Top Headlines: Automakers incorporating 3D printing, Huntsville wins $4.1M grant

Automakers working on incorporate more 3D printing in the factory
The U.S. auto industry wants to expand the use of 3D printers. Automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG are working directly with additive manufacturers concerning deployment of the technology. Companies also are utilizing virtual and augmented reality to address manufacturing issues. And, as is the case with many other manufacturers, the auto industry wants to get the most out of Industry 4.0, where “connected” machines communicate with each other and with human operators. – Advanced Manufacturing

High-flying financial adviser directing $3.6B in assets started as a gofer
Talk about being at the right place at the right time: When Tony Smith accepted a job as a gofer during college, he found himself working for a wealthy family that would open the door to a high-powered career in wealth management. Today, Smith heads a $3.6 billion, ultra-high-net-worth practice with UBS and is Barron’s top-ranked adviser in Alabama. – Barrons

Huntsville wins $4.1M grant to build bridge near new auto plant
Huntsville’s economic boom continues to grow. A federal grant of $4.1 million has been awarded to the city by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The money is expected to help create 320 jobs and generate $128 million in private investments. The money will be used to help build a bridge near the Mazda-Toyota auto plant that’s under construction. – WAFF

Career, business opportunities growing in Northwest Alabama
As the state of Alabama grows its automotive industry, people in Hamilton, Sulligent, Fayette and other towns in Marion, Lamar and Fayette counties believe they are the “Crossroads of the Automotive South,” and they have plenty of facts to back up that claim. “We’re within 230 miles of 11 automotive manufacturers, we are surrounded by five metros within an hour’s drive of the borders of our region (Tuscaloosa, Tupelo, Memphis, Birmingham and Huntsville), and we are on a new interstate here in Marion County that is wide open for future opportunities,” said David Thornell, President and CEO of C3 of Northwest Alabama. – Alabama Newscenter

Finally, a fun task force: Lawmakers ponder legal wine home delivery
A person can’t legally ship wine directly to their house in Alabama. However, a task force to study the direct shipment of wine met Tuesday with the goal to find a way to legalize it. Last session there were at least seven bills dealing with the direct shipment of wine that failed, according to Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Birmingham. “There was a lot of confusion over what we needed to pass or what was the right thing to pass,” said Waggoner. “A lot of those bills overlapped as far as shipment of wine.” – WAFF

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He quit his desk job, now his Alabama bakery is rising
Sure, there are moments during a 12-hour shift at his bakery in Huntsville when Matt Johnson misses the money, air conditioning and sitting-in-a-chair-all-day aspects of his former gig. “But I couldn’t ever actually go back to it,” Johnson says. “It’s just fleeting thoughts that I have when I have a bad day.” “I realized I wanted to be working with my hands creating something tangible that more people could appreciate,” Johnson says. –

Guster moving forward with business incubator project
Lawyer and real estate developer Eric Guster is moving forward with plans for a business incubator in the Huffman area. Guster last year announced plans to convert a 22,000-square-foot building at 9952 Parkway E. into office space and suites for start-ups. However, he said he placed the project on hold due to his law firm’s expansion while he sought city participation in the project. –

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