Local leaders complete training

Published 2:14 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Janice Hull, director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, and Van Forrester of the Industrial Development Board recently completed Economic Development Association of Alabama Leadership Institute.

Each received a certificate at this year’s EDAA conference.

“Since we have no economic developer right now, [we are] trying to fill that role in the interim,” Forrester said.

Hull agreed.

Forrester said attending the classes would give him “a better background to help the county.”

“Economic development is a team sport. Having community leaders on the team and trained is critical to winning commercial, retail and industrial projects for a community,” Connie Bainbridge, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative manager of community and economic development, said. “I appreciate the time that volunteers, like Van and Janice, give outside of their regular jobs to become trained and involved in the selling of an area to prospective investors.”

The leadership institute takes two years to complete. According to an EDAA press release, classes include building community, essentials of economic development, business and industry marketing and attraction, attracting retail and building workforce. Forrester said the classes met on a quarterly basis. He said each of the classes presented information that would be helpful and could be applied to economic development in Chilton County.

“I was more interested in the retail side, but I have always been interested in the chamber and what we could do to help our area,” Hull said. “It was important to me.”

The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce and Hull are working to develop a plan for applying some of the information.

“We heard people talk about turning areas of interest in their county into retail attractions, so we are beginning to meet on some of those things,” hull said. “We hope that we can capitalize on our identity with the peach crop.”