Williams speaks to Industrial Board

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-The Demopolis Industrial Development Board held their annual industry appreciation luncheon Thursday to gather their members and show their appreciation for maintaining their businesses in the River City.

Jim Williams, of the Public Affairs Resource Council of Alabama, was the guest speaker and was very complimentary of Demopolis and Marengo County. Williams said this was his first trip to Demopolis, but saw a lot of possibilities.

“This is the first time I have been able to spend much time in Demopolis and I look forward to taking a tour around town,” Williams said. “I think this town has a lot of potential.”

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Williams, who has been with the Resource Council for 17 years, said his goal is to help cities like Demopolis realize their potential by helping them work with local government for the overall improvement of the area.

“Our goal is to provide information that would help state and local governments improve,” Williams said. “We believe that if state and county and local governments do their part good things can happen.”

Williams pointed out that in Marengo County, things seemed to be going very well.

“Marengo County ranks 18 out of 67 counties in per capita income,” Williams said. “They also have lower unemployment rates that many of the other surrounding counties. I also noticed that the math test scores for eighth graders in Demopolis was above the state average.”

Williams said one reason for this success was taking on local problems. Williams said in many areas people are beginning to see this as well.

“We are getting a lot of business consulting work because people realize local issues need local solutions,” Williams said. “There is a lot of work to be done in a lot of local communities and I think people realize that the plan has to be set up locally.”

Williams said he could tell people in the area were ready to make a move toward being a major economic player. He said to do so; they need only take advantage of their natural resources.

“You are in an area where there is a lot of ambition,” Williams said. “There is a river and there are several other things going for you. You have a lot of advantages going for you and I hope you will take advantage of those.”

Following Williams’s speech, Demopolis Area chamber of Commerce President and Industrial Development Board member Jay Shows said he and the board realized local business owners were the gateway toward new industry.

“The most valuable asset we have in the county is existing industry,” Shows said. “We appreciate all the business leaders and community leaders that are in this room.”

Shows said he wanted all the city’s business leaders to know they were appreciated.

“On behalf of the Industrial Development Board we just want to say thank you for your businesses,” Shows said. “We appreciate you having your businesses in Marengo County.”