September 2019 Group Watch: CEO of Republic Services, Inc. Honored

Republic Services, Inc. recently announced that Chief Executive Officer Donald “Don” W. Slager was recognized on Forbes’ 2019 America’s Most Innovative Leaders list. Slager ranks #43 of the top 100 innovators and visionaries and is the sole recycling and solid waste services executive on the inaugural list. As Chief Executive Officer since 2011, he has shaped the company into a unified American brand that stands for customer-focused simple solutions, reliability and environmental responsibility. Republic’s industry-leading safety program reflects his commitment to ensuring safety for 36,000 employees and 14 million customers, a successful model that has raised the bar across the industry. Forbes’ 2019 America’s Most Innovative Leaders list measures four essential leadership qualities: media reputation for innovation, social connections and capital, track record for value creation and investor expectations of future value creation.

September 2019 Group Watch: AL Opens European Biz Development Office

The Alabama Department of Commerce has opened a business development office in Stuttgart, Germany, to enhance the state’s strategic efforts to attract European companies considering job-creating investments in the United States. Christoph Dorr, an experienced German businessman who spent seven years in charge of an industrial operation in Alabama, serves as the director of the new European office, which began operating earlier this month. Dorr’s primary emphasis will be to build on Alabama’s longstanding economic development activities in Europe. In 2018, European companies announced projects in Alabama of nearly $1.5 billion in new capital investment and 1,500 jobs.

August 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Movers and shakers in Alabama politics are moving and shaking this month, with announcements, appointments and promotions topping the headlines.

  • Head of Alabama Office of Apprenticeship Announced: Josh Laney has been named  Director of the newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. Laney, who previously served as Senior Director of Workforce Development for the Alabama Department of Education, will head the office created earlier this year by a bill sponsored by State Senator Arthur Orr. Laney’s duties include working with industry and education to develop and expand traditional and industry-recognized apprenticeships for youth and adults. He will lead the office’s support of larger workforce development infrastructure to produce workers with credentialed expertise and focus on growing the state’s registered apprenticeship programs.
  • Gov. Ivey Names William Filmore to Top Legislative Post: The governor’s office confirmed the promotion of William Filmore to lead the Office of Legislative Affairs, the lead conduit between the governor and the Alabama Legislature. Filmore replaces Jared White, who recently left to take a position managing governmental affairs for Auburn University. He has served in state government since 2015, starting as Governmental Relations Coordinator at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency before joining Gov. Ivey in 2017. He previously worked as the governor’s House Liaison and Director of Local Governmental Affairs.
  • Montgomery Attorney Tapped for Federal Judge Vacancy: Montgomery attorney Jerusha Adams has been tapped to fill a federal judge vacancy in the Middle District of Alabama. Adams will replace Judge Gray Borden, who has been selected as a magistrate judge in the Northern District. Adams is a civil litigator at Montgomery’s Capell & Howard law firm. She previously clerked for several federal judges, including current U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins and retired Judge Vanzetta McPherson. Her appointment to the position is pending an FBI background investigatio

August 2019 Group Watch: Rep. Roby Announces Retirement; Says Future Plans Still Unknow

U.S. Representative Martha Roby, R, Montgomery, surprised many a few weeks ago when she announced that she would not seek reelection to Congress when her current term (her fifth) ends. At a recent Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce event, Roby spoke more about the decision but gave few concrete details. She said the decision was made after “much prayer and consideration,” but declined to elaborate further. When asked about what she’ll do next, she said she doesn’t know yet, but she stressed that she remains committed to “fighting for the people of Alabama” during the remainder of her term. She also did not rule out running for office again at some point in the future.

August 2019 Group Watch: AL Hospitals Benefit from Medicare Change

Hospital industry officials are pleased with a recent rule change that will provide wage index increases for four years to hospitals that have been on the low end of reimbursement. Senator Richard Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced the rule change earlier this month. The change in 2020 will mean an additional $38 million a year for Alabama’s nearly 100 hospitals. The wage index disparity has hurt Alabama’s rural hospitals, 88 percent of which operate in the red. About 40 percent of hospital care in the state is covered by Medicare, thus impacting urban hospitals as well.

August 2019 Group Watch: Record Foreign Investment Key in AL Economy

Foreign direct investment continues to play a vital role in the state’s economy this year, building on a record total of foreign investment approaching $4.2 billion last year. In 2018, companies from 16 different countries launched projects with more than 7,500 new jobs. So far in 2019, projects approaching $1 billion in value will bring another 3,300 jobs to the state. Foreign direct investments account for between 30 and 50 percent of new and expanding industry activity in the state each year and fuel the state’s ability to have a diverse base of industries.

August 2019 Group Watch: Gov. Ivey Announces $1.2M for Traffic Safety

There will soon be a heavier state trooper presence on state roadways thanks to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). The national Highway and Traffic Safety Administration approved a grant request for $800,000 for traffic safety enforcement and $400,000 to address impaired driving. The state’s fiscal year 2020 general fund budget appropriates funding for additional state troopers.

July 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Money tops the news this month, with some healthy grants headed to the state (see below) and a big economic development win announced by Governor Ivey last week.

Ben E. Keith, a major food and beverage distribution company, plans to invest $100 million to open an advanced foodservice distribution center in Coffee County.

The facility will serve as the company’s Southeast Regional Distribution Headquarters. The project will create 80 direct jobs over the next five years and provide an economic boost to New Brocton, a town of around 1,100 people in southeastern Alabama. Ben E. Keith is one of the largest family owned distribution companies in the nation.

July 2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

July 2 
Slow down, take a second and double check those back seats! Hot cars claim 16 children’s lives this summer as car safety bill is introduced via @ABC

July 2019 Group Watch: AL Airports Getting Grant $

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, announced that 10 local airports throughout Alabama have been awarded more than $9.7 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants. According to Senator Shelby, the $9.7 million in funding awarded by the Department of Transportation will significantly aid in the development of local airports across the state. Senator Shelby is chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which authors and advances the FFA and DOT funding legislation. The funding distribution is based on entitlement and discretionary awards.

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