2016 has been an exciting year for Baldwin County. Notable expansions and investments will result in thousands of new job opportunities while also continuing to position Baldwin as a hub for innovative industries and tourism. State and national rankings have reflected both Baldwin County and Alabama’s fast growth and healthy business climate, and a number of initiatives have been designed to further economic growth well into 2017 and beyond. Learn more about key economic development highlights from this year below.
Expansions & Investments
From UTC Aerospace Systems’ announcement to add 260 new jobs and expand its Foley facilities to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ plans for OWA, a $500 million tourist destination complex projected to create 3,500 jobs, Baldwin County has seen an influx of investment in a variety of sectors this year.
- UTC Aerospace Systems—In May, UTC announced 260 new jobs and an additional 80,000-square-foot aerospace expansion in Foley.
- Morganton Pressure Vessels—Italy-based Baglioni Group SPA established a new manufacturing facility in Bay Minette in May, bringing an expected 70 jobs at full production.
- DISC Project—The Daphne Science and Innovation Complex (DISC), an expansive white-collar office park in Daphne, received a federal grant totaling $846,583 in September. The project is expected to garner $5 million in private investment and create more than 100 jobs.
- Auburn University Academic Complex—In conjunction with the City of Gulf Shores, Auburn University announced in October that it is proceeding with plans to build a new 24,000-square-foot educational complex in Gulf Shores.
- Thomas Hospital Freestanding Emergency Department—On October 31, Thomas Hospital, an affiliate of Infirmary Health, broke ground on Baldwin County’s first freestanding emergency department—the third facility of its kind in the state.
- OWA—In November, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians unveiled plans for OWA, a 520-acre development expected to boost tourist spending in South Alabama by 7 percent and bring 1 million new visitors to Alabama annually.
Learn more about each of these exciting projects by visiting our news page.
Baldwin County and the state of Alabama ranked highly on everything from incoming investments and business climate to quality of life and retirement this year.
- Incoming Investments—According to SmartAsset’s 2016 investment calculator, Baldwin County led the state in business and gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, ranking as the top county in the State of Alabama for incoming investments.
- Up & Coming Cities—Based on U.S. Census data from 2010 to 2014, four Baldwin County cities took spots among the 10 most “up and coming cities in Alabama.”
- Putting Down Roots—Two Baldwin County towns ranked among the top 10 best small towns in Alabama to put down roots, with Fairhope taking the number one spot.
- Fastest Growing County in Alabama—Baldwin County was the fastest growing county in the state in 2016 reaching a population of over 200,000. Baldwin was also one of three counties that accounted for half of the entire state’s growth.
- Doing Business—Area Development Magazine ranked Alabama as the sixth best state in America for doing business, based on factors like cost of business, workforce development and competitive labor environment.
For more information on Baldwin County’s population and industry growth, see our Baldwin By the Numbers report.
In addition to working with business and industry on exciting new projects, BCEDA had a productive year implementing strategic campaigns, representing Baldwin County abroad, and continuing to facilitate and support local growth.
- Business Where You Beach campaign—This spring, BCEDA and local partners officially launched the Business Where You Beach campaign, aimed at bringing additional business to Baldwin County by targeting C-suite executives and business owners who already vacation or own private properties in the county.
- Farnborough International Airshow—In July, BCEDA President and CEO Lee Lawson traveled to the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow in England, a global aerospace and aviation event consisting of both an industry trade show and public airshow. Lawson joined Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and other local economic leaders for high-level meetings with heads of major aerospace companies.
- Workforce Analysis—BCEDA worked with Boyette Strategic Advisors this year to complete a comprehensive workforce analysis of the county, with a particular focus on the workforce available to the South Alabama Mega Site. Results revealed there are more than 500,000 residents in Baldwin County’s labor shed. Additionally, 84 percent of employers surveyed indicated they are satisfied or very satisfied with their Baldwin County employees.
- Team Development—In November, we announced our decision to bring on Alex Doleac as BCEDA’s new project manager to direct a range of business recruitment projects and drive further economic growth in the county. Doleac brings to the team both practical experience as project manager for the Economic Development Team at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as well as an advanced education in the field, having earned his Master of Science in economic development and tourism from The University of Southern Mississippi.
We are eager to see the positive effect of these many projects on economic development, job growth and industry diversification in Baldwin County in the coming year. Stay tuned for more information about project developments and updates as we move into 2017. For more information or to inquire about locating your business in Baldwin County, get in touch with us.