UA Economic Development Program Graduates First Class

on August 10, 2017

economic development academy candids


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Economic Development Academy recently completed its first Applied Economic Development Honors class with 18 young professionals from across the state participating.

Each participant will receive a graduation certificate during the Economic Development Association of Alabama summer conference in July.

The Honors program is a partnership between The University of Alabama Economic Development Academy and the Economic Development Association of Alabama to help prepare Alabama’s next generation of practitioners.

“This first class from the Applied Economic Development Honors Program is another tangible result of the University’s commitment to preparing the next generation of economic development leaders and their partners who influence business opportunity, workforce development and our state’s success,” said Dr. Carl A. Pinkert, UA vice president for research and economic development.

“We look forward to continued work in equipping economic developers with advanced skill sets to address today’s competitive challenges.”

The University supports job creation and broad-based economic development throughout the Alabama, and the Applied Honors’ class focuses on Alabama’s emerging practitioners, said Neal Wade, director of the UA Economic Development Academy,

“Through an experiential teaching method, this class learned about job creation issues embedded in the most comprehensive curriculum available and examined every approach to sustaining and growing new jobs in their local economy,” he said.

The class highlighted areas of study almost every local economic development organization faces including keeping existing industry, recruiting new jobs, growing leadership skills, negotiation strategies, building local teams and working with elected officials.

UA’s Economic Development Academy also works with local communities and elected officials to develop workable strategic economic development plans. With many Alabama communities losing population, the need for broad-based job creation is multiplied across the state, Wade said.

“These young professionals will soon become our economic development leaders, and it was a privilege to work with them as they apply their skills in Alabama’s communities,” he said.

Plans are underway for the second edition of the Applied Economic Development Honors Program, which focuses on the young economic development professionals from around the state.

The first session of the next class begins Oct. 26-27, and the following two sessions are scheduled for February 15-16 and May 17-18, 2018.

Participants in the inaugural class graduated May 19 following an intense two-day session at the Robotics Technology Park in North Alabama.


2016-2017 Honors Program Graduates

  • Chris Bontrager – Marengo County EDA
  • Amy Brabham –Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Chris Busby – Chambers County Development Authority
  • Tyler Chaffee – Opelika Economic Development
  • Veronica Crock –Ozark-Dale County Economic Development
  • Shaun Culligan – Phenix City Economic Development
  • Rashard Howard – CSX Transportation
  • Tanner Jones – Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance
  • Tanya Maloney – City of Heflin
  • Vince Perez – Alabama Department of Commerce
  • Jackson Pruett – Shelby County Economic Development Authority
  • Alan Reeves – Birmingham Business Alliance
  • David Rodgers Jr. – Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Angela Smith – Alabama Department of Commerce
  • Jamie Troutman – Cullman Economic Development Agency
  • Thomas Tyson – Alabama Department of Commerce
  • Will West – Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce
  • D’Andre Wright – Alabama Power Company

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