Value of EDPA Community Partners Partnership

By Val Walton

December 2012 – When Cotina Terry, one of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s Community Partners, got the idea for an economic development summit, she turned to the EDPA for assistance in putting the event together.
The summit’s goal, Terry said, was to bring in presenters from across the state to provide an opportunity for residents there to learn even more about economic development.
“EDPA was immediately contacted for help on facilitating a summit,” said Terry, executive director of the Randolph County Industrial Development Council.
EDPA staff was instrumental in streamlining topics to be covered at the summit and suggesting a luncheon speaker from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Terry said. Having Allyson Edwards, new model division manager, was a big coup for Randolph, a rural county that neighbors Honda’s Lincoln plant in Talladega County, Terry noted.
The end result was a summit that drew more than 60 people and a myriad of speakers with a wealth of economic development expertise, including EDPA President Bill Taylor. The summit also left those who attended empowered.
“I got a clearer vision of economic development ideas for Randolph County,” said Mellie Parrish, owner of New Journeys Consulting, which provides job readiness training. “The speakers were excellent. It really helped to hear from other people working in the area of economic development and to help us think outside of the box for ideas. ”
The EDPA was pleased to assist Randolph County in facilitating the Nov. 14 summit at Southern Union State Community College’s Renaissance Center in Wadley. The RCIDC is one of the 22 local and regional economic development organizations in our Community Partners Program.
Started in 2010, our Community Partners Program allows us to work with the organizations on important initiatives such as strategic planning that mirrors the state’s strategic economic development plan; support existing industry in the communities; and provide economic development marketing support and services.
Our staff also is available on an ongoing basis to offer resources, support, counsel and other assistance in our partners’ efforts to attract, secure and retain jobs.
It is a valuable program we are extremely proud to have launched. We also are proud that as the Community Partners Program continues to grow, it is making a positive difference and building connections.
Mack Arthur Bell, a 24-year Roanoke City Councilman, left the Randolph County summit inspired by the economic development success occurring in the city of Thomasville, another participant in our Community Partners Program.

Bell said hearing Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day outline the revitalization and growth that has occurred in that city of about 4,200 people motivates him to reach out to Day as avenues are sought to improve the quality of life in Roanoke and Randolph County.
“It was very informative and interesting just listening to the speakers talk about what they are doing in their cities to move economics to another step,” Bell said. “One city that definitely caught my attention was the mayor of Thomasville and what he was doing in Thomasville. That was a great inspiration to me as a community leader. To hear this and more at the summit was just outstanding.”

To learn more about our Community Partners Program, visit http://www.edpa.org/about-us/community-partners/