The Wire

  • Fairhope firefighter facing new child sex crime allegations

    Excerpt from WKRG:

    A volunteer Fairhope firefighter, already facing child sex crime charges in Northwest Florida, is now also facing charges in Baldwin County

    Aaron Timony Green — seen smiling in his latest booking photo — was booked into the Baldwin County Corrections Center Tuesday morning on charges of child sex abuse and sodomy.

    According to Daphne Police, Green was arrested Monday, and the alleged abuse happened in November 2017.

    Police say the alleged victim was under 12.

  • Birmingham council passes $436 million budget

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the $436 million fiscal year 2019 operating budget.

    The budget is $8 million larger than last year’s budget, due to increased revenue from use and occupational taxes. According to the mayor’s office, 133 vacant jobs were cut from the budget, saving the city $4.7 million.

    Despite the larger budget, Mayor Randall Woodfin said there still wasn’t enough money for street paving or additional funding for Birmingham City Schools.

  • Martha Roby Honors Montgomery Native in 10th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game Tomorrow

    Excerpt from a Rep. Martha Roby news release:

    U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) will play in the 10th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game tomorrow, June 20, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    This beloved tradition began in 2009 after Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was diagnosed with breast cancer. Each year, female members of Congress face members of the Washington, D.C., press corps to raise funds and awareness for the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), an organization that addresses a variety of issues unique to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Each year, the players honor real women who are battling cancer. This year, Representative Roby will be playing for Courtney Pruitt, a Montgomery native and recent Alabama Christian Academy graduate who is currently undergoing intense treatment to fight leukemia. Courtney is the daughter of Representative Roby’s dear friend and Montgomery City Councilman Glen Pruitt.

    “This year marks the tenth consecutive year female members from both sides of the aisle have come together for the Congressional Women’s Softball Game to support young women battling cancer,” Representative Roby said. “I’m proud to be involved in this great event again this year, and I truly believe it demonstrates what we can accomplish when we put our differences aside to rally for a worthy cause. I am honored to play for my dear friend’s daughter Courtney as she continues to courageously battle this disease.”

Employer Sees Results from Apprenticeship Alabama Program

(AlabamaWorks!)

By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek Training Area Leader

As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.

We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.

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Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.

It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.

Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.

While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
community college.

Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.

The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.

After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.

Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.

Employer Sees Results from Apprenticeship Alabama Program

(AlabamaWorks!)

By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek training area leader

As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.

We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.

411

Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.

It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.

Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.

While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
community college.

Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.

The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.

After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.

Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.

Employer Sees Results from Apprenticeship Alabama Program

(AlabamaWorks!)

By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek training area leader

As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.

We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.

411

Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.

It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.

Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.

While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
community college.

Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.

The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.

After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.

Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.

Employer Sees Results from Apprenticeship Alabama Program

(AlabamaWorks!)

By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek training area leader

As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.

We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.

411

Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.

It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.

Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.

While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
community college.

Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.

The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.

After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.

Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.

Employer Sees Results from Apprenticeship Alabama Program

(AlabamaWorks!)

By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek training area leader

As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.

We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.

411

Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.

It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.

Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.

While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
community college.

Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.

The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.

After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.

Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.

2 months ago

Provalus is training rural Alabama workers for its high-tech jobs

(M. Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

Brewton may not be the first place you would expect to find jobs in software development, website design and technology help desk staffing, but Provalus is finding great success in this south Alabama town.

Atlanta-based Optomi launched Provalus with the intent of growing technology jobs in rural areas. Brewton was announced as the flagship for Provalus last summer with plans to create more than 300 jobs.

Eight months later, the company has set up shop in temporary space while its new facility is under construction. But it’s not passively waiting – it’s adding jobs and changing lives.

The company just completed its fifth boot camp – a nine-week intensive training program that teaches applicants to become software developers and programmers.

Nearly 40 people have already been hired.

“We’re projecting to be probably close to 75-80 towards the end of 2018, so that’s pretty exponential growth,” said Daniel Guelzo, general manager with Provalus Brewton. “That’s targeted to 300-350 within the next couple of years.”

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Will Ruzik, executive director of the Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance, said Provalus is finding such success in Brewton, he wouldn’t be surprised to see that number grow.

“Three hundred jobs is where the mark was set,” he said. “This could be 400, this could be 500. They are growing so fast right now and they’re having success in finding their talent, so this could be endless as to where they end up.”
Why such early success?

“What they found here was work ethic,” Ruzik said. “I know they’re testing for aptitude, but what they have found are people who still believe in putting in a hard day’s work.”

Johnathon Bell was part of the first boot camp at Provalus Brewton and is now a programmer who helps train applicants.

He graduated second in the first class.

“I’ve always had a passion for development,” Bell said. “I started out as an independent game developer and just sort of fell in love more with the programming side than the game development side.”

After moving to Pensacola to try to find a tech job, Bell heard about what Provalus was doing back home.

“It’s actually way more than I expected,” he said. “At first, when I heard about it, I was just kind of baffled. I couldn’t imagine a tech company coming to Brewton. But when I actually explored and found out what was going on, I was all in.”

Now he feels like he’s part of something bigger than a job.

“I’m really proud of this,” he said. “It’s exciting to be part of a startup, especially something that’s going to bring so much to the community. Just the giving nature of this company, I’m just thrown back by it.”

Guelzo said that’s the kind of impact Optomi envisioned with Provalus.

“We looked at Brewton not because we would find a lot of software developers, we just knew that there was a lot of intellectual capital here and we were correct,” Guelzo said. “There are a lot of bright people, just underemployed and given the right training and opportunity, it’s amazing what comes out of that.”

Guelzo said people are coming from an hour or more away for these jobs, including larger cities like Mobile and Pensacola. The company has put the word out to military bases and junior colleges in hopes of hiring veterans and those with a two-year degree.

“These are scalable technology jobs,” Guelzo said. “Technology rolls at lightning speed. Every six months, there is new world out there, a new technology for them to learn. In the next four or five years, they’re going to eat as much technology as they can.”

D’Andre Wright, economic developer with Alabama Power, said Provalus’ success bodes well for what companies of any industry can expect to find in smaller towns in Alabama.

“As we look to be creative in dealing with workforce challenges, the success Provalus is having certainly offers a great example of what’s possible when a company looks outside the obvious metro areas,” Wright said.

It’s the kind of game changer Ruzik had hoped Provalus would be. The Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance focuses on job growth and investment in Choctaw, Clarke, Escambia and Monroe counties.

“When we first started having contact with this company, we really, really were beginning to pinch ourselves and thinking that maybe this was too good to be true,” Ruzik said. “But as we began to talk to the company and understand their mission, we realized this could be something really special.”

It’s made special by what Provalus sees as its mission, he said.

“What we realized early on in talking to this company was that this was much more than just about jobs,” Ruzik said. “We realized that these folks are out to transform communities. They have a real passion and a mission for transforming lives.”

It’s becoming obvious as the company gets established in Brewton.

“We knew that early on and we’re excited that other people are starting to see that,” Ruzik said. “This company is going to touch every community within our region and even outside our region.”

It’s already touched the life of Jernigan Nordmeyer, a graduate of the most recent boot camp.

“I’ve always kind of had a passion for development, but never really had the way to get to that,” she said. “This provided that for me and to be closer to my family.”

She was in school at the University of West Florida when she learned about Provalus and a chance to bring her kids home to Brewton.

“It’s been very challenging, for sure, but I’ve definitely learned so much,” Nordmeyer said of the boot camp. Her final project was to develop a website for a massage therapist in town.

“It has been more than I thought it would be,” she said. “The resources were way more than I expected them to be and the challenges were way more than I expected them to be as well. It was very fast-paced.”

Like Bell, Nordmeyer said she can’t wait to see what the company will mean for her hometown.

“I cannot wait to see what good this does for the community of Brewton and the employees as well,” she said.

That commitment is another attribute Ruzik said Provalus has found in the process.

“What this company realized as they moved out into the rural area is they’re training folks who want to be here,” he said.

Guelzo said the focus of the first five boot camps has been on programming and development. Provalus will also train applicants on help desk, technical support, data reporting services and business processing.

“We’re working in most Fortune 2000 companies – a wide spectrum of industries and technologies, anywhere from financial services to software to healthcare,” Guelzo said.

Ruzik believes Provalus and other companies could replicate this approach to other rural areas in Alabama.

“It helps us understand how we need to market our rural area and how we can compete with some of the metro regions – understanding that we still have work ethic here,” he said. “We just have folks that may not have had the same educational opportunities or even the same training as folks may get in metro areas. But for companies that are willing to train, the work ethic, the aptitude it’s all here in rural America.”

Guelzo praised the backing Provalus has found in Alabama.

“I think this has been a great marriage, especially for the city of Brewton and for Provalus and for the state as well,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of support. Any initiative this size takes a lot of people to get going.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

7 months ago

J. Pepper Bryars: Roy Moore isn’t bad for business (but he isn’t necessarily good for business either)

(Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate/Facebook)
(Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate/Facebook)

 

 

Over the weekend NPR aired a story about how Alabama’s business community fears that Roy Moore’s likely election to the Senate could hurt the state’s economic growth, costing jobs for the very people he seeks to represent.

“Roy Moore is a disaster for business and economic development. He was a disaster even before the allegations,” said Susan Pace Hamill, a business law professor at the University of Alabama. “The fear is that his presence will tip the scales, causing the business to choose somebody else.”

(Side note: The report failed to mention that Hammil was the Democratic Party’s nominee in its 2010 challenge to State Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), so perhaps her view is just a tad bias.)

The rest of the story is nonsense, as well.

“Senator” Roy Moore isn’t going to be bad for business.

But then again, “Senator” Roy Moore isn’t necessarily going to be good for business, either.

Here’s why:

— First and foremost, we shouldn’t base our political decisions on economics alone. Our way of life is a broad tapestry of interests, often competing. Sometimes cultural issues trump economic issues (I’d rather lose my job than lose my country).

— That said, Alabama has a strong foundation and can weather any single storm. We were just named No. 6 on an influential economic development magazine’s survey of state business climates (and we achieved that ranking while having the embarrassing “Luv Guv” at the helm. That shows how little some politicians can actually mess things up).

— Alabama’s hope of landing a job producer doesn’t rest upon a single individual.

— Even if they did, a newly elected U.S. Senator has little to offer in such an arrangement. Because of the rules and committee processes, it takes senators years before they have the legislative clout to nab the types of appropriations or authorities needed to sweeten such economic development deals.

— Until then, young senators depend upon bones tossed to them by their party’s leadership or their colleagues for cooperation on other matters. (Roy Moore isn’t known for cooperating with leadership or making friends with people he doesn’t agree with, especially if it involves political horse-trading.)

— Aside from that, most companies don’t care about who a state has sitting in a Senate chamber 1,000 miles away, or what they’re saying (just so long as its pro-business on a macro level).

— In terms of political leaders, they care more about the people who can directly impact their company: the governor, leaders in the State House, local mayors, and other bodies like the school, zoning and utility boards.

— They care about how much water and power is going to cost, the local sales tax, whether they can get a road widened or extended, whether they can get a decent flow of educated employees, and many other pieces that have nothing, at least not directly, to do with the high-level debates in the U.S. Senate (just cut taxes and repeal federal regulations, and we’ll do fine down here).

— But our political leaders aren’t the only individuals who can impact a potential job producer’s decision to relocate to Alabama. Perhaps our best representatives come from the business community itself … the type of person a potential company’s CEO can understand and relate.

— Alabama has hundreds of world-class business executives who, if you knew them, would make you extremely proud of Alabama.

— Like our Founders envisioned, we’re a people who have a government not a government that has a people.

— Our economic fortune doesn’t rest in the hands of a single senator, or anyone else for that matter.

— It rests in the hands of every single Alabamian.

— And in that respect, it’s in good hands indeed.

1
7 months ago

German auto supplier to invest $115 million in Alabama plant, create 300-plus jobs

(Made In Alabama)
(Made In Alabama)

 

 Bocar, a Tier 1 automotive supplier, announced plans Thursday to invest $115 million in a new plant in Alabama, creating more than 300 jobs in a project that adds to the state’s booming automotive manufacturing sector.

Bocar company leaders made the announcement at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, along with representatives of the City of Huntsville and Limestone County.

“We are glad to invest in Huntsville, Alabama, where good infrastructure, talented people and a host of excellent universities will develop our business while contributing positively to the social and economic development of this community,” said Gerd Dressler, the chief financial officer of Bocar Group.

The plant will be built on a site strategically located on the northern side of Bibb Garrett Road, adjacent to Interstate 65, in the Huntsville portion of Limestone County. This will allow the company quick access to be able to ship parts to automotive companies in the region.Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2018 and production should begin two years later.“Alabama is a premier destination for the automotive and automotive supplier industries, and we are proud to welcome Bocar to our state,” Governor Kay Ivey said.“Bocar choosing Alabama is another sign our state is moving in the right direction and doing all we can to attract good-paying jobs for all Alabamians.”

Bocar is a German company with a presence in the United States, Germany, Mexico and Japan. It is a high-end technology and quality-driven automotive company with extensive experience producing high-pressure aluminum die casting, plastics and machining.

“Bocar is one of the most highly regarded of the Tier 1 automotive suppliers to leading companies like Toyota, Ford, GM and many others,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

“The company’s decision to locate this major facility in Huntsville is yet another building block in the foundation of our advanced manufacturing automotive sector.”

Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough said Bocar’s decision reflects the company’s confidences in the area’s workforce.

“We know that they will be a successful part of our future moving forward,” he said.

(By Jerry Underwood, courtesy of Made in Alabama)

1
8 months ago

138,000 manufacturing jobs added this year

Photo from Pixabay
Photo from Pixabay

The United States has gained 138,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017, according to data released yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, the last month of 2016, there were 12,343,000 employed in manufacturing in the United States, according to BLS. By October, that had risen to 12,481,000.

The 12,481,000 people employed in the manufacturing in October was the most since January 2009, the month that Barack Obama was inaugurated president. That month, there were 12,561,000 employed in manufacturing. But in February 2009, manufacturing employment fell to 12,380,000.

Between September and October of this year, manufacturing employment increased by 24,000—rising from 12,457,000 in September to October’s 12,481,000.

While employment was rising in manufacturing during October, it was also rising in government.

From September to October, employment in state, local and federal government rose from 22,352,000 to 22,361,000—an increase of 9,000 for the month.

So far in 2017, government has added 62,000 jobs—increasing from 22,299,000 in December 2016 to October’s 22,361,000.

Government jobs increases at each level of government—rising from 2,809,000 to 2,814,000 on the federal level, 5,089,000 to 5,091,000 on the state level; and 14,454,000 to 14,456,000 on the local level.

Government jobs now outnumber manufacturing jobs in the United States by 9,880,000.

Manufacturing jobs peaked at 19,533,000 in June 1979. Government jobs exceeded manufacturing jobs in the United States for the first time in August 1989.

(Courtesy of CNSNews.com)

1
8 months ago

Briggs & Stratton Invests $12 Million, Creates 50 Jobs in Auburn

Photo from MadeInAlabama.com
Photo from MadeInAlabama.com

Governor Ivey announced on Monday that Briggs & Stratton Corporation, a Milwaukee-based company, is planning to begin production of V-twin big block engines at its Auburn facility in 2018. The company will invest $12 million for this project, ultimately creating 50 jobs.

“Briggs & Stratton is a valuable, longtime member of Alabama’s business community, and the company’s decision to expand its product manufacturing in Auburn is a testament to the strong partnership we have developed together over the years,” Governor Ivey said. “I’m committed to creating an ideal environment for commerce and letting the world know that Alabama is open for business.”

The company has implemented a related operation at its facility in Statesboro, Georgia. Both are part of the Briggs & Stratton’s strategic commercial engine growth plan.

“We see this as a strategic competitive advantage because we can manufacture close to our customers in the U.S., which allows us to be more price competitive and shortens the supply chain for our customers,” said David Rodgers, senior vice president and president of Engines and Power at Briggs & Stratton.

Mayor Bill Ham thanked Briggs & Stratton for its dedication to and support of the Auburn community.“We are truly grateful that the leadership at Briggs & Stratton continues to trust our community with their investment,” he said. “The contributions to our economy and the lives of our citizens cannot be overstated. From providing jobs to helping fund our annual Fourth of July fireworks display for many years running, they are an outstanding corporate member of the community.”

Briggs & Stratton is one of the city’s largest industrial employers, with 430 workers. They have been operating in Auburn for 22 years.

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8 months ago

300 Tech Jobs Coming To Rural Alabama Community

(Yellowhammer)

As reported by WKRG News, Provalus, a software development company, is opening a $6.5 million dollar facility in Brewton, Al.

Gov. Kay Ivey was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new 60-thousand square feet facility. “It’s a great day for Alabama, especially here in Brewton,” said Gov. Ivey. “Provalus has the uniqueness where part of its mission is to provide jobs to rural Alabamians. And that means a lot to us.”

According to Provalus, the site, which rests on the old Dogwood Hills Golf Course, will take between 3-5 years to complete. Once finished, the campus will consist of three newly constructed buildings.

Executive Director of the Coastal Gateway Economic Alliance, Will Ruzic, expressed his enthusiasm for the new project by saying, “I was absolutely shocked, and we just cannot believe the opportunity which has presented its self.”

While currently plans only provide for the Provalus facility, Ruzic believes other businesses might follow the tech company to Brewton.

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8 months ago

Birmingham Among 238 Locations Vying for Amazon’s HQ2

Amazon announced this week that it has received 238 proposals from 54 states, provinces, territories, and districts across North America for its next headquarters. The tech giant is expected to directly invest $5 billion in the project and create 50,000 high paying jobs. The project is also likely to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions in additional investment in the surrounding community.

Birmingham is one of the many cities vying for Amazon’s attention. The city began a campaign called “Bring Amazon to Birmingham” (or “BringAtoB”) to create a buzz surrounding the new HQ2. City leaders erected large Amazon boxes and placed them at major locations around the city. They also encouraged Birmingham residents to create a social media buzz by using the hashtag #BringAtoB.

The city has even created a Twitter account Bring A to B that relentlessly posts hints aimed toward Amazon about moving to the Magic City.

Amazon is looking for locations with strong talent, especially in software development. Birmingham has seen rapid growth in its tech sector, as evidenced by local tech companies such as Shipt, and could provide the skilled workforce that Amazon is looking for.

Amazon has said that they chose a public forum for the selection process because they want to find a city that is excited to work with them. Birmingham is pulling out all of the stops to prove they are the best location for HQ2. Will Amazon make the move to the Magic City? We’ll have to wait to see!

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8 months ago

Alabama Unemployment Rate Matches Lowest In History From 2007

 

Governor Ivey announced today that Alabama’s preliminary September unemployment rate is 3.8%, matching the rate of April 2007, which is the lowest rate in recorded history.

This is down from August’s rate of 4.2%, and well below September 2016’s rate of 6.0%.

Governor Ivey released a statement on this milestone, stating:

“We’ve been working extremely hard over the past six months to bring Alabama’s unemployment rate down, and today’s news shows that our efforts are paying off. This is truly a historic day, as we announce that Alabama’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been. When it comes to job creation, we are doing the right thing and momentum is on our side in Alabama. But, we won’t let up and we will continue recruiting new businesses and encouraging existing firms to expand. We can’t and won’t slow down just because we’ve reached this milestone.”

2,068,594 people were counted as employed in September, compared to 2,057,360 in August, and 2,045,762 in September 2016. September’s rate represents 82,678 unemployed persons, compared to 90,756 in August and 131,201 in September 2016.

Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington added:

“Nearly 23,000 more people are working now than last year and the number of unemployed is down by almost 50,000. Those numbers represent real workers, with real families, and indicate real progress in our economy. Alabama’s employers continue to add jobs, supporting more than 2,011,000 positions this month, beating yearly job growth projections by 28,400 only nine months into the year. We remain hopeful that this wonderful progress continues throughout the rest of the year.”

Wage and salary employment increased in September by 7,100 people. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,900), the trade, transportation, and

Industries showing gains included the government sector (+5,900),  trade, transportation, utilities (+2,800), and construction sector (+1,200), to name a few. Over the past year, wage and salary employment increased 28,400, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,400), the professional and business services sector (+6,600), and the construction sector (+6,300), among others.

“All 67 counties experienced drops in their unemployment rates, both over the year and over the month, and for the first time in a decade, no county has a rate in the double digits,” said Washington.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates include Shelby County at 2.4%, Marshall and Cullman at 2.8%, and Madison, Lee, and Elmore Counties at 2.9%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.2%, Alabaster and Homewood at 2.3%, and Hoover at 2.4%.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 7.0%, Prichard at 6.4%, and Bessemer at 4.7%.

 

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9 months ago

700 New Jobs Coming To Huntsville

U.S Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL (Photo: Flikr user Bryce Edwards)
U.S Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL (Photo: Flikr user Bryce Edwards)

As reported by WHNT News, the Huntsville City Council has approved the Aerojet Rocketdyne expansion project.

Part of the project will involve the creation of an advanced manufacturing plant. Located in North Huntsville Industrial park, the plant will build propulsion engines for the SLS deep space rocket. Additionally, the new development will feature defense business headquarters and a rocket shop unit at Cummins Research Park.

The new project is worth an estimated $27 million and will employ over 700 people at a minimum salary of $80,000 per year.

Noting the obstacles that had to be overcome to land the deal, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said, “In the final stages, we competed with about five different states but early on it was about 12 different states across the Southeast.”

While the 700 new jobs are expected shortly, the project includes plans for expansion. That could attract over 1,200 new employees to the facility.

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9 months ago

International Paper to Invest $300 Million in Selma Mill

International Paper mill, Courtland, Ala.
International Paper mill, Courtland, Ala.

International Paper has announced plans to invest $300 million in its mill in Dallas County. The company hopes to expand its industrial packaging business, adding to the momentum of the state’s already flourishing forest products industry.

According to Made in Alabama, the Memphis-based company said that it plans to convert its number 15 paper machine in Selma to produce high quality whitetop liner board and containerboard by mid-2019. Currently, the machine produces uncoated freesheet, a type of paper commonly used in offices.

International Paper’s senior vice president of of Industrial Packaging the Americas commented on the investment, noting a focus on the customer’s needs.

“Our customers expect us to support their growth and this machine conversion will meet their needs. Our Industrial Packaging business continues to focus on our customers in strategic channels including our box business, domestic and export containerboard, and specialty grades.”

The investment will add 450,000 tons of capacity at the Selma mill, giving the mill the flexibility to shift production between several containerboard products. The mill will also remain a significant supplier of freesheet. This shift will allow the company to grow its industrial packaging business and solidify jobs at the Dallas County mill.

International Paper has been a leader in the surging growth of Alabama’s forest products industry. Last year, the industry recorded $1.2 billion of new investment and 1,000 anticipated new jobs. The investment made forest products the top accelerating industry in the state, toppling the astronomically growing automotive and aerospace industries.

RELATED: Georgia-Pacific Will Build $100 Million Lumber Facility in Alabama

International Paper’s investment proves that the industry is continuing that same trend of accelerated growth in to 2017. Paired with other industry developments, such as the announcement of a new Georgia-Pacific lumber facility in Talladega, Alabama’s forest products industry continues to bring significant economic and job growth to the Yellowhammer state.

“Alabama’s forest products industry is in the midst of a prolonged upswing that has brought a significant amount of new capital investment and jobs to the state, solidifying the industry’s status as a key economic driver,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

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9 months ago

Report Shows Majority of Alabama At Risk When It Comes To Economic Prosperity

As reported by Axios, U.S. geographical economic inequality appears to be growing. This means that as time passes, new jobs are beginning to consolidate around the nations most elite zip codes. As a result, out of every four new jobs, only one is left available for the bottom 60% of zip codes. How did Alabama score in the latest report? Not so great.

Looking at the map, it’s easily discernible that the majority of Alabama is “at risk” in the category of economic stability. While some areas, mostly in Northern Alabama, show a positive economic trend, at least 2/3 of the state is shown in orange and red clusters of at-risk communities.

According to the report, part of the problem centers around the issue of fewer jobs being created. As the creation of new companies declines, states like Alabama suffer the consequences. This is because the new businesses that are started tend to look for thriving communities. Thus, a vicious cycle of decreased job creation and the increased disparity is often the case.

The nexus of the problem appears to be concentrated on worker education. The more educated workers a given community has, the more the likelihood they will attract new business.

So what can Alabama do? Clearly, we must focus on providing better educational tools to our citizens, so they are prepared to compete in a fluid job market. Unlike previous generations, progress is taking place at an unprecedented pace. If Alabamians want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s imperative that we make education a priority. This will create a flourishing market that attracts business instead of forcing them to look elsewhere.

Alabama is hopeful, however, that as President Trump works with Congress to lighten over-bearing regulations and lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, more jobs will be created in expanding geographical areas across Alabama and the country.

The large part of America left behind by today’s economy.

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9 months ago

Mercedes To Invest $1 Billion in Alabama Electric Vehicle Project

(Made in Alabama)
Courtesy of Made in Alabama

According to Made in Alabama, Mercedes-Benz announced on Thursday that it plans to invest one billion dollars in its Tuscaloosa operation, where it will begin production of electric vehicles and build a battery plant. The German automaker is also set to expand its logistics operations across the country, with a new North American after-sales parts hub and Global Logistics Center set to be built in Bibb County.

Mercedes’s new investment is on track to create over 600 new Alabama jobs, and upgrade one of the world’s “smartest” manufacturing facilities. The automaker began production at its Vance manufacturing facility 20 years ago, sparking an automotive boom for the Yellowhammer state. Mercedes said its Alabama plant is already undergoing a $1.3 billion expansion that will position it to shape the future of electric mobility worldwide.

“With this $1 billion investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production,” said a member of the divisional board of Mercedes Cars, production and supply chain, Markus Schafer.

Mercedes will begin producing its EQ brand SUV models in Alabama by 2020. The automaker hopes to offer more than 50 various electric vehicle models by 2022. Currently, the Tuscaloosa plant produces the GLS, GLE, and GLE Coupé sport utilities, as well as the C-Class sedan. The plant is also being prepared to produce plug-in hybrids.

Construction on the one million square foot battery facility is set to begin next year. The Bibb County Global Logistics Center will support the company’s worldwide logistics for its Alabama-made products. Moreover, the North American after-sales parts hub located on the same site will provide spare parts to markets around the world. It is set to open in late 2020.

Mercedes has a continuing history of investment in the state of Alabama. The automaker originally invested $325 million in the state. However, with the expansion announced on Thursday, the company will have invested a total of $6.8 billion in the Yellowhammer state in just over 20 years. Mercedes has been and will continue to be the leading contributor to economic development in the state.

“The fact that Mercedes-Benz continues to expand its operations in Alabama makes a powerful statement about the quality of the automaker’s workforce in the state, and underscores that we are achieving our goal of ensuring businesses in Alabama don’t just survive, but thrive,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

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9 months ago

Austal Delivers Sixth Alabama-Built Littoral Combat Ship to U.S. Navy

Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS8) (Photo: Austal USA)
Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS8) (Photo: Austal USA)

Mobile, Al. – On Friday, September 15, Austal delivered its sixth littoral combat ship to the United States Navy. LCS 12, the future USS Omaha, will be the navy’s tenth littoral combat ship and the first of two that Austal will deliver this year.

In a news release from Austal’s website, President Craig Perciavalle said, “They’re here and ready! Our Independence-variant littoral combat ships are coming off the line with exceptional quality and under the congressional cost cap. It’s important to us to safely and quickly get these highly capable game-changing ships to the Navy.”

Six littoral combat ships remain under construction at the Alabama shipyard. According to Austal, both Manchester and Tulsa are being prepared for trials. Charleston launched last week, and Cincinnati is being assembled. Modules for Kansas City and Oakland are under construction.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of Austal’s talented team of shipbuilders,” said Perciavalle. “The men and women of Austal are truly dedicated patriots and I’m looking forward to sharing many future successes with them and the thousands of suppliers across America who support this program.”

The Independence-Variatn Littoral Combat Ship Program supports 900 suppliers in 41 states. The program bolsters jobs from both large and small businesses, and has been a major contributor to economic growth in Mobile and south Alabama.

Austal is also set to deliver 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels for the U.S. Navy. With so many projects in the works and a massive defense budget passed earlier this week, the Yellowhammer State’s shipbuilding industry continues to be poised for success.

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9 months ago

AlabamaWorks! Is on Track for Employers, Employees

Ed Castile

What began several years ago as a vision for developing a skilled workforce and ensuring continued industry success is now a reality. In November 2016, AlabamaWorks officially launched, bringing together all the components of Alabama’s workforce development system under one brand.

AlabamaWorks unites Alabama businesses and industries with our education, workforce training and job placement systems. The goal was to bridge the gap between unfilled jobs and a qualified workforce, and we are doing that.

Along with business and industry leaders, partners in AlabamaWorks include the Alabama Department of Commerce and AIDT; the Alabama State Department of Education and its Career/Technical Education Program; the Alabama Community College System; the Alabama Technology Network; the Alabama Department of Labor and its Alabama Career Center System; and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

AlabamaWorks also included reconfiguring the state’s original 10 regional workforce councils into seven, each led by a director. The councils determine the needs of their regions through industry clusters that range from healthcare to automotive, transportation to aerospace, and construction to machining. It simply depends on the area’s needs.

Our regional directors have been busy — coordinating job fairs, hosting cluster meetings, working with the media, and planning events that expose students and job seekers to various career opportunities.

Each regional director is paired with a Department of Commerce employee, who is a regional workforce council liaison. Together, they coordinate resources to meet workforce needs of that region.

To ensure our goals are met, our regional directors have specific metrics they must achieve, such as conducting needs assessments, creating annual strategic plans, formulating grants committees, etc. I am pleased to say that all directors are on track to meet their targets.

One milestone for each regional director is to introduce eighth-graders to opportunities in the technical fields. These events go by different names — “Worlds Of Opportunity,” “Worlds of Work,” “Career Discovery” – but they all provide hands-on experiences for students to learn about careers that don’t require a four-year degree. Company representatives also share information about wages, positions available and what type of training or education is required.

In addition to exposing students to technical careers, we also have an apprenticeship program. Launched in January by the Department of Commerce, Apprenticeship Alabama has made significant strides for both employers and employees.

Presently, we have 31 companies and hundreds of apprentices in our system. While the apprentice earns a wage and receives on-the-job training, the registered company gains a qualified employee AND receives a tax credit. Apprentices can expect to earn a higher wage upon successful completion of the program.

One company that is experiencing success with Apprenticeship Alabama is Newman Technology of Alabama, Inc. Newman Technology needed training for some of its existing employees to advance their skills and careers, but wasn’t certain how to proceed. They contacted a representative at Northeast Alabama Community College to discuss company needs and what the college could offer. As a result, Newman now has five apprentices who are getting formal instruction via college courses while receiving on-the-job training with other skilled Newman employees.

To stretch dollars and manpower even further, the Alabama workforce system is combining its resources with those from the federal government through the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act.

Previously, WIOA had three local boards to cover the entire state. Now, WIOA boards are aligning with the seven regions. The first local board meeting was convened by West AlabamaWorks a few weeks ago. There are now five new local boards and two expanded local boards.

AlabamaWorks has also been an asset in industry recruitment. When industry representatives are seeking sites for their companies, they look at the area in its entirety — including its potential workforce. The Alabama Department of Commerce uses AlabamaWorks and its partners as a recruiting tool.

Recently, state leaders announced that several companies are coming to Alabama and another is returning. Dynetics (Huntsville) broke ground on a new facility. Meanwhile, Wolverine Tube (Decatur) announced it will reopen, creating 250 jobs. These and other companies see the value in what we have to offer.

Although we have a lot of work still to do, I feel we have achieved a great deal during the past several months. Through AlabamaWorks, people are working together like never before to ensure Alabama jobs are filled with trained applicants.

For more information on finding employees, posting a job, training or a finding a job, please visit the www.alabamaworks.com website.


 

About the Author: Ed Castile is deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce/Workforce Development Division and executive director of AIDT.

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9 months ago

Welcome Home: New York Based Company Opening $13.6 Million Distillery In Alabama

Photo courtesy of Clyde May's Facebook
Photo courtesy of Clyde May’s Facebook

As reported by the Alabama News Center, Conecuh Ridge Distiller has announced its plan to open a $13.6 million distillery in Troy, Alabama. The company is the maker of the popular whiskey brand Clyde May’s, and it plans to build an interactive distillery designed to attract tourists.

The announcement for the new building project came from Gov. Ivey who said, “Today’s announcement affirms that our state’s sound business climate is a positive attraction for companies looking to find a home. We are glad Conecuh Ridge Distillery has chosen Troy for their operations center.”

The plan to bring a New York-based distillery to Alabama centers around honoring the namesake of the brand. Clyde May’s whiskey pays homage to an Alabama moonshiner known for making high-quality whiskey during the 1940’s. Pointing to the company’s heritage, Conecuh Ridge Distillery president and CEO Roy Danis said, “Coming home to Troy, Alabama, where the brand got its start, reinforces these values and makes all of us who work for this great brand so very proud.”

While continuing to make great whiskey is the utmost priority for the company, it also wants to deliver a quality experience when visitors tour the facility, much like the manufactures of Jack Daniels and Makers Mark have in their respective states.

Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell left little doubt about the excitement the department has by saying, “Becoming the home of the Clyde May brand is a great opportunity for Troy. . . Making a premium product in a site that will become a tourist destination is a great strategy. We look forward to working with Troy and the distillers for this venture to become a success.”

The project is expected to create at least 50 jobs with an average salary of around $54,000 per year. Couple that with the influx of tourism that’s expected, and all the ingredients for sustainable economic growth are present. Governor Ivey underscored this point, adding, “In addition to the 50 jobs being created, we are excited about the potential economic impact this company will have in Pike County as this becomes a tourist destination for the official spirit of Alabama.”

As of now, no announcement has been made as to the timing of the ground-breaking, but this is clearly another positive step in increasing the horsepower of Alabama’s economic engine.

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9 months ago

$120 Million Truck Assembly Plant Coming to Birmingham

Courtesy of Made in Alabama
Courtesy of Made in Alabama

Governor Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday that an Indiana-based manufacturing company, Autocar, will invest $120 million to build a plant in Alabama to manufacture heavy duty cab-over-engine trucks. According to Made in Alabama, the manufacturing operation will be located in an existing one million square-foot complex in Center Point and Birmingham. It is expected to employ 746 workers.

Autocar is the newest addition to the state’s vastly growing automotive sector. Alabama is already home to manufacturing plants from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. Governor Ivey said that the announcement is a huge step for the Yellowhammer State. “Alabama is a powerhouse in automotive manufacturing, and Autocar’s new heavy-duty truck assembly operation in Birmingham will add a new dimension to the state’s activities in this vital sector,” she said.

Autocar chairman Andrew Taitz said that the company chose Birmingham after an extensive selection process. He gave several reasons that Birmingham was the optimal choice for the site, including “access to a great business environment, strong state and local governmental partners, a skilled workforce, and proximity to our customers and suppliers.” He emphasized that Birmingham had the “whole package.”

According to the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama, the Autocar plant will have a significant economic impact on the city of Birmingham and the sate in general. Once fully operational, the plant is expected to generate $645.1 million in annual economic impact. It will contribute $229 million annually to Alabama’s GDP and $130.1 million in earnings to Alabama households through 2,655 direct and indirect jobs.

Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson expressed excitement for the project, saying Autocar’s arrival is a huge boost for their respective cities. Autocar has already begun hiring employees to begin production. The average annual base compensation for all employees will be over $58,000.

Wednesday was a big day for Alabama’s manufacturing industry. The announcement came just hours after Georgia-Pacific unveiled plans for a new lumber manufacturing facility in Talladega. With these two new facilities, the Yellowhammer State continues to solidify itself as a haven for manufacturing jobs and companies.

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9 months ago

Georgia-Pacific Will Build $100 Million Lumber Facility in Alabama

Courtesy of Made in Alabama
Courtesy of Made in Alabama

According to Made in Alabama, Georgia-Pacific announced Wednesday that it plans to build a $100 million lumber production facility in Talladega. The new state of the art facility will employ over 100 full-time employees with an annual payroll of over $5 million. It will be located at the company’s old plywood mill that closed in 2008.

“The availability of talent and natural resources make Talladega an ideal site for this new lumber production facility,” said Fritz Mason, vice president and general manager of Georgia-Pacific Lumber.

Construction on the facility is set to begin immediately, and officials hope to be up and running by late 2018. While based out of Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific has a long history in Alabama. There are currently more than 2,300 Georgia-Pacific employees at seven different facilities across the state. The company has invested over $1.1 billion in the state of Alabama over the past five years, including a $50 million upgrade to its plant in Brewton earlier this year.

Governor Kay Ivey expressed her support for Georgia-Pacific and the new facility.

“Georgia-Pacific’s new investment in Talladega will bring good jobs and enhanced opportunities to the area’s citizens while also benefiting timber owners in the region. I am committed to working closely with businesses like Georgia-Pacific, which has a significant presence in the state, as we demonstrate to the world that Alabama is open for business and eager to form strong partnerships.”

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, commented on the significant amount of economic growth that the forestry industry has brought to the state.

“Alabama’s forest products industry is in the midst of a prolonged upswing that has brought a significant amount of new capital investment and jobs to the state, solidifying the industry’s status as a key economic driver. Georgia-Pacific has been a major player in that growth as it expands its operating footprint in the state’s timber belt.”

The construction of the facility will also bring a significant economic impact to Talladega and surrounding areas. The project is expected to employ 120 workers a day during the 12-month construction period. According to an economic model produced by the University of Alabama, the project will have an economic impact of over $26 million in the area.

The announcement comes as Alabama continues to see significant growth in the manufacturing industry. The Yellowhammer State has enjoyed some of its lowest unemployment rates in recent history over the past few months.

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10 months ago

New Space Complex Coming to Decatur

Photo: Dynetics Facebook

As reported by WHNT News, yesterday marked the beginning of a new $21 million aerospace complex in Decatur.

The new complex will be composed of three buildings—each constructed with the capability to test the structural viability of large space structures. This includes NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program and commercial clients.

Congressman Mo Brooks, who attended the event said, “I had been saddened by America’s loss of human space launch capability and NASA astronauts being reduced to having to thumb a ride with the Russians to get to the space station. But today, I am heartened to know the Tennessee Valley is once again playing a major role to launch American astronauts to space on American-made rockets.”

CEO of Dynetics, David King, has been a long time proponent of increased space technology across the Tennessee Valley. And he once worked at Marshall Space Flight Center. He added, “We’re very excited about this capability to build these large aerospace structures here in Decatur-Morgan County.”

Beyond the obvious economic impact of the project, it a major piece in Alabama’s ever growing space industry. From Huntsville to the new complex in Decatur, the Yellowhammer state is hurtling forward in the industry.

There are 25 immediate jobs, and when the complex opens in late 2018, residents of Decatur should expect to see a flurry of opportunities follow.

Touching on the impact he hopes the aerospace will have on the city, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said, “We have over 14,000 residents that travel daily east of here to go to work, it’s time we’re able to help those residents stay here in Decatur and work.”

 

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10 months ago

New UTC Aerospace Facility Calls Baldwin County Home

Photo: Congressman Bryne's Facebook
Photo: Congressman Bryne’s Facebook

As reported by Fox 10 News, Baldwin County recently unveiled a new 80,000 square foot addition to its UTC Aerospace Systems facility. And while creating parts for Mobile’s Airbus, it is expected to employ 260 additional workers.

Although exciting news, the aerospace business has been in Foley for over three decades, however, this new expansion now gives the facility more than 500,000 square feet of working space and will employ over 1,000 people.

In attendance at the ceremony was Congressman Bradley Byrne and Baldwin County Commission Chairman, Chris Elliot. Going over the economic importance of the new facility, Elliot said,

“This is integral and important to the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, but much more work for all kinds of different carriers and manufacturers that are built right here in Baldwin County. . . right here in Foley as well.”

The expansion is not expected to be fully operational until the end of the year, however, once under operation, it’s supposed to sport state-of-the-art manufacturing technology including automated material movement and painting systems. Lee Lawson, with the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, said,

“By having UTC put this investment here and put their stamp of approval on us, it gives a lot of large, international companies comfort if they’re looking for a place to do business.”

Officials hope that this facility shows the type of economic growth that is taking place on the Gulf Coast. Including the rate at which manufacturing companies are finding a favorable environment to conduct business.

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