The investment returns on the Retirement Systems of Alabama pension funds are lagging. Former wunderkind David Bronner has managed the funds for decades. The abrasive Mr. Bronner’s monumental ego is matched only by the height of his RSA building in downtown Mobile, which is now the tallest building in Alabama.
Bronner manages two huge Alabama retirement funds: the Teachers’ Retirement System and the State Employees’ Retirement System.
A nationwide survey of 67 major public pension funds by State Street Investment Analytics showed that in all, more than 90 percent of the funds surveyed nationwide did better than Alabama’s. The survey was as of fiscal year end last September.
David Bronner said the lower returns were linked to investments in the media and a rail car plant in northwest Alabama.
Local Employment picking up
The local area appears to be gaining ground faster than the nation. The United States lost 8 million jobs during the Great Recession. Only one million of those jobs have been recovered to date and economists predict that it well be 3 years before we get the others back.
However locally here in Southwest Alabama, the rate of recovery appears to be picking up.
Three of Baldwin County’s largest manufacturing companies are now hiring. Goodrich Aerostructures, Ascend Performance Materials and Vulcan in Foley all have the “Help Wanted” sign out.
Goodrich is hiring engineers, assemblers and processors to help build commercial and military aircraft components. Ascend Performance Materials, a polymer fibers manufacturer, is hiring 20 mechanical engineers, electricians and machine operators.
Also hiring is Foley-based Vulcan, Inc., an employee owned company, headed by the genial and civically involved Robert “Bubba” Lee. Vulcan began as a small sign manufacturer in Birmingham, Alabama in 1935. The first production facility was established in Foley, Alabama in 1968 when the company constructed a state-of-the-art aluminum rolling mill enabling it to produce aluminum coil and sheet for the signing industry as well as other markets.
In 2007, Vulcan completed a multi-million dollar upgrade and modernization of the aluminum rolling mill. The company is a real hometown success story and an outstanding corporate citizen.
Throw in the 5,000 local jobs, including spinoffs, of the new Austal ship building contract and we’re off to the races — not to mention the possibility of the EADS ….
Air Force refueling tanker decision imminent
As this is being written, an announcement is expected any day. After ten years of corporate corruption, suicide, heavy handed politics and bureaucratic bungling, the decision of the Air Force on the tanker deal appears imminent.
To those of us in the Mobile area, the choice is obvious. EADS is offering a proven product that’s already flying. Boeing is offering a set of blueprints. The last plane Boeing produced from blueprints was 3 years late and billions of dollars over budget.
In fact, with Boeing’s criminal history, it’s a wonder they are even allowed to bid. Top corporate officials from Boeing were convicted and went to prison for their criminal shenanigans in trying to grab the tanker contract – but here they are, still in the running.