became a trusted ally of the soon-to-be president being among those with daily access to him while working out of the Trump Tower headquarters.

Sims made the natural transition to the West Wing where his office was only a few steps from the Oval Office until his departure in May.

1 month ago

Alabama rocket builder up for SpaceNews reader awards

(YHN/NASA)

Alabama’s own rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance (ULA) is in the running for several SpaceNews Awards for Excellence and Innovation as voted on by readers.

ULA has been nominated for Company of the Year, and its CEO, Tory Bruno, is a nominee for Corporate Leader of the Year.

The company’s Delta II rocket is up for the Unsung Hero of the Year award. The Delta II rocket is manufactured in ULA’s Decatur, Alabama, plant. ULA’s factory in Decatur is 1.6 million square feet and is the largest such facility in the western hemisphere.

ULA and its Alabama employees have powered two historic launches in recent months.

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In August, the company’s Delta IV Heavy rocket powered the Parker Solar Probe into space. The rocket will allow the Parker probe to fly seven times closer to the sun and more effectively study solar winds, which disrupt satellites and cause power outages. Just this week, the Parker probe broke the record for flying closer to the sun than any other man-made object.

Then in September, Alabama craftsmanship was again on display as the workhouse Delta II rocket made its much celebrated 155th and final flight into space.

Alabamians will also play a prominent role in the next manned space flights.

NASA announced a plan over the summer to resume manned missions, and ULA rockets from Decatur will power those missions as well.

Bruno accompanied the astronauts for those missions to Decatur to see the rockets that will send them into space.

“It was great for the astronauts to see it, touch it and ask how it is put together,” said Bruno.

And add astronaut Josh Cassada to the list of those recognizing the importance of the Alabama workforce to America’s future in space.

“A few of us had a chance to fly up to Alabama and meet some of the most talented, hardworking men and women at ULA who are building our rocket, and I’ll tell you, we are in great hands,” said Cassada.

Reader voting for the SpaceNews awards will continue here through November 5. The awards will be presented to the winners on December 3.

2 months ago

Del Marsh releases campaign ad: ‘The government’s job is to stay out of yours’

(Del Marsh/YouTube)

Del Marsh released a new campaign ad on Tuesday.

The ad, titled ‘Government’s Job,’ touts Marsh’s record of job creation as a successful small businessman.

Marsh, who currently serves as president pro tem of the Alabama Senate, is shown throughout the ad in various industrial settings talking about his philosophy on the role of government in the economy.

Watch:

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Marsh closes the ad saying, “I believe the government’s job is to stay out of yours. I’m Del Marsh. I believe in low taxes and ending nonsense regulations. Because your hard work should pay off.”

Marsh’s use of the industrial imagery in the ad would seem to fit with his background and experience.

Yellowhammer News described Marsh this way in its 2018 Power and Influence 50 feature:

Del Marsh is the kind of public servant for which the current electorate craves and our founding fathers envisioned. Marsh originally ran for office simply because his state senator was not responsive to the needs of small business.

Once elected, Marsh became a tireless advocate for smaller government. He is as comfortable in a tree stand as he is a committee room and feels as much at home in his machine shop fabricating gun parts as he does working in a boardroom.

Marsh represents Senate District 12 in Calhoun and Talladega Counties.

2 months ago

AARP’s role in Obamacare expansion could be problematic for Alabama taxpayers

(M. Obama/Twitter)

As calls for Medicaid expansion resurface in Alabama, it is no coincidence that mega-donors of the left along the lines of George Soros and Tom Steyer have decided to participate in the state’s elections this cycle.

Another such champion of liberal causes which may also enter the fray is AARP. The group has not shied away from advocating for expansion of the healthcare entitlement program in conservative, red states such as Utah.

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As with the expansion of any government program, the debate primarily centers on how a state pays for its growth.

AARP’s participation in the debate surrounding Obamacare expansion could be particularly problematic for Alabama taxpayers.

AARP has a history of fighting – in Congress and the courts – against the kind of healthcare reform which would benefit taxpayers.

Perhaps the most significant result of AARP’s resistance to healthcare reform has been the group’s ability to profit nearly $4.5 billion from its sale of healthcare plans to Medicare beneficiaries. AARP is able to enjoy this enormous profit by taking advantage of an Obamacare loophole which allows AARP to deny Medigap plans based on pre-existing conditions.

These moves by AARP have been characterized as “shady business practices,” yet the group has been successful in preserving the status quo of the pre-existing condition loophole.

It is this fact, among others, that has led to criticism that AARP has strayed far from its mission as an advocacy group for seniors. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2016, AARP lobbied on 77 different bills in Congress, including topics such as National Parks and autonomous vehicles, but took no action to support Medigap reform.

In Alabama, AARP has previously joined forces with Democratic Party-aligned groups like Sierra Club to fight for the Obama environmental agenda.

These are the types of natural alliances that have been cultivated over the years through the continuing activity of the Obama political organization. GMMB, a high-brow Democratic Party consulting firm, counts both Obama and AARP among its clients. GMMB’s website includes extensive branding from AARP and Obama as part of its firm marketing.

Obamacare expansion in Alabama could increase enrollment by up to 485,000 people, according to some estimates. Similar estimates price the state’s expansion at $27.9 billion over the next ten years.

3 months ago

Alabama-built Delta II rocket takes one last trip

(NASA)

Fresh off of the historic launch of an Alabama-built rocket in August, NASA once again counted on Alabama craftsmanship to send its latest earth-studying satellite into space.

NASA successfully launched its Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California on Saturday morning. The satellite will have the capability of measuring the dimensions of ice and land masses within four millimeters.

The satellite lifted off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket built at the company’s Decatur, Alabama manufacturing facility.

The occasion also marked the end of an era in the rocket industry for the Delta II. This was the 155th and final flight of the Delta II. Missions will now shift to the newer Atlas V and Delta IV, also manufactured at the ULA facility in Decatur.

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The Delta II was first launched into service on February 14, 1989, successfully delivering the first operational satellite in the Global Positioning System.

Those using Delta II over the course of its three decades of service included the United States military, NASA and commercial clients.

This was ULA’s seventh launch in 2018 and 130th launch since the company’s formation in 2006.

ULA’s rocket manufacturing plant in Alabama is 1.6 million square feet and is the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere.

NASA has already announced a plan to resume manned space missions. ULA rockets from Alabama will power those missions as well.

ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno accompanied the astronauts for those missions to Decatur to see the rockets that will send them to space.

“It was great for the astronauts to see it, touch it and ask how it is put together,” said Bruno.

Astronaut Josh Cassada was among those who toured the Decatur plant.

“A few of us had a chance to fly up to Alabama and meet some of the most talented, hardworking men and women at ULA who are building our rocket, and I’ll tell you, we are in great hands,” said Cassada.

3 months ago

BCA executive leadership a rare collection of influence

(YHN)

Lost in the headlines announcing a complete reorganization of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) was the fact that its executive committee is now a collection of the most influential business leaders in the state.

This assemblage of influence, and the resources that come with their participation in the BCA, set the organization up for its return to prominence in policy-making and politics.

The fact that leaders of the state’s largest employers, themselves, sit on the group’s governing body is a departure from the previous structure.

It shows the seriousness with which these companies take the need for one voice in Alabama’s business community.

And it allows them to harness unrivaled resources to implement their vision.

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Among those sitting on the executive committee is Mark Crosswhite, president and CEO of Alabama Power, who spearheaded the overhaul effort for the state’s large employers. Crosswhite’s company has 1.4 million customers and 7,000 employees in Alabama.

John Turner, president and CEO of Regions Bank, brings to the table a presence of more than 200 bank branches in communities throughout Alabama.

Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, leads a business that operates in every county in the state and counts 2.1 million Alabamians as its customers.

Johnny Johns has been called an icon in the Alabama business community. He serves as Executive Chairman of Protective Life Corp. in Birmingham which is the 13th largest insurance company in the world.

Most corporate boardrooms would be envious of the collection of business leaders brought together at the new BCA.

In neighboring states, similar business advocacy groups have corporate officers below the CEO level participating in governance or see the influence of their CEOs diluted by the sheer numbers on governing boards.

That is not the case anymore in Alabama.

The willingness of these business leaders to sit at the table and participate directly in the decision-making process for the good of Alabama’s economy should not go unnoticed.

With their commitment, the resources they have at their disposal, the number of Alabamians they touch and a geographic footprint in all corners of the state, the BCA is now equipped with a rare level of influence.

And influence matters. Setting an agenda is easy. Enacting an agenda is the true litmus test for success.

4 months ago

Alabama-built rocket powers launch

Photo credit: NASA

If you ever want to know how something gets into space, spend time with the people involved in the mission on the day of a launch. The anticipation and excitement in their voices and on their faces tells you everything you need to know.

People make it possible.

And, this morning, it was people from Alabama’s turn to send something to space.

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Early Sunday, the Parker Solar Probe lifted off in Cape Canaveral, FL, atop United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket built in Decatur, AL.

The rocket from ULA’s Decatur plant will allow the Parker probe to fly seven times closer to the sun and more effectively study solar winds, which disrupt satellites and cause power outages.

ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno told Yellowhammer News on Friday that the Delta IV rocket is a critical component of the overall mission.

“The Delta IV is the only rocket in the world that can deliver the type of precision accuracy required of a mission like this,” said Bruno.

Bruno was quick to point out, though, that it is really about the people.

“People are the greatest assets we have,” said Bruno.

Bruno has spent considerable time at ULA’s Decatur plant and has come away impressed each time.

“We have great craftsmen at our Decatur facility,” Bruno was quick to mention. “These big rockets are handcrafted machines, and there is no substitute for skilled technicians.”

The role of Alabama’s workforce in this mission cannot be understated, Bruno believes.

“Decatur built this rocket,” he said. “The work done there makes this mission possible. Alabama’s workforce is wonderful.”

ULA’s rocket manufacturing plant in Alabama is 1.6 million square feet and is the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere.

This morning’s launch is the culmination of years of effort by those involved. NASA started working on the Parker Solar Probe mission in 2006.

Yet Alabama’s participation in the country’s renewed interest in space will only increase.

Last week, NASA announced a plan to resume manned missions. ULA rockets from Alabama will power those missions as well.

Bruno accompanied the astronauts for those missions to Decatur to see the rockets that will send them into space.

“It was great for the astronauts to see it, touch it and ask how it is put together,” said Bruno.

Add astronaut Josh Cassada to the list of those recognizing the importance of the Alabama workforce to America’s future in space.

“A few of us had a chance to fly up to Alabama and meet some of the most talented, hardworking men and women at ULA who are building our rocket, and I’ll tell you, we are in great hands,” said Cassada.

4 months ago

Shelby touts Alabama rockets in next manned space mission

(Wikicommons)

Senator Richard Shelby today continued to tout Alabama’s role in American spaceflight. Shelby took to Twitter to highlight the fact that United Launch Alliance (ULA) rockets made in Decatur, Alabama were going to help power American astronauts back into space.

According to NASA, it will be the first time since 2011 that it will launch “American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.”

The NASA announcement also named the nine astronauts on the mission flying commercial aircraft to and from the International Space Station.

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Astronaut Josh Cassada has already gotten a first-hand glimpse at just how vital a role ULA and the workers at its Decatur facility have in the next chapter of American spaceflight.

“A few of us had a chance to fly up to Alabama and meet some of the most talented, hardworking men and women at ULA who are building our rocket, and I’ll tell you, we are in great hands,” said Cassada.

While ULA rockets have powered unmanned American missions to Mars, ULA President and CEO Tony Bruno testified recently before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about his company’s vision for expanding those missions.

“Acts of Congress and Presidential directives reflect the high priority for the United States Government has long placed on human space exploration,” said Bruno. “With this continuing commitment, Americans will surely land on Mars as they landed on the Moon.”