Survey shows employers expect growth in employment, profits

PELHAM – At the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s 36th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25, the University of Montevallo’s Dr. Stephen Craft presented the 2017 Business Outlook Survey results, which was compiled using feedback from 202 business owners in Shelby County.

Craft, business professor and dean of UM’s Stephens College of Business, said the results showed that Shelby County business owners have an optimistic outlook on the future and are expecting growth in employment and profits during 2017.

The results showed that of the 202 responses received, 82 percent of respondents expect revenue to increase in 2017, compared to 79 percent in 2016. Craft said 7.4 percent of respondents said they expect revenue to shrink, compared to 11 percent in 2016.

Sixty-nine percent of business owners said they expect profits to increase slightly or significantly in 2017, while 8 percent said they expected profits to decrease.

Craft said the results showed that business owners are moving away from seasonal or part-time work, opting for full-time employees. Most of the business owners surveyed own small businesses in the county.

Craft said 128 of the respondents, or 63 percent, have less than 50 full-time employees, while 37, or 18 percent, have 500 or more full-time employees.

When asked what factors impact job creation, the respondents said the cost of unemployment insurance, workers compensation and benefits like health insurance had little to no affect on job creation. Craft found that taxes and fees also have little to no bearings on job creation.

Employers said difficulty finding skilled and experienced workers and growth in sales and demand for services have the biggest impact on job creation.

“Finding experienced employees, especially in fields that require education and specialized skills, is a national issue,” Craft said. “It’s not just Shelby County.”

Before Craft shared the results of the survey, the 2016 Chamber Chair Paul Rogers gave his final remarks as chamber chair before handing over the gavel to 2017 Chamber Chair Keith Brown, interim president of Jefferson State Community College.

“We are in the last year of our five year strategic plan and we have accomplished so much over the past four years,” Brown said. “I’m pleased to continue to build on the recent achievements of the chamber.”

Brown said he will work closely with other Shelby County entities to attract more businesses to the county and retain current businesses.

The Chamber also released its 2016 Annual Report, which outlines the achievements of the chamber during 2017. The chamber hosted 271 meetings and events throughout the county.

The chamber also recognized Johnny Carcioppolo, of FocalPoint Coaching, as the December Ambassador of the month; Vicki Everett, of Juice Plus, as the January Ambassador of the month; and Cindy Edmunds, of ARC Realty, as the 2016 Ambassador of the Year.

State Rep. Arnold Mooney was also presented with the Business Champion Award by the Business Council of Alabama, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

The award is given to legislators for their support of policies that better Alabama’s business climate and the lives of employees, families and citizens.

Mooney was given the award for his leadership that led to the passage of the Right-to-Work constitutional amendment.

The 2017 GSCCC Board of Directors are:

Officers (Executive Committee)

Chamber Chair

-Keith Brown

Interim President of Jefferson State Community College

Chair-Elect

-Joe Meads

Principal/Owner of Sain Associates

Vice Chair, Business Development and Support

-Charlie Stevens

Western Region Manager of Thompson Tractor Company, Inc.

Vice Chair, Communications & Marketing

-Jim Purvis

President/CEO of A.C. Legg, Inc.

Vice Chair, Community and Workforce Development

-Linda Cencula

President / CEO of Avadian Credit Union

Vice Chair, Finance and Administration

Bill Connor

President / CEO of America’s First Federal Credit Union

David Platt

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Vice Chair, Governmental Affairs

-Kathy Copeland

Director, Governmental and Public Relations of White Rock Quarries–Vincent Hills

Vice Chair, Investor Development

-John Browning

President of Cahaba Valley Computer Services, LLC

Immediate Past Chair

Paul Rogers

Senior EVP and Market President of NobleBank and Trust

Directors

Mike Swinson (2017)

Director of Economic Development at Alabama Gas Company

Matt Fridy (2017)

Attorney at Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt

Chris Grace (2017)

Birmingham Office Manager at Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, Inc.

Katie McDowell (2017)

General Manager at Shelby County Newspapers, Inc.

Michael Smith (2017)

Owner of The GREAT, The GOOD and The GONE

Craig Sorenson (2017)

Managing Director at SouthWest Water Company

Jeff Brown (2018)

CEMO at Brownstone Marketing Solutions

William Carroll (2018)

President at Armstrong Relocation and Companies

Alex Dudchock (2018)

County Manager of Shelby County

Brian Massey (2018)

Chief Advocacy Officer at St. Vincent’s Health System

Robert Phillips (2018)

President of Shelby Baptist Medical Center

Alison D. Howell (2018)

Government and Community Relations Manager at Alabama Power Company

Tracey Morant Adams (2019)

Small Business and Community Development Officer, EVP at Renasant Bank

Troy Ainsworth (2019)

Regional Finance Manager, East Lime at Lhoist North America

Jay Dennis (2019)

Shelby County President / Commercial Banking at Regions Bank

Mark Griggs (2019)

Vice President of Marketing at Summer Classics

Charles Hall (2019)

Vice President, Physician Services at Grandview Medical Center

Mitt Schroeder (2019)

Chief Executive Officer at Central State Bank

April Harry (*)

Chief Financial Officer at Warren Averett, LLC

Mark Meadows (*)

Owner at Chick-fil- A @ Inverness

Rocky Patel (*)

Owner of Hampton Inn and Suites – Pelham

David Platt (*)

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Keith Richards (*)

Founder of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café’

Mechelle Wilder (*)

Founding Partner of ARC Realty

(*) Serving a one-year term in 2017