Lakeside races to open Thomasville pipe-making facilities

 

Lakeside Steel Construction 2011A milling saw at Lakeside Steel’s Thomasville facility under construction is pictured Tuesday, August 23, 2011, in Thomasville, Alabama. Lakeside makes pipe for oil and gas drillers. (Press-Register/Mike Kittrell)

THOMASVILLE, Alabama — Lakeside Steel is almost ready to fill its pipe pipeline.

The Canadian company, anticipating continued robust oil and natural gas drilling, hopes to be turning out pipe for those wells before the end of the year.

Lakeside will make pipe at a site south of downtown Thomasville. It plans to harden pipe and shape and machine its ends at a former sawmill north of town. Between the two sites, Lakeside plans to hire 280 employees and is investing $57.5 million.

The new mill could elevate Lakeside’s position in a consolidating industry. The company was created in 2005 when investors bought a Welland, Ontario, mill from a bankrupt Canadian steel company. Lakeside has described the Welland plant as being of “advanced age” in stock filings. The Thomasville complex will give Lakeside more modern capabilities and its 192,000 tons of capacity will almost double the company’s ability to make pipe.

The complex will be closer to oil and gas drillers in Texas and Louisiana. It will also increase Lakeside’s ability to harden pipe and add connective couplings. Lakeside has said that such finishing capability is a big bottleneck in the pipe industry.

“There’s strong demand for heat-treated products, and our customers are looking forward to Lakeside being able to internally finish pipe,” said Chris Roik, vice president for Alabama operations.

Clarke County was burdened with 16 percent unemployment in September and hundreds of people have applied for Lakeside jobs, expected to pay $15 to $17 an hour. Lakeside executives have said that the Alabama labor force, non-union and paid less than Canadian workers, is a draw. As of mid-October, Lakeside had hired 14 employees, but will begin hiring production workers in earnest in November, Roik said.

Also a lure is the more than $4 million that state, Clarke County and Thomasville officials have committed to buy land, build rail spurs and provide other incentives. That doesn’t count the value of sales and non-school property tax abatements, or the state’s capital investment tax credit, which will likely shield Lakeside from Alabama’s corporate income tax for 20 years.

Paul Vivian, editor of the Preston Pipe Report, said the mill will put Lakeside into a second tier of North American pipe producers, behind the first rank of U.S. Steel Corp., Luxembourg’s Tenaris SA, France’s Vallourec and Russia’s TMK, which bought the pipe-making assets of the former IPSCO.

Lakeside and other domestic producers benefited from trade sanctions that made Chinese pipe more expensive. “They were in the right place at the right time,” Vivian said.

Others have rushed to expand as well. For example, Boomerang Tube completed a new facility near Houston last year after a Russian-American tycoon invested $200 million to take over Boomerang and pay for the Texas plant. Vivian said Lakeside is “clearly late to the party,” although he still expects expansion.

“The market is still growing, just not as fast as it was,” Vivian said. “We think we’re probably going to drill more gas well next year than we did this year, but at a very flat price.”

He said that Lakeside’s new pipe mill — 738 feet long — offers some capabilities that the Welland plant doesn’t have. For example, the Thomasville facility will have an accumulator, a buffer that builds up a reserve of pipe to allow some parts of the line to keep running when other parts stop. Part of the pipe-finishing operation will be next to the pipe-making line, unlike in Welland.

The Thomasville location also offers advantages because Lakeside will have the option of buying steel not only from ThyssenKrupp AG in Calvert, but also Severstal in Columbus, Miss., and Nucor Corp. mills in north Alabama.

“This was a fantastic location for us to have options for steel suppliers,” Roik said, saying there are four steel mills within 220 miles.

Metals USA, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is also building an operation in Thomasville where it plans to receive steel and process it for Lakeside. That supporting contractor is unlikely to begin full operation by the time Lakeside starts production, Roik said, meaning the pipemaker will rely on other steel processors for a brief time.

Rolls of steel will enter the plant, be unrolled and formed into pipe by a welding machine, and tested. Roik said power to machinery was connected Oct. 10, and that the company is testing machinery right now. It hopes to produce its first pipe by Dec. 15.

Roik said that it should take about 60 days after Lakeside starts production to get certification from the American Petroleum Institute, a key requirement before selling to sell to oil and gas drillers.

At the finishing site, a former Linden Lumber sawmill, Lakeside has installed an upsetting machine, which heats and thickens the end of a pipe to allow the installation of a thread. The thread allows pipes to be screwed together, and Lakeside is now installing its tube-threading machine, Roik said.

The company will bake the pipes at high temperature to make them stronger, a property much in demand as companies drill into shale formations for natural gas.

The company will have the ability to heat-treat and thread 220,000 tons of pipe per year, more than it can make in Thomasville.

Aided by the early connection of temporary power by Alabama Power Co., Lakeside hopes to begin startup of the finishing site within the next month, with heat treating equipment installed by early 2012. Lakeside said in September that the finishing facility will be ready for production in February, ahead of the original June opening date.

Pushing ahead the opening date shows how Lakeside is in a hurry. “It’s a race,” Roik said. “We can’t get this up and running fast enough.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2011/10/lakeside_races_to_open_thomasv.html

Pharmavite starts work on $76.5 million Opelika plant


Pharmavite.jpg
View full sizeThe future Pharmavite plant in Opelika will create 280 jobs.

Pharmavite

formally broke ground this morning in Opelika on its $76.5 million, 330,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park.

The facility, which was announced Sept. 13, is expected to create 280 jobs.

While Pharmavite may not be a household name, its products are widely known.

“Pharmavite will bring two internationally known brands — Nature Made vitamins and dietary supplements and their SoyJoy products,” said Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office. “The company is very well known nationally and internationally and they’re the No. 1 seller of dietary supplements around the world.”

The Opelika plant will produce Nature Made soft gels and tablets.

“We are honored to officially join the Opelika and greater Alabama community and we’re looking forward to accomplishing many great things together,” said Mark Walsh, chief operating officer of Pharmavite. “This new facility represents a significant step in the growth of Pharmavite and will serve as a model manufacturing facility for the entire vitamin and supplement industry.”

Gov. Robert Bentley; House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn; U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks; and Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller joined company officials and community and business leaders at the groundbreaking.

“Today’s groundbreaking is the beginning of a bright future for Pharmavite in Opelika,” Bentley said. “Pharmavite has an excellent reputation worldwide and I am proud to say they will now be one of Alabama’s latest corporate citizens.”

Canfield said Pharmavite’s new plant opens the state up to the multi-billion-dollar vitamin manufacturing industry.

“What’s great for Alabama in this is it’s a brand new industry entrant into the state,” he said. “We’re always excited when we have an opportunity to bring in a brand new industry to the state because that opens up other opportunities with suppliers and their supply chain.”

Bentley said the global nature of Pharmavite’s operations is also significant to the state.

“The jobs and investment Pharmavite is making in Alabama helps us show the rest of the world that Alabama is a great place to live and do business,” Bentley said.

The plant is expected to be open in early 2013, and should have a few managerial positions filled this year with the full 280 jobs coming in the first year of operations. The company said it hopes to have most of the hires completed by June 2012.

Those jobs are needed, Canfield said.

“We’re just happy to have them in Lee County, which is so close to Chambers County, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.”

Chambers County’s unemployment rate in September was 12.3 percent, making it the county with the 17th highest rate in Alabama.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/pharmavite_starts_work_on_765.html

Regions Bank drops debit card fee, citing ‘customer feedback’

regionslogo.jpgBIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Regions Bank has eliminated a $4 monthly fee for debit cards tied to certain accounts, citing feedback from customers.

The fee was levied for the first time this month, and the bank said it will refund fees already incurred.

“We are committed to providing an exceptional customer experience and are continually adapting our products and services in response to the needs and preferences of our customers,” John Owen, head of Consumer Services for Regions Bank, said in a statement.

“We have heard from our customers and are responding to their feedback by eliminating the monthly fee for CheckCards.”

The bank said customers who previously incurred a CheckCard fee will not need to take any action to receive their refund and it will be credited to their account Thursday.  

Plans by banks to levy a monthly fee on debit card use have proved controversial and prompted some federal lawmakers to ask for a probe. Banks such as Regions that imposed them said the move was in response to a federal law that reduced so-called “swipe fees” when debit cards were used in retail outlets.

On Monday, Atlanta’s SunTrust Bank eliminated a plan to impose a $5 a month fee.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/regions_bank_drops_debit_card.html

GE Aviation breaks ground on $50 million Auburn plant


GE Aviation Auburn.jpgView full sizeGE Aviation started construction on the $50 million plant in Auburn’s West Technology Park today.

GE Aviation broke ground for its new $50 million jet engine components factory in Auburn this afternoon

Gov. Robert Bentley; U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks; Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn; and Auburn Mayor Bill Ham Jr. joined GE Aviation executives at the event.

The 300,000 square-foot advanced manufacturing plant will produce precision, super-alloy machined parts for GE jet engines that will power future commercial and military aircraft, and also to support the vast fleet of GE jet engines already in service.

The plant is set to complete construction late next year and production will start in 2013.

Some hiring will take place in 2012 with more jobs filled as production increases to eventually employ 300 to 400 people over the next six or seven years.

GE Aviation said it chose Auburn largely due to its access to a skilled workforce and its proximity to universities. The GE plant plans to develop collaborative relationships with Auburn University and Tuskegee University.

“GE Aviation has enjoyed significant success establishing ‘Centers of Excellence’ that focus on specific aviation components and processes within our supply chain,” said Colleen Athans, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation. “We are very excited to add Auburn to our network of manufacturing operations.”

The new Alabama facility underscores the growth of GE Aviation, where deliveries of commercial engines for GE and its partner companies will grow in 2012 to near-record levels. GE Aviation employs approximately 17,000 workers in more than 30 manufacturing operations in the U.S.

Combined with GE’s military engines, total engine deliveries in 2011 for GE Aviation and its partner companies are expected to reach 3,200 engines.

Birmingham’s B.L. Harbert International will build the new facility, which was designed by Montgomery-based Goodwyn Mills Cawood.

Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office, said getting GE Aviation to the state is a major feather in the state’s cap is it looks to expand in the aerospace industry.

“GE Aviation is an important part of Alabama’s aviation and aeronautics strategy as we move forward to build the aerospace industry in the state of Alabama,” he said. “Securing GE Aviation and the project that we will have here will open the door for not only job opportunities for Alabamians, but it will also solidify our presence internationally as a state with a solid base from which to build. The supply chain this will bring will also be significant over time.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/ge_aviation_breaks_ground_on_5.html

Mobile programmer hoping Pozle hits the mark (K.A. Turner)

pozle.jpgHere a look at the Pozle ap screen image.

Here’s a quick quiz: How many apps are available through Apple? A couple of years back, people who like to watch that sort of thing eagerly awaited app No. 50,000.

Today, the number is almost 10 times as large.

As of Thursday, online estimates put the number of apps available for download at 495,516. The “as-of-Thursday” part of that sentence is important. It seems Apple is getting submissions of new applications at the rate of about 702 per day this month.

So you can understand why Jason Phillips is pleased that his newest app creation– a game called Pozle– quickly cleared the Apple app hurdles and is available today for just 99 cents.

K.A. Turner column sig.jpgK.A. Turner writes a weekly column. You may write her at the Press-Register, P.O. Box 2488, Mobile AL 36652-2488, call her at 251-219-5644 or e-mail kturner@press-register.com. Follow her on Facebook.

Of course, it’s equally easy to see why he’s hoping friends, relatives, co-workers and the newspaper will get the word out, because there’s plenty of competition.

“You either have to invest a lot in advertising, or it has to go viral by word of mouth,” said Phillips, a Mobile native whose day job is as a research and development analyst forMobile’s Computer Programs and Systems Inc. “And you have to get lucky.”

Pozle pairs the popularity of poker with a hot-selling category of apps– puzzle games. Images of playing cards spin onto the mobile screen, and the player’s job is to quickly identify a string of adjacent cards that make up a designated poker hand – full house, straight, flush etc.

It is the fourth app Phillips has developed and steered through Apple’s approval process. But it’s the first one, he believes, that has mainstreamappeal.

Phillips said that he develops Apple apps because Apple handles the selling process.

Hemakes about 70 cents for every Pozle sold.

“I really do this for fun, never intended tomake a dollar,” he said, adding that it would take a whole lot of app sales to even tempt him to try and do that kind of development fulltime.

As in much of life, ratings are important in the app development game.

As of Friday, Pozle had been rated by 10 Apple users. One novice card player said it would make him think faster. Others called it challenging and addictive. One said the concept was “awesome” but the performance was “buggy” on the iPhone.

Phillips said that all ratings, good, bad or indifferent, are essential to the ultimate success of the app.

Ratings, plus download frequency, he said, are the factors that drive a game toward the top 25 list in the Apple store.

“It boils down to, most of the people who buy apps from their store buy them from the top 25 list,” he said. “The only real chance that I have at any real success with this is to make it to the top of that list. Then it’s our job to capitalize and give a person what they want, or you fall right off.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2011/10/mobile_programmer_hoping_pozle.html

Mobile programmer hoping Pozle hits the mark (K.A. Turner)

pozle.jpgHere a look at the Pozle ap screen image.

Here’s a quick quiz: How many apps are available through Apple? A couple of years back, people who like to watch that sort of thing eagerly awaited app No. 50,000.

Today, the number is almost 10 times as large.

As of Thursday, online estimates put the number of apps available for download at 495,516. The “as-of-Thursday” part of that sentence is important. It seems Apple is getting submissions of new applications at the rate of about 702 per day this month.

So you can understand why Jason Phillips is pleased that his newest app creation– a game called Pozle– quickly cleared the Apple app hurdles and is available today for just 99 cents.

K.A. Turner column sig.jpgK.A. Turner writes a weekly column. You may write her at the Press-Register, P.O. Box 2488, Mobile AL 36652-2488, call her at 251-219-5644 or e-mail kturner@press-register.com. Follow her on Facebook.

Of course, it’s equally easy to see why he’s hoping friends, relatives, co-workers and the newspaper will get the word out, because there’s plenty of competition.

“You either have to invest a lot in advertising, or it has to go viral by word of mouth,” said Phillips, a Mobile native whose day job is as a research and development analyst forMobile’s Computer Programs and Systems Inc. “And you have to get lucky.”

Pozle pairs the popularity of poker with a hot-selling category of apps– puzzle games. Images of playing cards spin onto the mobile screen, and the player’s job is to quickly identify a string of adjacent cards that make up a designated poker hand – full house, straight, flush etc.

It is the fourth app Phillips has developed and steered through Apple’s approval process. But it’s the first one, he believes, that has mainstreamappeal.

Phillips said that he develops Apple apps because Apple handles the selling process.

Hemakes about 70 cents for every Pozle sold.

“I really do this for fun, never intended tomake a dollar,” he said, adding that it would take a whole lot of app sales to even tempt him to try and do that kind of development fulltime.

As in much of life, ratings are important in the app development game.

As of Friday, Pozle had been rated by 10 Apple users. One novice card player said it would make him think faster. Others called it challenging and addictive. One said the concept was “awesome” but the performance was “buggy” on the iPhone.

Phillips said that all ratings, good, bad or indifferent, are essential to the ultimate success of the app.

Ratings, plus download frequency, he said, are the factors that drive a game toward the top 25 list in the Apple store.

“It boils down to, most of the people who buy apps from their store buy them from the top 25 list,” he said. “The only real chance that I have at any real success with this is to make it to the top of that list. Then it’s our job to capitalize and give a person what they want, or you fall right off.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2011/10/mobile_programmer_hoping_pozle.html

Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant now hiring

This giant stamper produces body parts at Honda’s Alabama plant that was the first in the U.S. for the automaker to achieve zero landfill waste. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale).LINCOLN, Alabama — Honda’s Alabama auto plant is hiring.

The 4,000-worker factory in Talladega County is looking to fill more than 50 professional-level jobs, including those in manufacturing, engineering, purchasing and production management.

The move will support ongoing projects that are increasing the plant’s capacity and revamping assembly operations to build the Acura MDX sport utility, beginning in 2013.

“The increased responsibility we now have as Honda’s light truck production source in the U.S. has opened new opportunities for employment,” said Mike Oatridge, vice president of Honda’s Alabama operations. “We have immediate openings particularly in the professional engineering disciplines and for those with experience in supplier purchasing and parts procurement.”

Honda did not pinpoint a salary range for the new positions.

The Lincoln plant now produces three models — the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup — along with the V-6 engines that power them.

Last spring, the Japanese automaker announced plans to shift production of the Acura MDX to Alabama from Canada. The company also announced projects, worth a combined $191 million investment, to expand annual output, improve manufacturing flexibility and transfer production of the MDX.

Acura is Honda’s luxury vehicle division, and this will be the first Acura product built by Alabama workers.

Honda began building vehicles in Lincoln in November 2001.

The plant is accepting applications now. For more information, go to www.HondaAlabama.com.

The new jobs are the latest signs of growth in Alabama’s auto industry. Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz said it plans to add a fifth model to its assembly lines in Tuscaloosa County, a move that will create 400 jobs.

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Kent at
dkent@bhamnews.com.

Updated at 8:31 a.m. to add dateline.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/hondas_lincoln_alabama_plant_n.html

Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant now hiring

This giant stamper produces body parts at Honda’s Alabama plant that was the first in the U.S. for the automaker to achieve zero landfill waste. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale).LINCOLN, Alabama — Honda’s Alabama auto plant is hiring.

The 4,000-worker factory in Talladega County is looking to fill more than 50 professional-level jobs, including those in manufacturing, engineering, purchasing and production management.

The move will support ongoing projects that are increasing the plant’s capacity and revamping assembly operations to build the Acura MDX sport utility, beginning in 2013.

“The increased responsibility we now have as Honda’s light truck production source in the U.S. has opened new opportunities for employment,” said Mike Oatridge, vice president of Honda’s Alabama operations. “We have immediate openings particularly in the professional engineering disciplines and for those with experience in supplier purchasing and parts procurement.”

Honda did not pinpoint a salary range for the new positions.

The Lincoln plant now produces three models — the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup — along with the V-6 engines that power them.

Last spring, the Japanese automaker announced plans to shift production of the Acura MDX to Alabama from Canada. The company also announced projects, worth a combined $191 million investment, to expand annual output, improve manufacturing flexibility and transfer production of the MDX.

Acura is Honda’s luxury vehicle division, and this will be the first Acura product built by Alabama workers.

Honda began building vehicles in Lincoln in November 2001.

The plant is accepting applications now. For more information, go to www.HondaAlabama.com.

The new jobs are the latest signs of growth in Alabama’s auto industry. Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz said it plans to add a fifth model to its assembly lines in Tuscaloosa County, a move that will create 400 jobs.

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Kent at
dkent@bhamnews.com.

Updated at 8:31 a.m. to add dateline.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/hondas_lincoln_alabama_plant_n.html

Southern Research Institute’s new building sets incubator to boost revenue

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The construction of a new, $4.6 million engineering building by Southern Research Institute signals a change in emphasis at the nonprofit’s engineering and defense contracting arm, the head of the division says.

About a third of the new building and its laboratories will be used as an incubator for spinoff businesses as the company moves to boost the amount of revenue it gets from the intellectual property it develops, said Mike Johns, vice president for the division.

Intellectual property revenue now represents a small minority of total revenue at the engineering division, which this year is expected to reach about $32 million, he said.

While Southern Research is best known for drug development, the engineering division develops technology for utility companies, the military, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and aerospace companies, among others.

Foundation work recently began for the new building, which will be built adjacent to the existing engineering research facility at 757 Tom Martin Drive, just off Lakeshore Drive in Birmingham. The new 18,000 square-foot building will sit on 44 pilings that go as deep as 56 feet to support a “large structures lab” where scientists and engineers will test everything from satellite hardware to utility poles. The lab will be large enough to accommodate large sections of aircraft, an unusual feature for labs outside of university settings.

“This is going to allow us to keep expanding at the rate we’re expanding now,” Johns said. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of this (existing) building. Right now, if I were to hire a top level person, I’d have to put them in a cubicle.”

Unlike the well-known drug division, which operates from a very visible Southside campus, the engineering division has escaped the notice of many because of its location and the nature of its work, Johns said.

Much of the division’s business is sensitive work on military contracts, including the development of sensors mounted on aircraft. That work has its roots in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.

The Columbia was destroyed on re-entry because of damage to a wing caused by a piece of insulating foam that broke away from the craft on launch. Southern Research helped NASA develop imagery equipment that was placed on an airplane and used to look for similar damage during the ascent of the shuttle Discovery when launches were resumed two years later, Johns said.

The institute also is working on development of heat-resistant materials that likely will be used on the next-generation spacecraft that ultimately will replace the shuttle, he said.

The engineering division sits on a spacious, tree-lined 52-acre campus that leaves room for considerable growth, and plans call for the construction of a third building in five years should revenue meet expectations of 10 percent annual growth. The division now employs about 130 of Southern Research’s total workforce of 530, which is scattered among facilities in Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland and Louisiana.

As a nonprofit, the institute relies in part on grants and charitable contributions, Johns said, but in part because of hard economic times also intends to better capitalize on the intellectual property that results from its research.

“We’ve done that very well over the years on the drug development side,” he said.

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Diel at
sdiel@bhamnews.com.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/southern_research_institutes_n.html

Southern Research Institute’s new building sets incubator to boost revenue

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The construction of a new, $4.6 million engineering building by Southern Research Institute signals a change in emphasis at the nonprofit’s engineering and defense contracting arm, the head of the division says.

About a third of the new building and its laboratories will be used as an incubator for spinoff businesses as the company moves to boost the amount of revenue it gets from the intellectual property it develops, said Mike Johns, vice president for the division.

Intellectual property revenue now represents a small minority of total revenue at the engineering division, which this year is expected to reach about $32 million, he said.

While Southern Research is best known for drug development, the engineering division develops technology for utility companies, the military, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and aerospace companies, among others.

Foundation work recently began for the new building, which will be built adjacent to the existing engineering research facility at 757 Tom Martin Drive, just off Lakeshore Drive in Birmingham. The new 18,000 square-foot building will sit on 44 pilings that go as deep as 56 feet to support a “large structures lab” where scientists and engineers will test everything from satellite hardware to utility poles. The lab will be large enough to accommodate large sections of aircraft, an unusual feature for labs outside of university settings.

“This is going to allow us to keep expanding at the rate we’re expanding now,” Johns said. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of this (existing) building. Right now, if I were to hire a top level person, I’d have to put them in a cubicle.”

Unlike the well-known drug division, which operates from a very visible Southside campus, the engineering division has escaped the notice of many because of its location and the nature of its work, Johns said.

Much of the division’s business is sensitive work on military contracts, including the development of sensors mounted on aircraft. That work has its roots in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.

The Columbia was destroyed on re-entry because of damage to a wing caused by a piece of insulating foam that broke away from the craft on launch. Southern Research helped NASA develop imagery equipment that was placed on an airplane and used to look for similar damage during the ascent of the shuttle Discovery when launches were resumed two years later, Johns said.

The institute also is working on development of heat-resistant materials that likely will be used on the next-generation spacecraft that ultimately will replace the shuttle, he said.

The engineering division sits on a spacious, tree-lined 52-acre campus that leaves room for considerable growth, and plans call for the construction of a third building in five years should revenue meet expectations of 10 percent annual growth. The division now employs about 130 of Southern Research’s total workforce of 530, which is scattered among facilities in Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland and Louisiana.

As a nonprofit, the institute relies in part on grants and charitable contributions, Johns said, but in part because of hard economic times also intends to better capitalize on the intellectual property that results from its research.

“We’ve done that very well over the years on the drug development side,” he said.

Join the conversation by clicking to comment or email Diel at
sdiel@bhamnews.com.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/southern_research_institutes_n.html