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Governor to make stop in Brewton

By By Bill Crist, Staff Writer
As part of his "Communities of Excellence" tour, Gov. Don Siegelman w tours manufacturing facilities in Brewton this afternoon.
Since the announcement that Hyundai would build an automotive manufacturing plant just south of Montgomery in Hope Hull, communities have scrambled to position themselves to be better able to recruit and retain industry. The governor's office has been working with cities in Alabama to help them pave the way for "spin off" facilities that contribute components to Hyundai and other plants in Alabama through his new "Communities of Excellence" program.
The governor's tour is designed to simulate what civic, industrial and economic development leaders might expect when a Tier One supplier to the auto plant visits a community for possible relocation there. Upon arrival, the governor will tour two local industries, Citation Alabama Ductile and NDI. Local economic development officials will guide Siegelman through the community to showcase its existing economic development infrastructure. According to Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings, the public is invited to meet the governor prior to his departure from Brewton Municipal Airport at 5:15 p.m. At that time he will offer initial observations about Brewton's opportunities to attract new business and industry related to the Hyundai plant.
As the program has expanded to meet Hyundai's aggressive timetable, more communities have been added to Siegelman's tour. The visit to Brewton comes on the heels of trips to Greenville, Clanton and Enterprise. At the conclusion of each visit, Siegelman and his staff have offered preliminary suggestions for infrastructure improvements necessary to help attract suppliers to the community.
There are 10 economic development infrastructure criteria that he and his staff have focused on during the tour of cities. Those criteria include education, roads and bridges, regional airport, industrial parks, workforce capability, childcare and healthcare, technological capability, local support and planning, culture and community relations and media and public relations.
Within four weeks, Center staff is expected to prepare a report that will suggest both short- and long-term improvements to the community that would be appealing to potential Tier One suppliers. According to the governor's office, an independent economic analysis predicted that the plant would create approximately 8,000 direct and indirect jobs and $280 million in total earnings.
Marshall Rogers, Escambia County Industrial Authority Director, said that communities in Escambia County are well positioned to take advantage of the Hyundai plant.
Rogers went on to say that one of the features that makes Escambia County attractive to suppliers is that they will not have to compete with Hyundai for workers.