Coastal Gateway board member named interim director

Published 10:32 am Monday, July 15, 2013

The secretary of the Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance has stepped up to be the organizations’ interim director following the resignation of Jim Searcy.

Searcy stepped down recently to take a position as executive director of the Economic Development Association of Alabama.

Dr. John A. Johnson’s appointment as interim director is effective Monday, July 15.

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“On behalf of Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance, it is my pleasure to announce that Dr. John Johnson has been selected by the Board of Directors to serve as the Interim Executive Director for the Alliance,” Larry Woods, chairman of the CGEDA, said in a release.  “He has the necessary economic development experience and knowledge of the region to lead the organization.”

Coastal Gateway is a partnership of Escambia, Monroe, Conecuh, Choctaw and Clarke counties.

Johnson said he would move forward with the projects the alliance has been working on and seek solutions and new opportunities.

“I wish to express my gratitude to the Board of Directors of the Alliance for allowing me this opportunity to grow jobs for the Coastal Gateway region,” Johnson said in a release. “Over the coming days, I will continue to recruit the projects which we are currently working and visit members of our existing industry. I am delighted to have another opportunity to spend my days working to make the region a better place to live and work.”

Johnson, director of consulting group North Star Associates, LLC. , was founding executive director of the Monroeville/Monroe County Economic Development Authority. Also, he currently serves as vice president and Alabama director of community and economic development at The Montgomery Institute, a private, non-profit organization committed to improving the region of West Alabama and East Mississippi.

Johnson serves on the doard of directors of CGEDA, representing George F. Landegger and Parsons and Whittemore Inc., and also serves on the Board of Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council.

Johnson currently serves as secretary of the CGEDA board and previously served as vice chairman.  Johnson has chaired the executive director search committee, initiated Coastal Gateway as an EDPA Community Partner, and advocated for establishment of a region-wide, existing industry program coordinated with local economic development agencies.

Johnson was president of Alabama Southern Community College for 20 years, leading it to be recognized as one of the premier community colleges in the nation, ranking in the top 20 of more than 1,200 community colleges.

The job announcement and search process for the new executive director will be announced at the next CGEDA board meeting on July 24.