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TWO GREAT HOTELS. TWO GREAT HOTELS. ONE IDEAL LOCATION. ONE IDEAL LOCATION. Perfectly located in the Uptown Entertainment District at the BJCC, The Westin Birmingham and Sheraton Birmingham Hotel offer a combined 1,051 guestrooms and 385,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, including stylish and contemporary outdoor patios. Enjoy upscale amenities and services you won’t find anywhere else in the city, like plush signature beds, renowned Starwood service, hot spots like the iconic Todd English P.U.B. and all of the benefits that come from being a Starwood Preferred Guest® member. TO LEARN MORE VISIT WESTINBIRMINGHAM.COM OR SHERATONBIRMINGHAM.COM

©2014 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Méridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.

©2014 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Méridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016


Huntsville Hospital has been recognized for the second year in a row by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine Surgery®. Huntsville Hospital was the only hospital in Alabama to receive this distinction in 2015. Achievements include: · Spine Surgery Excellence Award for 2014 & 2015 · Top 5 percent in the nation for Spine Surgery for 2014 & 2015 · 5-star recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery for 5 years in a row from 2011–2015 dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


welcome new chamber members Joined in September 2015 Arcus Restoration C. Howard Grisham, Attorney at Law Camellia Hospice Chi Payment Systems Community Urgent Care of Madison Joined in October 2015 Crossroads Boutique American Airlines, Inc. - Huntsville Ellicorps Corporate Services Best Western Plus - Madison - Huntsville Hotel Graphic Launch Boecore, Inc. Hester Group, LLC Capital Park @ Seventy-Two West Intelligent Security Consultants, LLC Charisma J. Gumbo’s Chiroglyph, LLC The Kingslea Merkel Liver Disease Foundation Chocolate Martini Bar Lifevantage College Hunks Moving Junk/College Hunks Moving Liquor Express and Craft Beer Consulting Reliability Engineer MJS, LLC Cortina Consulting Group, LLC Oakwood Enterprise R1,LLC (dba Edible Arrangements) DealNews Peppers Moving Co., Inc. EngeniusMicro, LLC Professional Personnel Systems Global Design and Fabrication Shoals Debt Management, Inc. Keller Williams Realty of Madison Social Joey, LLC L & R Investment Management Spain Enterprise, Inc. Le-vel (dba Thrive Products) Sure Save Pharmacy LENDMARK FINANCIAL Taylor Properties Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. W. W. Grainger, Inc. Orangetheory Fitness Walmart Store #2690 Senior Planning William Freeman, MD Smallcakes Southern Sealing and Striping LLC Star HB Farms Strategix Medical Solutions, Inc. SweetWater Marketing, Inc. TMC Design Corporation U.G. White Mercantile Urgent Medcare Whole Foods Market, Inc.

If you want to make a valuable investment in your business and the community, the Chamber is the place to start. Contact Donna McCrary, Membership Retention Manager: 256-535-2027 or 4

initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016


Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative Development Partner

Development Council

Chairman’s Council



Huntsville Hospital

ADTRAN, Inc. The Boeing Company City of Madison Emerson Network Power - Avocent Port of Huntsville Redstone Federal Credit Union

Madison County Commission Regions Bank Tennessee Valley Authority

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL BBVA Compass Lockheed Martin Corp.

• •


Crestwood Medical Center

SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC

CHAMBER TRUSTEES AEgis Technologies Group • Aerojet Rocketdyne • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama • Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Dynetics, Inc. • First Commercial Bank • Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation • Jerry Damson, Inc. L-3 Communications Corporation – Huntsville Operations • Landers McLarty Corporation • Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. Northrop Grumman Corporation • PARSONS • Raytheon Company • S3 • Sealy Management Company, Inc. Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. • Torch Technologies • Wyle CAS Group

PROGRESS PARTNERS Baron Services, Inc. • BASF Corporation • BB&T • Beason & Nalley, Inc. • Bill Penney Toyota, Scion & Mitsubishi Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP • Coates Transportation Group • Colliers International • Connected Logistics Consolidated Construction Company • Davidson Technologies, Inc. • Huntsville-Madison County Builders Association • iBERIABANK IronMountain Solutions • J. Smith Lanier & Co. • Keel Point, LLC • LEAN Frog Business Solutions, Inc. • Logicore • MTS, Inc. The Orthopaedic Center • Progress Bank • Radiance Technologies • Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc. (DBA Steak Out) SELEX Galileo Inc. • Turner • Vencore, Inc. • Woody Anderson Ford

PROGRESS INVESTORS 4SITE, Inc. • AECOM • Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. • Amanda Howard Real Estate • Anglin Reichmann Snellgrove & Armstrong, PC Averbuch Realty Co., Inc. – Scott Averbuch • Aviagen, Inc. • BancorpSouth • Brown Precision, Inc. • Bryant Bank • CB&S Bank • Century Automotive CFD Research Corporation • Coast Personnel Services • deciBel Research • Decisive Analytics Corporation • Deloitte LLP • DESE Research, Inc. • Digium, Inc. Ducommun Miltec • Elliott Davis Decosimo • Fite Building Company, Inc. • Foreign Language Services • Fountain, Parker, Harbarger • HEMSI Hiley Cars Huntsville • Huntsville Botanical Garden • Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau • Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. Investor’s Resource/Raymond James • The Lioce Group, Inc. • MSB Analytics, Inc. • National Bank of Commerce • North Alabama Multiple Listing Service PALCO Telecom Service, Inc. • PeopleTec, Inc. • PHOENIX • PROJECTXYZ, Inc. • Public Financial Management, Inc. • QTEC • Renasant Bank ServisFirst Bank • Sierra Lobo, Inc. • Sigmatech, Inc. • Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. • West Huntsville Land Co., Inc. dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


Meet Our Huntsville Lending Team

Will Alexander Business Development

DeMarco McClain Vice President

Barry Bryan Senior Vice President

256-533-7834 | | Member FDIC


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016

Tim Singleton Madison County Area President

DEC 2015-JAN 2016



On the Cutting Edge with GE

25 12 18 11 20

biosciencebriefs DIDYOUKNOW? economicdevelopmenthighlights educationupdate gettinginvolved 4 5 8 10 19 22 26 28

Welcome New Chamber Members HREGI Investors Message from the President | Board of Directors Community Profile State of the Schools 2016 Attention: Chamber Members Chamber Staff | Associated Organizations Spy Central: 2016 Annual Membership Meeting

editorial staff publisher

Chip Cherry, CCE executive editor

Carrie Rice editorial designer

Kristi Sherrard contributing writers

The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County is to prepare, develop and promote our community for economic growth.

(additional contact information on page 26)

Lucia Cape Julia Cherry Emma Williams advertising sales

Eddie Graves email:

Submissions for editorial content are not accepted. Information in this and other Chamber publications is at the discretion of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/ Madison County. Advertising inquiries go through (contact at right). dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


Chamber of Commerce

Executive Committee and Board of Directors 2015 Executive Committee Rey Almodóvar, Chair, INTUITIVE Rose Allen, Chair-elect, Booz Allen Hamilton Robert Mayes, Immediate Past Chair, Keel Point, LLC Ron Poteat, Chamber Foundation Chair, Regions Bank Cynthia Streams, Secretary/Treasurer, Domino’s (Valley Pizza) Joe Newberry, Vice Chair - Economic Development & Industry Relations, Redstone Federal Credit Union

A Message from

Chip Cherry

Jim Rogers, Vice Chair - Gov. & Public Affairs, Lockheed Martin Gary Bolton, Vice Chair - Membership, ADTRAN Emily Lauder, Vice Chair - Workforce & Education, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama

Tharon Honeycutt, Vice Chair - Small Business & Events, MSB Analytics

Dear Chamber of Commerce Investors, Community Leaders and Friends: When you’re tempted to hit the “buy” button of an online retailer, I encourage you to pause and consider the impact shopping local has on our community – on your community. Shopping locally supports local jobs and local companies. These companies support our little league teams, buy ads in school programs, support the arts, and many other activities. When was the last time you saw the name of an internet retailer on the back of a little leaguer’s t-shirt or on one of the panels lining the outfield of a middle or high school ball field? Your purchases from local retailers impact our community in more ways than you can imagine. I encourage you to try shopping local this holiday season – you may be surprised what you will find! The recent GE announcement is another big win for the Tennessee Valley. The cuttingedge technology is yet another connection to the aerospace heritage our region is known for. We are blessed with one of the most dynamic economies in the country. Our workforce has a rich history of finding solutions to very difficult problems and providing critical support to our national interests. Currently we are growing our presence in the advanced manufacturing sector with the addition of Remington and Polaris. We are blessed with companies such as Adtran, PPG, Toyota, BASF, Sanmina, and many others who have a rich history here and are part of the fabric of the place we call home. Add into the mix HudsonAlpha and the groundbreaking work they are doing – you have a recipe for what Bloomberg Business calls, “Unlikely Cities That Will Power the U.S. Economy”. During the Holiday Season we reflect on our blessings. I would like to offer a thank you to our men and women in uniform, the civil servants that support them, and our contractor community who serve in critical roles. The true force multipliers are the families who bear much of the burden of supporting them while they are away. On behalf of the Chamber and the Business Community of the Huntsville Region, thank all of you for your service and your sacrifice! I wish you and your family a blessed Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!

Chip Cherry, CCE President & CEO Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016

Kim Lewis, Vice Chair - Marketing & Communications, PROJECTXYZ Penny Billings, Vice Chair - Member Engagement, BancorpSouth Mayor Tommy Battle, Chair-Appointed, City of Huntsville Mark Curran, Chair-Appointed, L-3 Communications Corp. - HSV Ops Trip Ferguson, Chair-Appointed, Remington Outdoor Company Chairman Dale Strong, Chair-Appointed, Madison County Commission

Mayor Troy Trulock, Chair-Appointed, City of Madison Danny Windham, Chair-Appointed, Digium Chip Cherry, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce

Elected Board Dr. Robert Altenkirch, University of Alabama in Huntsville Bob Baron, Baron Services Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics Miranda Bouldin, LogiCore Greg Bragg, Consolidated Construction Company Greg Brown, Brown Precision Janet Brown, Belk Micah Bullard, Turner Construction Kevin Byrnes, Raytheon Company Kevin Campbell, Northrop Grumman Corporation Frank Caprio, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Michael Cox, PARSONS Angel Crespo, Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility Dorothy Davidson, Davidson Technologies Gene Goldman, Aerojet Rocketdyne Jeff Gronberg, deciBel Research Mike Gullion, SCI Technology – a Sanmina company John Gully, SAIC Jan Hess, Teledyne Brown Engineering Steve Hill, AEgis Technologies Group Dr. Pam Hudson, Crestwood Medical Center Dr. Andrew Hugine, Alabama A&M University Hank Isenberg, IronMountain Solutions Jeremiah Knight, JXC Consulting Group Janice Migliore, PALCO Telecom Service Johnny Van Osborne, J. Smith Lanier & Co. Jim Owens, FirstBank Alicia Ryan, LSINC Dr. Gurmej Sandhu, Sigmatech Charlie Sealy, Sealy Management Company Crystal Shell, WILL Technology E.J. Sinclair, SES - Science and Engineering Services Dr. Ashok Singhal, CFD Research Corporation David Spillers, Huntsville Hospital Mike Stanfield, Ducommun Miltec Nilmini Thompson, Systems Products and Solutions Tim Thornton, nLogic Ken Tucker, The Boeing Company Frank Williams, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Once you’ve found it, you know you’re home. Banking and mortgage loans are the same way.

At ServisFirst Bank, we offer a range of banking and mortgage products that are as varied as our clients’ tastes in homes. Each offers a competitive rate and our exceptional service. Perhaps that’s why homeowners feel so settled in once they find us.


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dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


communityprofile Population

Madison City of County Huntsville

City of Huntsville Madison Metro Area

Top Ten Employers Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31,500* Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,129

2010 Census





NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000

2014 Census





Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,079





The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,600

% Growth

Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389

Households & Income # of Households




Avg. Household Income $79,504

$72,093 $110,880


Per Capita Income






Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (, 2013 American Community Survey

SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,229 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 The University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,675 ADTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,522 Source: Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County *includes on-site contractors

Aerospace & Defense Huntsville/Madison County is home to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which combine to drive a thriving aerospace and defense technology industry. More than 37,500 people work at Redstone Arsenal and NASA managing some of the country’s most important and sophisticated technology programs including missiles, aviation and space exploration.

Research & Technology Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park has earned a reputation as a global leader in technology development. The second-largest science and

For more information, visit:

technology park in the U.S., Cummings Research Park is home to more


than 300 companies and 29,000 people involved in technology research and

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Initiatives magazine.



Outside the Box T

he Alabama State Board of Education adopted College and Career Ready Standards in 2010 – often referred to as the Common Core State Standards – and began implementing them in 2012. Since that time, the local, state and national business communities have strongly supported the rigor of the standards and the consistency from state to state that they provide. However, there has been pushback from parents who either misunderstand the origins of the standards or who feel they are too difficult for their children to attain. Enter Russ O’Rear, principal at Madison Cross Roads Elementary, and his “outside the box” thinking. Madison Cross Roads is a high-poverty school with 60 percent of its students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. It also has a high rate of transiency with more than half of its students moving in or out of the school within the elementary grades. Challenges of high transiency include poor attendance, high drop-out rates, and lack of parental involvement. It also makes it hard to change the culture of a school to support students’ academic success. But O’Rear is not deterred by these challenges. Instead he is meeting them head on with a project inspired by Birchbox, the popular cosmetic goody box that his wife and daughters get in the mail each month. Russ envisioned a colorful monthly package called “Thinking Outside the Box” tied to the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards that would support students’ classroom learning at home, engage their parents in their education, and demystify the Standards by breaking them down to grade-level hands-on activities. It would also be the first piece of “real” mail many students had ever received.

”Not My Parents’ Multiplication” and “Explore the Core”, it was a fun and informative evening that achieved its goal of helping parents understand and appreciate the Standards. One parent texted O’Rear before the Fam Jam, “It’s 10:00 pm and we are just getting done with my 4th grader’s math. This could drive me to drinking, and I don’t even drink!” After the Fam Jam the same parent texted, “OK folks… Here it is… Wait for it… Common core math really isn’t that bad. I get the reasoning behind it, I really do.” With results like that, O’Rear is convinced his “Thinking Outside the Box” project will continue to change minds and support student achievement. “It’s a tall order, especially with the media and special interest groups working against us,” O’Rear said. “But we are having the conversation in a Title I school and it’s working!” •

Lucia Cape

First he had to find the funding. Enter the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. An avid supporter of the Standards and a partner with the Chamber of Commerce in Huntsville/Madison County on workforce and education issues, the U.S. Chamber Foundation loved the idea so much that it provided full funding for the project – the first time it has given funds directly to a school. The $53,710 grant was given on behalf of the Achieving Tomorrow initiative (, and the check was presented to O’Rear by Caitlin Codella, director of policy and programs for the U.S. Chamber Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. The check was presented as part of the Owens Cross Roads “Fam Jam” – an event that brought parents, students and teachers together to learn about the Standards and other education initiatives at the school. With sessions entitled, “Boo! It’s Common Core”, dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives



IERUS Technologies T

he next time you see a Formula 3 race car whiz by on your TV screen, take a look and see if you can spot an antenna. A local company is working so that antennae on race cars and other vehicles are virtually undetectable. I visited Dr. Jason Keen, President of IERUS Technologies, and we discussed the advancements they have made in antennae design. “By performing coupled substrate and element design we were able to reduce the profile of the antennae. Current antennas protrude from the body into the airflow creating more drag. Our approach enables the antennae to be embedded under the paint appliqué layer over the carbon fiber at a thickness of less than a millimeter,” Keen said.

This small business was started in Huntsville in April 2010 and nurtured by the DoD Mentor Protégé program. IERUS specializes in RF and IR signature design, program management, systems engineering, and EM tool development. Their facility in the Westcorp Boulevard Park features a lab for creating advanced prototypes on the fly. IERUS is a great example of how research and development for government projects, in this case ballistic missile reentry vehicles, can be translated into the commercial market. The antennae are currently being tested on Formula 3 race cars, with plans to branch out into other vehicles. •

Johnson Controls C

limate control and home automation have gained popularity in the last few years, but what might surprise you is that the Army Corps of Engineers and Johnson Controls have been hard at work to implement these advancements within government facilities for years. Johnson Controls Building Automation Systems strives to help the federal government achieve energy savings, improve operations, and secure important assets. I recently sat down with Michael Janssen and Jeff Ogden to discuss this program and found that Johnson Controls has been working to increase the efficiency of government buildings and improve the soldier’s living environment for over 20 years. “Johnson Controls remains dedicated to supporting federal sites globally. The Army Corps of Engineers here in Huntsville continues to be one of the best avenues to achieve our business growth, and as a team, we are exceeding our customer’s expectations,” Janssen said. Ogden added, “As federal funding becomes increas-


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016

ingly tight, energy efficiency will be key at DoD installations.” Because of this dedication to increased efficiency, Johnson has consistently worked to create significant energy savings for military posts. These efforts result in saving the federal government millions of dollars annually for a wide variety of military and civilian government agencies around the world. For instance, installation of a Metasys building automation system in more than 500 buildings saved Fort Bragg more than $1 million while also improving the conditions for soldiers through better climate control. Johnson’s work isn’t restricted to only federal applications; they have recently become active on a local level to advocate for energy efficiency measures throughout Huntsville. As a Platinum member of Energy Huntsville, Johnson is working to promote the emerging energy market sector in our community by increasing awareness of new opportunities to grow the energy sector and developing energy-related uses of current local technology. •

by Emma Williams

ATI Huntsville Operations H

ave you ever seen a pair of flexible eyeglass frames and wondered what they were made of? The alloy Nickel Titanium or Nitinol (NiTi) makes these glasses possible. I recently got a chance to visit ATI Huntsville Operations and talk to Paul Morris, director of the rod and wire division. Morris told me all about the amazing products made out of NiTi. “Like many individuals in Huntsville, I am also a consumer of the products we make such as NiTi eyeglass frames.” The local ATI plant located on Madison Boulevard features cold drawing, conditioning, heat treating and chemical cleaning capabilities. The equipment is used in the difficult process of forming NiTi and other exotic alloys into rod and wire. While eyeglasses are one of the most well-known applications of this alloy, it is also used in several other products. You can find NiTi in biomedical devices like stents and medical implants. It is also used to make jewelry, fishing lures and cell phone antennas. This isn’t the only metal that ATI works with. There are a variety of other alloys used to create products that are a part of our everyday lives. From the niobium used in MRI magnets, the titanium for aerospace, and the zirconium used in fuel cell assemblies in nuclear reactors, ATI is an unseen part of our lives. •

Support the missions of Redstone






Redstone Gateway is the premier location for defense contractors seeking immediate access to NASA and other customers on Redstone Arsenal. The new 468-acre, masterplanned business park is located just outside Gate 9 of Redstone, right off I-565 at Research Park Blvd. COPT’s expertise in building mission critical facilities that are operationally efficient will ensure your specialized needs are met in order to advance your mission at Redstone. Derrick Boegner SVP, Asset Management / Leasing Corporate Office Properties Trust 256.895.9820 |

Redstone Gateway is a joint venture development of COPT and Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC.

dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives



initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016


On the Cutting Edge GE Aviation Technology = Game Changer by Carrie Rice Opposite page: Putting the CMC pieces into a giant kiln in Delaware where silicone is “melted” into the matrix, creating the ceramic matrix composite. Below: Testing CMCs at GE Aviation’s Peebles testing facility in the high-pressure turbine and combustor of a GEnx engine, which will be used in their new GE9X engine.

Photos courtesy of GE


he future of aviation has landed – right here in Huntsville, Alabama. Ohio-based GE Aviation selected Huntsville as the future home of one of their most advanced manufacturing facilities in the U.S. The company announced it will build two facilities that will mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) for jet engines and land-based gas turbines. This cutting edge technology will further our regional position as a leader in high-tech and advanced manufacturing. It will also grow our commercial manufacturing footprint in the aviation industry. With an investment of more than $200 million, GE Aviation will construct two facilities on 100 acres in Limestone County, within the city limits of Huntsville. When the facilities are operational later in 2018, they are expected to employ up to 300 people. GE has already begun hiring the technical team that will transfer to the Huntsville operation and the company said it expects to begin hiring the hourly workforce in late 2016. GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. Officials with the company said Huntsville was an ideal pick for its new facilities because of the city’s skilled workforce, a history of technology and innovation, existing utility infrastructure, and local, state and regional support. “Establishing the new GE factories in Alabama is a very significant step in developing the supply chain we need in order to produce CMC components in large volume,” said Sanjay Correa, Vice President, CMC Program at GE Aviation. Producing CMCs requires complex processing steps using a

continued on page 16 dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


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synthetically produced compound of silicon and carbon. The two Huntsville facilities will be involved in separate steps in this process. One plant will produce silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic fiber – this will be the first such operation in the United States. The adjacent GE factory will use the SiC ceramic fiber to produce unidirectional CMC tape necessary to fabricate CMC components. The use of lightweight, heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of GE jet engines is a breakthrough for the jet propulsion industry. CMCs comprise SiC ceramic fibers in a SiC matrix, enhanced by proprietary coatings. These facilities will play a pivotal role in the manufacturing of the best-selling LEAP engine. The LEAP engine, being developed by CFM International – a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France – is the first commercial jet engine to use CMCs in the high-pressure turbine section. The LEAP engine, with more than 9,500 orders and commitments, is currently completing certification testing. It is scheduled to enter airline service next year powering the Airbus A320neo, and in 2017 powering the Boeing 737 MAX. With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs greatly reduce the overall engine weight. Further, their high-temperature properties greatly enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy. CMCs are far more heat resistant than metal alloys, hence requiring less cooling air in the engine’s hot section. By using this air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently. “This announcement is important because Alabama is expanding our partnership with a global aviation leader,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “We have prioritized advanced manufacturing in aerospace and aviation, and I appreciate the investment by GE Aviation in this new Huntsville operation.” This is GE Aviation’s second significant facility investment in Alabama in recent years. Since 2013, GE Aviation has invested more than $100 million in a 300,000-square-foot facility in Auburn where the company is engaged in jet engine component manufacturing (super-alloy machined parts), as well as establishing the world’s highest-volume additive manufacturing center. Huntsville will be home to the only facility in the United States to produce SiC ceramic fiber on a large industrial scale – and the

Illustration courtesy of GE

demand for CMCs is expected to grow tenfold for this product over the next decade. Once the Huntsville plant is operational, it will sell fiber to the Department of Defense, other GE businesses, Herakles (Safran), and other outside customers subject to U.S. regulations. “GE is an innovation company and Huntsville is an innovation city, and this announcement is just the latest chapter in that history of innovation,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “The products that will be manufactured right here in Huntsville represent the future of aerospace. We are proud that Huntsville will help GE Aviation change the way we travel.” The recruitment of GE Aviation began nearly two years ago – using the code name “Project Badge”. North Alabama regional economic development partners and the State of Alabama worked collaboratively on this project before announcing the news in a statewide news conference with GE Aviation leaders. “With Alabama’s aviation and aerospace sector adding new capabilities, it has been one of our goals to more fully penetrate all levels of the industry supply chain,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong agreed that collaboration was key for this project. “Every economic development effort requires a tremendous amount of teamwork and that is what makes our region unique. To get this project across the finish line, we established a strong coalition, including the City of Huntsville, Madison County, and Limestone County. Our team works together beyond geographical lines – through regional collaboration – working together as one for the benefit of our entire community.” Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarborough said his county is ready to get to work with GE Aviation. “We are excited that GE Aviation has chosen to be part of our corporate family, and look forward to the outstanding future this presents for us all.” Details of the level of support provided by these regional partners will be provided once the regional elected bodies have had the opportunity to vet the agreements. Learn more about GE Aviation’s journey into CMCs with the following YouTube video: • Carrie Rice | 256-535-1100

Litigation | Businesses | Governments Individuals | Non-Profits

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


economicdevelopmenthighlights snap:

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its 100th mission October 2, 2015, with an Atlas V rocket – built right here in the Tennessee Valley!

tower will be built-out to create the additional 30 private patient rooms. “More patients are choosing to come to Crestwood each year and we are growing our capacity to serve them,” said Lori Light, Director of Marketing & Communications at Crestwood. “Our patients receive high quality care and personalized service and growing our hospital will allow us to continue these high service levels and serve more people in North Alabama. This expansion will support work flow and efficiency for our physicians, nurses and care team, our most valuable resources.” •

AEgis Launches New Real-Time 3D Elements Site

The Department of Veterans Affairs has opened its doors of its new Huntsville VA Clinic. The 47,800-square-foot facility, located on 500 Markaview Road N.W., between Clearview Cancer Institute and the old Butler High School, will bring the Madison/Decatur and Huntsville Community Based Outpatient Clinics together under one roof. The Huntsville VA Clinic will provide primary care, mental health, women’s health, audiology, optometry, radiology and have an onsite pharmacy. William Harper, Birmingham VA Medical Center Acting Director said, “The veteran population in northern Alabama has grown rapidly and continues to grow and will be for the foreseeable future.” “This new VA clinic will also increase our primary care capacity in the Huntsville and Madison County area. It will bring expanded services and new specialty care clinics to the area, which will serve many veterans and make them easier to take care of without having to go to Birmingham.” •

Crestwood Set for 30-Bed Expansion Crestwood Medical Center recently announced that it will expand its facility to serve more patients with the addition of 30 general acute care beds, bringing the total bed count to 180. Construction on the estimated $8.9 million, 21,300 square foot project is expected to begin early 2016 with completion in the third quarter next year. An existing unfinished space located on the fourth floor of Crestwood’s East patient


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016

John Honeycutt Named Space Launch System Manager NASA has named John Honeycutt manager for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) Program – based here at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Now under development, SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built – able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. As SLS program manager, Honeycutt leads a nationwide workforce of more than 4,200 civil servants and contractors with an annual budget of $1.7 billion, and is responsible for all facets of the program, including planning, procurement, development, testing, evaluation, production and operation of the integrated SLS. Honeycutt, who had been deputy manager of SLS since November 2013, has helped lead the program through a series of milestones, including engine tests and in-depth element and system critical design reviews. Honeycutt began his NASA career at Marshall in 1999 after working for nine years as a contractor in support of the Space Shuttle Program, the International Space Station and other NASA programs. At Marshall, he has served as deputy manager and manager of the Space Shuttle External Tank Project, deputy manager of the SLS Program Stages Office and SLS deputy chief engineer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1990. He has received numerous awards, including a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, Management Space Flight Awareness Award, the Silver Snoopy Award and a Center Director’s Commendation. •

Photo courtesy of NASA

Huntsville VA Clinic Opens Doors

AEgis Technologies has launched a new website called AEgis Elements which offers hundreds of high-fidelity models, a free model “Download of the Month” plus online requests for custom 2D and 3D model quotes. The new AEgis Elements site is loaded with high-fidelity, real-time, military 3D models that have been custom built and compiled over the last two decades by leading 3D artists, designers and developers for use in simulators, gaming applications, demos, STEM-based education programs and more. AEgis Elements 3D models can be designed for real-time simulations featuring low polygon counts and high resolution textures. Models can be integrated with numerous Geospatial datasets and 2D/3D viewing applications. For more information, please visit: •

compiled by Julia Cherry

UAH to Build $2 Million Wind Tunnel The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will soon be home to a new $2 million wind tunnel system, championed by the university’s eminent scholar in propulsion, Dr. Phillip Ligrani. Currently under construction, the new TranSonic/SuperSonic/WindTunnel (or TS/SS/WT) will reside in the Air Breathing Test Cell at UAH’s Johnson Research Center. The test sections of the facility will reach speeds and air velocities ranging from Mach 1.6, with airspeed of approximately 1,230 miles per hour, to Mach 3 with airspeed of about 2,300 mph, said Dr. Ligrani, the project’s principal investigator and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “We’re hoping to have the facility completed and partially operational by the end of this calendar year,” Dr. Ligrani said. Four, 14-foot-long tanks valued at $1 million and weighing Ligrani 16 tons each have been donated to the university by the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center in Manchester, TN. The tanks started life as rocket fuel storage but will be used in conjunction with a fifth tank to provide 50 cubic meters of compressed air storage at supply pressures up to 2,500 pounds per square inch. •

Intergraph Boosts Portfolio with Acquisition of EcoSys Management Intergraph Process, Power & Marine (IPPM) announced its agreement to acquire EcoSys Management LLC, a Colorado-based provider of best-in class enterprise project controls software. “The acquisition of EcoSys will allow us to offer another next-generation solution and technical expertise to deliver even greater productivity and value for our current and future customers worldwide,” said Gerhard Sallinger, president of Intergraph Process, Power & Marine. “EcoSys technology will be strategic for our expanded offering to the AEC/BIM markets to improve project execution.” The strategic acquisition of EcoSys will broaden IPPM’s leadership position as a Project Enterprise solution provider by adding project controls to its existing enterprise portfolio. EcoSys will continue as a standalone operation under its current management team. Inc. magazine recently ranked EcoSys at #1794 on its annual Inc. 5000 list. For more information, please visit •

Dynetics Analyst Accepts Position on Cyber Huntsville Board Shane Hammett, a Dynetics senior cybersecurity threat analyst, has accepted a position on the Cyber Huntsville Board of Directors. He has served the U.S. Department of Homeland Security developing the National Cybersecurity Communication and Integrations Center. Hammett has also worked with government leaders to develop policies related to cybersecurity. Cyber Huntsville is a non-profit organization dedicated to making Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley an internationally recognized cyber leader. •

Huntsville City Council Appoints Fehrenbach to Health Care Authority Board The Huntsville City Council has appointed Kerry Fehrenbach to a six-year term on the Health Care Authority board, the governing board of Huntsville Hospital. Fehrenbach, who serves as Vice President for Global Marketing for Intergraph’s SG&I Division, succeeded Jean Templeton who did not seek reappointment after serving three terms. Fehrenbach is a graduate of Texas A&M University and earned an MBA degree from Vanderbilt University. She has been active in many community organizations, including service on the boards of Huntsville Hospital Foundation, Girls, Inc., and the Chamber of Fehrenbach Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. • dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives



Helping Hands and Happy Trails T

oyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama (Toyota Alabama) doesn’t just build great engines. It also builds a tremendous sense of pride for its more than 1,300 employees, and for our community. Giving back to the community is something that Toyota Alabama has always championed. “We have an incredible group of team members,” said Emily Lauder, General Manager of Administration at Toyota Alabama.

“Not only do they rise to the top when it comes to the products they make, they rise to the top when it comes to caring about their community and neighbors. That is special.” Toyota Alabama is no stranger to volunteering – for example, after the 2011 severe tornado outbreak, teams of company volunteers canvased our area to help with the clean-up and rebuilding efforts. This past fall, the company went back to nature when 100 Toyota Alabama team members volunteered their time to fix-up, restore, and clean-up one of the most popular trailheads in Huntsville – the Bankhead Trailhead at Monte Sano Reserve. The volunteer effort was part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD), a coastto-coast initiative that promotes improvement and conservation of public lands. Lauder said NPLD falls in line perfectly with the automaker’s core principles. “Sustainability and preservation are global initiatives for Toyota. We truly believe that we must support the communities where we do business. This is a perfect example of that.” In addition to providing volunteers, the plant donated $10,000 to the Land Trust of North Alabama (which owns the trailhead) to purchase necessary tools and supplies for the volunteer effort. With the goal of providing a new and refreshed hiking destination, team members repaired bridges, painted the pavilion, build new picnic tables, installed new grills, replaced the rock gravel board-


A Division of Progress Bank

201 Williams Avenue 20

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Huntsville, AL 35801-4250


er surrounding the pavilion, replaced interpretive signage, and cleared and rerouted the trail. “I’m so proud of the turnout,” said Toyota Alabama production team member Gerald Elmore. “We’ve got a lot of pride in the work we do at the plant. But, we also have a love for this community and want to help where we can.” The Land Trust of North Alabama also provided an educational program for the Toyota Alabama team’s children. While their parents worked on improving the trailhead, the children built bird houses (that would later be placed along the trailhead), and they also made walking sticks which they used on their guided hike of the trail later that day. They also learned about the environment, and enjoyed some good old-fashioned exercise in natural surroundings. “Toyota Alabama has been a strong partner of ours since they

came to Huntsville 12 years ago,” said Andy Prewett, Land Manager for the Land Trust of North Alabama. “This is just another example of them getting involved – not only by donating money, but also providing volunteer hours.” In addition to working with the Land Trust of North Alabama, Toyota Alabama strives to partner with one nonprofit organization per quarter. In the past, Toyota Alabama has partnered with The Arts Council, Inc. for Panoply, EarlyWorks for Santa’s Village, The Huntsville Hospital for the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, and The City of Huntsville for the improvement of John Hunt Park. Just in 2015, Toyota Alabama has invested $400,000 into the community that has supported 50 local organizations. Thank you, Toyota Alabama, for loving what you do, what you build, and loving our community. • Julia Cherry & Carrie Rice

TAKE CARE OF SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT To us, intense client focus starts with the notion that we’re in the relationship business. Yes, it’s personal. Let us get to know you and you’ll experience a difference that works to your advantage. Count on independence – advisors operating free from quotas, fund restrictions and proprietary products. Count on discipline – a data-driven approach with in-depth research. Count on a better return on relationships – advisors whose passionate commitment to your success matches your own. Let’s thrive together.

Warren Averett Asset Management Member, Kelly Clary, MBA

Kelly Clary: 256.713.2669 801 Clinton Avenue E, Huntsville, AL

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Attention: Chamber Members A Reminder of Your Online Benefits Our members have a valuable benefit in the form of our ChamberMaster database. With this tool, members can post news releases, highlight events, offer deals and post job openings. Only membership with the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County provides exclusive access to specialized tools to promote your organization via the new online member information center, ChamberMaster. Login in today to update your information and start using these new features:

4 1

2 3 5 1. Membership listing: Update your listing to ensure everyone has access to complete, up-to-date information. Completing your profile is critical to gaining increased visibility and exposure. Your primary information is listed on both online and printed membership directory. 2. Deals*: Offer coupons and special deals. Fellow members may well be your best customers. You’ll have an option to offer deals to anyone (Hot Deals) or just to our members (Member to Member Deals). 3. Announce your achievements*: Submit your own news releases to be included on Chamber’s News Room and the biweekly ChamberLink newsletter, sent to more than 5,500 representatives of our member companies. 4. Advertise events*: Add your events to our online event calendar displayed with quick links; use these links to share in your social media, text to mobile devices, add to calendar or email to others. Your events are also included in the Chamber’s weekly Calendar email.


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5. Job postings*: Submit your own job openings. We will promote these positions on both Chamber’s job website and Smart Place Facebook page. + Network with other members: Check out other member listings, jobs, deals. * Chamber will review your submissions before posting them on our website on a daily basis Monday through Friday. Once approved, these are available on the Chamber’s website as well as on your ChamberMaster site.

To login, please visit our website (; click “I Am a Chamber Member” menu at the right-hand side; then click “Members Only” button. Or simply type If you are unsure of your login information, check with your organization’s Chamber representative. You may also contact Donna McCrary ( for an email invitation to create your login.

Updating your profile:


How to update: On ChamberMaster, click “Settings” icon located on the top. Personalize your membership listing page with your detailed description, business hours, logos, photos, map and a video clip. For public: Your company information can be found on the Chamber’s searchable online membership directory. Go to www.HSVChamber. org, click “Member Directory” under “Chamber Directory” menu on the right-hand side.


Posting events: How to post: On ChamberMaster, click “Events” icon located on the top, click “Add Event” button. You can easily add gallery photos and a link to your YouTube video! After you fill in the form, click “Submit for Approval”. For public: Your events can be found on the Chamber’s website ( Under “Chamber Events” menu on the right-hand side, choose either “Upcoming Events (a list of events with the event thumbnails)” or “Events Calendar (monthly calendar format)”.


Posting deals:

How to post: On ChamberMaster, choose “Hot Deals” or “Member to Member Deals” from the menu on the left-hand side. Then, click “Add Deal” button. After you fill in the form, click “Submit for Approval”. Make sure to set the active dates.


4 Posting news releases: How to post: On ChamberMaster, choose “News Releases” from the menu on the left-hand side. Then, click “Add News Release” button. After you fill in the form, click “Submit for Approval”. Make sure to set the date for “Publish End Date” and check multiple categories if desired. For public: Your announcements can be found on the Chamber’s website ( Choose “Chamber Member News” from the “Newsroom” pull-down menu.

Posting job postings: How to post: On ChamberMaster, choose “Job Postings” from the menu on the left-hand side. Then click “Add Job Posting” button. Fill in all the form and click the “Submit for Approval” button. To manage your postings, use the “Manage Job Postings” button next to the “Add Job Posting” button. Before submitting your job, be sure to select the dates in which you would like your job to be posted. If dates are not selected, your post will automatically expire within one week unless modified. For public: Your job positions can be found on the Chamber’s job website ( Click “Work” menu, then click “Job Postings”. These positions are also promoted on Chamber’s Smart Place Facebook page. dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives




by d r o ew ick r Fo R gg

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Delicious Road Trips

Travel writer Annette Thompson crosses the state of Alabama to highlight some of Alabama’s legendary BBQ joints and uncover hidden gems. This hardcover book also features recipes from some of the states finest pit masters.

52 Great Getaways




Alabama’s rich history, beautiful scenery and amazing food make +S/H for an amazing state to travel. Our new book, Alabama Road Trips: 52 EACH Great Getaways lists the daytrips you can take all across our state. Whether you’re a history buff, hiker, camper, foody, or just looking for something new to try, pick up a copy today. It makes a great gift for Alabama visitors and natives alike!

ON SALE TODAY AT: Books-A-Million • Little Professor • Barnes & Noble • Alabama Booksmith • Leaf & Petal • Page & Palette Alabama Goods • Lamb’s Ears, LTD. • Bromberg’s • Vulcan Park Gift Shop Online at 24

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biosciencebriefs Beginning to Identify Disease Risks

compiled by Julia Cherry

HudsonAlpha Studies Potential Biofuel

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in collaboration with the University of Washington, has received a three-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop new computational approaches for identifying genomic variants’ influence on disease susceptibility. HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Greg Cooper, PhD, and Jay Shendure, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington developed the Combined Annotation Dependent Depletion (CADD) tool, which identifies the individual genetic variants that are likely to contribute to disease. This project will continue to build on the CADD methodology and explore new applications in other genetic studies. “As we enter an era of personalized medicine, a deep understanding of PUB/DATE: CI December 2015 human genomes will be increasingly important to public health,” said Cooper. SIZE: of 8.25 5.45 consequences of most “However, our limited understanding the xfunctional genetic variants represents a major obstacle. This COST: $800.00proposal seeks to dramatically improve our ability to identify and interpret ‘non-coding’ variants that causally contribute to human disease.” TOPIC: Management Certificates The collaborative research project will provide needed methods and resources to address the challenges associated with individual whole genome sequencing in both research and patient care. •

Jeremy Schmutz, faculty investigator at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, has received a grant from the Department of Energy that will identify genes in a potential biofuel source. Schmutz, who co-directs the Genome Sequencing Center at HudsonAlpha, will analyze the natural genetic mechanisms of how switchgrass, a native prairie grass, adapts to its local environment. HudsonAlpha will receive $1.2 million over five years to complete the study. Eleven researchers from seven institutes will contribute to the project, which was awarded a total of $15 million by the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research. Led by Tom Juenger of the University of Texas at Austin, the team will collect and sequence the genes of hundreds of switchgrass samples to study how genes and a host of environmental factors – including the soil, the bacterial communities that live on the plant and in the soil, weather and the size and growth rate of each plant – affect the plant and its potential as a biofuel. Understanding how different factors affect one another ultimately will allow scientists to identify ways to improve switchgrass as an alternative energy source. “This project will be one of the largest common garden experiments that’s been done in the public sphere,” Schmutz said. For more information visit •


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Gain the tools today to successfully lead tomorrow’s projects! Aligned with the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) framework, each course focuses on the practical application of project management concepts in a government/contractor environment. Learn to manage projects successfully while meeting client expectations. Take one course or complete the four course series.

Enhance your project management knowledge and your reputation as a valued project leader! Become informed in Earned Value Management guidelines and requirements to meet government contract regulations. Gain an understanding of its value as an essential tool for project managers and technical leads in supporting proactive decision-making. Take one course or complete the three course series.

Bridge the gap between engineering and management. As competition reshapes the role of the engineer to include management, experience in both technical and management areas have a distinct advantage. This program is for early and mid-career engineers who want to prepare for management roles in technically focused organizations. Take one course or complete the five course series.

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Classes Start Soon – Register Today to Reserve Your Seat! Division of Professional and Continuing Studies 256.824.6015 • • dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County


Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Amy Locke, executive assistant Amy Tubb, resource desk coordinator Annette Atchley, resource desk assistant

Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce Lucia Cape, senior vice president Lyndsay Ferguson, workforce director Erin Koshut, Cummings Research Park director Ken Smith, research & information services director Will West, economic development specialist | project manager Emma Williams, industry relations specialist Karessa Acosta Lee, economic development assistant

Marketing & Communications Carrie Rice, director Kristi Sherrard, graphic designer Hiroko Sedensky, web designer

Government & Public Affiars Mike Ward, senior vice president Tina Leopold, assistant

Finance & Administration Christy Nalley, director Jamie Gallien, IT manager Mary McNairy, accounting specialist | human resources Lori Warner, accounting specialist Joe Watson, facilities supervisor

Membership Donna McCrary, membership retention manager Tiffany Jordan, membership representative Tina Blankenship, membership representative Kristy Drake, engagement specialist

Small Business & Events Pammie Jimmar, director Alexandra Gonzalez, event coordinator

Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County 225 Church Street NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 phone 256-535-2000 | fax 256-535-2015

Associated Organizations


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016


Investing in Alabama’s Health To expand access to quality primary medical care throughout the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is introducing Circle of Care. This comprehensive initiative is an investment that will help improve access to healthcare services in Alabama. A $3 million scholarship program will help medical students finish their studies so they can practice in areas of the state in need of more doctors. This initiative will also strengthen partnerships with primary care physicians to enhance members’ health.

The Need is Great

Thousands of Alabamians lack access to primary care doctors. We are committed to changing this by increasing the number of primary care doctors through a scholarship program. In partnership with Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), eligible medical students who commit to practicing medicine in Alabama’s under-represented rural areas can receive financial assistance to help them finish their studies.

“We know that access to highquality primary care equals improved health and lower spending, including preventable emergency room visits and hospital care. That’s why we are making a long-term commitment to providing Alabamians access to the healthcare they need.” - Terry Kellogg, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Another part of Circle of Care is the launch of the Primary Care Select Program. This program sets a new standard of support and collaboration between Blue Cross, our members and their primary care physicians.

Circle of Care Highlights: • Scholarship investment for medical students who commit to practice in Alabama’s rural areas • Exclusive support, tools and reimbursements for select primary care doctors • Integrated partnerships to help select primary care doctors identify and implement solutions to strengthen the care of their patients Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is an innovator in improving access to quality care for all Alabamians. We will continue to develop new ideas and invest in areas that better the health of our state.

ACOM students react to scholarship announcement on July 28, 2015.

We cover what matters. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

dec 2015-jan 2016 initiatives


PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #40


initiatives dec 2015-jan 2016

Initiatives magazine, December 2015-January 2016  

On the Cutting Edge with GE

Initiatives magazine, December 2015-January 2016  

On the Cutting Edge with GE