Trip to New York brings national attention to Birmingham renaissance

By on May 23, 2014

Yet another national news outlet has taken notice of Birmingham’s economic growth and the collaborative efforts of elected officials, the business community and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in driving the renaissance.

Joe Deaux, a reporter with TheStreet, a leading digital financial media company focusing coverage on the financial markets, economy, industry trends, investment and financial planning, recently sat down with Birmingham Mayor William Bell and UAB President Ray L. Watts; the result was a nearly three-minute video noting an improving employment rate, growing personal per capita income and an entrepreneurial environment.

“Birmingham is experiencing unprecedented positive momentum, and it can be attributed in large part to the can-do attitude of its citizens and the collaborative spirit among regional stakeholders that seems to grow daily,” Bell said.

TheStreet interviews took place at the publication’s offices in the shadows of the New York Stock Exchange during a recent three-day Birmingham Business Alliance-organized trip in which the mayor, the BBA and other economic development organizations from the region, companies like Alabama Power, and UAB crisscrossed the Big Apple meeting with site selectors and private industry, as well as UAB alumni, financial supporters and prospective students.

As Bell noted in TheStreet interview, “Birmingham is a well-kept secret,” and BBA CEO Brian Hilson says economic development visits like this one are important in raising awareness for the region’s benefit.

Deaux focused his coverage on the recent financial impact of the city’s continued transition from a steel-based economy to one of knowledge, innovation and technology.

President Watts recently joined Birmingham Mayor William Bell, regional economic development partners, and former UAB students and residents at an alumni event in New York City to talk about priorities of the the strategic plan and the Campaign for UAB, as well as other exciting things happening in Birmingham.“Per capita personal income rose more than 35 percent in a decade to $41,850, which now outranks Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis in the South,” said Deaux, who also noted Birmingham’s 30 percent share of the state’s GDP, the 2,600 jobs added last year and Innovation Depot’s $1.25 billion economic impact over the last five years.

Said Deaux, “None of it would have been possible without the state’s No. 1 employer,” referencing UAB’s 23,000 faculty and staff that lead the institution’s $5 billion annual economic impact on the state.

Deaux noted the economic impact of the Health System and UAB’s research enterprise, as well as a joint effort between UAB’s Collat School of Business and the School of Engineering to create a new entrepreneurship program as part of the effort to “make innovation part of the university’s DNA.”

Watts used the trip to share progress about the university’s comprehensive and largest-ever strategic planning process, which began in earnest when he became president in early 2013.

“People in Birmingham have known about our resurgence as a region for some time, because we can feel the energy and see the growth; now others around the state and country are taking notice of the exciting things going on here,” Watts said. “If we are to continue our upward trajectory and expand our influence, UAB must have a purposeful, aggressive plan to invest our resources wisely in our areas of excellence that will make the biggest impact across all facets of our mission.”

The five pillars of UAB’s mission are the education of students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; research, the creation of new knowledge; patient care, the outcome of “bench-to-bedside” translational knowledge; service to the community at home and around the globe; and the economic development of Birmingham and Alabama.

TheStreet offers tools and insight needed to make the best decisions about earning, investing, saving and spending money. According to its website, it has distinguished itself from other financial media companies since its inception in 1996 with its journalistic excellence, unbiased approach, and interactive multimedia coverage of the financial markets, economy, industry trends, investment and financial planning.

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