EDAA Executive Director Jim Searcy said the organization will prioritize rural communities for economic development opportunities.
“We must ensure that economic prosperity reaches all regions of the state,” Searcy said.
EDAA has laid the groundwork for this focus through its Rural Economic Development Initiative pilot program, which supports and trains rural communities for business recruitment and readiness. The initiative created a model that uniquely implements a regional strategy to develop rural areas, in addition to the city, county or state approach used by others.
EDAA will provide members access to dynamic educational training opportunities throughout the year, including labor relations, workforce innovation and assessing local economic efforts to thrive in a post-pandemic world.
“The reality is we are all in the process of wrapping our arms around what economic recovery will be needed in a post-pandemic world,” Searcy said. “Our goal is to jump-start these conversations and begin now assessing the needs of our communities so we can come out not just surviving, but also set to thrive in the future.”
EDAA is adding board members to help implement the 2021 strategy:
- Melody Whitten, 58 Inc.
- Ernie Cowart, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama
- Shane Kearney, Alabama Power
These members join the EDAA board among representatives from public and private sectors:
- Megan Crouch, city of Auburn – president
- Brooks Kracke, North Alabama Industrial Development Association – 1st vice president
- Taylor Williams, PowerSouth – 2nd vice president
- Angela Smith, Alabama Department of Commerce – secretary/treasurer
- David Knight, Walker County Development Authority – immediate past president
At-large board members
- Jeff Rabren, Regions
- Mike Swinson, Spire
- Tanya Maloney, Main Street Alabama
- David Rodgers, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
- Kevin Taylor, Alabama Industrial Development Training.
“Historically, EDAA has benefited from strong, visionary and effective leadership,” Searcy added. “The current board of directors continues this tradition and we’re better at serving our state because of their service.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama NewsCenter website.