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Local business helps rebuild church at Ground Zero

E&H Steel in Midland City is fabricating steel for the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in New York City.

Jed Henderson with E&H Steel says: “Everyone remembers where they were on that day, it didn’t even register with me until the newscaster said we were under attack.”

When The Twin Towers were hit on September 11, 2001… the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church was right in the middle of the chaos.

Henderson says: “That day we were all Americans trying to figure out what was going on, we were all New Yorkers trying to figure out what was going on.”

Located right beside the south tower, the church is finally ready to rebuild.

E&H Steel has been working on this project, a project they say has special meaning.

Framework for the 5000 square foot building is being constructed in Dothan.

Henderson said: “This project is personal to us, to be able to say we have a part of rebuilding Ground Zero, showing the world that if you attack us. We’re coming back bigger and better and that’s what this project means to us.”

The project is scheduled to be done by the spring of 2018.

The plan is to hold an Easter service there that year.

– Article originally published on, August 02, 2016. Written by Dillon Huffman. Read the original article here.

Historic Holman House in Ozark Receives State Preservation Award

Built in 1912, the 15-thousand square foot mansion is one of Ozark’s oldest structures.

Renovations began nearly three years ago by the Heritage Association.

The group has painted, installed heating and air, renovated the kitchen and more.

The Holman House was described as a “model” for restoring and maintaining a historic structure.

“We’re so proud of the city of Ozark to be associated with the Ozark Heritage Association, we’re proud of what they have done in our community. Preserving our history which is so very important to us,” said Ozark Mayor, Billy Blackwell.

The Alabama Historic Preservation awards luncheon was held in Mobile last Friday.

 Article originally published on, August 02, 2016. Written by Sharifa Jackson. Read the original article here.

New Ozark Airport Terminal Ready to Open

After nearly a year, the new terminal at Ozark-Blackwell Field Airport is ready to open its doors to the public.

According to Ozark Mayor, Billy Blackwell, this new terminal has been a project over ten years in the making.

“I’ve been here 3 ½ years, and it has been a full 3 ½ year project for me ever since I’ve been here,” said Director of Aviation Services, Stephanie Blankenship.

Blankenship moved into her new office housed in the terminal just a few weeks ago, and has been helping put the finishing touches to the building.

“The furniture has been moved in, the decorating is almost finished, we’re just waiting on the contractors to finish lighting the entry way.” said Blankenship. “When this building is complete and open to the public… we will be able to offer the pilots the services they are in need of and desire when they fly into a location.”

Comfortable seating, TV access, wifi, a pilot’s lounge, flight planning, and an 18 seat conference room, Blankenship describes the terminal’s amenities as the most state-of-the-art facility in all of the Wiregrass.


This is all a plan to make Ozark more marketable, and efforts to attract new corporations, welcome more commercial pilots, and expand services at the airport.

“When people are traveling through, their perception of your community is what they see.. And now you will be able to see a facility on the airport.. A beautiful building like this terminal building certainly will add to the perception of Ozark,” said Mayor Blackwell.

Plans are underway to expand new t-hangar that can house more aircrafts.

Leaders are also negotiating an agreement with the city to provide fuel services to those who fly into the terminal.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new terminal is planned for Thursday, September 8th.

 Article originally published on, August 01, 2016. Written by Sharifa Jackson. Read the original article here.

Dale Medical Center Receives National Award

“Lots of patients tell us how great of care they get here.. And it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’ve touched someone in some shape, form, or fashion,” said DMC nurse, Kaitlin Wasden.

Out of 3,800 hospitals nationwide, Dale Medical Center is the recipient of the 2016 Women’s Choice Award for having one of America’s best hospital Emergency Rooms.

From minor coughs, to cardiac arrest, regardless of the cause, an Emergency Room is where you go when you need immediate help.

“You have to be prepared for anything, because you really don’t know what you’re going to get in the Emergency Room,” said Wasden.

Only 360 other hospitals were award winners that represent hospitals with exceptional patient care and treatment. A number that equals 10 percent nationally.

Something hospital CEO, Vernon Johnson says he is not surprised about.

“This award comes at a time where our physicians and staff show up to work every single day… and we work very hard to improve out quality of care here” said Johnson.


A true testament to the life-saving quality, of emergency care being provided.

For nurses at the hospital, they say it is a rewarding feeling.

“it’s an awesome feeling knowing our patients are satisfied with the care they receive here,” said Wasden.

And only a start of the positive news to come.

“I’ve seen a lot of positive changes over the years… it’s very exciting to see where we’ve been, and where we are… and i’m looking forward to the future here,” said Wasden.

The award is based off of quality performance, outcome results and patient satisfaction scores,

The DMC Emergency Room sees on average an estimate of 19,000 patients per year.

 Article originally published on, July 22, 2016. Written by Sharifa Jackson, Read the original article here.

Aviation company CAE set to locate at Dothan Regional Airport

The Dothan City Commission granted construction, property and equipment-related tax abatements to CAE USA Inc., and WMJHSR Investments, LLC Tuesday for the purpose of the construction of what is being called a Center of Excellence for Flight training facility at the airport. 

CAE is expected to have the Department of Defense contract to provide fixed wing training for around 600 Army and Air Force pilots through at least 2023. It is not yet known how many jobs the project will initially create.

CAE will provide a combination of live and simulated training at the airport along with classroom instruction.

The aircraft will be the Army C-12/RC-12 King Air for recurrent training and the Air Force C-12 King Air for annual training.

The abatements were not listed on the regular City Commission agenda, but were added by a vote of the commission during Tuesday’s meeting. Officials said the agenda item was added at the last minute because the project was coming to fruition and timing was important.

Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker said the facility could attract other related industry.

“This is a game changer,” Parker said Tuesday. “This will create a new opportunity to grow, to expand and create a market and possibly bring in some future vendors.”

A more formal announcement could come within the next two or three weeks.

Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said economic development officials from Houston County, Dale County and the State of Alabama had been working on the project for about two years. The bid for fixed-wing training had been awarded early last year, but became tied up in appeals for quite some time.

“We’re proud to have a world class aviation company in this community,” Schmitz said. “Hopefully, the growth opportunities this will provide at the airport will lead to more to come.”

The vote Tuesday abates non-educational property taxes imposed by the State and County for 10 years, and 20 years for city-related non-educational property taxes. It also abates construction-related transaction taxes, mortgage and recording taxes.

The abatements are allowed under Chapter 9B of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama, passed in 1992 to aid communities in economic development.

CAE is a worldwide training company. It employs 8,000 people at more than 160 sites and training locations in 35 countries, with headquarters in Canada. It trains primarily in the areas of civil and defense aviation, but also provides training simulators to the health care industry.

CAE has already begun advertising several jobs related to the anticipated move, including aircraft maintenance managerquality assurance manager, and several other positions including aircrew training instructors, simulator technicians and simulator and visual database engineers.

 Article originally published in The Southeast Sun, March 15, 2016. Written by Lance Griffin. Read the original article here.

Carroll High’s Career Center programs will serve as model for Alabama schools

Amanda Campbell, the simulated workplace coordinator for Carroll High School’s Career Center, said the center was recently selected as the model for 85 similar simulated workforce programs throughout the state. She said seven of the career center’s 10 CTE programs have converted their classrooms into simulated businesses that reflect services offered within the community.

In its full implementation across all of the programs next school year, the career center courses are expected to involve industry-indicative uniforms for the students, time entry for them to clock in and out of class, leadership positions – such as managers – for which the students can apply and interview, and soft skills development. The students are expected to use employee manuals as their textbooks, and are typically paid with school credit or industry supplies they can use within the courses.

The teachers for each industry will serve as the chief executive officer of each of the businesses, said CHS Career Center Director Dana Griggs.

“The way they’re learning, they’re being taught critical thinking skills and problem solving and conflict resolution from each other, some of which a teacher wouldn’t normally teach or that you just can’t teach,” she said.

“It’s about a frame of mind.”

The “businesses” at the career center represent courses in health science, cosmetology, engineering, graphics and animation, and television production. There are also courses at the center that are part of the National Center for Construction and Research building construction program and the Alabama Power Business Academy at the school.

Each program has a board of directors made up of area business leaders who provide input on the courses and opportunities for the students to intern.

Philip Cleveland, the Alabama Department of Education director of career technical education, said simulated workplace environments in Alabama are modeled closely to those in West Virginia, which he said was the first state to implement simulated workforce environments at the high school level statewide.

In Alabama, Cleveland said the programs are designed with business and industry workplace needs in mind. He said the programs’ formats are embedded with industry certification requirements and some state and federal employment training programs. He said the state department has partnered with AIDT for its Ready to Work Program.

Cleveland said the department hopes to have simulated workplace environments implemented in each of the 59 centers for CTE training in the state within the next year.

“Our Alabama business and industry partners have spoken and said we need to do a better job with employability skills. The only way to do that is to hold students accountable by getting them ready and prepared for the workforce,” Cleveland said.

“So far our programs have been very successful and the students are buying into it. Those businesses and industries in an advisory role are coming in and helping us to do mock interviews, some students are completing applications, and they’re seeing communication skills are key.”

CHS senior Adrian Woodall said the new career course format in his masonry course, which are part of the Eagles Masonry simulated company at the school, mimic how he clocks in and out at his real job.

CHS junior Tanner Livingston, who takes an engineering and graphics animation course at the Animation Design simulated business at the school, said the class is closely connected to what he wants to do as a career cartoonist.

“I’ve always loved drawing and I feel like it’s a good fit for me,” he said.

“I love how the class is run like a business.”

 Article originally published in The Dothan Eagle, March 17, 2016. Written by Ebony Davis. Read the original article here. 

Commercial Jet announces 100 new jobs

Workers at Commercial Jet perform heavy maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and modification services at the facility at the Dothan Regional Airport, while some positions currently advertised on Commercial Jet’s website seek clerk and human resources employees.

Commercial Jet has locations in Dothan and Miami. The announcement of 100 positions came after several job positions at the company were posted online between December and last month, primarily for the Dothan area.

CJET Academy, the company’s multi-partnership no-cost, eight-week program designed to train entry-level structural assemblers, is also expected to expand. The next class starts April 8. The company advertises that students who successfully complete the class are offered a job at Commercial Jet with a starting pay of $14 per hour.

Commercial Jet opened its Dothan facility in 2013 inside the former Pemco World Air Services facility. The company initially hired about 60 employees in Dothan but projected to employ 500 people directly over five years and create another 1,500 local jobs indirectly.

Commercial Jet’s most recent profile data through the Federal Aviation Administration showed the company employed 383 employees in 2014, including 146 mechanics, four repairmen and 190 non-certified mechanics.

The company had 229 employees in 2013, according to a previous Dothan Eagle report.

A study by the Sorrells Business College at Troy University projected that over 10 years from its start in Dothan, that Commercial Jet’s investment in Dothan would create $740 million in wages, along with $22.95 million in sales and property tax collection, directly and indirectly.

Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker said the skill development Commercial Jet brings with its partnerships with the Alabama Department of Commerce and Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) stimulate the aviation industry’s growth throughout the area.

Parker said efforts by Gov. Robert Bentley and the local delegation were essential to Commercial Jet locating to Dothan.

“It’s a higher income for our market, and it creates opportunity on both the entry level side of things and the high technical side of those jobs,” Parker said.

“Commercial Jet has launched a mechanism to grow their own and create a career path for folks who are passionate and can go as far as they want in future long-term aviation opportunities. It’s detailed work with a lot of regulations and inspection and oversight to meet the standard of industry, so you have to be very conscientious, but it’s a great field.”

 Article originally published in The Dothan Eagle, February 2, 2016. Written by Ebony Davis. Read the original article here.

CSRA expansion means more high-tech jobs, more pilots can train


Construction is well underway and Computer Sciences Corporation—now CSRA Inc.—is planning to open its newest flight simulator and office building in October. The current expansion is expected to lead to 10 to 20 new jobs in Daleville, according to Shannon Booker, External Relations with CSRA, located in Falls Church, VA.

In August 2015, CSC Government Services/CSRA, Inc. purchased land adjacent to its current facilities in the Industrial Park at a cost of $285,000 from the city of Daleville. The land had been home to two 1970s-era ball fields. Now that land will contain a 40,000 square foot facility and house multiple new flight simulators and offices for the company.

The CSRA Simulator Complex in Daleville AL is and has been the largest helicopter simulation training facility in the world since the early 2000s. 

According to Richard Adamonis, head of Global Communications at CSC in New York, NY, the Daleville operations are “part of Flight School XXI which is now part of CSRA, the spin-off of CSC focused on U.S. government business.”

CSC began operations with a $10 million, 140,000 square-foot facility—Warrior Hall—that opened in mid-2005. Warrior Hall and all expansions since it was built are part of a 19.5 year $1.1 billion contract to provide flight training.

By the end of May 2011 the company had added 15,000 more square feet for office space for government employees. That administrative facility was built as a result of a $28 million modification to the corporation’s existing Flight School XXI contract for an increase in simulator-based flight and aviation training support at Fort Rucker. The Army began implementing Flight School XXI in 2002.

Hundreds of flight students train at the Daleville facilities weekly.

Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth said, “Daleville is proud to be home to the world’s largest rotary wing flight simulator center. The expansion of CSC facilities in Daleville solidifies their presence in our city especially when that expansion includes additional jobs. The city of Daleville was able to sell to CSC our industrial park ball fields approximately, seven acres of land. We will take the proceeds from the sale of that land and develop two additional ball fields at our Culpepper Park softball facility. The CSC expansion is definitely a win-win for the city of Daleville.”

 Article originally published in The Southeast Sun, January 27, 2016. Written by Jan Murray. 

Ozark to gain pediatric practice in January


“Being located on the north side of town will benefit Ozark families as well as families in the surrounding rural communities by giving parents the option of local healthcare saving the time and expense of traveling to a nearby city,” says Phyllis Helms, Dothan Pediatric Clinic administrator.

Longtime Dothan pediatrician and Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network shareholder Dr. Ken Brown will relocate his practice to the Ozark clinic. Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Tera Knighton will work in collaboration with Dr. Brown to see patients. In addition, the clinic will employ 16 clinical and clerical staff. All are residents of Ozark. “Having worked for Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network for a number of years, the Ozark staff will be competently experienced in pediatric healthcare,” says Helms. A second pediatrician will join the practice in June 2016.

This expansion is the fourth for Dothan Pediatric Clinic since its beginning in 1953. Helms said Dothan Pediatric Clinic was contacted in March by Dale Medical Center asking about interest in providing pediatric services to the Ozark community. In addition to its second Dothan location on Westgate Parkway, the Dothan Pediatric network of clinics includes a location in Eufaula and Enterprise currently employing 130 people which includes more than 20 healthcare providers.

Ozark Pediatric Clinic hours will be Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. by appointment. On the weekend, sick patients can be seen on a walk-in basis at Dothan Pediatric Clinic, 126 Clinic Drive, Dothan. Electronic health records give peace of mind to parents knowing their child’s health record is fully accessible at all network clinic locations. An after-hours nurse line is provided for parents with questions and a triage nurse is available to provide assistance with urgent medical problems.

Stephanie Blankenship, assistant economic developer of the Ozark Dale County Economic Development Corp., said the city looks forward to having a pediatric provider again. “Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network has a great reputation. We are excited their leadership sees the potential of Ozark and wants to be a part of our community.”

Ozark Micropolitan Ranked #1 in Alabama

“This ranking demonstrates the positive impact of Ozark and Dale County’s commitment to economic development partnerships for locating, retaining and expanding business and industry with quality high paying jobs,” Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell said.

Economic strength rankings are released every year by Policom Corporation of Palm City, FL. Policom is an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies. The Ozark micropolitan area is ranked 72nd of 536 micropolitan statistical areas in the nation and is the only Alabama micropolitan area ranked in the nation’s top 100. The Enterprise micropolitan area ranked second in the state, followed by the Troy area in third. Other Alabama micropolitan areas featured in the study include Albertville, Cullman, Selma, Scottsboro, Talladega-Sylacauga, and Valley.

“The study demonstrates the stability of the Ozark micropolitan. Since 2008, we’ve consistently maintained a spot in the top 100 among micropolitans across the nation,” said Veronica Crock, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director.

Rankings are based on 23 economic factors over a 20 year period from 1994-2013. Factors measured include wages, personal income, employment statistics, construction revenue, retail revenue, and consistency of growth or decline. Overall state of the economy is based on the standard of living of citizens that work and live in the area.

“I believe this ranking is an example of the progress we can make by working together in our Ozark-Dale County economic development group as well as working with the entire Wiregrass region,” said Dale County Commission Chairperson Mark Blankenship. “I am extremely proud of the progress we are making in Dale County.”

For a micropolitan to be considered in a study, the area must have a city with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000. Dale County cities and towns that comprise the Ozark micropolitan include Ariton, Clayhatchee, Daleville, Grimes, Level Plains, Midland City, Napier Field, Newton, Ozark, and Pinckard.

“We’ve experienced excellent regional success and expect this success to continue,” Crock said. “We’ll continue working with existing businesses in expansion and retention efforts while working to bring new opportunities.”

The Policom Corporation created the economic strength rankings to study the characteristics of both strong and weak economies. The highest ranked areas have rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time.

“The potential is there for continued growth economically,” Daleville Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth said. “The rankings show that we have opportunities and we want to obviously continue to remain in the top of both of those lists.”


About the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation (ODEC) leads the county-wide initiative to stimulate job creation and capital investment in Dale County. For more information, call 334-443-2000 or send an email to


  • M1 Support Services
  • Michelin North America, Inc.
  • Covan International, Inc.
  • Jeld Wen
  • CSRA
  • E & H Steel
  • Maha, Inc.
  • Blue Springs Water
  • Brown Manufacturing
  • Brauer Aerospace
  • Bell Helicopter
  • Quality Fab
  • Arichem
  • Brown Products
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Ozark, AL 36360
(334) 443-2000

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