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Top News Links: Thursday, November 9

Caddell Construction wins 3 new U.S. embassy projects

Caddell Construction was recently awarded U.S. State Department embassy construction and renovation projects in Nairobi, Kenya; Mexico City, Mexico; and Athens, Greece. Together, the project contracts total $915.4 million. – News release

Avadian, EBSCO to merge credit union operations

Avadian Credit Union and EBSCO Federal Credit Union, both headquartered in Birmingham, are moving forward with plans to merge. The merger has been approved by each institution’s Board of Directors and voted on by the EBSCO FCU membership base. Avadian is expected to merge EBSCO FCU by the first quarter of 2018. – News release

Loved or feared: Which is better at the office?

Researchers Joseph Folkman and Jack Zenger studied 51,836 leaders to discover how significant of a role likability plays in the success of leaders. They found that only 27 leaders who were ranked in the bottom 25% of likability also ranked in the top 25% for leadership effectiveness. That means there is only approximately a 1 in 2000 chance that a leader can be unlikable and successful. – Business Insider

Three more Littoral Combat Ships in new budget

After months of back-and-forth over whether the U.S. Navy should issue contracts for one, two or maybe three new Littoral Combat Ships in 2018, the answer appears to be: Three. On Wednesday U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne touted his role in settling on the bigger number, as did Sen. Luther Strange. – AL.com

Mobilian wins Regions Bank’s highest employee award

Mobile resident Contina Woods has received Regions Bank’s Better Life Award, the top honor given to a Regions associate for job performance and community involvement. Woods received the award at a ceremony in Birmingham. Together with the recognition, Regions will donate $1,000 in her name to a nonprofit organization of Woods' choice. She chose Prodisee, an organization she has worked with in Mobile. – AL.com

State’s women-owned businesses contribute to $18.2B

Alabama currently has an estimated 149,900 women-owned businesses, employing 109,600 and attributing roughly $18.2 billion according to the seventh annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN, a comprehensive report released today, analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and factoring in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). – News release

HudsonAlpha’s Tech Challenge draws more than 100 participants

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology hosted the inaugural HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge recently. More than 100 registered to apply computer science skills such as machine learning, blockchain and virtual reality. Winning “Best in Show,” Team AlphaTek” tackled blockchain technology to make medical record and genome data more accessible. – News release

Wal-Mart rolls out digital features at Alabama store

In an example of Wal-Mart's evolving e-commerce strategy, a company supercenter in Mobile County is allowing customers to digitally "try on" makeup through a virtual reality system called ModiFace. "There are less than five of these in the country," said John Wimsatt, store manager of the Tillman's Corner Wal-Mart, during a tour of the newly interactive store on Wednesday. – AL.com

UAB wins $7M research grant to study obesity

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center has been awarded a $7 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to establish the UAB Obesity Health Disparities Research Center. UAB investigators will study the contributors and interactions among biological, behavioral and social factors of obesity. – News release

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