July 10th, 2015
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June 24th, 2015
June 24th, 2015
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The Auburn-Opelika metro area has once again received national recognition from a national publication for its job creation success.
Forbes recently ranked the Auburn-Opelika metro area No. 7 nationally on its list of the best small cities for jobs. The city of Auburn announced the designation last week.
“Forbes ranked 258 metropolitan statistical areas with less than 150,000 jobs, considering employment growth over short-, medium- and long-terms, growth trends and momentum,” the city stated on its website. “The report sites diversification of the economy as potentially ‘the best guide to future smaller city growth.’”
Both Auburn and Opelika have enjoyed recent victories in their job creation efforts. Earlier this month, Touchstone Precision Incorporated (TPI), an injection molding and stamping company, celebrated the grand opening of its newest expansion — a 67,000-square-foot production facility at its Auburn operation on South Technology Parkway. The company is expected to add 27 jobs in the next two years. And at last week’s Annual Meeting of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, local officials discussed the ongoing $300 million expansion of Baxter. The expansion is expected to create more than 200 jobs by next year, and will double the plant’s capacity to produce dialyzers for renal disease patients.
Forbes stated there were 60,700 jobs in the area in 2014, with a short-term job growth of 3.5 percent in 2014, and a longer-term job growth of 16.1 percent from 2009 to 2014. Last week, the Alabama Department of Labor released unemployment statistics for May which stated that Lee County tied with Elmore County for the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.1 percent. Only Shelby County at 4.2 percent reported a lower unemployment rate. Lee County’s rate is lower than the state (6.2 percent) and national (5.3 percent) averages.
June 15th, 2015
Last year, Dr. James Hansen, professor in Auburn University’s Department of History, published his 12th book, “A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf.” The work earned him the U.S. Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Award winner in 2014 and will send him to signings at both next week’s U.S. Open in Washington State and Opelika’s Barbasol Championship in July.
At the Open, the Golf Channel will air a 10-minute piece on the Jones family of architects based on Hansen’s research.
The book chronicles the 70-year-long golf course architecture career of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the tumultuous dynamic of his two sons, Robert Jr. and Reese. Combined, the Joneses Designed nearly 1,000 courses on five different continents.
“One of the reasons I wanted to study him was this historical significance,” Hansen said, describing Jones Sr. as the “P.T. Barnum of golf design.”
The historian worked with the Jones sons on the book, along with utilizing Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s personal papers archived at Cornell University.
Hansen, a lifelong golfer, partially credits the construction of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama in the 1990s with sparking his interest in the family.
“Partly, it was the fact that this incredible project was taking place in the state of Alabama,” Hansen said, adding he enjoyed watching the construction of Opelika’s RTJ course.
“I was an avid golfer since I was a boy, and I knew I wanted to do a book on golf. …I actually designed my own golf course in the schoolyard. …When I finally got around to writing about golf, it made sense to write about golf course architecture.”
Hansen also knew a bit about the “troubled relationship” between Reese and Robert Jr.
“There’s a lot to expose about this family. …I just tell the honest story,” he said. “It’s a very unusual and unique golf book. It’s a piece of scholarship.”
January 8th, 2015
An in-depth article about retiring in National Village at Grand National in Opelika/Auburn by Dr. Mark Fagan.
December 15th, 2014
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December 1st, 2014
Birmingham Business Journal | November 26, 2014
Four Alabama metropolitan areas made the list of the 100 “Smartest Cities” in the U.S.
The 380 metro areas were compiled by NewGeography, who based the rankings on criteria related to making strides in educational attainment since 2000, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Commerce.
The Auburn-Opelika metro topped the list for cities in Alabama and finished in the top five nationally, coming in ranked at No. 4.
“At the turn of the millennium, college towns already had a decent base of educated people; now they seem able to attract and nurture tech companies as well,” the report says.
Huntsville ranked No. 61 and Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metro area ranked No. 73.
The Birmingham-Hoover metro area ranked in the top half of the list, finishing No. 100.
“To have four metro areas score in the top 100 of ‘America’s Smartest Cities’ shows that Alabama has vibrant local economies, strong colleges and universities, as well as a growing base of knowledge-based jobs,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “These factors make Alabama attractive to companies from the U.S. and around the world when they are looking for a location to expand their operations.”
Auburn-Opelika ranked the highest on the list, due to GE Aviation’s plan to launch production of jet engine nozzles by way of additive manufacturing at its Auburn location, the report said. Additionally, the report cited the $300 million expansion by Baxter International at its Opelika facility as a determining factor in the city’s ranking.
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November 24th, 2014
Opelika-Auburn News Editorial | Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Like any good mayor, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller loves to brag about his hometown.
He did so again Monday in an email that he sent to dozens of community leaders. The mayor referenced a Monday article on al.com, where Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said his city will take the first steps in January to becoming a “GIG City” with high-speed, fiber optic Internet service available to businesses and residences.
“Folks, it’s hard to get ahead of Huntsville on technology, but we’re now into our 2nd year of fiber to the premises and they’re just starting,” Mayor Fuller boasted.
The mayor and other officials believe the city’s fiber optic system will be a game changer for Opelika’s future. If so, then who knows what impact it will have on this town of 28,000 residents.
Opelika Power Services describes its new system as “one of the most advanced, high-tech fiber optic systems in the world.”
“While our rich heritage includes being a railroad town, our new locomotive is the lightning fast internet speeds, providing symmetric download and upload speeds,” OPS states on its website.
Fiber optic technology is now offered to virtually every resident and business in Opelika, thanks to 425 miles of fiber plant that started nearly three years ago. It will be years – maybe decades – before the city realizes the full economic impact of its system. However, it’s a good sign if cities such as Huntsville want to emulate what Opelika has accomplished.
Consider what Mayor Battle told Huntsville leaders this week in his annual State of the City Address: “Part of making Huntsville a vibrant, globally-connected community is looking at our connectivity. It’s all about big data and speed. We need a telecommunications infrastructure that’s bigger, faster, more reliable and affordable.”
Opelika residents already have that, and they are just beginning to enjoy the benefits.
October 9th, 2014