Spotlight on Montgomery County: Economic Engines

Automotive manufacturers, technology innovations, state government and tourist attractions all merge to create a vibrant ecosystem in Montgomery

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is expanding. The company is adding facilities for electric vehicles and 200 more jobs.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama/Automotive suppliers

In May of 2005, a 2006 Sonata rolled off the production line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Since that day, HMMA has produced hundreds of thousands of Santa Fe, Elantra, Santa Cruz, Tucson and Santa Fe Hybrid models, with the Genesis electric SUV added just this December.

New platforms and investments have grown its employment to around 3,800 people, keeping HMMA well at the top of the River Region’s overall manufacturing employers. With payroll over $300 million, it supports 14,436 direct and indirect jobs in Alabama with a total economic impact of approximately $5 billion. In addition, the company spends more than $6 billion a year to support and maintain its manufacturing operations and facility, half with Alabama-based businesses. HMMA and its team members also donate to and volunteer with dozens of area charities. HMMA community investments average more than $500,000 a year.

New at the plant are facilities for electric vehicles, starting with Hyundai Genesis. The new facility represents a $300 million investment with 200 more jobs anticipated. Also supplier Hyundai Mobis announced plans for a $205 million EV battery module plant to supply Hyundai and sister car producer Kia in nearby Georgia.

Hyundai also attracts suppliers, most recently Danish firm Mountain Top Industries, which makes aluminum roll covers for pickup trucks.


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Military Installations and Missions

Maxwell Air Force Base is home to the 42nd Air Base Wing, which serves as the host wing and provides all base operating, infrastructure and services support for 42,000 active duty, reserve, civilian, contract personnel, students and families at Maxwell and Gunter Annex.

Air University works with more than 32,000 resident and 73,000 non-resident officers, enlisted and civilian personnel each year in academic, professional military and continuing education programs. Air University awarded 12,450 associate degrees, 626 master’s degrees, and 18 Ph.Ds. in fiscal year 2022.

IT and cyber capabilities also are key at Maxwell and Gunter Annex, with materiel responsibilities for IT and a network operations squadron charged with cyber security and other issues and a Defense Information Systems Agency unit building and securing Department of Defense information networks.

With a population of more than 14,550 active duty, reserve, civilian and contractor personnel, the Maxwell-Gunter community has a significant economic and cultural impact. In fiscal year 2021, Maxwell-Gunter’s payroll was approximately $768 million with another $416 million in expenditures for construction and other services.

Maxwell-Gunter also is home to the Alabama National Guard, one of the state’s top employers with some 20,000 jobs. In 2023, the Air National Guard fighter wing anticipates 10 new F-35 Lightning II jets, equipped with the latest stealth, combat and reconnaissance technology.

The Lab on Dexter is helping to grow the tech and innovation ecosystem in the River Region.


TechMGM is a collaboration of local industry, education and government entities working to leverage Montgomery’s technology assets to expand the local economy. Montgomery’s combination of partners has invested in critical tech infrastructure, implementing fiber infrastructure throughout the city and creating the powerful Montgomery Internet Exchange.

Current technology initiatives include:

  • Montgomery Internet Exchange (MGMix). With 100 Gbps capacity, MGMix was established in January 2016. The Mix now has more than 20 connected members working from the RSA Dexter Avenue Data Center. It recently announced an expansion of its service down the I-85 corridor to Auburn.
  • Montgomery TechLab, a new tech accelerator, launched in 2020. Nearly 20 startup companies have completed TechLab’s 12-week intensive program.
  • Lab on Dexter, the community’s newest innovation facility, is a public-private partnership to grow the tech and innovation ecosystem in the Montgomery community.
  • BESPIN, the Business Enterprise Product Innovation Center, is one of the USAF’s largest agile software factories. This unit is co-located with the Montgomery Area Chamber to provide high-speed commercial internet and an innovative work environment to develop the nation’s Department of Defense mobile business applications.
  • Amazon Web Services Academy is an industry-level curriculum and certification program at Trenholm State Community College. Students can earn an associate degree in cloud technology.



In recent years, the distribution/warehouse sector has grown quickly, supporting supply chains for the food and beverage, medical supply, consumer goods and automotive industries.


Alabama State Government

The second largest overall employer in the county, state government is concentrated in the capital city of Montgomery. That, in turn, attracts professional organizations and agencies that seek to influence state policy.

The county also is home to the Retirement Systems of Alabama, with investments ranging from golf courses to skyscrapers. RSA’s data center is instrumental in the Montgomery Internet Exchange cyber program in the city and beyond.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice.


Montgomery tourism is on the rise again. For the first time post-pandemic, the city expects to see more than $1 billion in travel expenditures. The Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum continue to lead the way, bringing an average of 30,000 visitors per month to the capital city.

The tourism sector continues to grow faster than anticipated as heritage tourism has evolved. In recent years, the “travel with a purpose” concept has grown, and the city is offering social innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion programs to corporations, conventions, colleges, universities and athletic conferences, leisure travelers and families, according to Ron Simmons, chief officer for destination and community development.

Also, the city is an in-demand destination for meetings, sports events and leisure travelers. Three hotels are currently under construction downtown. The Trilogy, an Autograph Collection Marriott Hotel, is forecast to open in the first quarter of 2023.

The city also has established itself among the South’s hottest sports destinations, with national sporting event planners looking to the city for events like triathlons, football bowl games and youth baseball tournaments.

The next attraction on the horizon is an outdoor whitewater course and entertainment district near Maxwell Air Force Base, projected to open in 2023. Simmons says the attraction will meet the demand of travelers who are looking for outdoor activities. “Whether you are a professional, first-time kayaker, or just want to enjoy a great time with family and friends, there will be something to do for everyone!”


Health Care

Montgomery County’s hospitals employ more than 7,500 people. Baptist Health, the largest healthcare provider in central Alabama, is the region’s largest overall employer with more than 5,000 employees.

Its hospitals are Baptist Medical Center South, a 492-bed acute care regional referral center in Montgomery; Baptist Medical Center East, a 176-bed acute care hospital providing a wide range of health care services in Montgomery; and 107-bed Prattville Baptist Hospital, that serves residents of Elmore and Autauga counties.

Jackson Hospital also is one of the largest hospitals in the state and has the largest multi-specialty clinic in the River Region. It is licensed for 344 beds.

The county also is home to the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital and Noland Hospital, located in Jackson Hospital.


Higher Education

Montgomery is home to Auburn University at Montgomery, Huntingdon College, Trenholm State Community College, Alabama State University, Faulkner University, Amridge University and Troy University Montgomery.

Together, these schools employ hundreds of faculty and staff, offering programs from work certifications through advanced degrees.


Business Briefs

October 2022: Manna Capital Partners, a minority-owned business enterprise and investment firm, announces it will set up a beverage production and distribution complex at the Hope Hull exit off Interstate 65.

October 2022: Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, announces plans to invest $205 million to open an EV battery module plant in Montgomery that will eventually employ at least 400 people.

October 2022: The Montgomery Chamber, along with the City of Montgomery and Montgomery County Commission, draft a block-by-block plan for downtown Montgomery, hoping to prompt economic growth.

October 2022: Global solar leader Lightsource bp and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority dedicated a 130 MWdc/100 MWac Black Bear Solar project, one of the largest solar farms in Alabama.

September 2022: The Montgomery Regional Airport wins a $300,000 federal grant to support its new service to Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport. Also, in December 2021, Wade Davis was appointed executive director.

July 2022: Premier Tech announces a $32 million investment for construction of a new facility in Montgomery for its systems and automation business group.

June 2022: FedEx Ground Package Systems Inc. begins construction on a $52 million expansion of its distribution and logistics center in Montgomery.

April 2022: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama announces plans to begin building the Santa Fe hybrid and the electrified Genesis at the Montgomery plant, a $300 million investment adding 200 jobs.

January 2022: The Alabama State Port Authority announces plans to construct the Montgomery Inland Container Intermodal Transfer Facility, offering direct rail service between the capital city and the port in Mobile.

November 2021: Amazon announces plans for a 650,000-square-foot inbound cross dock or IXD facility in Montgomery, a $100 million investment adding 500 jobs.

August 2021: The Montgomery Chamber opens the Lab on Dexter, offering a collaborative learning environment for entrepreneurs.

May 2021: The Montgomery Chamber of Commerce is awarded the prestigious Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development for the second year in a row. This award is presented by Site Selection magazine to the nation’s top 20 local economic development organizations.


This article appears in the January 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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