Alabama Corporate Moves


Federal Agency Brings Thousands of Jobs to Huntsville

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) recently broke ground in Huntsville, AL on its Von Braun III building, a $240-million, 900,000-square-foot federal facility that will employ approximately 3,000 to 4,000 highly paid technology workers. The new building is the third and final facility in MDA’s Von Braun complex. MDA director, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, calls the six-story Von Braun III building the “crowning jewel in the entire Von Braun complex.”

The MDA’s ground breaking is the latest in a series of developments since 2005 at Huntsville’s 38,000-acre Redstone Arsenal facility. Major General James R. Myles, commanding officer of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, says northern Alabama will receive up to 10,000 new military and civilian jobs at Redstone Arsenal by the end of 2011.

“This will also affect Florence to the west to Scottsboro in the east,” Myles adds.

Redstone Arsenal has science and engineering jobs paying an average of $80,000 per year with a total payroll of $2.3 billion. Myles says payroll will increase to $3.15 billion, and state tax collections will increase to $224 million when the 10,000 new jobs are created.

Alabama Adds Another Automotive Asset

Tool Ventures International (TVI), a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company, announced plans in April to open a new service center in Huntsville, AL to better meet the needs of its automotive customers. The new facility will employ eight to 10 new workers, most hired from the Huntsville area. The 12,000-square-foot plant is expected to be fully operational by July 2008.

“Huntsville is a perfect site for us,” says TVI President Don Mekkes. “We maintain very high customer service standards and, because many of our major automotive customers have plants nearby, this will improve our service even more for them.”

TVI’s future plans include occupation of a 21,000-square-foot facility with full manufacturing capability by fall of 2008. The new plant also will be located in Huntsville and will employ up to 25 workers.

Mekkes noted that TVI spent six months analyzing over 100 different markets for the expansion. Huntsville came out on top for a variety of reasons, including its central location for customers, efficient over-road access, and easy access to air travel.

Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Evans Quinlivan indicated that the expansion is significant to the community as the automotive industry continues to grow not only in Huntsville and Madison County, but also across the state. “These are the kinds of high-paying automotive manufacturing jobs that are good for our community,” says Quinlivan.

Southeastern Keeps on Truckin’

In May, South Carolina-based trucking company Southeastern Freight Lines announced a $3.1 million expansion of its Birmingham, AL service center that will nearly double its operating capacity.

The company is adding 38 new dock doors to its existing 69. It also will expand its local administrative offices, while acquiring four more acres of land at its site.

Southeastern Freight Lines has been opening new terminals across the Southeast in an industry that recently has seen significant downsizing because of higher fuel prices. The company has nearly 80 service centers in 12 states across the Southeast.