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  • Chamber News

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    THE LATEST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWS:

    MAYOR PRESENTED LIFETIME AMBASSADOR AWARD
    During the last quarterly Ambassador meeting, the 2019 Ambassadors, along with the Chamber, presented Mayor Todd Strange with an Honorary Lifetime Ambassador Award to recognize that throughout his tenure, he has been a true ambassador for this community and a huge supporter of the Chamber, its mission and its members.
     
    MONTGOMERY HONORED WITH ADDITIONAL HMMA INVESTMENT
    Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) will invest an additional $292 million in new machinery and equipment to facilitate the production of the redesigned Hyundai Elantra and Santa Fe vehicles and a new, more fuel-efficient Theta engine at their North American plant here in Montgomery.
     
    Most recently, HMMA celebrated the opening of a new cylinder head manufacturing plant, the third facility at HMMA to support production of more than 650,000 engines per year. The 260,000 square foot facility represents a $388 million investment and 50 new jobs. “Montgomery remains deeply committed to its partnership with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and is honored to see its continued growth,” said Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean. “Together, Hyundai and Montgomery have created a roadmap for manufacturing success, and we are very proud.”
     
    “Teamwork fuels economic growth, and we are grateful for partners like Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. “HMMA’s long-term, expanding investment in the region drives significant impact on the region and beyond.”
     
    “We are so very honored that Hyundai has once again chosen to significantly invest in Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama,” said Willie Durham, 2019 Chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “As home to Hyundai’s only North American manufacturing facility, the Montgomery community pledges to continue our enormously successful partnership.”
     
    HMMA’s investment in the region will total $680 million within the last two years, strengthening the company’s presence in the local community and demonstrating confidence in Montgomery’s ability to support its growing workforce.
     
    MONTGOMERY COUNTY ANNOUNCES WORLD-CLASS OUTDOOR RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT 
    A world-class whitewater and outdoor recreation and entertainment center is coming to Maxwell Boulevard at the gateway to Montgomery off I-65 in 2022. This public-private project, led by Montgomery County, will spur economic development, dramatically add to the lifestyle of residents, fuel continued tourism growth, help to enhance our military missions and make Montgomery a more attractive destination to visitors.
     
    The development will be anchored by an Olympic-standard recirculating whitewater course, which will allow users of all ages and skillsets to participate at difficulty levels ranging from beginner to expert. The park will also include a variety of dry-side outdoor activities such as climbing areas, ziplines, ropes courses and trails for hiking and biking. The development will host numerous festivals, competitions and weekly activities.

    Hospitality amenities will include a conference center, cabanas and other gathering spaces, all designed to invite people to relax by the channels and enjoy a day (or night) in the outdoors. Design is set to begin in 2019 with construction to follow in 2020 and an opening date in 2022.
     
    NEWS & UPDATES: YOUR CHAMBER AT WORK

    CHAMBER NAMES NEW SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    The Chamber announced the promotion of Sheron Rose to Senior Vice President External Affairs. A key member of the Chamber’s senior leadership team since 2015, Rose will oversee all areas of the Chamber’s state and local governmental affairs and advocacy, member and stakeholder relations, minority business outreach, diversity and inclusion, education, and civic and community engagement.
     
    “Sheron is an exceptional leader with a vision and heart for moving Montgomery forward. She has made an incredible difference in the short time she has been with the Chamber, and I look forward to her expanded role and increased responsibilities in the organization,” said Anna Buckalew, President and CEO of the Chamber. “In her increased capacity, Sheron will be instrumental in the continued growth and success of the Chamber and our mission to catalyze leadership around opportunities that grow Montgomery.”
     
    Prior to joining the Chamber, Rose served in various human resources and governmental affairs leadership roles with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) from 2003 until 2015. Additionally, she worked extensively in governmental and legislative affairs for associations and elected leadership at state and federal levels. Rose is a graduate of Tuskegee Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education and a Master of Science in human resource management from Troy University.
     
    SMART CITIES READINESS WORKSHOP FORGES PARTNERSHIPS
    Montgomery was selected to host the Smart Cities Readiness Workshop in August as part of its Smart Cities Readiness Challenge Grant competition win. Thanks to collective efforts of the City, County, Montgomery Public Schools, the Chamber, military partners and Alabama Power Company, Montgomery bested more than 100 major cities — as large and geographically diverse as Dallas, Texas, and Jersey City, N.J. — to bring the workshop to the capital city. The team is putting its concise vision for incorporating innovative data-driven approaches in multiple projects into action, as well as shoring up efforts to enhance communication and collaboration among regional stakeholders and community partners.
     
    Facilitated discussions with small workgroups advanced short-term and long-term plans, while encouraging networking to strengthen preparedness for future projects. Participants, who ranged from Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board and Alabama Power to Cisco and Oracle, explored ways to bridge physical services to the digital world to affect quality of life, leverage data to spur economic opportunity and expand extracurricular STEM offerings for MPS students.
     
    MGM CHAMBER, ELECTED OFFICIALS AND LOCAL BUSINESS STAKEHOLDERS VISIT DELEGATION IN D.C.
    The Chamber held its annual Washington Fly-In in September, during which Chamber leadership, staff, local elected officials and community partners had an opportunity to engage one-on-one with Alabama’s federal congressional delegation and their staff.
     
    The purpose of this annual trip is to advocate for federal policies, local projects and federal funding that will support Montgomery’s business community and economic development goals. The Chamber partners extensively across the community to help produce one united voice for Montgomery in an effort to move our community forward – this partnership with the River Region’s congressional delegation is one of the critical partnerships that helps make this possible.
     
    CHAMBER LAUNCHES 2019 TOTAL RESOURCE CAMPAIGN
    The Annual Total Resource Campaign provides area businesses with unique and valuable marketing opportunities, while also raising money to help fund a large majority of the programs, events and communications the Chamber hosts and organizes throughout the entire year. By investing in TRC, member businesses connect to the vital programs and resources they need to grow their business. Sponsorships not only impact the Chamber, they fuel economic growth for Montgomery and the River Region.
     
    NEWS & UPDATES: TECH & TALENT

    TALKING TECH
    More than 6,500 military and IT professionals were in Montgomery for the annual Air Force Information Technology & Cyberpower Conference, which generates an estimated $4 million in economic impact for the region. “AFITC brings together Air Force cyber and IT experts with commercial partners and thought leaders in academia to understand current and innovative technologies and form future strategy,” said Richard Aldridge, director, AFPEO-BES.
     
    A SUCCESSFUL INNOVATE AFITC
    During AFITC, The Chamber’s TechMGM initiative partnered with the Air Force and the Montgomery AFCEA Chapter to host Innovate AFITC, the premier collaboration competition for science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and cybersecurity. Innovate AFITC encourages and promotes a community culture of cyber awareness and collaboration between government, industry and academia. This event brings together community leaders, cyber experts and a cadre of competitors from local high schools, universities, military units and commercial industry to witness and participate in real-world IT, cyber operations, software development and design methods. The Chamber and TechMGM would like to thank MGMWERX and Alabama State University for hosting several sessions.
     
    MGM CHAMBER HOSTS FIRST EVER WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP LUNCHEON
    In conjunction with AFITC, the Chamber held its first-ever Women In Leadership Luncheon, which featured Lauren Knausenberger, Chief Transformation Officer for the U.S. Air Force. During her presentation, Knausenberger praised Montgomery for its tech advancements and discussed what leadership in a rapidly changing business environment looks like today and how women in business can learn from and support one another. “Long-prized leadership qualities like command, control and authority aren’t as effective anymore, particularly in the tech world, she said. “Instead, the most successful leaders share qualities like effective collaboration, empathy and relationship-building — qualities more often associated with women.”
     
    EDUCATION NOTES: MAGNET SCHOOL HONORED AS NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL
    U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently recognized 362 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. One of five Blue Ribbon Schools in Alabama is Baldwin Arts and Academic Middle Magnet School in Montgomery County.
     
    “We commend the Montgomery County Board of Education, as well as the educators, administrators and students [of Baldwin], for achieving Blue Ribbon status. This is a tremendous step in the right direction to ensure a brighter future for our city,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. “With abounding high-tech opportunities and historic high employment, Montgomery’s economic future demands a highly skilled, highly educated and highly technical workforce. By pursuing excellence and approving conversion charter schools, the Montgomery County Board of Education is cultivating a climate that will not only feed but exceed this need and result in additional economic opportunities.
     
    NEWS & UPDATES: HONORS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

    CELEBRATING THE CHAMBER’S LONGTIME MEMBERS WITH 100+ YEARS OF SERVICE
    118 Years:
    Acme Brick Company Montgomery Brick Plant
    115 Years:
    Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.
    111 Years:
    Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air
    108 Years:
    Alabama Machinery & Supply Company, Inc.
    Alabama Power Company
    AT&T Alabama
    BBVA
    Capitol’s Rosemont Gardens
    Holloway Credit Solutions, LLC
    Huntingdon College
    Lamar Advertising of Montgomery
    Lowder New Homes
    Medical Society of Montgomery County
    Merrill Lynch
    Montgomery Advertiser-USA Today Network
    Mount Scrap Material Co., Div. of Waste Recycling, Inc.
    Regions Bank
    Regions Mortgage, Inc.
    River Region United Way
    Sabel Steel Service, Inc.
    Spire
    Standard Commercial Roofing & Envelope Solutions
    US Foods
    Whitfield Foods, Inc.
    101 Years:
    Aldridge Borden & Company, PC
    100 Years:
    Jackson Thornton
     
    NON-STOP, SAME-DAY SERVICE TO REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT
    Starting January 7, 2020, American Airlines will offer a new schedule for same-day, return flights between Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) and Reagan National Airport (DCA).
     
    A welcome addition for business travelers, American Airlines began non-stop service from MGM to DCA in June 2018. The airline’s current flight patterns typically require passengers to remain overnight, before returning to Montgomery. The new schedule offers even greater flexibility for corporate customers who can depart on an early morning flight and return home in time for the nightly news.
     
    Executive Airport Director, Marshall J. Taggart Jr., said, “This flight is a milestone in providing a full-day trip option for the government, business, and military traveling public. Our air service development is aggressively pursuing more ways to connect the airport to the region.”
     
    MGM HOSTS CIVIC LEADER MILITARY TOUR & RIVER REGION DEFENSE SUMMIT
    Montgomery recently hosted the new Commander for the Air Education & Training Command (AETC), Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, along with 25 civic leaders from various AETC bases. The group received an Air University mission briefing, toured several organizations at Maxwell and Gunter and were hosted by Governor Ivey at the Governor’s Mansion where she presented each one with an Alabama coin. Lt. Gen. Webb was also the keynote speaker at the Chamber’s first River Region Defense Summit held to highlight the importance of our local military missions within the River Region.
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