Canfield compares economic development, footballPublished 2:40pm Friday, January 11, 2013
By Peggy Blackburn, Outlook Staff Writer
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield compared the state’s commitment to economic development to its passion for winning football at a special Thursday morning event.
Canfield was the guest speaker at the inaugural Elmore County Industry Awards Breakfast, hosted by the Elmore County Economic Development Authority (ECEDA).
“We all do this together; that’s what sets Alabama apart,” said Canfield. “The other 49 states do a great job, but Alabama does it better because we do it as a team. After all, we’re a state that likes to win.”
Six companies were presented Pacesetter Awards, created to recognize businesses that invested a combined $39 million over the past four years, creating 460 new jobs.
Receiving Pacesetter Awards were Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. (The Wetumpka Herald, The Tallassee Tribune and The Eclectic Observer) headquartered in Wetumpka, E&I Inc. of Tallassee, Frontier Spinning of Wetumpka, Alabama Fuel Systems GKN of Tallassee, Oakview Farms Granary of Wetumpka and YESAC of Tallassee.
Canfield praised Elmore County industries and the economic development authority for being proactive in a lethargic economy.
He said those efforts were mirrored across Alabama.
“It’s been a very trying time for Alabama and the nation,” he said. “It’s been the longest, deepest recession in our lives. But we’ve done our best to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and not listen to the naysayers. Leaders here in Elmore County made a real difference for both Elmore County and Alabama.
“We come together to create the environment that builds success. We don’t do it alone.”
Canfield talked about the changes in industry and development in just the past few decades.
He pointed out that no longer does Alabama only competes against neighboring states for new businesses, but competes globally to attract new industry.
He said there are several important factors that help Alabama draw new businesses, including a competitive tax environment, a pool of trained and trainable workers, an image of success, strong teams and strong strategies and an offering of wonderful and fun life experiences.
“These efforts have been quite successful,” said Canfield. “The number of jobs created in Elmore County speaks to that. Elmore County creates an atmosphere that attracts new development. Your efforts are working. I congratulate you.”
Canfield said the state’s efforts will soon take on a new face as the commerce department launches “a new brand for economic development.”
“We are going to project Alabama globally in a light you haven’t seen before,” he said. “You’ll be proud.”
He added that Alabama has become synonymous with the idea of being a state that’s dong business and has been listed in the top 10 in economic development in two national magazines.
“We added 17,400 jobs in 2011,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the 2012 figures, I have a sense it will be even more wonderful. And, if we stay focused, 2013 can be a banner year.”
Blackburn is managing editor for The Wetumpka Herald.