New organization aims to jumpstart economic growth

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The tagline for the Birmingham Business Alliance reads, “The chamber for regional prosperity,” which sets the bar pretty high for the new organization.

However, employees expect to meet those goals and then some, said spokesperson Dave Rickey.

“We think it’ll have a very large impact on the economy in the region,” Rickey said. “We have a lot of investors that are going to want proof. We’re going to be working on a number of measurable goals and reporting to investors.”

The BBA, which is the organization formed after the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Development Board merged, serves seven counties in the Birmingham region: Shelby, Jefferson, St. Clair, Blount, Walker, Bibb and Chilton.

The BBA, which employs 33 people, officially began work July 10, after a merging process that began in August 2008.

“It was more beneficial to put the two organizations together. It allowed the organizations to be more dynamic for the business community and offer an organized voice,” Rickey said. “It is our hope that by putting them together, it’ll be a constant catalyst for economic development in our region.”

Rickey said the organization’s key to success is to treat the seven counties as a unified region.

“What happens in Chilton County will be beneficial for Walker County,” he said.

One of the BBA’s top goals is to increase the number of jobs in each county. When the number of jobs increases within a county, the quality of life gets better, Rickey said.

The organization will work to match new businesses of any size with appropriate destinations.

“The main thing is to be able to match what a business is looking for with communities that have what they’re looking for,” Rickey said.