58 Inc. begins search for economic development director

Shelby County’s new economic development entity, 58 Inc., is in search of its first director of economic development to lead the organization’s industrial, commercial and retail recruitment and retention efforts, as well as workforce readiness initiatives.

Chad Scroggins, a 58 Inc. board of directors member and chief development officer for Shelby County, said the salary for the job will be based on experience.

“We want a very experienced person to lead this organization,” Scroggins said.

The director of the organization will serve as a conduit to increase the economic vitality of the county by working closely with various communities, corporate representatives, local government officials, business owners, private developers, chambers of commerce and land-use planning officials to bring desired economic investment to the county.

The director will work under the general direction of the organization’s board of directors, which consists of Scroggins; Bill Keller, commercial banking manager for Renasant Bank; Paul Rogers, senior executive vice president of Noble Bank; Charles Stevens, vice president of sales for Thompson Tractor Company; and Terri Williams, regional director for AT&T Alabama.

The economic development partnership is a result of efforts mainly between Shelby County and the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. Scroggins said the goal is to bring balanced growth to Shelby County.

The name of the organization combines 58, Shelby County’s numerical code that appears on Alabama license plates, and Inc., which is representative of all the businesses within the county.

When it was first announced in January that a new economic development entity was in the works, Scroggins said multiple analyses found that there’s a gap in commercial and retail recruitment in the county.

“People want to live in Shelby County because of the quality of life, the schools, the state park and other things to do,” Scroggins said in January. “There’s a high potential for growth in the area of commercial and retail development because there’s been a lot of growth in the county in recent years and we can support more commercial and retail businesses.”

Rogers said communication with and feedback from cities in the county has been vital when it comes to understanding each city’s needs.

“City leaders understand what their respective communities want and need,” Rogers said. “We’re listening very carefully and will continue to work with each city to attract businesses that are a perfect fit for them.”

Scroggins said traffic patterns have also been researched and another goal is to bring job opportunities that bring people closer to home.

“About half of the county’s population travels outside of the county for work everyday, which is not a surprise,” Rogers said. “It’s visible on I-65 and on 280 during rush hour traffic. If we can build our employment base, a number of people might decide to look closer to home for work. It’s a win for them, and it can really be a win for everybody because it could potentially ease traffic congestion and lessen the burden on our roadways.

“It’s not going to change overnight, but if we don’t start working on it now – it may never change. It’s another quality of life component for Shelby County residents.”