In his 2015 self-published memoir, I Hear My Angel Sing, Sean Suggs, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi (TMMM), describes his early childhood experiences, including his parents’ divorce, his mother having to move with her children back to rural North Carolina to live with their grandmother, and how for a year, he and his siblings picked tobacco and fruit on a nearby farm—from dawn to 6 p.m.— to help support the family. “It taught me that you must work hard to achieve great things in life,” says Suggs. “It also taught that I wanted more in life than just being a field worker.” Read the article here.
Americans are enamored with the SUV these days.
The sedan? Well, it seems U.S. drivers are just not into them the way they use to be.
Last fall, General Motors announced plans to drop six of its sedans to focus on SUVs and trucks. Ford Motor Co. also has announced plans to end North American sedan sales. And before that, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stopped producing the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.
But Hyundai Motor Co., based in South Korea, is one automaker that plans — at least for the foreseeable future — to continue assembling its Elantra and Sonata sedans in the United States at plants like Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery. Read the article here.
Jim Moore, a deacon and 13-year veteran at First Baptist Bryan, may not remember every time the church has helped someone, but one instance stands out. A church member recently testified to an outpouring of kindness he experienced through the church.
The man, a regular in the singles’ ministry, needed to help his elderly parents move out of their home, Moore says. After sharing his dilemma with others in the ministry, several people arrived at the home and helped the man’s parents over two weekends to move their furniture and belongings.
“It moved him to tears to find that there were people who really cared that much about him,” says Moore, “and cared enough to help.” Read the article here.
MBUSI CEO Jason Hoff was recently named as the new Head of Quality Management for Mercedes-Benz Cars. But weeks before the big announcement, I got a chance to talk with him for Southern Automotive Alliance magazine:
Q: Two years ago, Mercedes announced plans for a $1.3 billion expansion of the MBUSI plant in Vance, Alabama, including body shop and upgrades to the logistics and IT systems. Tell us about that.
Jason Hoff: For the most part, that work’s finished. We’re just now launching a new car. We started production a couple of weeks ago where we had the celebration about a week and half ago. So, now we’re getting into the phase of building cars so the last phase for the most part is behind us, and our new body shop is up and running.
Read the article here.
In 2015, California passed Legislation to close out group homes for foster children and place them in family-based settings instead.
Diane Partida, a resource family recruiter for foster care and adoption at Uplift Family Services in Sacramento, says research has shown that foster children fare better living in family settings.
“Unfortunately, there are never enough homes” says Partida. “There’re always more children than families. We get referrals daily for placements of children in foster family homes, but we never have enough families. That’s the case with all agencies across the board.” Read the articles here:
Sgt. 1st Class Marion Moses still recalls meeting one of her first clients at the Santa Clara County Veterans Services Office (VSO) where she is director.
A friend had suggested that the client, a veteran who served three tours of duty in Vietnam, visit the VSO to see if he qualified for any veterans’ benefits, Moses says.
“He came in, and he was rough and gruff and grumpy and didn’t really know why he was there and didn’t really want to be there,” Moses says. Read the article here.
When Amanda Bender, owner of RedX Fitness, decided to rebrand her business, she also wanted to refinance one of her three facilities, a 33, 000-square-foot building on 10 acres in Decatur.
- Sponsor -She had originally financed the business about a dozen years ago with a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan through a conventional bank, Bender says.
“I was looking at another SBA loan, ” she says, “but the fees are very high.”
Read the article here.
It is half past 5 p.m., and Frank Chestnut is on his cellphone, talking to a reporter in Birmingham about an old practice that is making a comeback: the apprenticeship.
Chestnut manages Apprenticeship Alabama, a state Department of Commerce program in the Workforce Development division, and he is a member of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Board of Directors. Most days, his job takes him on the road across Alabama, he says, to talk with advanced manufacturers and other industries about registered apprenticeship programs as a strategy for cultivating the skilled workers they need. Read the full article here.
The Church: Memorial Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas
The Challenge: Identify a way to broaden the church’s outreach ministry
One Big Idea: Use comfort dogs to minister to hurting people in local communities
On a recent visit to a nursing home, Stacy Bretting saw a man in his 80s sitting on a bench inside a hallway. He seemed disheartened and distressed. Bretting was visiting that day with her outreach team member Damaris, a 2-year-old, purebred golden retriever, as part of Memorial Lutheran Church’s comfort dog ministry. “Damaris just kept looking at him and looking at him,” says Bretting, “and finally I said I needed to visit with this gentleman.” Read the full article here.
Imagine trying to ace a final exam while your stomach rumbles because you did not eat breakfast that morning—or dinner the night before.
That predicament is a gnawing reality for a growing number of college and university students in Alabama and across America. A recent national poll by the College and University Food Bank Alliance reports 20 percent of students at four-year institutions have “low food security.”
“It’s hard to concentrate and study on an empty stomach,” says Lisa Higginbotham, manager of the UAB Benevolent Fund, an organization supporting local charities and UAB employees in need. Last March, the fund opened Blazer Kitchen, a food pantry providing nutritious fresh, frozen, and nonperishable food—from fruits and vegetables to meats, baked goods, and canned and microwavable foods—as well as hygiene and household items, to UAB students and employees in need, no matter their income. Read the full article here.