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:

How did Huntsville land Toyota-Mazda plant? By failing in the past
Wednesday's euphoria for Huntsville over landing the $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda plant began with failure.

It began almost a decade ago when city officials were pursuing the Volkswagen plant that eventually took its $1 billion plant with 2,000 jobs to Chattanooga.

"When Volkswagen came, we weren't ready," Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Wednesday night.



Tax reform: Alabama executives predict job growth
Brad Harper , Montgomery Advertiser
Jan. 11, 2018

Optimism surged among Alabama executives after Congress passed tax reform last month, according to a survey by researchers at the University of Alabama.

The business confidence index compiled by UA's Center for Business and Economic Research shot to a record high of 65.2 in the aftermath of the presidential election last year. Anything above 50 means businesses expect to grow in the months ahead. But the index  slid down through most of last year before rebounding to 63.1 for the first quarter of 2018.

In fact, executives here are now far more confident in the nation's economy than Alabama's economy. That's a rarity in the history of the survey.


Toyota-Mazda plant caps Alabama auto sector's successful year

Toyota-Mazda's plans to build a $1.6 billion, 4,000-job auto assembly plant in Huntsville form the latest chapter in the story of Alabama's robust auto industry, which just wrapped up another successful year.

2017 saw major investments and innovative plans for new technologies, as the state's automakers continued to build vehicles and engines for customers around the world.

And the accomplishments continue in the new year. Earlier this week, the Tuscaloosa County operations of Mercedes-Benz produced its 3 millionth vehicle. The diamond silver GLE 350 SUV was built for a customer in the U.S.


100 additional jobs planned in purchase of Vantage Sourcing
From staff reports
A New Jersey accounts receivable management firm has purchased the Vantage Sourcing call center in Taylor and plans to add more than 100 jobs in the near future.

The 100-plus positions MRS BPO, LLC will create are in addition to the current workforce of about 70 at Vantage, said Matt Parker, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce president. MRS leadership wanted to retain an experienced base of employees, Parker said.

The purchase of Vantage is MRS' first move into the South, Parker said. The acquisition gives MRS a third domestic call center location with 200 or more seats and provides employees who "complement its collections business," according to a company statement.


Nominations are now open for the EDPA 2018 imerge
Innovation Awards

Enter your submissions by Feb. 22!

We're looking to recognize Alabama's most innovative individuals, startups, established businesses, and corporations. 

Click here to learn more about the awards and to nominate.


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