Mission & Operations
The Gadsden-Etowah County Industrial Development Authority was created in late 1984 by City of Gadsden elected officials and Chamber of Commerce business executives, and began operation in January, 1985. The IDA is an independent, private, non-profit corporation organized under Section 501 (c) (6) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is directed by a self-perpetuating, volunteer board of directors composed of business and civic leaders, and is managed by a full-time staff of three.
Funding of the IDA’s work is via annual service contracts with the City of Gadsden, Etowah County, and on occasion with other local governments. More than 100 Etowah County businesses have provided financial support through their contributions to Partnership 2000 and to Horizons 2012, community improvement initiatives of the Chamber of Commerce and the IDA.
The following is based on community needs assessments, consultant studies, strategic planning, and benchmarking activities. It provides direction for the IDA’s annual plans, budgets and operations; reflects the desires of local government; and is subject to modification by the board of directors as circumstances dictate.
Improve the economic well-being of the Gadsden area and its citizens through expanding and diversifying the industrial base.
- Create more and better jobs for residents.
- Increase per-capita income levels, while maintaining a low unemployment rate.
- Produce additional tax revenues for local government.
- Influence the creation and/or retention of an average of 500 direct and indirect jobs per year.
- Focus on jobs which pay more than $12.00 per hour plus fringe benefits.
- Generate new tax revenues exceeding investments of public funds in the IDA’s budget.
- Recruit new industries and related support operations to fill gaps in the economic base, capitalizing on local strengths and addressing community needs.
- Help retain and expand existing industries.
- Assist entrepreneurs in starting-up new manufacturing operations.
- Support efforts to develop service-sector facilities.
New industry recruitment:
- Continue to rank among the top counties in the state in new industries.
- Attract customers and suppliers of area businesses.
- Target precision metal working, regional distribution, plastics-related, and product development/value-added assembly operations.
- Take advantage of our proximity to automotive and aviation/aerospace manufacturers to recruit parts suppliers.
- Prioritize research, proposal preparation, sales presentation, follow-up and deal-closing activities over marketing and promotion.
Existing industry assistance:
- Regularly contact local industries to identify and help solve problems.
- Provide information and aid to reduce operating costs.
- Facilitate expansion plans through personal contact and work.
Small business formation:
- Directly assist and support capable entrepreneurs.
- Find ways to raise seed money and risk capital.
- Support the development of a small business incubator.
- Maintain the operational capacity and flexibility to respond effectively to project requirements.
- Collaborate with educators and industries to increase enrollment in technical training programs.
- Identify and help develop industrial sites and buildings; emphasize the availability of vacant buildings and prepared sites in prospect solicitation activities.
- Administer state enterprise zones to encourage corporate hiring of disadvantaged residents.
- Cooperate on regional development initiatives to enhance market competitiveness.
2015 Action Plan:
New industry recruitment
1. Maintain contact with project referral sources (ADC, EDPA, APC, consultants, etc.) to ensure we are foremost in their minds when they work with prospects, and obtain more Requests for Proposals.
2. Attend (directly or through WEDA) specialized trade shows for automotive and aviation/aerospace companies, and distribute our promotional materials to generate interest from suppliers.
3. Continue the direct mail marketing campaign on the former Keystone Foods building, and aggressively follow up all resulting inquiries with the objective of closing a deal with a new employer.
4. Recruit companies to buy or lease other available buildings, with priority initially on the former Custom Panels/United Casework building due to its larger size, good condition, and proximate interstate access.
5. Recruit companies to purchase certified and/or prepared sites, such as the Alabama AdvantageSite in the Airport Industrial Park, due to their state of readiness and marketability.
Existing industry assistance
1. With the Chamber, GSCC, our ATN Center, and our regional Workforce Development Council, formally interview every plant manager in Etowah County, act on specific needs and opportunities that are identified, and analyze cumulative data to identify trends requiring remediation.
2. In conjunction with state and local governments, work with Goodyear on the continued modernization of its Gadsden plant.
1. Nothing is more important to our industrial development success than the availability of skilled workers. Participate in the activities of the Gadsden Workforce Development Partnership, work with the Gadsden and Etowah County Career Technical Centers, support GSCC/ATN training initiatives, and continue to serve on the state’s regional Workforce Development Council and the Alabama Economic Development Alliance.
2. Update information about the county’s Little Canoe Creek megasite in the state database of available industrial property; finish environmental studies and determine the site configuration of the former Cameron property; and work to identify, develop, and document new industrial sites.
3. Continue to update and enhance the IDA’s website and social media pages to provide information to companies and consultants who are screening our area as a candidate location for their projects. Make it as easy as possible for decision-makers to see that we meet their requirements.
4. Maintain the capacity and flexibility to capitalize on opportunities as they arise, to generate more jobs, capital investments and tax revenues.
5. More funds are needed for deal-closing purposes. Re-activate plans with the Chamber for a new capital campaign as soon as it is practical to do so.