By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
For the second year in a row, Cullman has ranked among the top Alabama communities for industrial and economic growth, having more new and expanding industry and expanding industries than any other county in the state.
Cullman also had a strong showing in several other indicators, tying for second in new industries, placing seventh in job creation and eighth in capital investment.
These numbers put Cullman County in contention with much larger counties like Jefferson and Montgomery, an accomplishment Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Peggy Smith credited to the quality and diversification of local industries.
“Our office is honored to have the responsibility of assisting our existing companies and there is no better achievement in economic development than to see your local industries expand and create new jobs,” she said. “How fortunate we are to have so many great industries and distribution centers that call Cullman home.”
Cullman recorded 50 new and expanding industries in 2012, for a total investment of $164,751,467. The vast majority of those projects were expanding industries, most notably REHAU, Alabama Cullman Yutaka Technologies, Cash Acme and Webb Wheel products.
Considering the competitive nature of industrial recruitment in the modern age, Smith said it’s quite a feat to have so many industries reinvest in the same community, as they are almost always being courted by competing areas.
“In today’s world, industries have many options and we live in a global society where change occurs daily,” she said. “Expanding companies are courted by many communities and we sometimes forget that they can easily move to another community, state or country. We want to retain the industries we have and to do that we must provide services and resources locally and statewide to assist them and keep them here.”
Cullman Mayor Max Townson said the accomplishment shows the hard work already taking place in the area, and puts the city and county in a great position for future growth.
“First of all, hats off to Peggy and her department, because they truly bring out the best when it comes to economic development, and any time we can get recognition such as this, it helps not only the City of Cullman, but also Cullman County, because all of us are in this together. We are always working to stay united, so we can create jobs for the people who live, work and play in this community.”
Cullman County Chairman Kenneth Walker echoed those sentiments, noting the county also has some major projects coming down the pike.
“We’re definitely seeing some movement with new economic opportunities,” he said.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.