58 INC promotes Jackson Pruett to director of corporate growth

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2022

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By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

58 INC, Shelby County’s economic development corporation, announced the promotion of Jackson Pruett to director of corporate growth.

Pruett’s role will consist of recruiting and retaining manufacturing and technology employers.

“Jackson has served Shelby County for more than six years, and this promotion to director marks the next chapter of his contributions,” said Managing Director Amy Sturdivant. “With his insight and ability to build consensus, Jackson will lead recruitment and expansion of corporations – both manufacturing and hi-tech, all a primary focus of the organization.”

Pruett is a graduate of the Auburn University Government & Economic Development Institute and The University of Alabama Economic Development Academy. He has on-the-job economic development experience in business retention and expansion, project management and workforce development program delivery.

Before joining 58 INC, Pruett served as vice president of Business Development and Support at The Shelby County Chamber and project manager at The Shelby County Economic and Industrial Development Authority.

“I think it’s pretty awesome to be able to represent our county to businesses,” Pruett said. “That’s the bulk of our work, marketing the county and sharing the positive strengths that we have to potential businesses and corporations who are looking for new locations. We’ve got a great asset to sell in the county and all of our communities.”

Pruett explained that a major part of his role is trying to convince companies that Shelby County is a positive environment so that they will feel comfortable taking a risk to invest their own capital into growth.

“What it means for just everyday people is when a company invests in a new facility, that means new jobs for people,” Pruett said. “So, that’s an outcome we’re trying to chase. We’re trying to create better and more jobs for people so somebody can move from an entry-level job to a higher-paying job.”

Pruett said that getting companies to invest money into new facilities in Shelby County also means more tax revenue for the county; therefore, schools, police and fire departments, parks and trails, roads and transportation systems also receive more revenue.

“That’s what we measure ourselves by,” Pruett said. “Are we creating more and better jobs for people, and then are we increasing the tax base of the county so that we have better services that we can offer people.”

Pruett has big goals that he wants to attain as he enters his new position, one of which is focusing on target sectors which are specific companies that would lend themselves to be the most successful in Shelby County.

“We’re not just going to recruit any type of company,” Pruett said. “We want to find the company that’s the perfect fit for the county and hopefully create higher-paying jobs for people in those specific industry sectors. “

The automotive industry is an example Pruett used as it is an important industry for Shelby County. Big companies such as Mercedes in Tuscaloosa and Hyundai in Montgomery need suppliers to support their growth, so recruiting automotive suppliers to come to Shelby County is a big focus for 58 INC and Pruett.

Pruett said another big goal would be preparing real estate solutions to help companies.

“You’ve got to have either a site that’s prepared or a building that’s available for companies when they’re considering these decisions,” Pruett said, “Whether it’s an office building or a big manufacturing plant. So, we’ve got some challenges in that space, but we’re working now on a new strategy to help those sites be more competitive.”

Shelby County’s future looks bright to Pruett thanks to trends he has seen from the last couple of years, such as more people moving to and buying homes in the suburbs.

“We’re really hoping we can take advantage of some of those national trends, and we’re in a great position with our workforce,” Pruett said. “The county’s got a very low unemployment rate… we also have one of the most well-educated workforces in the state, so that’s a big asset for us. More and more companies want smart talent to work for them, so that’s one of the things we sell and market. We’re in a great spot, and I’m really excited to see what the next few years hold for us.”