Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner.


In this issue:

Honda Alabama names new president
By  Hanno van der Bijl   - Digital Producer, Birmingham Business Journal
A major auto manufacturing plant in Talladega County has a new leader.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama named Tsutomu "Morty" Morimoto president of the plant in Lincoln.

Morimoto, who is the current president of Honda of Canada Mfg., will begin his responsibilities April 1. He joined Honda in 1985.


Opelika's Mando America, Pharmavite eye expansions
The city of Opelika is preparing for two business expansions, according to the  Opelika-Auburn News.

Auto supplier  Mando America Corp. will be investing more than $10 million in building expansion and new machinery. And vitamin, mineral and supplement maker  Pharmavite will invest $5.6 million for expansion.

Together, the expansions are expected to create nearly 30 jobs, the paper reported.



ViaAir connecting Mobile to Orlando -- and may fly from Brookley
Mobile is gaining direct flights to Orlando this spring -- and later in the year may see that connection shift from Mobile Regional Airport to the Mobile Downtown Airport at Brookley.

"Service will begin in May at the regional airport," Mobile Airport Authority Executive Director Chris Curry said at  a Wednesday morning announcement. "However, we expect to receive a Letter of Intent sometime in the near future to eventually transition to Downtown Airport at Brookley later this year."

"We are committed that when the Downtown Airport is ready, we'll be the first carrier" to operate from the site, Matthew Macri, director of operations for new-to-Mobile carrier ViaAir.



EDPA announces new vice president

  Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 22  - The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama announces today the appointment of Ernie Cowart as Vice President for EDPA.

His appointment was approved Tuesday by the EDPA Board of Directors. 
Ernie Cowart

Cowart joined EDPA in 2000, serving most recently as Director of Business Information. He has more than 20 years of experience in economic development.

He has worked EDPA's core business areas, including business information, recruitment, community planning and existing industry.

Cowart works with state agencies, regional partners, utility companies and local economic development organizations on recruitment and expansion projects.

"His vast economic development experience, leadership and diverse skillset will help us continue to strengthen EDPA's mission to attract, retain and grow jobs in Alabama, while encouraging innovation through our Alabama Launchpad program," said EDPA President Steve Spencer.

Cowart has a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama and a master's in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also earned the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council and serves on the board of Main Street Alabama.

Cowart and his wife, Lydia, are the parents of two children, son, Hugh, 14, and daughter, Sarah Beth, 13

Register today for the 2018 Southern Automotive Quality Summit! 

The annual Southern Automotive Quality Summit,  a unique collaboration between the Alabama Automotive Manufacturer's Association (AAMA) and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), will be held March 15 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel. 

The event showcases the southern automotive industry's commitment to world-class quality and attracts technical professionals and leaders seeking to improve their organization's quality processes, systems and performance.

The theme of the 2018 event is "Quality Tools to Support your IATF 16949 Transition" and will feature industry experts and local suppliers sharing lessons learned during their application of the industry's quality tools and international quality management system standards.

To learn more and to register, click here.


  Today is the last day to nominate for the EDPA 2018 imerge Innovation Awards! 

 Don't miss the opportunity to submit nominations in the following categories:
  • Business Awards - award types include:
    • Startup of the Year
    • Corporate Innovator of the Year (small, 10-50 employees)
    • Corporate Innovator of the Year (large, 50+ employees)
    • Manufacturer of the Year
  • Individual Awards - award types include:
    • Lifetime Achievement in Innovation
    • imerging Young Leaders in Innovation (35 or younger)
    • Startup Executive of the Year
    • Corporate Executive of the Year
    • Social Entrepreneur of the Year
 Click here to nominate! 

Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookJoin Our Mailing List