The challenge of dealing with changing economic conditions has never been more a fact of life than today. As markets rise and fall, shift and settle, the effects of change ripple through our lives — in ripples that sometimes look more like tidal waves. Here in Alabama, one of the most significant changes facing our citizens is the shift in the foundations of our economy. Some of our traditional industries, including textile manufacturing, are dwindling, while whole new sectors are burgeoning. The growth in automotive manufacturing that began in 1993 with Mercedes-Benz’s decision to locate its first U.S. manufacturing operation 20 miles from The University of Alabama is accelerating exponentially.