The Future is Bright for South Alabama

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative joins forces to advocate for a strong economic future

At the heart of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s mission is providing members with affordable and reliable electricity to power the developments and innovations that will improve the quality of life across the entire region.

Dean Mitchell with HudsonAlpha, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba, Carter Wells of HudsonAlpha and Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker attended the EDAA conference.

WEC isn’t alone in its desire to see Alabama prosper. A group of local and state leaders recently came together at the Economic Development Association of Alabama Winter Conference in Montgomery to discuss ways to spur growth and build productive partnerships.

Among the attendees at the EDAA conference were representatives of Grow Southeast Alabama, a coalition of 11 counties dedicated to advocating for the Wiregrass and marketing the area to attract new businesses to bolster the local economy. Grow Southeast Alabama represents Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties. In addition to his role as the chief operating officer at WEC, Brad Kimbro is also a member of Grow Southeast Alabama’s executive board.

“We advocate for our members through organizations such as Grow Southeast Alabama to assure a progressive future for the Wiregrass,” Kimbro says. “Our presence at the EDAA winter conference demonstrates WEC’s dedication and initiative in advancing our region for the benefit of our members.”

The conference offered attendees exceptional development opportunities and professional networking events. Kimbro introduced Kenneth Boswell, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director, who spoke about ADECA’s Role in economic development for the state.

ADECA is charged with guiding grant programs designed to create jobs, strengthen the state’s economy and improve the lives and welfare of Alabamians. Under Boswell’s direction, ADECA has taken on broadband internet expansion and is now managing the grant programs for the responsible deployment of electric vehicles and EV charging stations across Alabama.

“I have seen firsthand the job he has done as ADECA director, assisting with the deployment of high-speed broadband internet in Alabama — and I mean all of Alabama!” Kimbro says. “He certainly has been a champion, leading the efforts to make sure rural Alabama is not being left behind in the access to a high-speed broadband internet connection.”

Embracing the motto, “If jobs were trees, we’d be the ones planting them,” the EDAA is a membership-based organization focused on promoting economic growth. Comprised of 500 members, along with staff and directors, the organization works to influence state legislation and positive growth for Alabama. Since the early 1960s, the EDAA has created unique educational programs, such as co-sponsoring Auburn University’s Intensive Economic Development Training Course and the Community Leadership Training Program.

On the last day of the EDAA conference, Governor Kay Ivey thanked all EDAA members for their work and spoke about Alabama’s strong economic future. The EDAA has been crucial in helping pass key economic development legislation.

Thanks to local advocacy efforts, like those of Grow Southeast Alabama, and representation on the state level, the Wiregrass is becoming known as a hub for growth and innovation, ensuring the region’s future is brighter than ever.

“We want to make sure that our members have a brighter tomorrow and these groups spearhead those efforts and we are so appreciative of their partnership and all they do for our area,” Kimbro says. “Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is committed to helping promote positive economic growth for our members. We will exhaust every avenue to ensure that the quality of life of our members continues to improve.”