Top Headlines: Toyota brings jobs to Alabama plant, Huntsville OKs new downtown hotel

Toyota bringing 450 new jobs to Huntsville engine plant
Toyota plans to bring two new engine lines to the Huntsville engine manufacturing plant, which will account for 450 new jobs in Huntsville, officials said Thursday. The company plans to invest $288 million in new 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine lines, Toyota North Alabama president David Fernandes said at a news conference. The added jobs are the largest hiring event in the plant’s history. – WHNT

Huntsville council OKs $40 million hotel at Von Braun Center
The Huntsville City Council unanimously approved a new downtown hotel Thursday that will be build within the footprint of the Von Braun Center parking deck on Monroe Street. The $40 million project will create 150 jobs, according to a letter from developer Ascent Hospitality to Mayor Tommy Battle. –

HudsonAlpha scientists use social media to make research connection
Scientists at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology have connected developmental delay and intellectual disability to variations in the BRSK2 gene with the help of a social media platform. Researchers in Greg Cooper’s lab recently published a paper in the American Journal of Human Genetics associating genetic variation in a gene called BRSK2 with neurodevelopmental disorders. They put together enough cases to make the link by assembling a cohort of affected individuals through a website called GeneMatcher. – News release

New Flyer unveils second fuel cell-electric bus
The largest bus manufacturer in North America, which has a factory in Anniston, has unveiled a fuel cell-electric transit bus that qualifies for federal funding. New Flyer says both the 40-foot and 60-foot models of the Xcelsior CHARGE H2 have successfully completed the Federal Transit Administration’s Model Bus Testing program at Altoona, Penn. That means that New Flyer is the only manufacturer to offer both fuel cell-electric models that qualify for federal funding. –

McCallum takes interim leadership role at BBA
Retired executive Fred McCallum will serve as Interim President and CEO for the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA). McCallum is retired President of AT&T Alabama and a past Chairman of the BBA. He will oversee daily operations of the BBA during the search for a permanent president and CEO, being conducted by the BBA’s Executive Committee. – News release

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Bill Stevens named to Russell Lands board of directors
Russell Lands Inc. announced Thursday the election of William (Bill) J. Stevens to its Board of Directors. Now retired, Stevens’ career included thirty-seven years with Motion Industries, Inc., a “choice supplier” for industry in North America, having served in many senior leadership roles including Chairman and CEO. – News release

Auburn’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security to host DHS Secretary
Auburn University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security will host Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen on March 18 as she delivers her 2019 State of Homeland Security Address. Nielsen will discuss a range of topics, including her priorities for 2019 and her vision for a safer, more secure homeland. – News release

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