CCDA Gives Year Review

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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The Chambers County Development Authority put out its year in review, highlighting the change the authority had seen in 2023. The biggest change came in staffing.

Longtime executive director, Valerie Gray retired from the CCDA. Her Senior Project Manager, Chris Busby took over the role, also promoting Ansely Emfinger to his old role, and Andie Roberts to Project Manager. Ericka McCullough joined the staff as the new office manager.

“I am excited about this team and am confident we will continue to be one of the strongest and most progressive Economic Development Organizations in the state and southeast,” Busby wrote.

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In terms of economic development, 2023 was a busy year for CCDA. Emfinger and Roberts have written and received grants to the tune of over 70,000 dollars. The grants were for either county or city projects, including beautification, education, and event funding.

The job and industry growth all came from industries already in Chambers County.

“All our investment and job creation has come from existing companies. Hester Tag and Label, Inc, AJIN USA, Knauf Insulation, and Hyundai Motors Montgomery have chosen to continue their investment in our community. This is a sign of longevity and success for these companies,” Busby stated. 

The CCDA has created and expanded local partnerships. Along with the City of LaFayette, Chambers County and Auburn University, the Health and Wellness Center has become the most successful facility of its kind in the state of Alabama. The Authority also partnered with Circle of Care Center to develop the Innovation Center which helps local entrepreneurs start businesses. The center moved into a new building and is expected to operate out of it in Spring 2024.

Industrial and commercial development is not all the CCDA worked on this year. The Authority worked with the local school system to start programs. 

One of these was the Teachers on Tour program, where teachers from Chambers County middle and high schools tour local industries. This is to help teachers understand and communicate the values of the Career Tech Education program in Chambers County.

“We continued our focus on our education system to build a strong and stable workforce pipeline; that included working with elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and post-secondary institutions throughout our area,” Busby said. 

The Authority partnered with the Chambers County Extension Office to put on the Independent Life Skills event twice a year. This gives students the opportunity to learn skills not taught in school, including changing a tire, interviewing skills, voting, and more. 

To promote small businesses, the CCDA launched a social media campaign called #ChambersChill. 

Looking ahead to 2024, the aim is to continue bringing projects in, as well as focusing on existing businesses. They are also set to kick off the Chambers County Strong program in partnership with the University of Alabama which will work to increase labor force participation in the county.