Symposium seeks to capitalize on success

Published 3:34 am Monday, February 11, 2008

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
With so much economic development activity in the works for nearby Mobile County, how can surrounding areas capitalize on that regional success?
That is one of the questions local business leaders will seek to answer at an economic symposium to be held at the Country Club of Brewton Friday.
ASU-Southern Normal is one of the sponsors of the symposium, along with the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development Region 9 and Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority.
Business magazine Moody's predicted this month that Mobile will have the fastest growing economy of any other metropolitan area of the country over the next five years.
With German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp building a massive plant in north Mobile County and the possibility of more industries locating there, Escambia and other surrounding counties could see some impact, economic development officials have said.
Watkins said she hopes those who attend the meeting will be able to discuss the opportunities that exist - and strategies to piggyback on Mobile's success. And she said she hopes ASU's involvement will provide her with ideas for how the campus can become more involved.
Speakers at the symposium include state Sen. Gerald Dial, the director of the Alabama Rural Action Commission; Kelvin Hill, vice president of Naheola Operations for Georgia-Pacific; Dr. Matthew Hughes, director of the governor's office of workforce development and postsecondary workforce development; Dr. Eddie Johnson, deputy state superintendent of education; Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County commissioner; and Al Etheridge, coordinator for Workforce Development Region 9, which includes Escambia and other counties.
Moderators will be Dr. Douglas Littles, president of Reid State Technical College, and Ralph Stacy, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.
Friday's symposium, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free, but registration is required. Call Watkins at 867-4831 or e-mail to register. Lunch will be provided at the meeting.

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