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BCA, AYN announce Manufacturers of the Year for 2019

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The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network today announced the 2019 Manufacturer of The Year (MOTY) winners during an awards luncheon ceremony at the Alabama Activity Center.

The Manufacturers of the Year finalists in the large, medium, and small manufacturer categories are: Kamtek in Birmingham, Milo’s Tea Company in Bessemer, OnPoint Manufacturing in Florence, Specification Rubber Products in Alabaster, Thermo Fisher Scientific in Auburn, and ZF Chassis Systems in Tuscaloosa.

The MOTY awards recognize Alabama’s manufacturing enterprises that exhibit excellence in leadership, performance, profitability, and workforce relations. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges based on demonstrations of superior performance in customer focus, employee commitment, operating excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth, and investment in training and retraining.

“The purpose of the annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards is to shine a spotlight on manufacturing excellence and to give those who have invested in Alabama the acknowledgement and promotion they deserve.” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the BCA. “Quite simply, this is an opportunity for the business community to say, ‘job well done!’ to some of Alabama’s most successful industries.”

Since its beginning in 2000, the BCA and ATN award ceremony has attracted Alabama dignitaries and manufacturing leaders to honor companies that are committed to improving Alabama’s economy.

ATN Executive Director Keith Phillips said the companies acknowledged today represent the best in Alabama manufacturing and the use of technology. “For 20 years, it has been an honor to partner with the Business Council of Alabama to provide a platform for Alabama manufacturers and suppliers to share their stories of growth, hard work, and their economic impact to our state,” Phillips said.

The 2019 Manufacturers of the Year are:

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Large Manufacturer of the Year – 400 or more employees: For almost 100 years, ZF has been a reliable and competent partner for global vehicle manufacturers worldwide. ZF Chassis Systems Tuscaloosa develops and manufactures products that support the mobility of people and goods, including German- and Asian-based automotive manufacturers. ZF supplies Mercedes-Benz U.S. with complete axle systems for the C-class sedans. With 484 employees, ZF Chassis Systems is a manufacturing leader for Tuscaloosa and the West Alabama region.

Medium Manufacturer of the Year – 100 to 399 employees: Milo’s was founded as a restaurant in 1946 by Milo and Bea Carlton after Milo returned from serving our country in World War II. Milo’s philosophy was simple – use high quality, natural ingredients, listen to your customers and never sacrifice taste. Their vision still guides them today as they source natural ingredients, fresh brew all of their teas and never use added colors or preservatives. Milo’s is a certified women-owned business, which means it is majority owned and controlled by women. Milo’s employs 194 people.

Small Manufacturer of the Year – 1 to 99 employees: OnPoint Manufacturing was formed in 2000 to make garments one at a time in exactly the size that fits the buyer. The business model allows the designer to maximize your time and capital through Purchase Activated Mass Customization of apparel. OnPoint has developed technically advanced manufacturing and distribution solutions for the apparel industry that automates and integrates almost every aspect of the manufacturing process from order entry all the way to delivery directly to the customer. By combining their new groundbreaking apparel manufacturing technology with years of quality workmanship, OnPoint is taking the promise of apparel on demand to a new level. OnPoint Manufacturing employs 25 people and is the future of the apparel industry.

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The Business Council of Alabama is a non-partisan, statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.

The Alabama Technology Network links two-year colleges, the University of Alabama System, Auburn University and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to solve the needs of industry. Each ATN regional center tailors its services to meet local needs, providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to enable Alabama’s existing industry to be globally competitive. The network is Alabama’s affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides hands-on assistance and training to smaller manufacturers.

 

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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Economy

New unemployment claims continue to drop

Micah Danney

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There were 11,692 unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, down from 17,439 the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

Seventy-six percent of the claims from July 26 to Aug. 1 were related to COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. That compares to 89 percent the week before.

New claims increased over the first half of July but declined in the second half.

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Economy

Alabama Power is returning $100 million to customers

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama Public Service Commission approved a plan Tuesday to credit Alabama Power Company customers on their October bills. The move returns approximately $100 million to Alabama Power Company customers.

“Putting money back into the pockets of hard-working Alabamians is one of the ways we can help on the road to recovery,” Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh said on social media. “Alabama Power to refund $100 million to customers.”

The typical Alabama Power customer will receive a $25 credit on their October bill. The newly approved credit is on top of a 3 percent rate reduction that customers are already enjoying in 2020. This previous rate cuts and the October credit amount to about $300 million in savings for Alabama Power customers this year.

“We appreciate the commission voting today to expedite this credit for our customers,” said Richard Hutto, Alabama Power’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

The global economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt people across Alabama. It has also dramatically lowered fuel costs for Alabama Power Company’s plants.

A typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month is expected to receive a credit of $25. Customers who use more energy will receive a larger credit. Customers who use less power receive a smaller credit but had a smaller bill to begin with. Adjustments to fuel costs are typically calculated at the end of the year, with savings passed to customers beginning in January, but due to the economic downturn and pandemic-related job losses, Alabama Power and the PSC are rushing that money to Alabama families and businesses.

“Many of our customers have been hurt by COVID-19. We hope this credit will provide some additional relief at this difficult time,” Hutto explained.

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The 3 percent rate reduction, that took effect in January, was based on earlier estimates of lower costs for fuel and other expenses for 2020. The rate reduction alone equates to about a $4.50-per-month reduction for the typical residential customer.

“Our employees are working every day to keep costs low while providing industry-leading reliability for our customers,” Hutto added.

Alabama Power said in a statement that their total retail price is below the national average and has been for decades. When adjusted for inflation, the price customers pay for electricity is lower today than it was 30 years ago.

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Alabama Power has been assisting customers in other ways during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the start of the pandemic, the company has suspended disconnects and late payment fees for customers hurt by the coronavirus.

Cavanaugh is seeking another term as president of the Commission.

“It is crucial that we have strong pro-jobs conservatives supporting President Trump’s agenda at all levels of government,” Cavanaugh said on social media.

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Economy

Payroll Protection Program deadline has been extended to Saturday

Brandon Moseley

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Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, this week reminded business owners that the deadline to apply for the Payroll Protection Program, knowns as the PPP, has been extended to Saturday.

“The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline was recently extended to Saturday, August 8,” Roby wrote in an email to constituents. “Do not forget to fill out your application if you are a small business that has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.“

The PPP was a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration. It was part of the bipartisan CARES Act to address the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the forced economic shutdowns, which were implemented in the early months of the public health emergency in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel strain of the coronavirus and allow public health agencies and health care systems time to build up testing, contact-tracing and hospital bed capacity.

The PPP loans are 1 percent interest loans available through the SBA. If the business uses the money to make payroll and pay standard operating expenses then the loans will be forgiven. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The loan forgiveness form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers.

The PPP has been very popular, so much so that that program ran out of money just weeks after Congress passed it. Congress had to go back and provide more funding for the PPP.

Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Senate Democrats are meeting with the Trump Administration, Senate Republicans and House leadership on a compromise plan for a fifth coronavirus relief package. A big point of contention has been the size of the total package. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, supports a $3.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill while Republicans prefer a more modest $1 trillion relief bill. The two sides are expected to continue to negotiate through Friday in an attempt to reach a compromise before the August recess.

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Roby is serving in her fifth term representing Alabama’s 2nd congressional district. She is not seeking re-election.

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Economy

State’s unemployment claims slowed last week

Last week saw the lowest number of new claims since the week-to-week number first spiked from 1,824 to 10,982 when the lockdown started in mid-March.

Micah Danney

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The number of unemployment claims in Alabama slipped last week after increasing through the first half of July.

There were 17,439 claims filed from July 19 to 25, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. Of those, 15,461, or 89 percent, were COVID-19 related.

Claims soared at the start of the pandemic in late March, hitting a weekly high of 106,739 in the first week of April. The rate of new claims declined sharply in May, with each week counting under 30,000 claims.

Since then, the number has decreased somewhat steadily. Claims rose several thousand over the course of this month, from 19,058 in the week ending July 4 to 23,678 in the week ending July 18.

Last week saw the lowest number of new claims since the week-to-week number first spiked from 1,824 to 10,982 when the lockdown started in mid-March.

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