Tuck settling into MCEDA role

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

After barely more than two weeks on the job, new Marengo County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) Director Brenda Tuck likes what she’s found.

She said the cooperative spirit among the various municipal governments would go a long way in helping she, her agency and the county in attracting prospective business partners.

“You don’t find that everywhere,” she said. “Demopolis is the engine, everyone has said that. Everyone recognizes that. But, what Demopolis realizes is that its workforce comes and will continue to come from the surrounding communities.”

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Tuck and MCEDA currently have several projects in the works as Tuck continues to meet and greet town, city and other municipal leaders to gauge the growth plans of each.

“Some towns are happy just being a small town,” she said. “They may not want some big plant to come in and disrupt their quiet little town, but what they do want is growth on a smaller scale.”

Small scale growth, Tuck said, could come in the form of smaller convenience-type stores or gas stations, looking to serve what would save residents a longer trip to Linden or Demopolis.

While a few of those popping up in communities like Myrtlewood, Octagon or Providence would certainly be a boon for those residents, Demopolis and Linden have their sights and hopes set for growth on scales both large and small.

Demopolis continues its work on developing an intermodal complex at the airport industrial park with the hopes of attracting new industry and the jobs that come with it.

“The port is kind of a perfect storm,” Tuck said. “Rail, water, highway access and the airport all right there together…You just don’t see that very often. There’s a lot of potential there with that site and what can be done there.”

While the opportunity at the port may be high, Tuck said she sees just as much opportunity all across the county.

“You never know what any industry at any given time may be looking for,” Tuck said of her hopes of developing a list of the municipalities’ hopes for growth. “When a prospective business comes in for a visit, what we would want to do is take them to every potential site we have to offer in any community that has said, ‘Yes, we’d like to have that type of business here.'”

And while much of Tuck’s public success may be gauged by her ability to bring in the next Kia plant or similar major employers, she’s keenly aware that a lot of groundwork for the county’s industrial growth has already been laid, and is already in business.

“We will not overlook existing industry,” she said. “Part of what we have to do is help the industries that are here as challenges arise so they can continue to grow. We can’t be so focused on getting new things here that we fail to take care of what we already have.”