September 2022 Group Watch: Ozark Scores New Manufacturing With 84 Jobs

Ecore International plans to invest $25.5 million to open a state-of-the-art manufacturing and recycling facility in the southeast Alabama city of Ozark, where it will create 84 jobs. The new full-time positions will pay an average annual salary of nearly $42,500, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Ecore specializes in transforming reclaimed materials into high-performance flooring and surface products. The privately held company is the largest converter of reclaimed rubber in North America, and its largest raw material is scrap truck tires. 

September 2022 Group Watch: State Continues to Rank High for New Biz

Area Development, a national economic development publication, reports that site-selection professionals it surveyed have again ranked Alabama among the top states for business, citing a broad range of factors contributing to a fertile growth environment. Alabama ranks No. 6 overall in its 2022 ”Top States for Doing Business” analysis, the same as the two previous years. The showing continues a sustained run in the survey’s overall Top 10 that reflects the state’s commitment to facilitating economic growth and job creation. In addition, Alabama earned Top 10 rankings in 11 out of 13 different individual categories in the survey, spanning the spectrum of critical economic development issues. Alabama Commerce data shows that companies announced new facilities and expansion projects involving $7.7 billion in new capital investment last year, the second highest annual total recorded by the state.

August 2022 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Both of the state’s major political parties met earlier this month. The Democrats elected a new chairman. The GOP party voted in several resolutions, including one that voices the state party’s support for former President Donald J. Trump and one that calls for closing primary elections to all except registered party members. 

Alabama’s medical cannabis industry is one step closer to getting medical cannabis in the hands of patients suffering with approved conditions; it will soon begin the process to license entities that wish to grow cannabis and to process, test, transport and sell medical cannabis products.

Keep reading for more details. And with elections coming up in November, it should be an interesting and action-packed fall, so stay tuned to Group Watch.

August 2022 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@Matthew Betley
Aug 13
People who hunt these magnificent, emotional creatures in the wild should be hunted down themselves and put down.

August 2022 Group Watch: New Resolutions Adopted by State GOP

The executive committee for Alabama’s GOP party met in Montgomery last week. After listening to remarks from Senate candidate Katie Britt, in which she reminded the crowd (as if they needed a reminder) how critical prevailing in the midterm elections is, the body voted on a slate of resolutions. Of note was the resolution calling for party registration and closed primary elections, which was supported by ALGOP chairman John Wahl, who recently took exception to what he asserted to be Democrat “influence” in Republican elections. Alabama is among the minority of states that do not require voters to register by party. The resolution is not legally binding and will require an act of the Alabama Legislature to officially enact it.
This and the following additional resolutions were adopted by the body:

  • A resolution condemning the Biden Administration for the F.B.I raid on Mar-a-Lago. Calling it an “unprecedented overreach” the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to stand in solidarity with President Donald J. Trump. The resolution received 89 percent of the vote from committee members.
  • A resolution calling for party registration and closing the primary elections. The measure received 81percent of the vote from committee members.
  • A resolution calling for the state to simplify the adoption process and lower associated costs. The measure received 97 percent of the vote from committee members. A resolution urging prison officials and the parole board to encourage prisoners to obtain a GED and/or vocational training before they are released, in order to combat recidivism. The measure passed on a voice vote. 
  • A resolution requesting lawmakers to enact legislation codifying and protecting parental rights. The measure passed on a voice vote.

August 2022 Group Watch: AL Pulp and Paper Council Gets New Exec Director


Manufacture Alabama announced that attorney Schuyler Espy will serve as the Alabama Pulp and Paper Council’s (APPCO) next executive director. Espy replaces current executive director Roy McAuley, who is set to retire at the end of the year after serving the council for more that two decades. Espy, an attorney with Burr and Forman, has spent her career in private practice counseling clients on environmental and regulatory matters. Espy previously served as an associate general counsel and assistant attorney general at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for 11 years. Espy is set to join Manufacture Alabama in a transitional role in September, while McAuley continues serving as executive director through the end of the year.

August 2022 Group Watch: More Grant Dollars Flowing to AL

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey recently awarded $316,000 in Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) grants toward professional assistance for domestic violence victims. The funds will be used for the purposes of providing training and resources to local law enforcement and nonprofit agencies. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby also recently announced $27 million in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grants for Alabama infrastructure. The three Rebuilding American Infrastructure and Equity (RAISE) grants hold a combined total of $27,179,948. The city of Huntsville will receive an allocation of $20 million; the city of Cordova $5.179 million; and Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments $2 million.

August 2022 Group Watch: Medical Cannabis Timeline

Since Alabama made medical cannabis legal in the state in 2021, the wheels have been turning to get the program off the ground. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has spent more than a year coming up with and formalizing the rules it will use to oversee the new industry and just recently approved a set of regulations to begin licensing for companies that want to participate. Entities seeking licenses to grow cannabis or to process, test, transport or sell the products can begin requesting applications on September 1. The Commission says it will begin accepting applications October 31. The deadline to apply is December 30, but applicants will have a chance to amend their applications or correct deficiencies until certain dates next year. The commission will begin issuing licenses in June 2023. Medical cannabis products are expected to be available in late 2023 or 2024. Learn more, here.

August 2022 Group Watch: Industry Expansions Mean More Jobs

Alabama companies are on the grow:

  • Ashland-based Wellborn Cabinet Inc., a family-owned cabinet company, announced a $17 million expansion in Oxford that will create 415 jobs over five years. Founded in 1961, Wellborn Cabinet currently employs 1,336 workers. 
  • Birmingham’s O’Neal Steel announced a $2.6 million expansion of its headquarters. The expansion will create six new jobs and will allow the company to grow into new markets. 
  • Global Resources International and its Advanced Products Solutions subsidiary are adding more than 100 workers at the APS medical manufacturing center in Dothan and will expand in the nearby community of Columbia with 10 new jobs. The APS facility in Dothan produces personal protective equipment, engineered fabrics and injection-molded medical products. 

August 2022 Group Watch: AL Democratic Party Has New Chair

The Alabama Democratic Party has elected a new chairman. Randy Kelley beat outformer congressional candidate Tabitha Isner and president of Alabama Young Democrats, Josh Coleman. But barely, with just over 50 percent of the 202 votes cast. Read more here.

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