August 31, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

ADO Director Focuses On Team Notion

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Alabama Development Office Director Greg Canfield told Shoals leaders Monday that job creation takes a team effort.

“We want to be focused on developing the working relationship of being a team,” Canfield told the group during a Shoals

Chamber of Commerce meet-and-greet luncheon.

Canfield said that's the idea behind the Alabama Economic Development Alliance, an organization Gov. Robert Bentley created in July.

He said the alliance will focus on recruitment, retention and renewal.

Recruitment involves enticing industries to Alabama. Retention pertains to working with existing Alabama industries to enhance growth opportunities.

Renewal is the concept of using innovative ideas in research and development to create jobs. In addition, the concept looks into ways to commercialize projects and ideas in hopes they can form additional new jobs.

Canfield said state agencies have experienced cutbacks as the state and nation continue to be embroiled in tough economic times.

“Sixty-five to 70 people used to be on the ADO payroll,” he said. “Today, we're 23 strong. And we are strong, because we've learned to do more with less.”

This is Canfield's seventh week on the job, and he said he already recognizes Bentley's deep dedication to job creation. He said the governor has been with him at least two days each week when he has traveled on visits.

The new director is confident in the new alliance, but stresses it's an endeavor that focuses on long-term results. “This is not something that is going to happen overnight,” Canfield said.

He said he also realizes local governments and private and public entities are keys to job growth. “All things are local,” he said. “What happens has to happen locally before it happens at the state level.”

Incentives are major tools of industrial recruitment, Canfield said.

“We have to make sure incentive packages — that tool box — remains full,” he said.

Bentley's first economic development announcement as governor involved North American Lighting's vehicle lamp plant in Muscle Shoals. The company announced a $35 million expansion in February, which is creating 250 additional jobs in the Shoals. State and local sources provided a $300,000 incentive package for the project.

After the luncheon, Canfield said the state is managing its incentives well. “We haven't had to turn down a project yet,” he said. “The state has plenty of incentives to use when needed.”

At the same time, he said his agency won't just throw money at any project in a “win-at-all-costs” philosophy.

A former businessman and state representative, Canfield was appointed director July 6.

State representatives Greg Burdine, D-Florence, and Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, were among those at Monday's gathering. Both expressed confidence in Canfield.

“We're going to miss him in the Legislature,” Greer said. “He's a good man to have over the ADO, though. He was influential in the Legislature. People listen to him.”

Burdine said Canfield has a passion for job growth.

“This was a great appointment, to have someone with his business and legislative background,” Burdine said.

Chamber President Steve Holt said he likes what he calls Canfield's commitment to the “three Rs” — recruitment, retention and renewal. “That's a smart focus.”

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