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Blankenship Appointed to Develop Aviation in Ozark-Dale County


Blankenship Appointed to Develop Aviation in Ozark-Dale County

OZARK, Ala. (December 4, 2012) – The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC) has appointed Stephanie M. Blankenship the Executive Vice President and Director of Aviation in Ozark, Ala., according to Eric Basinger, ODEC executive director. Blankenship, who manages the Headland, Ala., airport, will assume the Ozark post Jan.1.

Stephanie is a highly accomplished administrator with extensive knowledge of airport operations and economic development,” Basinger said. “We are excited to welcome her to the team to develop the Ozark-Dale County airport into an economic engine for the county and maximize our overall potential in aviation and aerospace throughout Dale County.”

“This is one of the steps necessary for our airport to reach its full job and investment potential,” said Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell. “Stephanie’s knowledge, experience and professional associations are a perfect fit for ODEC’s goals. She is truly a first class person and will be a tremendous asset for our community.”

In addition to managing the airport and planning future improvements, Blankenship will assist with economic development initiatives coordinated by ODEC. She also will continue as executive director of the Aviation Council of Alabama, an industry organization she has led since 2004.

Blankenship has served as manager of the Headland Airport since 2002 and as economic development director for the City of Headland since 2011. While in these posts, she was instrumental in securing federal grants exceeding $2.6 million for airport improvements. Blankenship previously served as executive director of the Henry County Economic Development Authority and as economic development assistant for the City of Headland.

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (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 email to“>


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Eric Basinger, Executive Director, ODEC

T 334.443.2000

Wallace College participating in $10 million welding grant program

Wallace Community College, along with four other Alabama and Florida community colleges, will participate in a $10 million grant program to provide area residents with greater opportunities to learn welding, a high-demand job skill for this region.

The four colleges will use mobile welding training labs to bring welding training programs to rural areas and small towns. Each of the five colleges – Wallace, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Northwest Florida State College, Pensacola State College and Chipola College – will receive a mobile welding lab that they can use to bring welding training programs to businesses seeking to train employees or to communities seeking to provide welding training to local residents.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to serve them and make a difference in their lives,” Wallace Community College President Linda Young said.

Welding has been identified as a high-demand career field for the area, with high job and wage growth for the foreseeable future. Not enough people in the local work force are able to meet the growing demand, however, necessitating the grant program to help develop the local labor pool.

Currently, about 90 percent of graduates from Wallace’s welding program find jobs in the field with starting wages of between $16.50 to $22.50 per hour. College officials said the program will be especially helpful to recently-laid-off workers and veterans seeking new skills for a new career.

“It’s a great investment for the American taxpayer in the work force and jobs,” Lurleen B. Wallace Community College President Herb Riedell said.

The mobile welding training labs will include welding simulators and traditional welding training equipment.

Wallace already has some welding simulators in use. The simulators cut down on time and materials used in welding training and also create less pollution than traditional welding training. Students demonstrated how they work for visitors to the college on Tuesday.

Montrel Sanders, a 20-year-old Wallace student from Eufaula, said he likes the instant feedback the simulator provides.

“It really helps out a lot in teaching hand movements and angles and lets you know what you’re doing wrong,” he said.

Will Query, an 18-year-old Wallace student from Enterprise, said the welding simulator allowed him to practice more frequently because it cut down on preparation time.

“Instead of having to take a day to cut the metal, a day to grind it and a day to weld, I can get in there and do it all at one time,” he said.

By Jim Cook

Dothan Eagle

German Manufacturer Plans U.S. Headquarters in Dale County, Alabama


German Manufacturer Plans U.S. Headquarters in Dale County, Alabama


OZARK, Ala. (September 4, 2012) – The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC) announced today that Brielmaier Motor Mower of Friedrichshafen, Germany, will locate its U.S. headquarters in Pinckard, Ala., co-locating with the only other German manufacturer located in Southeast Alabama, according to Eric Basinger, ODEC executive director. 

“The co-location of Brielmaier Motor Mower with MAHA USA reflects the power of our partnership with local existing businesses to recruit additional manufacturing jobs to Dale County,” Basinger said. “Brielmaier is also benefitting from our one-stop service that helps international businesses navigate the administrative and regulatory requirements for establishing an operation in the United States.” 

Brielmaier ( designs and manufactures industrial mowers with a patented design that prevents roll-over on steep inclines, Basinger said. The mower, which is primarily used for roadside and agricultural mowing, also may be operated remotely, providing an added level of safety for the operator. The company will launch its North American sales and manufacturing effort from Dale County. 

“We investigated many locations in the Southeast U.S. The staff at ODEC, along with Dale County officials, were instrumental in connecting us to the right location and a cooperative partner for establishing a base of operations in Alabama and introducing our product to the U.S. market,” said Martin Brielmaier, President at Brielmaier. 

ODEC hosted a demonstration of the technology recently for business and government representatives whose organizations may benefit from the equipment. ODEC also introduced Brielmaier to Wolfgang Raffler, Chief Operating Officer at Germany based manufacturer MAHA USA, which already is manufacturing in Pinckard. MAHA makes vehicle lifts for the automotive industry. The company’s precision metal work dovetails with an essential part of Brielmaier’s manufacturing process.  

“This was an excellent fit for us to create a cooperative venture with another German manufacturer seeking to become established in the U.S. market,” Raffler said. “We have the available space in our facility to accommodate Brielmaier’s launch, and we look forward to working with them as they grow in Dale County.” Brielmaier will be leasing space from MAHA.

 Initially, Brielmaier’s staffing needs will be minimal, with a handful of key employees coming from Germany and some support being provided by MAHA USA. As the company’s product grows in North America, local jobs will be created and a separate facility for Brielmaier is contemplated, Basinger noted. 

“In addition to cooperating with MAHA, we will be able to accelerate our entry into the United States with assistance from the Economic Development Corporation’s International One-Stop Program,” Brielmaier said. “We are receiving excellent assistance in the administrative, regulatory and permitting details associated with bringing an internationally owned business to the states.” 

“The Town of Pinckard and Dale County’s ability to attract a second German manufacturing firm demonstrates the region’s viability as a location for international businesses that want to be in a business-friendly environment in the Southeastern U.S.,” said Town of Pinckard Mayor Fred McNabb. “We look forward to continuing to partner with Brielmaier, MAHA, and ODEC to provide key resources to smooth the way for Brielmaier’s entry into the U.S. market.” 

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (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 email to”> 

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Eric Basinger, Executive Director, ODEC

T 334.443.2000

Fort Rucker contract awarded

L-3 Army Fleet Support awarded Fort Rucker contract

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7:19 am

L-3 Communications announced it has been awarded a  contract valued at $1.98 billion, with a one-year base period and four one-year options,  from the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Redstone on behalf of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command.

The contract is for rotary-wing aircraft maintenance and logistics support at Fort Rucker. The announcement was issued in a press release.

Under this contract, L-3 will provide maintenance, logistics and other related support for more than 600 helicopters used by the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and the U.S. Air Force Air Education Training Command.

“We are proud that L-3 has been selected as the Fort Rucker aircraft maintenance contractor,” said John McNellis, president of L-3 Integrated Systems Group. “We have worked closely with our government partners, as well as with our dedicated Army Fleet Support workforce, to continually deliver excellent, best-value performance in support of our military aviators and their training mission. This award is a very important one for our business, especially in this current environment, and we remain focused on our commitment to operational readiness and the high-quality services that we have provided the Army and Air Force at Fort Rucker since 2003.”

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs about 51,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and national security solutions. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms.

Army Fleet Support has held the contract for maintenance and logistics support at Fort Rucker since October 2003. After Lockheed Martin withdrew its proposal on  Monday the U.S. Army also considered URS Corporation and DS2 as candidates for the prestigious contract.

To learn more about L-3, go to

L-3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding L-3 is routinely posted on the company’s website and is readily accessible.

Re-printed from: The Southeast Sun, Enterprise, AL


The USDA offices will relocate to Martindale Plaza within 120 days, a move which will free up office space on the western end of the Dale County Government Building.

What to do with that space will be the topic of discussion for Dale County commissioners, Commission Chairman Probate Judge Eunice Hagler told them at a meeting Monday evening.

The Dale County USDA had leased the building since 1996. Their lease for Dale County¹s USDA services ­ which include a little more than 5,000 square feet of offices for rural development, the Farm Services Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service ­ expired last year and had been renewed on a month-to-month basis.

The USDA had recently advertised their request for bids on location to house their offices and the commission had submitted a bid but it was not the bid accepted, county attorney Henry Steagall told them Monday.

The bid from Martindale Plaza was for $14.45 a square foot, Steagall said.

Steagall had said previously that a renegotiated rent would likely be ³financially advantageous² for the county. That money would likely go toward paying off the bond issue used to construct the government building, Steagall said.

Monday he said the commission should view losing the USDA contract in a positive light, viewing it as a golden opportunity to move other county offices into that space.

Tractor Supply Grand Opening set for Ozark

By Eric Basinger-Executive Director, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation

ODEC is very excited for the opportunity presented for Ozark and Dale County by Tractor Supply Company. Several new jobs were created and new shopping opportunities will come available in the area with Tractor Supply’s unique customer shopping features. People that shop Tractor Supply regularly visit each month and will drive from as far as 30 minutes away. We expect while they are visiting that they will visit some of our other area merchants.

Tractor Supply’s grand opening is set for Saturday June 30th.

Developer announces plan for upscale apartments in Ozark

By Ebony Horton: Dothan Eagle

OZARK—An Enterprise real estate developer who said he was involved with the development of Sweetwater Apartments in Dothan and Prattville announced plans Tuesday to locate a similar gated community in Ozark.

The Ozark City Council unanimously approved signing a memorandum of understanding with Incipit LLC for “Camilla Park Apartments” on Tuesday. Real estate developer Bill Ware said he intends to develop Camilla Park near the intersection of U.S. Highway 231 and Alabama Highway 27, near the Hampton Inn, into an upscale gated community of 136 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Ware said the communities like Sweetwater in Dothan and Prattville that are similar to the proposed development are typically gated with two-story walkups, a clubhouse, laundry facility, fitness center, tanning salon, and water features.

Ware said the apartments would generally run from around $650 and up a month.

Ware said that under the memorandum of understanding, the city will purchase the building materials for the project and be reimbursed by the developer. Ware said the agreement could save around $400,000 to $500,000 on sales tax for a $10 million project.

Ware said another component of the memorandum of understanding is an incentive that says the project will lease so many units per month with the city undersigning a sort of “master lease,” which says the city will make good on the rents that would otherwise be due if the apartments are not occupied within 30 months.

Ware said the developments generally take up to a year to build.

“A number of companies would like to come to Ozark, but when they ask where their 50 or so employees are going to reside, those options are limited. I believe the city looks at this project as a stimulus and a real catalyst for the next level of growth,” he said.

“Our history is such that we try to create a community within our properties, recognizing that a lot of folks at all ages choose rental housing as opposed to buying single-family homes or townhouses, for the most part because of a lack of having to worry about maintenance.”

Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell said such a project has been long awaited in the city.

“This would be very attractive to our neighbors at Fort Rucker, very convenient, and certainly something I think that’s well within the line of the next step we need to take to move our city forward,” he said.

Tractor Supply Company to open store in Ozark

By Ebony Horton, Dothan Eagle

OZARK—Between 12 and 17 new jobs are expected in Ozark after a company with stores throughout the Wiregrass and the country announced it would locate a facility in the city this summer.

Tractor Supply Co. (TSC), based in Brentwood, Tenn., is expected to open its doors in the old Walmart building, estimated to be around 26,005 square feet, in Martindale Plaza on Andrews Avenue in mid-June.

According to its website, TSC is the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the U.S. with more than 1,100 stores in 44 states and more than 15,000 workers, with revenues estimated around $4 billion.

Among the company’s products are tractor/trailer parts and accessories, lawn and garden supplies, welding and pump supplies, riding mowers, equine and pet supplies.

Company spokesman Rob Hoskins said Ozark was “attractive” for the company because of part-time and hobby farmers and horse owners in the area.

“As a growth-minded company, TSC is always looking for potential new store locations that are a good fit as far as the target market is concerned. … Tractor Supply Company is looking forward to being a member of the Ozark business community,” Hoskins said in a statement.

The company started in 1938, according to its website. Other TSC stores in the Wiregrass are located in Andalusia, Dothan, Eufaula and Troy.

Tanya Roberts, executive director of the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce, said interviews for positions at the company could take place in May at the chamber.

Ozark Council President Mike Barefield said the Andrews Avenue facility had been vacant for more than a decade, but the plaza was recently purchased by Dothan resident John Watson.

“That particular area is probably one of our strongest corners, so to have someone locate there is a really good sign that could really generate more revenue and retail,” Barefield said.

Korean Automotive Component Manufacturer Plans Headquarters and Plant in Southeast Alabama

Yura Corp., a Seoul, South Korean manufacturer of automotive electronic and ignition components, will open its U.S. headquarters and build its first manufacturing facility in Dothan, Alabama.

While the total amount of Yura’s expected investment has not been determined, the project will initially create 60 jobs, with the ultimate total number predicted to be higher.

Yura takes great pride in the rapid advances in the development that Korea’s automobile industry has made, a company spokesman said. Recent use of automotive electronic components with highly advanced semiconductor chips is on the rapid rise, as vehicles become more intelligent and complex in their functionality. The importance of the wire harness, the connecting pathway that Yura produces, has become more important in eco-friendly cars. Yura strives to develop technologies and components for eco-friendly cars with a goal of maximizing fuel efficiency and going-green in ignition system parts such as stick coils.

-From the press release issued by the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce

Southeast Alabama is extremely fortunate to have Yura join its local manufacturing base and we look forward to forming stronger partnerships with automotive suppliers in the future.

Regional Group Developing Mega-Site

A group from Southeast Alabama and Northwest Florida has been working for several months to prepare for a future mega project for the region. The group has identified several possible sites that could attract a mega-project including steps to “certify” the site as ready for an industrial expansion.

Economic development representatives from the areas have been meeting for more than six months to prepare for a project that could dramatically impact the region. In addition to identifying potential sites, the region has requested a workforce study to ensure potential companies that an available, trainable workforce exists in the region.

“This is a serious effort and we believe that we can be successful in attracting a major job creator for the region. We know that we have the workforce and great sites with strategic infrastructure. It’s the perfect time to come together as a region for job creation,” said Matt Parker, president of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and co-chairman of the effort.

Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, indicated support for regional collaboration. “Every region has a uniqueness and must determine the best ways to enhance their development efforts, with the Alabama-Florida partnership it certainly offers great potential to enhance the lives of Alabama and Florida citizens. From an Alabama perspective, we understand the benefits of working together with our neighboring states and look forward to further collaboration.”

In Florida, Gray Swoope, secretary of commerce and president & CEO of Florida’s public/private economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, said, “I applaud the region for working together to find a competitive mega-site. Florida’s focus is on job creation and our team supports any effort of this type to get companies focused on Northwest Florida.”

“We know there are potential projects for this region,” said Neal Wade, executive director of the Bay Economic Development Alliance and the other co-chairman of the effort. “And to have a united effort with this many counties and two states, should attract the attention of major companies that may be looking to locate in the Southeast United States.”

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  • 4
  • 5
  • 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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