Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Slow Disappearance of National Alabama

In March of this year, National Alabama announced it would be producing certain major components for 500 rail cars. The project was scheduled to commence around July 1st and be finished by December 31st. Admittedly, July is still with us, but sources at the plant tell us that no work has yet been done to set up this assembly line--assuming it's still needed. Has the contract been cancelled? How would we know?

In other National Alabama news, a second source reports:

When National Alabama Corporation officially moved in to its new facility in 2009, it wasn't alone. In addition to the NAC employees, several vendors also took up residence, or opened 'store fronts', within the confines of the facility. Originally, it was the 'job' of these vendors to supply the plant with the day-to-day operating materials, tools and constant use items needed in manufacturing. In addition to these vendors, representatives of the manufacturers of much of the state-of-the-art equipment purchased by NAC, with money borrowed from the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), also established field offices on site. These representatives supplied on-site trouble shooting and repair services to NAC in the event that one of their products, such as a 'robot welder', developed a 'glitch'.

It has been reported that many of these 'field representatives' have 'closed up shop', apparently due to difficulties in obtaining payment for items ordered and installed within the dormant NAC manufacturing facility. It has also been reported that some of the vendors have 'pulled out' of the site, claiming that there 'isn't enough business' to justify the continuation of services on site.

It has also been reported that as much as 30% of the maintenance department has quit since the first of the year, choosing to seek actual work elsewhere. One can only wonder how much 'maintenance' needs to be performed on machinery that isn't being used.

And Shoals Chamber of Commerce president Steve Holt, pardon...we meant to say Mr. Stephen Holt...uses this as an example of desirable foreign investors?


The TimesDaily seems to have begun a campaign to promote the "college" that a Chinese company may, or may not, have planned for the old Florence Golf and Country Club. What would happen if they built this college?

First, we're not sure what was intended by the Chinese. Was it a college of some ilk or a pharmaceutical enterprise as first stated? How easily it morphed. If it should be a college, it would not be able to grant degrees or even any transferable credits without proper accreditation.

How was it to align with the current College of Nursing at UNA? We have no idea on that subject either since all we have read states the College of Nursing can't change its studies on the mere whim of faculty or even that of President William Cale.

In the For What It's Worth Department, this supposed college could be certified for Chinese students, but how that would help the University of North Alabama is extremely nebulous. Would Chinese students come en masse to study Chinese courses and then return to China to practice whatever they had learned here? It would supposedly help the economy of the Shoals, but so would legalized brothels.