Economic Development Commission hosts annual appreciation dinner

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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The Lowndes County Economic Development Commission hosted its annual Appreciation Dinner at the Southern Sportsman Lodge on Oct. 3.

Guest speaker LaBarron Boone, chairman of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and principal of Beasley Allen Law Firm gave an informative presentation focusing on investments that have been made in the Montgomery area which could inspire similar projects to stimulate economic growth within Lowndes County.

Boone acknowledged that the single most important aspect to draw potential investors into a community is a showing of unity and togetherness, and that this all starts with education. 

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“Education is everything to investors,” Boone said. “We’ve got to have unity in education because investors will need a workforce. They need a place that their kids want to relocate to, and they need a place for their kids to go to school. By improving education you attract business, reduce crime, have a better workforce, and businesses will want to come to the area.”

Boone attributed an impressive $1.7 billion in investments already received (and over $1 billion in process) in Montgomery to education reform which was passed early this year, and acknowledged a partnership with Lowndes County would prove beneficial to both areas as he discussed potential opportunities to bring new business opportunities into Lowndes County. 

Jim Byard Jr., former Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and current principal of Byard Associates LLC, a strategic development consulting firm devoted to business, community, and economic development,  agreed with Boone’s statement on education and added that other aspects are instrumental economic development as well.

“Quality of life aspects are also important to economic development,” Byard said. “Quality education, healthcare, recreation, and transportation are just a few of the areas considered for the location or expansion of economic development projects.”

Byard said the Annual Appreciation Dinner is held in order to bring economic and community development partners together, as he discussed the success of this year’s event.

“Utility representatives join government officials (local, state and federal), and other vital partners for casual dinners as the LCEDC hosts this event each year to thank all of our partners and funders for their ongoing assistance,” Byard said. “Successful economic and community development projects require partnerships and this event is just a small way we can say thank you to those who ensure we are successful, such as our vital partnerships with the Lowndes County Board of Education and Hope Inspired Ministries.”

President of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission (LCEDC) Thomas Ellis, Hayneville Mayor Jimmy Davis, Gordonville Mayor Orbuty Ozier, Fort Deposit Mayor Jaqulyn D. Boone, White Hall Mayor Demlatre Bethel, Senator Robert Stewart, County Commissioners Charlie King, Jr., Richard Barganier, Dickson Farrier, and several others were in attendance to dine while networking and discussing economic development opportunities between Lowndes County and the city of Montgomery.