Making things happen: The Partnership formed to lead Shelby County businesses

After months of research and now with over $800,000 in pledges, a coalition of Shelby County private and public businesses, and local leaders say they are ready to lead the county into the 21st century.

The Partnership, a group organized with the help of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce (GSCCC) held its first formal meeting last Thursday at the Pelham Civic Complex.

Organizers call The Partnership a strategic county-wide plan with the capability and resources required for multi-year initiatives focusing on the key issues affecting business and growth in Shelby County.

&uot;We want to be the voice of Shelby County businesses,&uot; said Tony Holmes, President of Regions Bank of Shelby County and also Chairman of the GSCCC.

David Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of Sysco Food Services of Central Alabama, said he gladly volunteered to be a part of the group.

&uot;In Shelby County, either we can come up with a plan and be proactive or we can be left behind to watch things develop and be reactive,&uot; Dickson said. &uot;The chamber has chosen to be proactive.&uot;

Holmes said the group will serve as a focal point for information and action dealing with the five initiatives of the Partnership: Planning and Development, Transportation, Workforce Development and Education, Government Affairs and Strategic Business Development.

The mission statement of the group reads &uot;The partnership has been established as a strategic countywide plan with the capability and resources required for multi-year initiatives that focus on key issues affecting business in Shelby County.&uot;

The leaders hope to invest $1.25 million towards the initiatives over 5 years. At the meeting, Holmes announced that over $800,000 had been collected.

Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes announced the City of Pelham was contributing $250,000 over five years. With the Pelham City Council at his side Hayes presented The Partnership with a check for $50,000.

&uot;Frankly I didn’t expect this to take on a life of its own as it has,&uot; Hayes said. &uot;The time has come for businesses to unite.&uot;

Dickson announced Sysco was contributing $50,000 over five years. The Shelby County Commission was also expected to contribute toward the financial goal, officials said.

In forming The Partnership, the GSCCC Board of Directors contacted Funding Solutions of Austin, Texas to create the business plan and conduct the capital campaign.

Funding Solutions summarily began polling local residents business and government leaders seeking to put together the initiatives.

&uot;All of us know Shelby County’s future is bright and full of extraordinary things in the next 50 years,&uot; Holmes said. &uot; Working together we can shape that future.&uot;

Fred Mickelson of Funding Solutions said The Partnership would be a investment.

&uot;This is where you work, live, play, and worship. This is an investment. We can shape the growth,&uot; he said.

Mickelson said the chamber’s over 1,000 members supply an ample resource of volunteers.

&uot;You need money but you need volunteers as well,&uot; he said. &uot;You need manpower-not 10 people but 100s of people.&uot;