Dale Greer, the longtime assistant director at the Cullman Economic Development Agency, will take the top leadership role on June 1.
The move was announced Monday at the Cullman City Council meeting as retirement nears for CEDA Director Peggy Smith, who has led the department for more than three decades.
City Council President Pro-Tem Jenny Folsom added the move to the agenda Monday and it was passed unanimously by the council.
Smith is going to work for the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce on a contract to lead the agency's five-year development plan.
Greer, a former reporter and editor at The Cullman Times, has worked as a member of Cullman's economic team for 24 years.
"You like to think you've been preparing for something like this along the way and Cullman has also the attributes that makes it attractive for development," Greer said. "Peggy has been a remarkable leader and a remarkable teacher. Through the years we have made a lot of decisions together with honest conversations and evaluations. It's been a great environment to work in."
Greer said Cullman County has been among the state's leaders in new and expanding industries for many years, but more selective targeting is on the horizon.
"Looking along the lines of more research and development centers and business such as Sequence Health will be one direction to focus on," Greer said.
Smith has been recognized in the economic development field in Alabama and beyond for the success Cullman had enjoyed.
City Council members and Mayor Woody Jacobs spoke about her dedication and success after voting for Greer to take over her role upon retirement.
"She is the standard in economic development," Councilman Andy Page said.
"I call her the Nick Saban of economic development. She eats, drinks and breathes economic development. You can't get ahead of her," Council member Clint Hollingsworth said.