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  • July 2018

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    Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama Expanding
    Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC President and CEO Dong Ryeol Choi announced that Hyundai is investing $388 million to construct a plant dedicated to manufacturing engine heads and to enhance existing operations and support production of new models of Sonata and Elantra sedans. The investment will create 50 new jobs.
    HMMA is preparing for the next-generation Theta III engine, which requires new technologies and components as a part of its assembly process. The capital investment will be spent on equipment for the engine head machining plant and updating technology in an existing engine plant. “With our latest expansion, HMMA continues to show its strong commitment to the people of Montgomery and the people of Alabama,” Hyundai President and CEO Dong Ryeol Choi said at the announcement. “Hyundai is continuing its track record of investing in new manufacturing technologies to ensure the long-term success of our only U.S. assembly plant.”
    “Montgomery remains deeply committed to its partnership with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and is honored to see its continued growth and expansion here in the River Region,” said Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean. “Partnership and teamwork fuel economic growth, and we are grateful for partners like Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, whose long-term, expanding investment in this area drives significant impact on the region,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.
    It will cost approximately $40 million to construct the 260,000-square-foot building that will house the head machining equipment. Construction on the engine head machining plant is scheduled to be completed in November 2018. HMMA will begin producing the Theta III engine by mid-2019 for Sonata sedans and Santa Fe crossover utility vehicles. HMMA will continue to build the 2.0-liter Nu engine for Elantra sedans at its manufacturing facility in Montgomery.
    “We are so very honored that Hyundai has once again chosen to significantly invest in Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama,” said Judge Charles Price, 2018 chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
    Faulkner University Strengthens Friendship with Chinese Partners
    An international friendship that has remained strong for nearly a decade was made evident again as Faulkner University hosted three professors from Xiangyang, China in May. The visit was a part of a cultural exchange program between Faulkner University and Xiangyang Vocational and Technical College (XVTC), which began in 2010. Following a welcome luncheon, the Chinese guests enjoyed a week of activities, which included touring the Faulkner campus; touring the capitol, the Rosa Parks Museum and other historic sites downtown; eating American and Southern meals; and gathering with Faulkner faculty, staff and graduates for a cookout and singing. At a farewell luncheon, Mr. Yu gave traditional gifts of Chinese fans, intricate paper cuttings and hand-embroidered coasters to the administrators and faculty present. Faulkner University President Mike Williams presented Yu, Zhang and Wang with Faulkner pens, pins, notebooks and medallions commemorating Faulkner’s 75th anniversary.
    Equality for All
    Montgomery Pride United is a 501(3c) non-profit and a new member to the Chamber. They are here to join the pride forces of Montgomery in order to more effectively strive for equality for all. While focused on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) issues in the city and state, the organization welcomes all into its ranks including friends, families and allies. They lead an annual festival known as Montgomery Pride that highlights the LGBTQ+ community’s contributions to, and alliances in, the broader Montgomery family. Montgomery Pride United works with newcomers to the city for job training and placement. Additionally, they work with employers to help address LGBTQ+ specific issues. The future is bright in Montgomery, and it looks to be in the many shades of the rainbow.
    Montgomery Internet Exchange News
    In late May, Alabama State University joined a booming list of technology leaders, broadband providers and innovators connected to the Montgomery Internet Exchange (MGMix), amid its restructure into a private-sector, nonprofit governance that unleashes its potential. “ASU has joined the Montgomery Internet Exchange because of the primary mission at this university, which is to benefit our students and to expand the ‘font’ of intellectual knowledge for them, and for our faculty, staff and our 150-year-old institution of higher learning,” ASU President Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr. said.
    Membership in MGMix can mean blazing fast internet speeds, cutting-edge security and enhanced connectivity. It can also lead to lower operations costs and superior bandwidth.
    MGMix is an open exchange led by a visionary collaboration among the City of Montgomery, Montgomery County, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, research universities, Maxwell Gunter Air Force Base and the Cyber College of the Air Force. It came online in 2016 as the first internet exchange point in Alabama and one of four in the Southeast. “We cannot overstate the Exchange’s role in expanding industry in the River Region and across the state by putting Montgomery on the map – literally – of the internet’s backbone,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said.
    In addition to ASU, veteran-owned, Montgomery-based wireless broadband company, WISE Broadband, signed an agreement to connect to MGMix. Packet Clearing House (PCH), which provides two of MGMix’s four ROOT DNS server instances, increased its investment in Montgomery’s exchange. More growth can be expected as a new nonprofit formed to manage the Exchange gives more leeway to recruit and retain members. It also signifies a milestone in the River Region’s Smart City/Smart Base strategy.
    Golf Tournament Benefits Baptist Health Neonatal Intensive Care Units
    The 23rd Annual Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament was held on April 17 at The Montgomery Country Club and on April 18 at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club. This annual tournament raises funds for the Baptist Health Neonatal Intensive Care Units, having raised more than $1.7 million in total contributions during the life of the tournament. More than 750 babies are admitted to the NICUs annually. This program is vital to helping premature and medically challenged babies embark on a healthy life. From donations made through the Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament, the Baptist Health Care Foundation is able to provide the NICUs with new, high-tech equipment and provide high quality technology to care for our youngest patients. With the support of numerous businesses and individuals, the tournament has become one of the premier golf events in the Montgomery area.
    Hartzell Engine Technologies Completes New Websites
    Keith Bagley, President of Hartzell Engine Technologies (HET), recently announced that the company has completed the updating and rebranding of its corporate website, as well as creating new websites for all of its five product lines, AeroForce turbocharger systems, Plane-Power alternators and voltage regulators, Sky-Tec starters, Janitrol Aero cabin heating systems and Fuelcraft fuel pumps. “As you can well appreciate, the task of totally redesigning, rebranding and rebuilding six individual websites was a tremendous undertaking by the Hartzell Engine Technologies team and that of the creative group at Jajo Inc.,” Bagley said. “We are extremely proud of the look of all the new websites and the enhanced features and user capabilities they will deliver to our customers around the world.” Bagley explained that the new product sites contain comprehensive application guides, specific service information, troubleshooting information, and, where applicable, downloadable Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) documentation. “Also, because our customers want to be able to access this information on their smartphones and tablets, all of our redesigned websites are responsive for mobile devices,” he said. The new HET corporate website contains items of general interest including a Careers section that links to the company’s on-line employment application system.
    MAX4Kids Awards Scholarships
    The accomplishments of 11 high school seniors were recognized by the MAX4Kids Foundation at a scholarship reception on May 3, in MAX’s Eastdale Community Room. The 11 seniors from Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore and Lee counties were selected from nearly 80 applicants representing 25 different schools. MAX4Kids is awarding $55,000 in scholarships this year. The students are: Jennifer Arce, Trinity Christian School; Jay Haygens, Marbury High School; Madolynn Headley, Lowndes Academy; Sloan Hicks, Mar-bury High School; Jailyn Holt, LAMP; JaKaylan Ivey, Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School; Nicole Jackson, Stanhope Elmore High School; Caitlin Koterba, Prattville High School; Da’Kendrick Patterson, Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School; India Richardson, Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School; and Sharee Riggs, Wetumpka High School.
    Faulkner University Opening Pre-K
    Faulkner University will be opening Faulkner University Pre-K this fall. The university will be the site for two of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program classrooms in an effort to increase the enrollment of 4-year-olds to 32 percent statewide. Faulkner University’s Leslie Cowell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education, applied for the state grants to provide Pre-K classrooms in Montgomery and was approved. She will serve as the director of the Pre-K program. “There’s no other site like this anywhere around Faulkner University,” Cowell said. “This is a perfect opportunity to serve the community.”  Beginning this fall, a total of 32 4-year-olds will be able to come and learn at Faulkner University Pre-K. Only six other new classrooms were approved for the Montgomery area. Tuition is free and families must live in Alabama.
    AMEA Awards Scholarships
    Forty-four high school seniors will enroll in a four-year college/university, community college and/or vocational school in Alabama this year with help from the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) and its 11 members through the 2018 AMEA Scholarship Program. Each of the 44 scholarship recipients will receive a $2,500 scholarship for a total of $110,000 awarded in this year’s program. AMEA and its members have provided more than $2 million in scholarships to the graduating high school seniors who receive their electric service from AMEA Members.
    New Life for Pratt Continental Gin
    Thanks in part to historic tax credits, the Pratt Gin Co. factory, built in 1898, is slated to become a 145-loft development, planned by the Montgomery office of Memphis-based LEDIC Realty Co. It is one of 12 properties and projects recently approved by The Alabama Historical Commission for a special tax credit. The 2017 Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit offers a 25-percent tax credit to private homeowners and owners of commercial properties who substantially rehabilitate historic properties that are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and are 60 years old or older. The historic tax credits generate jobs, increase the tax base and help the state to reclaim some of its most important architecture. The total amount allocated to the 12 approved projects in this year’s program is $12 million.
    Farmers Market Opens for 2018
    The Shoppes at EastChase opened its 14th Annual Farmers Market in mid-May. The Shoppes at EastChase Farmers Market has grown every year and is now one of the top five largest markets in Alabama. Several popular farms are scheduled to make their return including Aplin Farms, Alabama Sweet Tea Company and Penton Farms as well as new vendors. On the last Saturday of each month, the Market will feature rotating Alabama makers, children’s activities and the very popular 'Garden Cart Giveaway’ with large prizes from featured vendors. The market is held every Saturday through September 29, from 7 a.m. until noon.     
    MACOA Recruiting Volunteers
    The Montgomery Area Council on Aging (MACOA) recently announced a new volunteer opportunity known as MACOA Meal Makers that allows groups and individuals to contribute to Meals on Wheels even if they cannot drive a route. MACOA Meal Makers prepare the meals that Meals on Wheels drivers deliver to home­bound seniors on weekdays. Cooking skills are not required. Volunteers simply assist MACOA kitchen staff with packaging meals. Volunteers may choose to participate weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually based on their schedule. It is perfect for businesses, civic organizations, church groups, students and anyone looking for a service project or team-building experience.
    Williams Loving Care Opens Office
    Williams Loving Care, a nonmedical homecare business, has moved from a home-based company to an office at Alcazar Shrine Center in eight months. The company, which was formed last June, now occupies about 500 square feet in unit room 6 adjacent to the main Shrine center. “We are growing one caregiver at a time and one client at a time,” said owner Nancy Williams. “Five years from now, I hope we’re in a bigger office and that we are impacting the community in a brighter and better way.” Co-owner Terry Wofford said, “We are community-oriented. We live and work in the community as well as have a business in the community. If we see an opportunity to grow in another direction geographically or even expanding the services we’re capable of – We’ll consider it. We are businesspeople, but we are dedicated to our business; improving our business; and contributing to our community.” The company, which is licensed, bonded and insured, has eight employees and each caregiver undergoes a comprehensive background check. Williams Loving Care serves clients in the River Region, Selma and Lower Alabama.
    Sterling Bank Transitions to Synovus
    Sterling Bank recently began moving to the Synovus name and concluded the total brand transition, which included signage and more, in June. “We’ve been part of Synovus for more than 25 years, and we’re proud of our reputation as a community-based and customer-focused bank in Montgomery and throughout the River Region,” said Mark Snead, Synovus market executive for Montgomery. “Adopting the Synovus name while maintaining our local, relationship-centered delivery model will increase awareness of our regional presence, our financial capabilities and our ability to meet the needs of customers and prospects.” Sterling Bank was founded in Montgomery in 1989 and acquired by Synovus in 1992. The acquisition was among more than 60 that would make Synovus one of the largest financial institutions in the Southeast, with $31 billion in assets and a presence in five states.
    More Than 80 Volunteers Get the Zoo Ready for Summer
    On May 5, more than 80 people volunteered at The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum for Serve Day to get the Zoo ready for summer guests. Tackling projects from landscaping overhauls to general cleanup, these volunteers worked the equivalent of approximately 700 man-hours. “Volunteers are critical to the success of the Zoo. Without them we would not be able to continue to expand programs and provide a memorable experience,” Zoo Director Marcia Woodard said. “In one day we were able to accomplish what might take our staff weeks to get done,” Melanie Golson, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, explained.
    Montgomery Nursing Home Recognizes Royalty
    Far away from the hustling and bustling for a glimpse of the recent royal wedding, a local nursing home celebrated a royal occasion all its own. A new queen has taken reign at Capitol Hill Healthcare, and her mission is to advocate for older people and long-term care. Annette Scott, 70, was chosen as the new Ms. Capitol Hill Healthcare and will help others learn about the positives of living life in long-term care. The former certified nursing assistant for Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma was chosen during a pageant at Capitol Hill. Scott’s personality, winning smile, background and presentation bowled over the judges, and she was chosen from a field of six competitors. During her reign, she will be an advocate for residents living at the facility and help shine a positive light on living in long-term care communities. “We always want to remind people that there’s a lot of living going on in long-term care. Being older or having a disability does not mean that life stops being meaningful or interesting,” facility adminis­trator Sharon Baker said. “We are so proud to have Ms. Scott represent us.”
    Four Star Freightliner Awards Scholarships To High School Seniors
    Four Star Freightliner’s Zachary Sizemore Memorial Scholarship Program recently named the recipients for its second year. Four Star Freightliner Dealer Principal Jerry Kocan awarded scholarships to five students in memory of Sizemore, a former Four Star employee. Sizemore, 32, worked in the accounting department at Four Star Freightliner in Dothan. He lost his battle against cancer in 2016. The five recipients include four children of Four Star employees and one of Zack’s family members: Caiden Mathis, GW Long High School in Skipperville, Ala.; Bethany Granger, Prattville High School in Prattville, Ala.; Alyssa Alexander, Slocomb High School in Slocomb, Ala.; Taylor Morrison, Northside Methodist Academy in Dothan, Ala.; Alyssa Sizemore, Rehobeth High School in Rehobeth, Ala. Each student will receive a one­time $1,000 award.
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