2 Alabama projects claim national magazine’s top 2017 investment awards

2 Alabama projects claim national magazine’s top 2017 investment awards
Enterprise Mayor Bill Cooper, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Wayne Farms CEO Clint Rivers and State Sen. Jimmy Holley prepare to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s $100 million expansion project, which will create 400 jobs in Coffee County. (Wayne Farms)

Trade & Industry Development, a national trade publication, selected two 2017 Alabama economic development projects for its elite investment awards, reflecting the powerful impact these collaborative recruitment efforts will have on their communities and the state.

The magazine’s editors evaluated several hundred announcements from across the U.S. before selecting the 30 winners of its 2017 Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards.

“These major investments provide a clear snapshot of where and in which industries growth is occurring today,” Publisher Scott D. Swoger said. “Each of the investments to be made by Trade & Industry Development’s 13th Annual CiCi Awards recipients will be transformational for the communities in which the projects will be located.”

The Alabama projects honored are:

“These honors underscore the teamwork that exemplifies the Alabama economic development team and demonstrate how cooperation benefits communities across the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“These projects lay a solid foundation for growth in key economic sectors and will create good jobs with staying power.”

Officials break ground on the Wayne Farms expansion in Coffee County, which was named one of the top 30 economic development projects of 2017 by the national publication Trade & Industry Development. (contributed)

Strong partnerships

Jonathan Tullos, executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corp. in Enterprise, said the Wayne Farms investment is the largest economic development project in the history of Coffee County.

“The impact of this project will go beyond the 400 direct jobs that Wayne Farms is creating,” he said. “It will impact local farmers, retail and housing for years to come. We look for this project to be a catalyst to create more opportunities for investment in our region, particularly in the agricultural sector.”

Tullos added that the project was made possible through the partnerships the Wiregrass EDC has formed with local elected officials and utilities, including PowerSouth Energy and Southeast Gas, and state allies such as Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Read about all the CiCi Community Impact winners.

Mercedes-Benz, which has been producing autos in Alabama for 20 years, is opening a global logistics center in nearby Bibb County as part of an expansion announced in 2017. (Mercedes-Benz)

Powering growth

Mercedes’ two-pronged expansion in Alabama will create 600 jobs through the addition of a battery plant to support electric vehicle production and a global logistics center and parts distribution hub.

“Mercedes has been a powerful engine for growth in Alabama for over two decades, and the company’s decision to produce electric vehicles and to expand its global logistics operation in the state reinforces the company’s vital role in Alabama’s future,” Canfield said.

“This initiative, which will bring cutting-edge technology and new jobs to the state, is another great chapter in our relationship with the automaker.”

Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, said the logistics center will provide a major economic boost to Bibb County, where it will be built.

“Mercedes-Benz’s expansion into the Birmingham region is a significant economic development project for the people of Bibb County and the Birmingham region,” he said. “Mercedes and its suppliers have a significant impact on all the communities they are located in. This expansion not only puts Mercedes closer to an accessible workforce, but it invigorates one of Alabama’s most rural counties.”

Read about all the CiCi Corporate Investment winners.

Trade & Industry Development magazine is published by Due North Media.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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