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Wiley Blankenship, President / CEO Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority Alabama Communities of Excellence Wednesday, September 10, 2008 Reason for creating Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority

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wiley blankenship president ceo coastal gateway regional economic development authority

Wiley Blankenship, President / CEOCoastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority

Alabama Communities of Excellence

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

reason for creating coastal gateway regional economic development authority
Reason for creating Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority
  • Why did Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe Counties decide to work together?
  • What would our purpose be?
  • How do we market ourselves?
  • Where we’ve been the last 1, 2, 3 years….
  • Where we’re going….
  • Our ongoing challenges….

Coastal Gateway Counties

Source: U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov

guiding principles for regional collaboration
Guiding Principles for Regional Collaboration
  • Focus on a compelling purpose.
  • Mobilize and engage the “right” people.
  • Define regional boundaries based on people’s interests.
  • Jointly name and frame issues.
  • Deliberate and make collaborative decisions
  • Take strategic action.
  • Be flexible and adaptive to sustain regional collaboration.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

“Communities must work to strengthen the connections among citizens, organizations, and institutions. This is the single most important strategy for changing rural Alabama for the better.”

Source: BEYOND THE INTERSTATE: The Crisis in Rural Alabama


“Successful rural communities recognize that their destiny is in their own hands. Although outside help is sought when appropriate, they do not wait for some outsider to save them, nor do they just sit around and wait for things to get better. “Successful communities take the attitude that ‘nobody knows or cares about our community like we do’ and ‘if we don't do it, it won't get done.’"

Source: BEYOND THE INTERSTATE: The Crisis in Rural Alabama

reasons to forge regional partnerships
Reasons to Forge Regional Partnerships
  • Greater capacity and resources
  • Stronger united leadership
  • Economy of scale
  • More choice for customers
  • Greater strength at state level
  • A pathway to other problem solving

Source: Market Street Services

  • Meaningless boundaries
  • Capacity building and marketing
  • Public-private partnerships

Source: Market Street Services

our mission
Our Mission

The Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority’s primary mission is to: market and promote the assets of Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Monroe and Escambia Counties. 

our mission16
Our Mission

Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority will accomplish its mission by implementation of four program goals:

  • Marketing and recruitment of the region as a top tier southeast destination location,
  • The retention and expansion of existing business to strengthen and expand all areas income potential,
  • The creation of a planning and development program to assist in prioritizing county wide issues that impact the region as a whole
  • The development of a flexible resource fund to help execute collaborative lobbying efforts, entrepreneurial opportunities, regional networking and seed capital for initiatives. 
our mission17
Our Mission

Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority will carry out its mission and fulfill its goals by partnering with:

  • the local chambers of commerce,
  • the local county economic development authorities,
  • local industrial development boards
  • and local city and county governments.
our investors
ACE Farm and HomeAlabama PowerAlabama River PulpAnderson BrothersBD&SCity of AtmoreAtmore AdvanceBancTrust Charitable FoundationBank of BrewtonBank of EvergreenBank Trust MonroevilleBank Trust of BrewtonTown of BeatriceBellSouthBeth Whitehead Boise

Brewton Inn

Brewton Standard

City of Brewton

Buddy Bedwell

Town of Castleberry

Chip Harrigan

Church Pews

City of Jackson

City of Thomasville

Clarke County Commission

Clarke Mobile Gas

Clarke Washington Electric

Conecuh Co. Commission

Crowne Investments

David F. Steele, Attorney

Dozier HardwareDwight HarriganEarlrae NealeyEscambia County CommissionEscambia County Bank

Escambia Co. Health Care AuthorityEvergreen Medical CenterEvergreen TransportationCity of Evergreen

First United Security Bank

Town of FlomatonFirst National Bank of AtmoreFulton Logging

Georgia PacificHarrigan Lumber Company

Harrison and Harrison

Our Investors
our investors cont
Hines Realty Insurance ExpressJackson SawmillJackson Water BoardJudson, IncKelvin HillKnud NielsenLassiter Lumber

Lee McPhearsonLiberty Building Products

Marco WarehousingMcMillan LtdMerchants Bank

Mid Star TimberMonroe County Commission

City of MonroevilleNancy GibsonNatural DecorationsO’Melia FoundationPaul ParhamPoarch Creek IndiansPope’s Real EstateTown of Repton

Regions BankRocky Creek LumberSecurance GroupSouth Alabama GasSouthern PineState Farm - Marc WilliamsState Farm - Spike MaxwellState Farm - Tommy JordanState Farm - Wilodyne FrazierState Farm -Stuart RichesonStuart C. Irby Co.Temple InlandThompson Garrett & HinesTim Watts JewelersTown of ButlerTown of CoffeevilleTown of FultonTown of GilbertownTown of Grove HillUnited BankWarrior TractorWest Alabama Bank and TrustWilliam Utsey

Our Investors (cont.)

$3.7 million total investment / 5 years

what have we done
What have we done?
  • Website design
  • Clearing house of all information in region
  • Resource center for local EDA’s
  • Provide promotional materials on region
  • Market in print and online outlets
  • Defined industry sectors in which to market based on community strengths
  • Promote assets of the region Nationally and Internationally
  • Created the first existing industry program in the region
develop areas of focus
Develop Areas of Focus
  • Wood Products
  • Aviation Interest
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation and Distribution
ongoing projects
Ongoing Projects

Clarke County

  • Currently working with the City of Grove Hillon the development of a spec building and creation of a site that is designated an advantage site according to EDPA standards.
  • Completion of a 50,000 spec building in Thomasville, Ala.
  • Currently planning the creation and construction of a 25,000 – 50,000 spec building in Jackson, Ala.
  • Development of an industrial park in Jackson, Ala.
  • Development of the Thomasville Industrial Park South (135 acres).
  • Development of a regional airport for Clarke County and surrounding region (Clarke, Choctaw, Marengo Counties).

Choctaw County

    • Currently exploring the construction of a 30,000 spec building in ButlerIndustrial Park.
    • In the process of submitting sites for the Advantage Site program through EDPA.
ongoing projects24
Conecuh County

Currently working to expand the Evergreen Industrial Park by an additional 40 acres

Secured 2,000+ acres under long-term options and currently acquiring additional acreage

Exploring creation of a new industrial park on I-65 with a 25,000 to 50,000 sq. ft. spec building

Working on the development of a retail center at Exit 93 off I-65.

Escambia County

Development of a long range plan for the BrewtonAirport

Atmore’s Rivercane Industrial park- currently working on development of Phase II industrial site- 265 acres- Fall 2008 (site plan finished)

Working to construct 50,000 sq. ft. spec building in phase III of Rivercane Industrial Park (site plan development with road access to Alabama Highway 21)

Ongoing Projects
ongoing projects25
Ongoing Projects

Monroe County

  • Creation of new 30,000 sq. ft. spec building in Monroeville, Alabama (completed June 2007)
  • Monroeville Industrial Park- Currently working to expand current Monroeville Industrial Park by 75 to 100 additional acres
  • Creation of 200 acre airport industrial park
  • Creation of an airport authority and development of a spec building at Aviation/FAA standards.
trade shows and conferences
Conferences and Trade Missions (January through June, 2008):

Sweet Home Alabama, Oahu, Hi.—Jan. 2-5, 2008

Met with Bob Souillere, President and CEO of ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, for multiple discussions on potential suppliers for the company.

Singapore Air Show, Singapore—Feb. 15-22, 2008

Heli Expo, Houston, Tex.—Feb. 23-25, 2008

SEDC Consultants Conference, Atlanta, Ga.—March 12-12, 2008

Alabama Germany Partnership, Huntsville, Ala.—April 24-25, 2008

Met with officials from ThyssenKrupp and EADS as well as several potential suppliers.

ICSCReCon, Las Vegas, Nev.—May 18-21, 2008

Immensely successful recruiting trip with an average of seven appointments per day.

Generated an industrial lead as well as retail leads.

Potential Supplier Appointments, June 16, 2008, Mobile, Ala.

EADS-- AAIA Mini-Conference “Conversation with an Aerospace Leader,” Mobile, Ala.– June 17, 2008

Networking opportunity to meet with EADS officials.

Invited and sponsored Clarke County Economic Developer Debra Bolen.

Trade Shows and Conferences
trade shows and conferences31
Conferences and Trade Missions (July through December, 2008):

Farnborough Air Show, London, UK -- July 13-18, 2008

Suppliers Conference, Thomasville, Ala.-- Aug. 13, 2008

CGEDA was a major sponsor of the event and worked to secure opportunities for local companies to have face-to-face meetings with ThyssenKrupp and EADS officials.

IWF, Atlanta, Ga.—August 20-23, 2008

National Manufacturing Week, Chicago, Ill. – Sept. 22-26, 2008

NBAA, Orlando, Fla.—Oct. 6-8, 2008

SEDC, Hot Springs, Va.—Oct. 4-7, 2008

ICSC, Atlanta, Ga.—Oct. 2008

Process Expo, Chicago, Ill.—Nov. 9-13, 2008

TSI Expo, Orlando, Fla.—Dec. 6-7, 2008

Trade Shows and Conferences
farnborough air show uk
Wiley Blankenship met with representatives from the Alabama Development Office on numerous occasions in preparation for the Farnborough Air Show in London, UK.

He had more than a dozen appointments for Farnborough, they were:

Farnborough Air Show, UK
  • AAI Corporation
  • AgustaWestland
  • Bell Helicopter
  • Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co.
  • Chemring Group
  • Elbit Systems Ltd.
  • Finmeccanica
  • General Dynamics UK Limited
  • Kellstrom Industries
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Northrop Grumman Italia S.p.A.
  • Textron Systems
  • Barry Controls Aerospace
  • Essex Industries, Inc. Mfg. Div
  • KGS Electronics Inc.

Of these companies, 10-12 are potential EADS suppliers.

recruiting trips
Florida Recruiting Trip, March 23-27, 2008

Joined by representative from the Alabama Development Office. Met with more than 10 individuals who were interested in expansion into Alabama.


Return trip to Florida to follow up with contacts made during March visit and make new contacts for suppliers.

Recruiting trip to Canada for suppliers.

Recruiting Trips

Industrial Announcements and Expansions

October 2005

  • Guyoung Tech USA, Tier 1 Hyundai Supplier (Castleberry)- 130 new jobs ($25 million)- New Industry

January 2006

  • The Access Group, LLC (expansion in Atmore) – 35 new jobs ($600,000)
  • International Sign and Design- (expansion in Monroeville, purchased 30,000 sq. ft. spec building)- 15 jobs ($1.1 million)- New Industry

February 2006

  • Alto Products (expansion in Atmore) – 17 new jobs ($2,000,000)
  • PCI – new gaming facility (expansion in Atmore) – 100 new jobs ($4.4 million)
  • International Retreading (expansion in Atmore)

March 2006

  • Summer Industries (Monroeville) – 20 new jobs- New Industry
  • McArdle Enterprises (Brewton) – 17 new jobs ($1,180,000)- New Industry
  • Stanley Metal Co. (expansion in Atmore) – 3 new jobs
  • Masland Carpets (expansion in Atmore) – 25 new jobs ($5,500,000)

May 2006

  • Rivercane I-65 Business Park- New Industrial Park Development

Industrial Announcements and Expansions

  • July 2006
  • ISD (expansion in Monroeville)-- adding additional 70,000 sq. ft. – 75 new jobs by Dec. 2007 and 120 new jobs by Fall 2008
  • Standard Furniture (expansion in Frisco City)- 80 new jobs
  • August 2006
  • Southern Cypress & Lumber (expansion in Frisco City) – 28 new jobs ($1 million)
  • Horne Properties announced 95 acre retail development in Rivercane (Atmore)- New Retail Development
  • T. R. Miller Mill (expansion in Brewton) – ($8 million)
  • September 2006
  • Independence Renewable Energy Corp. (Claiborne) – 10 new jobs ($15 million)- New Industry
  • Beatrice Meat Company (Beatrice) – 15 new jobs ($1 million)- New Industry
  • November 2006
  • Muskogee Metalworks signed Mentor Protegé Agreement with Boeing
  • February 2007
  • Super Wal-Mart (Brewton)- New Retail Development

Industrial Announcements and Expansions

  • March 2007
  • Super Wal-Mart (Monroeville)- New Retail Development
  • Conecuh Sausage (expansion in Evergreen)- 10 new jobs ($2 million)
  • Hotel, retail sites announced (Evergreen exit 96 and I-65)- New Retail Development
  • April 2007
  • Walgreens (Atmore)- New Retail Development
  • May 2007
  • ThyssenKrupp Steel Mill (Mobile County)- 2,700 new jobs ($3.7 billion)- New Industrial Development (Anticipated regional impact)
  • August 2007
  • Quantum Resources (Flomaton)- 4 jobs ($4 million)- New Industrial Development
  • February 2008
  • Dixie Green Pellets (Jackson)- 100 jobs ($118 million)- New Industrial Development
  • July 2008
  • Castleberry Wood Products, LLC (Castleberry) – 12 jobs ($1 million)- New Industrial Development
what do successful communities have in common
What Do Successful Communities Have In Common?
  • A proactive action-oriented mindset and a clear strategy.
  • A diverse participatory community leadership committed to the future.
  • The civic capacity and institutional structure necessary to successfully implement a changing strategy

SOURCE: What Do Successful Communities Have in Common?

Market Street Services, 2004.

what do successful communities have in common46
What Do Successful Communities Have In Common?
  • A commitment to unite for a better community and to put aside differences for the common good.
  • A willingness to accept responsibility for the way things are and the way things will be.
  • The sharing of a common vision for the future

SOURCE: What Do Successful Communities Have in Common?

Market Street Services, 2004.

indicators of success
Indicators of Success
  • Median per capita income
  • Reduction in teenage pregnancy
  • Reduction in long-term unemployment
  • Increase in high school graduation rate
  • Growth in the number of self-employed
  • Investment in local infrastructure development

Source: Market Street Services

indicators of success48
Indicators of Success
  • Reduction in infant mortality rate
  • Increase in tourism/travel dollars spent
  • Reduction in the poverty level
  • Increase in investment of existing businesses
  • Steady population growth (in-migration)

Source: Market Street Services

defining economic development

Defining Economic Development

Economic development is about personal wealth creation for every citizen.

Economic diversity that sustains each locality and the entire region throughout economic cycles.

Economic development is a process– not an event.

Economic development is where public policy and free enterprise intersect.

Source: Market Street Services

defining economic development50
Defining Economic Development
  • Economic development is comprised of two components: community development, which is comprised of many things including tourism, retail, health care, education, recreation,housing, workforce etc. and Industrial Recruitment.
  • Economic development should not be confused with Industrial Recruitment…Industrial Recruitment is only part of the equation.
economic development today
Economic Development Today
  • Economic development involves creating an environment in which communities and their citizens prosper and improve their quality of life.
  • Economic development means many things to many people; in our history, it has meant only “industrial recruitment.”
  • Today’s definition is about multiple strategies— small business development, tourism, existing business and industry, downtown development, sports, minority business, regional partnerships, etc.

It’s about building better communities.

Source: Market Street Services

7 guidelines for local economic development
7 Guidelines for Local Economic Development
  • Know your economic function in the global economy.
  • Create a skilled workforce.
  • Invest in infrastructure for innovation.
  • Create a great quality of life.
  • Foster an innovative business climate.
  • Reinvent and digitize government.
  • Take regional governance seriously.

SOURCE: Progressive Policy Institute

if we are to build vital rural economies we must first build strong communities

“If we are to build vital ruraleconomies, we must first build strong communities.”

Source: BEYOND THE INTERSTATE: The Crisis in Rural Alabama


“When communities join together in a true regional effort they are better positioned to address critical issues, promote themselves to prospective companies and plan strategically for future growth and development.”

“A regional approach is the best way for communities to highlight their overall assets and maximize their combined resources.”

-- Steve SewellExecutive Vice President, EDPA


“A regional group is so much stronger than a small town or community.”

-- Neal WadeDirector, ADO

crisis in rural alabama

Crisis in Rural Alabama

“There should be at least one person in state government who goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about improving life in Alabama’s rural communities.”

Source: BEYOND THE INTERSTATE: The Crisis in Rural Alabama

where are you going

Where are you going?

“The future is not a result of choices among

alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created first in mind, next in will, then in activity.The future is not some place we are going to, but a place we are creating.The paths are not to be discovered, but made, and the activity of making the future changes both the maker and the destination.”

Author Unknown


Wiley Blankenship, President / CEO24300 Highway 41 Brewton, AL 36426Phone (251) 248-2143 US (800) 915-6576wiley@cgeda.netwww.cgeda.net