1 of Alabama’s bright spots

Published 12:04 am Thursday, January 15, 2009

An Andalusia firm made the Alabama Development Office’s first in a series of lists of “bright spots” in the state.

Last week, ADO announced it would send bimonthly lists of “Bright Spots in Alabama’s Economy” to the state’s news media. The list will be generated from the state’s economic development community but will also include positive references to education, tourism, company announcements and economic development projects/activities.

No. 3 on the first list released by ADO was Vector Aerospace’s new facility in Andalusia.

Formerly known as AcroHelipro, Vector Aerospace held a grand opening at its new 38,000 square-foot facility at the South Alabama Regional Airport in early December. At the ceremony, Declan O’Shea, CEO of the of the Toronto-based corporation, said he was “bowled over” by the warm welcome he and other company officials have received in Alabama, adding that the local firm is already outgrowing its new facility.

O’Shea said the company will do $17 million in business in Alabama this year; $23 million next year; “and the year after that, we’ll move into another new facility.” The company has 100 employees here.

Gov. Bob Riley said the state’s “bright spots” list is designed the keep good news in the spotlight in Alabama.

“We are often influenced by the news – both positive and negative – so it is important to identify and reference the good things that are happening in the state,” Gov. Bob Riley said.

So far, Alabama has weathered the world’s economic challenge better than many other U.S. states including an unemployment rate that is much lower than most of the other southeast states.

“The economic development successes we’ve experienced over the past decade are providing a strong economic cushion for our state,” Gov. Riley said. “Thousands of new jobs have been created in the automotive, aerospace, biotechnology and manufacturing sectors with many of those new plants coming on line in 2009 and 2010.”

Riley said Vector is one of more than 300 aviation aerospace companies currently operating in Alabama.

”This adds to the diversity so vitally important in the economy today,” he said. “Our economic model is considered the best in the nation.”

ADO’s complete first list in 2009 of Bright Spots in Alabama’s Economy is as follows:

$71 million Alabama Robotics Center To Keep State on Leading Edge of Technology (Decatur)

54 Alabama Schools Ranked By U.S. News and World Report Among Nation’s Best

Vector Aerospace Opens New Facility in Andalusia

Steelcase To Bring 250 Jobs to Athens

Scientists Rank UAB As 5th Best Place To Work in United States

Opelika/Chambers County Partnership Creating More than 1,000 New Jobs

24 Site Consultants Participating in State’s International Business Conference in Mexico

Birmingham Attracts 2009 Davis Tennis Cup Matches

U.S. Aero Services Announces 131 New Jobs in Enterprise

ThyssenKrupp Expects Up To 10,000 Construction Workers On Site in Early ‘09