Chamber learns economic growth

Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Birmingham Business Alliance CEO Brian Hilson speaks to Chamber of Commerce members and guests at a luncheon Sept. 4.

Brian Hilson, CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, spoke to the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce at its luncheon Tuesday.

Hilson talked about economic growth in the county and the Birmingham area, how the local and regional economies impact each other and the challenges both have faced in the last 10 years.

Hilson said BBA works to recruit new companies in and around Birmingham, while taking care of the existing companies in an effort to grow and diversify economies in each of the seven counties that comprise the region.

“We’ve got to take care of the companies we already have,” Hilson said. “The automotive industry gets most of the attention in the state. We’re focusing very heavily on what we’re calling innovative technology-based businesses.”

Another factor Hilson mentioned as affecting the local economy is the number of people who commute to and from the county for work.

He said 22 percent of Chilton residents commute to Shelby County, and 15 percent of Chilton residents commute to Jefferson County on a daily basis.

“Chilton County is not alone in doing this,” Hilson said, noting that the county’s position between Birmingham and Montgomery – two of the largest cities in the state – contributes to its commuter percentages.

Hilson said continued growth of the local workforce would make the county more attractive to companies looking for new places to locate.