According to Dr. Semoon Chang, economist at the Gulf Coast Center for Impact Studies, Baldwin County is now the fastest growing county Alabama, wresting a title away traditionally held by Shelby County which covers the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), when looking at data accumulated from 2010 to 2013.

The growth rates of population during the last three years were 6.69 percent for Baldwin County, 4.24 percent for Shelby County, 3.19 percent for Madison County, 0.21 percent for Mobile County, 0.17 percent for Jefferson County, and negative 1.35 percent for  Montgomery County.

According to Chang, not only was the growth rate of population from 2010 to 2013 in Baldwin County the fastest, but increases in population was the also largest: 12,265 in Baldwin County, 10,724 in Madison County, 8,301 in Shelby County, 1,088 for Jefferson County and 863 in Mobile County.

“The six largest counties in Alabama are now Baldwin, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, and Shelby. The rates of growth of population from 1970 to 2013 were 439.79 percent for Shelby County, 229.29 percent for Baldwin County, 85.96 percent for Madison County, 35.08 percent for Montgomery County, 30.5 percent for Mobile County, and 2.25 percent for Jefferson County,” Chang said.

Alabama among top states for doing business in 2014

According to Area Development Magazine, considered the leading executive publication covering corporate site selection and relocation with 60,000 periodicals mailed quarterly, the state of Alabama was ranked fourth in their 2014 survey of site consultants.

Factors cited were growing accomplishments in the transportation manufacturing industry and the success of the state’s long-term economic development plan known as Accelerate Alabama. Launched in 2012, Accelerate Alabama focuses on optimizing the state’s advantages in workforce training and infrastructure within 11 major growth industries.

Most notable developments cited by the magazine included the airplane and aerospace industry.

“In its first U.S. production, Airbus plans to begin manufacturing its A320 family of passenger jets in Alabama next year. That will add to the European consortium’s existing engineering presence in Alabama. It will also prompt development of a supplier infrastructure, joining Boeing’s operations in the state to make Alabama one of America’s air-transportation manufacturing leaders,” the article said.

The new United Launch Alliance factory recently opened in Decatur, turning out a range of $200 million to $1 billion rockets capable of carrying an array of satellites into space was also mentioned, along with the importance of car production. Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai produced more than 915,000 vehicles and added 2,300 new jobs in the auto-supplier sector for the state.

Factors evaluated were: overall cost of doing business, incentive programs, corporate tax environment, regulatory environment, availability of skilled labor and competitive labor costs. All of the top five states listed on the report were located in the Southeast. Georgia, Texas and South Carolina placed above Alabama while Tennessee ranked fifth.

Dickinson earns David D. Roberts Scholarship

This year’s recipient of the 2014 David Roberts Scholarship Award was Marie Dickinson, managing partner with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Cooper & Co (BHHS). Dickinson has been a licensed realtor for eight years, the entire time with BHHS.

Prior to entering the real estate industry, Dickinson was a teacher at Murphy High School focusing on economics, geography and U.S. government as well as teaching advanced placement courses in all of those disciplines. To date, Dickinson has carried over her teaching credentials as an instructor at the Professional School of Real Estate in Mobile, certifying new realtors in broker pre-licensing, post-licensing, reciprocal licensing and continuing education courses.   

“I was very excited to know that Marie Dickinson received the David Roberts Scholarship Award this year,” Chad Fincher, executive director for MAAR said. “She is a very worthy member who works extremely hard for our association. She has been active in many different volunteer roles here at the Mobile Area Association of Realtors and it is members like Marie who help make our organization one of the premier realtor associations in the state. I look forward to continue working with Marie as she provides her leadership for another term on our Board of Directors and GCMLS Committee.”  

The David D. Roberts scholarship is given annually by the Mobile Area Association of Realtors to reward a future leader in the local real estate market. Roberts was the only local president of MAAR to also serve as state and national president of the prestigious Association of Realtors.

According to the press release, Roberts advocated global thinking on housing issues and laid the foundation for modern 21st century business practices in the area. The recipient of the award receives a scholarship to advance their knowledge of large scale real estate issues and taught skills that can hopefully translate into implementing best practices locally.

Wilkins Miller’s Bowen earns CFA designation

Greg Bowen, Director of Wealth Management for Wilkins Miller LLC, has successfully completed the certification process to earn his designation as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Recipients of the CFA accreditation have successfully completed graduate-level curriculum with a series of three intensive examinations taken sequentially that take most candidates between two and five years to complete. Applicant surveys report that preparation for the three exams typically requires at least 900 combined hours of study.

Administered worldwide, the program covers ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, international financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management and performance measurement.

Bowen graduated from of the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and received his M.B.A. from Clemson University. In addition to his CFA designation, Bowen is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. He is active in his community as a member of the Estate Planning Council of Mobile and is an adjunct instructor of finance for the University of South Alabama.

Formerly known as Wilkins Miller Heironymus, for over half a century Wilkins Miller has specialized in the accounting areas of auditing, tax, litigation, valuation, cost segregation, client accounting and information technology consulting. More information on the firm can be found on their website.