HDB membership is varied
Robert Francis, Guest columnist
Previously, I discussed HDB's origin, membership, characteristics, organizational structuring, its mission and procedures, incorporation, strategy and activities up until now.
Now, it's time to highlight the membership and discuss future marketing and recruitment. Also, plans for strengthening the board support and the community's supporting role will be covered.
As discussed before, this board was created by the Chamber of Commerce as a natural follow-on to the I-65 Corridor Development study. The I-65 study in 2002 and the development strategy study prepared by The University of Alabama in 1995 provide professional guidance for expanding our economic development. However, the crucial step of the implementation was yet to be taken. Not only was the chamber heavily involved in the I-65 study, but its mission statement strongly suggested that the chamber lead this effort.
On Sept. 7, 2002, HDB was created by a vote of the chamber's board of directors.
Membership is established to include the expertise of individuals involved in the I-65 study. The city, the chamber and utilities are the entities necessary to support and nurture new development and are represented.
Additionally, expertise in banking, real estate and economic development are considered essential. This full complement of expertise currently administers HDB's activities. Other than myself, members are:
Advisors are: David Langston, attorney; Larry Bennich, chairman, Morgan County Commission; Dewayne Hellums, NARCOG director of transportation; Tommy Ed Roberts, State Senator; and Ronald Grantland, State Representative.
As mentioned last week, HDB's priority in early 2003 was develop and use marketing material enabling Hartselle to capitalize on publicity surrounding the I-65 corridor study. This was accomplished and results have been encouraging. Discussions continue with several prospective business and developers and others have expressed interest. Numerous phone calls have been exchanged, visitors treated to meals, questions answered and tours provided through our community and business areas.
We have gained the attention of business and developers. Also, we have learned many lessons through these recruitment efforts that will enable us to better do our job.
Now, we're moving to a more comprehensive, deliberate refined and experienced approach utilizing upgraded, enhanced and expanded marketing materials described last week.
We are currently developing a "shopping list" of businesses to recruit, our plan is to have professional-grade brochures and supporting information and then to relentlessly pursue these businesses through all means of communication, even traveling to them if necessary.
Citizens of Hartselle: You can be our ambassadors. When finalized, our level one brochure will be reproduced for placement at visitor centers, mail out, handout, etc. Pick up a few at the chamber and if the opportunities arise, for instance when traveling, place one in the hands of the manager of a business/restaurant that you would like to see in Hartselle and ask that corporate management take a look at Hartselle.
In order to broaden our knowledge of HDB and build credibility and support, in addition to this series of articles and coverage in May's utilities newsletter, we propose briefings in Hartselle to the city council, appointed boards, civic groups, property owners, realtors and the utilities board. Briefings are also proposed for the Morgan County Commission and the board of directors for the Morgan County Economic Development Association.
In the next and final of the series, I will address the significant role of property owners, future programs featuring guest speakers, actions taken by city government to make Hartselle more competitive for commercial development and current HDB efforts to enhance our business community.