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    Experience Montgomery works hard every day to recruit meetings and events to the city, and the sports side of that provides a huge return, not only to the city coffers, but to overall economic growth across the region. The sports market often includes a larger travel party that ends up staying longer, which generates more lodgings tax revenue and city sales tax. Pre-COVID, the sports market generated roughly $62 million a year in economic impact. Several recent athletic events in the capital city are continuing the score.
    The Montgomery Biscuits, home of the Major League Baseball Double-A affiliate, the Tampa Bay Rays, hosted the Tyson Foods Black College World Series at Riverwalk Stadium on May 11-15. The series, in its second year, featured eight HBCU baseball teams, made up of four from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and four from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Games were live streamed on the Black College Sports Network (BCSN) at mybcsn.net, the BCSN YouTube channel (@mybcsn1), Facebook page (@mybcsn1), and Twitter page (@mybcsn1).

    Mayor Steven L. Reed said, “The entire month of May will be a homerun for Montgomery, as we bring the best college baseball to Riverwalk Stadium. The City will continue working with our partners to position Montgomery as a premier destination for primetime sports and festivals, but we need everyone to come out and support these events. Embracing these championships will not only allow us to showcase our city—and its passionate fanbase, but it affords new opportunities for growth and development.”
    For the second year in a row, Montgomery hosted the Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Baseball Championship at the Montgomery Biscuits stadium. The championship is part of a five-year deal that Experience Montgomery recruited two years ago. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to build our relationship with the Sun Belt Conference,” said Johnny Williams, Executive Director of the Central Alabama Sports Commission. “They have been a great partner in the Gray Television Camellia Bowl, and we look forward to expanding that partnership and their footprint in our community with the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship.”
    On April 13, Montgomery hosted Anthony Melchiorri, a hospitality expert and television personality, who also serves as the creator, co-executive producer and host of the Travel Channel’s hotel turnaround show “Hotel Impossible.” During his visit, the Chamber hosted a meet and greet with local hotel partners, business leaders and military partners, where Melchiorri shared his thoughts on how to be successful, while also providing some insight on national hotel and tourism trends.
    He pointed to the effect the pandemic has had on attracting and retaining talent in the tourism industry. “The pandemic has taught people they can do anything, from driving for Uber to creating a TikTok account, to doing any number of creative things. They can make more money at Target, in a better environment than they can cleaning toilets, so why wouldn’t they?” He stressed that while a challenge, this is also a good thing, as it will push companies to come up with creative ways to attract and keep employees.

    As for trends in the industry, Melchiorri named virtual check-in and the daily cleaning of hotel rooms by request only, as two of the most widespread.

    Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) plans to begin building the hybrid version of its Santa Fe sport utility along with the first Electrified Genesis GV70 SUV as the Montgomery factory expands its U.S. production to include electric vehicles.
    To accommodate the growth, Hyundai plans to invest $300 million and create 200 jobs at its only U.S. manufacturing center. The latest milestone for HMMA was made official after the recent signing of a project agreement with Governor Kay Ivey at the state capitol. “Over the years, we have developed an enduring partnership with Hyundai, and it’s been great to witness the profound economic impacts of the company’s continued investments in Alabama,” Ivey said. “Hyundai’s new growth plans in Montgomery will help prepare the state’s auto industry for the EV revolution while also aligning with our strategic initiatives such as Drive Electric Alabama. This is another major milestone for our friends at Hyundai.”

    As part of the project, HMMA will begin plant expansion projects ranging from additional warehouse space to enhanced assembly processes to support electric vehicle production. Production of the Santa Fe Hybrid will begin in October 2022, and the Electrified GV70 will roll off the assembly line in December 2022. “Hyundai Motor Company is taking its first steps in electric vehicle production in the United States. We are excited to showcase our team members’ skills in producing electric vehicles here in Alabama,” said Ernie Kim, HMMA’s President and CEO.

    The Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle is an elite group of executives and business owners in Montgomery and the River Region looking for connections on a high and influential level. Members receive increased exposure to the business community, invitations to exclusive functions, top-level briefings by key leaders and government officials and targeted information regarding the Chamber’s initiatives and strategic priorities.
    To kick off the year, members of the 2022 Chairman’s Circle participated in a chairman’s reception at the Lower Lounge on April 5, and on May 18, the group got a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Montgomery Whitewater project that is slated to open spring 2023.
    Brad Armagost, CB&S Bank
    Jennifer Atkins, New Waters Realty Company, LLC
    Craig Bacheler, Bacheler Technologies
    Lynn Carter, Southeast Cherokee Construction, Inc.
    Donna Cooper, SmartBank
    Wade Davis, Montgomery Airport Authority
    Denise Haviland, ARC Realty
    Judy Jones, Goodwyn Mills Cawood, LLC
    Caroline Lawrence, Spire
    Pam Mashburn, exploreMedia
    Marcel McElroy, Top Talent Recruiter
    Larry McLemore, Saint James School
    Ann Osten, Sadie’s Global Travel, Ltd.
    Steffanie Patterson, Alabama News Network
    Robert Poundstone, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
    Joe Riley, Jackson Hospital & Clinic, Inc.
    Rachel Stewart, Guardian Credit Union
    Liz Sutton, Alabama World Travel/Sutton & Associates
    Kennon Tuck, PMTS, Inc.
    Russ Tyner, Baptist Health
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  • Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
    600 S. Court St, P.O. Box 79
    Montgomery, Alabama 36101
    Tel: 334.834.5200   Fax: 334.265.4745

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