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High-Tech Heats up Alabama

Learn more about the projects, programs, and incentives that make technology thrive, in exclusive conversations with Neal Wade, Director, Alabama Development Office

Susan Avery (Southern Tech Sites 2008)
Q. What is the pattern of technology growth in Alabama?
A. Technology sectors are growing throughout the state with activity reported in life sciences and aerospace in Huntsville; life sciences and information technology in Birmingham; and life sciences, marine technology, and aerospace technology in Mobile. Genome Technology magazine called Alabama one of nine "emerging biotech regions" in the world, pointing to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Southern Research Institute as leading examples of biotech excellence.

Q. What are some niche projects?
A. Northrop Grumman Corporation, one of the largest defense contractors in Huntsville, is building a new headquarters, as a part of a future $80 million, multi-building campus for research and development.

Also, our state's aerospace industry is made up of manufacturers of aerospace, aviation and defense hardware, software and equipment, maintenance and repair, and support services that provide approximately 73,000 direct jobs. Last year, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. dedicated a 30,000-square-foot technical integration center in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville to support U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters and other military aviation programs.


In the life sciences, a pharmaceutical-related firm, SurModics, Inc., announced in April that its Brookwood Pharmaceuticals subsidiary in Birmingham acquired an additional facility in the Birmingham area for research and development.

In advanced manufacturing, United States Steel Corporation is building a steel facility in Port of Epes that could employ 235 full-time workers and at full production have an economic impact of $450 million in the "Black Belt." This carbon alloy synthesis and cogeneration facility will utilize state-of-the-art technology to process coal into a carbon alloy material that can displace the traditionally manufactured coke used in the steelmaking process. This new material is definitely better for the environment.

Q. What incentives encourage technology projects?
A. If companies are manufacturing, R&D/engineering, or headquarters operations, they qualify for all or most of our state's statutory incentives - tax abatements, income tax capital credits, and site preparation assistance.

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