CHAMBER NAMES NEW SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MILITARY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
In mid-November, the Chamber named retired Brig. Gen. Trent H. Edwards as Senior Vice President, Military and Community Development. Edwards will focus on the viability and growth of Montgomery’s military missions while leading new community-wide initiatives that fuel the regional economy and quality of life for all.
“Trent is an incredibly skilled and experienced leader, and we are so fortunate to have recruited him and his family back to Montgomery,” said Anna Buckalew, Chamber President and CEO. In addition to protecting and leveraging the River Region’s extensive military footprint, Edwards will be building new strategies to fuel economic and entrepreneurial growth around Montgomery’s thriving Air Force innovation hubs. “We want Montgomery to be recognized as a destination where military families want to locate, where public/private partnerships fuel innovation and where small businesses and start-ups find fertile ground. Trent Edwards is the perfect leader to capitalize on these opportunities,” said Buckalew.
The general comes to the Chamber with a distinguished career in the Air Force, most recently as the Air Force Director, Budget Operations and Personnel, responsible for an $80 billion budget. Prior to that assignment, he was the Comptroller and Programmer for Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has commanded two Air Force Wings, including the largest Training Wing in the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base and the 42nd Air Base Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base from 2012-2014. He has extensive congressional experience, serving as the Air Force Chief of Congressional Affairs.
“I have spent 30 years serving my country and am proud to return to Montgomery and serve the community we adopted as home,” said Edwards. “One of my primary goals will be changing the perception of Montgomery and spreading the word that Montgomery really is the best hometown in the Air Force.”
THE BUSINESS CASE FOR DIVERSITY: A NEW LOOK AT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Chamber’s second Diversity Dialogue event featured local business leaders who led a conversation on how diversity helped them expand their markets and how it positively impacts their bottom line. The event included moderator Joyce Vaughn, MGMWERX, and panelists Vladimir Averett, Owner, Heritage Complex; Jordan Franklin, CEO, Stratice, LLC; Brit’tney Powell, Owner, Kay Couture Clothing & Cosmetics; and Anwar Shahid, President & CEO, Propelled Technologies. They discussed a wide range of topics covering how increased diversity can lead to increased profits success, including how businesses can widen their market and scope of work, better harness the power of female and minority ownership, gain an advantage by serving a wider variety of people and widening their net when recruiting and more.
TRC HIT ITS TARGET
What an amazing year! The 2019 Total Resource Campaign wrapped up in late December and featured strategic and aggressive sponsorship opportunities for Chamber members. The Chamber would like to personally thank the team of volunteers and thank each of our members for making it another successful campaign year. The Chamber is extremely excited about being part of your marketing and branding strategies in 2020.
GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS RECEPTION
Business stakeholders and community representatives recently attended a networking reception for the newly elected and current state and area elected officials. Representatives from Governor Ivey’s cabinet, state representatives and senators, county commissioners, Mayor Reed, city councilmen, school board members, Probate Judge Love and local congressional staffers took the opportunity to talk with and hear directly from the business community. Every newly local elected and appointed official attended.
The reception was an opportunity for Chamber members to acknowledge long-term partnerships that exist with our elected officials and re-connect with the Chamber’s mission as we work to improve the quality of life in the community through economic development, military stability recruitment/expansion of small and large business, innovation/technology, quality education and quality of life.
LONG-STANDING CHAMBER MEMBER RECEIVES GOLD AWARD
The Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama announced the 12 “Alabama Small Business of the Year” and “Emerging Small Business of the Year” award winners during the CCAA-BCA annual meeting in early December.
Winners were awarded at three levels, Gold Award, Silver Award and Bronze Award in four different categories, Emerging, 1-10 employees, 11-50 employees and 51-100 employees. Montgomery’s Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air received the Gold Award in the 51-100 employee category and Larry Puckett Chevrolet located in Prattville was recognized as the Bronze Award recipient.
“Alabama’s Small Business of the Year” awards presented annually by the BCA and the CCAA recognize small businesses in employee-number based categories. They are considered to be the state’s very best small businesses based on a variety of civic and professional standards.
MILITARY APPRECIATION WEEK
The Chamber hosted a Military Proclamation Signing Ceremony on November 6 at City Hall in conjunction with Military Appreciation Week, November 10-16. Each mayor from the River Region recognized the contributions of the Armed Forces of the United States of America by signing a Military Proclamation and presenting it to the Air University Commander and to the Adjutant General for the State of Alabama. Each mayor also had an opportunity to thank the service members and explain what they mean to the city. The 151st Army Band entertained the crowd of more than 100 with patriotic music. After the signing, Major General Sheryl Gordon surprised Mayor Strange with a certificate naming him an honorary colonel in the Alabama National Guard.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWS
HMMA ANNOUNCES $410M EXPANSION IN MONTGOMERY
On November 13, the Chamber, along with local and state leaders, joined Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) to announce a $410 million expansion that will create 200 jobs at Hyundai’s U.S. automotive assembly plant in Montgomery. Beginning in 2021, the Hyundai Santa Cruz will be built in Montgomery, joining the Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe. “Bringing the Santa Cruz to HMMA demonstrates that Hyundai Motor Company is confident our more than 3,000 team members are ready to build a quality crossover for the U.S. market,” said HMMA President and CEO Byungjin Jin.
Hyundai says the $410 million investment will create an additional 230,000 square feet of space in the stamping, welding and parts processing areas of the manufacturing complex. While direct employment at HMMA will increase by 200 jobs, Hyundai projects that its local suppliers and logistics companies will employ an additional 1,000 people in Montgomery and the River Region. Hyundai intends to begin filling the new positions being created by the latest expansion project during the second half of 2020.
“I recently had the honor of experiencing first-hand the long-standing partnership between Hyundai and Montgomery on a visit to Seoul as part of an economic development delegation including former Mayor Todd Strange,” said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen this vital relationship in the coming years and working with our partners to support this tremendous investment.”