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What’s the path forward for BCA?

In the wake of Billy Canary’s abrupt exit as president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, it is clear that the business community will chart its path forward by making significant changes.

For starters, many of Alabama’s largest employers are no longer members of BCA.  Several factors will contribute to whether those large employers reconsider their memberships, and those factors involve revising the organization’s policies and approach to advocacy.

The existing membership of BCA has a difficult task ahead of them if they want to restore the group to its former strength. That type of restoration will be impossible without the participation of the state’s largest employers. Concessions will have to be made so that these companies feel comfortable that their ability to participate in the group more accurately reflects their contributions. That’s only fair.

At the same time, a strong group must also carry the interests of a broad spectrum of industries. Small businesses, manufacturing and professional services – just to name a few – will all need representation within the organization.

BCA decision-makers will have to strike a delicate balance in implementing these changes. But that’s not the only place where change will matter.

Choosing the correct person to lead the group is equally important.

The new leader will have to be someone who can unify the business community through their experience and leadership style. The BCA needs to sharpen its approach to governmental affairs, refocus their policy goals and retool its political operation. All of this will require a lot of adjustments before the legislature convenes in March 2019.

So, who might that person be?

Yellowhammer News has picked up on several names being talked about to potentially fill that role.

Jo Bonner – The former congressman from Mobile has spent a career building relationships with many of the key stakeholders in the business community. Bonner currently serves in a governmental affairs and economic development role for the University of Alabama. He has a long-standing friendship with Governor Ivey and relationships with business leaders across the state. Bonner is known for his statesman-like approach to politics.

Young Boozer –  Should the BCA’s leadership prioritize business experience in the selection process, then Boozer would likely become a top candidate. Boozer has decades of experience in banking and finance with some of the country’s largest institutions. He entered politics in 2010 and has since served two terms as State Treasurer.

Philip Bryan – Bryan has enjoyed a meteoric rise in Alabama politics. Having started in political communications only a decade ago, and now running Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh’s legislative operation, Bryan has reached a point of permanent occupancy on any list of Alabama’s most powerful and influential people. Few people in politics share Bryan’s smarts and knowledge, and even fewer people have as much influence on the policy-making process. Bryan’s energy and ambition would be welcome additions to the position.

Allison Hosp – Currently serving as the Vice President of the Alabama Retail Association, Hosp has a strong track record of success working on the issues most important to Alabama’s business community. When BCA refocuses its policy goals, Hosp is someone who has the experience necessary to carry out an effective plan of advocacy. From fighting tax hikes to tort reform, she has proven she can be an effective advocate for the business community.

State Representative Bill Poole – No one knows if the Tuscaloosa lawyer would actually have an interest in giving up his powerful House Ways and Means Education chairmanship to take over at BCA. Nevertheless, Poole’s name has been bantered about heavily. Poole is that rare combination of policy wonk and political operator. He has a reputation as a straight-shooter who also navigates the treacherous waters of the statehouse with ease. Regardless of whether he lands at BCA, Poole will be a player in Alabama politics for many years.

Toby Roth – Roth is a trusted figure in Montgomery circles, and someone who transcends several cycles of political power. He began working on behalf of the business community in the 1990s during the appellate court and tort reform battles. Then Roth served as Chief of Staff during Bob Riley’s first term as governor. He has years of business advocacy on his resume, as well as the even temperament some may want in the next leader at BCA.

These moves and others will go a long way in determining whether the BCA, once again, becomes a viable entity in Alabama politics.

The Yellowhammer Multimedia Executive Board is comprised of the owners of the company.

21 mins ago

Ohio-based Gregory Industries set to invest $4.21 million in Decatur steel plant

Ohio-based galvanized steel company Gregory Industries plans to make a $4.21 million capital investment in a Decatur steel plant, according to Decatur Daily.

The investment will consist of the purchasing of 100,000 square feet of the Willo Products building and 13 adjacent acres at the site for a galvanized steel tubing plant.

Gregory Industries recently purchased Mid-Ohio Tubing. Once the Morgan County plant undergoes renovations and begins operations, it will carry the name Mid-Ohio Tubing.

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Company officials hope to have the plant open by June. The plan is to hire 20 employees at an average annual wage of $47,000 and add four more employees by the end of the third year.

According to Mike Rothacher, the Gregory vice president of corporate services, the company will hire a plant manager, maintenance workers, machine operators and general laborers.

The Industrial Development Board of Decatur approved $172,400 in state, city and Morgan County tax abatements for the company.

Morgan County Economic Development Association president and CEO Jeremy Nails connected with Gregory officials after Nucor found out the Ohio company was looking to expand by venturing into the south.

“We rely on existing industries to put us in contact with companies that they deal with,” Nails said. “We don’t have a lot of available buildings so we were fortunate that this building was available. It’s a win-win for Gregory and Willo.”

The Gregory plant will produce galvanized steel tubing that will be used in material called G-street metal framing. The plant will feature a tubing mill and a roll-forming mill.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

57 mins ago

Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hospitalized with heart issue, expects to be released following treatment

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced on Friday that he has been hospitalized with a heart issue but expects to be released following treatment over the weekend.

“Deb and I appreciate the prayers of healing that so many have made on my behalf, and I am well on the road to recovery,” McCutcheon said in a press release.

“Tests indicated that I had a blocked blood vessel in my heart, which resulted in the fatigue and shortness of breath that I felt, and the issue will be treated with simple medication,” he explained.

While returning home from the legislative orientation session at the Alabama State House on Thursday, the speaker suffered mild chest pains and shortness of breath and was driven to an emergency room for examination.

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McCutcheon outlined that he first assumed he was suffering from a case of bronchitis, but an EKG indicated a heart issue, which blood tests later confirmed.

His physician recommended a heart catheterization, and those results showed a blood vessel that had closed but did not require a stent and could be treated with medication.

During his recovery, the speaker said he will continue working on House committee assignments and other legislative issues in preparation for the upcoming organizational and regular sessions of the Alabama Legislature. The organizational session begins on January 8.

During the 2014 legislative session, McCutcheon underwent heart bypass surgery and returned to work before the session ended.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Hoover protest leader recruiting help from Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago

Carlos Chaverst, Jr., the self-proclaimed leader of protesting in Hoover, is calling for activists to come to Alabama from Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago and potentially more areas that have been affected by rioting in recent years.

In a Facebook post just after noon on Friday, Chaverst wrote, “Calling ALL activist and organizers from Baltimore, Chicago, Ferguson, Florida, etc. ITS TIME!! We need y’all here in Hoover, NOW!!”

“There will be a organizing [sic]  conference call Sunday night. Details released tomorrow,” he added.

In another post shortly beforehand, Chaverst claimed that protesters would take to Hoover High School after 1:15 p.m. on Friday. 

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Chaverst threatened to go to the school last week but failed to show up. The City of Hoover and the Hoover Police Department have previously said that protesting at city schools will not be tolerated.

Also on Friday, the Nation of Islam’s leader in Birmingham, Tremon Muhammad, wrote, “When the INSANITY comes, you only have yourselves to Blame.”

Muhammad represents Louis Farrakhan in the state. The Nation of Islam is leading the boycott efforts in Hoover, while Chaverst spearheads the protests themselves. Muhammad has explained that he and his members cannot be on the protest frontline because they do “not subscribe to the theory of nonviolence.”

The protest and boycott efforts in Hoover are in response to the officer-involved shooting death of E.J. Bradford on Thanksgiving night at the Riverchase Galleria. 18-year-old Brian Wilson and 12-year-old Molly Davis were also shot during the incident.

Investigations are currently underway by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). SBI is a division of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Erron Brown has been arrested and charged with attempted murder already for allegedly shooting Wilson.

Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office exercised jurisdiction of all three shooting cases on Thursday.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest Partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

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Nominations open Monday, December 10, and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.

2 hours ago

Ivey launches year of Alabama’s bicentennial

Governor Kay Ivey launched the year of Alabama’s bicentennial at the Alabama State Capitol on Friday, emphasizing that it will be a full year to celebrate and educate.

“We have an opportunity in front of us, and just as Alabamians have done for the past 199 years, we will make the most of that opportunity,” Ivey said in a press release.

The governor continued, “Alabama is defined by its people. It’s that simple. As we near our state’s bicentennial, we recognize that our story of success is told by our people. And that is who we are celebrating: the Alabamians who got us here, all the men and women across our state today and the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights.”

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Students from Pell City’s Eden Elementary joined Ivey and State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), chairman of the Alabama Bicentennial Committee, in previewing some of the more than 400 bicentennial events that will take place before the culmination on December 14, 2019, in Montgomery. Two hundred schools across the state have been selected as Alabama Bicentennial Schools and are putting on bicentennial projects.

Although there are hundreds of public events, Orr advised the bicentennial celebration is also having a significant but more subtle impact on the state itself, from its largest cities to its smallest communities.

“It’s not just celebrations and festivals,” Orr outlined. “It’s almost impossible to estimate how many thousands of Alabamians are learning more about the state’s history through touring exhibitions, the journeys they are making using the Alabama PastPort book and app, or through the thousand teachers who will have been instructed on ways to teach Alabama history by the end of the Bicentennial.”

During the next 365 days, 225 cities, towns and communities across the Yellowhammer State will hold more than 400 events.

The events include everything from celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s role in landing a man on the moon to revealing a replica that will show modern Alabamians for the first time what the state’s first capitol looked like in Old Cahawba.

Coca-Cola was also on hand Friday to introduce its Alabama Bicentennial Commemorative bottle. Before the press conference began, children had their pictures made with Coca-Cola’s famous polar bear icon.

Other highlights of the bicentennial year will be the release of a U.S. Postal Service Alabama Bicentennial forever stamp, special concerts throughout the state, a Native American Bicentennial event in Moundville, the opening of Huntsville’s newly renovated Constitution Village, a tour involving Alabama’s most important documents, events honoring Alabama veterans and the culmination of the year-long celebration in Montgomery with the dedication of the Bicentennial Park in front of the Capitol.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn