November 2020 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Fall weather is finally here in Alabama, and along with that pleasant development comes other good “climate” news: national recognition praising Alabama’s business-friendly environment, plus a bevy of positive economic development wins for the state.
  • Golden Boy Foods Expanding AL Manufacturing Operations: Golden Boy Foods plans to invest more than $13 million in an expansion project at its production facility in Troy, creating 67 full-time jobs. To expand peanut butter production, Golden Boy will modify its existing Alabama manufacturing facility and occupy a 170,000 square-foot building being constructed by the City of Troy’s Industrial Development Board and leased on a long-term basis to the company. The growth will essentially double the company’s industrial footprint in Pike County, where it has operated since 2011. Golden Boy Foods is one of the largest manufacturers of private label and contracted manufactured nut butter in North America.
  • Alabama Business Climate High in “Site Selection” Rankings: The state’s business climate ranked near the top of the states in a comprehensive analysis released by “Site Selection,” a national publication that focuses on economic development. In the magazine’s 2020 analysis, Alabama ranked No. 7, tied with Arizona, and up two spots from the previous year. Georgia and North Carolina share the top spot, followed by Ohio, Texas and South Carolina. Ranking behind Alabama in the Top 10 were Kentucky and Tennessee. Workforce skills were the most important criteria to site selectors for the fifth consecutive year, with workforce development programs at No.2. Transportation infrastructure, ease of permitting and regulatory procedures, and state and local taxes complete the top five topics considered.
  • Lowe’s Plans $61 Million Distribution Hub: Lowe’s Home Improvement announced plans to construct a 1.2-million-square-foot distribution facility in Jefferson County, creating 150 jobs as part of a $61 million project. According to the Birmingham Business Alliance, the facility will be located in Bessemer on 98 acres of property currently owned by U.S. Steel. North Carolina-based Lowe’s will contract with developer Clayco to construct and lease back the facility, which will house bulk items for distribution like refrigerators and water heaters and will provide stock space for 112 stores throughout the Southeastern region. The bulk distribution facility will allow Lowe’s to provide quicker deliveries to customers across Alabama and the Southeast and will allow for next-day deliveries for a larger range of products housed within the facility.
  • Amazon Expands AL Footprint In Metro Birmingham: Amazon Logistics announced plans to open two new delivery stations in the Birmingham metro area, creating hundreds of jobs and speeding up deliveries for the internet retailer’s customers in the region. One of the delivery stations will be located at Birmingham’s long vacant Century Plaza Mall, and the other station will open at Lakeshore Parkway and Alabama 150 in Bessemer, where other significant distribution and logistics projects have recently landed. According to Amazon, the delivery stations will create hundreds of full and part-time jobs, paying at least $15 per hour, in addition to hundreds of driver opportunities for Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners and Amazon Flex drivers.

November 2020 Group Watch: AL Election Results

With the retirement of U.S. Reps. Martha Roby and Bradley Byrne and the defeat of Senator Doug Jones, Alabama elected three new members to its nine-member congressional delegation. Former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) was elected to replace Roby in the Second Congressional District, Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl will take the First seat of Bradley Byrne, and former Auburn Head Football Coach Tommy Tuberville defeated Jones for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers, Gary Palmer, Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt and Terri Sewell all held onto their seats. Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh won reelection to her post, as did incumbents on the State Board of Education. Republicans swept the state court seats that were on the ballot.

November 2020 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Nov 11

Proud of my little girl.

November 2020 Group Watch: Gov Announces Awardees of Crisis Center Funding

Governor Ivey announced the awardees of funding for crisis centers to serve individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders. The providers and locations of the new crisis centers are AltaPointe Health in Mobile, the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority and Wellstone Behavioral Health in Huntsville. The crisis care centers are a designated place for communities, law enforcement, first responders and hospitals to take an individual who is in mental health crisis. The centers will include walk-in access for individuals to the center for crisis care, including short-term admission, medication management and case management. Services will also include discharge planning and connections to ongoing behavioral healthcare services for longer term care, if needed.

November 2020 Group Watch: We Are Thankful

2020 has given us plenty to complain about, but the tough stuff also puts things in sharp perspective, shining a spotlight on the things in our lives to be thankful for. At The Bloom Group, we’re grateful for a lot, but this year, as we are every year, we are very appreciate of the trust our clients give us. Thank you for letting us help you reach your goals. We look forward to continuing our work with you and for you in the new year. And we wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

November 2020 Group Watch: New Director of Bureau of Pardons and Paroles

Governor Ivey has appointed Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles,  effective December 7, 2020. Currently in his third term in the Alabama State Senate, Ward serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee where he has spearheaded bills related to criminal justice and prison reform. He is also a practicing attorney where he has focused much of his private career in economic development. “Cam Ward has spent his career as an attorney and public servant dedicated to Alabama’s criminal justice system,” Governor Ivey said. “As he transitions to director of Pardons and Paroles, I’m confident that his background and experience will position him to closely follow the letter of the law while providing individuals every opportunity possible to rebuild their lives post incarceration.” Prior to his tenure in the Alabama Senate, Ward was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2002 where he served two terms. He previously worked as a deputy attorney general for Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor. “I’m honored that Governor Ivey had the confidence to appoint me to this position,” Cam Ward said. “I have committed my career in the Senate to improving our criminal justice system in Alabama, and I look forward to working with Governor Ivey going forward in this effort.”

November 2020 Group Watch: Former AL Senator Passes

E.B. McClain, a former four-term Alabama senator, died in his home in Pleasant Grove. The Bessemer native was 80 years old. He received his bachelor’s degree from Miles College. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives, where he served from 1987 through 1994. In 1994, he was elected to represent District 19 in the Alabama Senate where he served until 2009. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Montevallo. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his family.

October 2020 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

A focus on Alabama families, resources for hurricane and COVID-19 relief and a spotlight the state’s bioscience sector make-up some of the major news topics this month.
  • Federal Assistance for AL Hurricane Survivors: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that Hurricane Sally survivors in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties have been approved for more than $11 million in federal disaster assistance. At the end of September, FEMA had approved housing grants to individuals and families totaling $11,153,079. Of that amount, $8.9 million in Housing Assistance grants were approved for repairs to primary residences or for renting temporary housing, and $2.1 million was allocated for Other Needs Assistance grants to cover childcare, moving and storage, medical and dental expenses. The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved an additional $570,900 in long-term, low interest disaster loans to cover repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Sally.
  • State Creates Alabama Family CentralGovernor Ivey announced the creation of Alabama Family Central, a comprehensive, easy-to-use web and mobile destination that offers parents and families, guardians, teachers and caregivers a one-stop connection to programs and services in Alabama. Alabama Central was collaboratively created by state agencies and other partners to support Alabama families by compiling available state resources that can assist with issues related to the health and well-being of children. The Alabama Legislature is supporting this effort with $500,000 in funding from the Education Trust Fund budget.
  • AL Awarded $17.8 M Workforce GrantAlabama has been awarded $17.8 million to assist Alabama workers who have been displaced by COVID-19 develop new skills in high-demand industries. The funds will be administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce, on behalf of the State Workforce Investment Board. The Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program, under the criteria established in the grant competition, will help low-income Alabamians displaced by COVID-19 transition into new fields. The Alabama Community College System and the Alabama Technology Network will deliver the training programs throughout the duration of the grant. Manufacture Alabama President George Clark, who serves as Chair of the State Workforce Investment Board, helped secure this grant and will lead the implementation of the grant.

October 2020 Group Watch: CARES Act Status Update

Governor Ivey recently awarded $35 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to establish the Alabama Health Care and Emergency Response Providers grant program. The grants will support providers who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. On a first-come-first serve basis, the state of Alabama will offer cash grants in amounts up to $15,000 for Alabama healthcare and emergency response providers who meet eligibility requirements. These providers include medical and dental offices, pharmacies, diagnostic labs, outpatient care centers, volunteer fire departments 911 boards and rescue squad organizations.

October 2020 Group Watch: State Bioscience Industry Shines

A recent event in Birmingham — headlined by U.S. Senator Doug Jones; Michell McMurry-Heath, CEO of BIO-Biotechnology Innovation Organization; Bob Hess of Newmark Knight Frank; and Dr. Regina Benjamin, an Alabama native and former U.S. Surgeon General — shone a spotlight on the importance and successes of Alabama’s bioscience sector. The state’s researchers and entrepreneurs have stepped up in a major way during the pandemic, making contributions that support diagnostic testing, potential treatments and vaccine development. The economic impact of Alabama’s bioscience industry is estimated at $7.3 billion. The sector encompasses 780 companies, 48,000 direct and indirect jobs, a $68,000 average annual salary, and received $1.3 billion in National Institutes of Health funding during a recent year.

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