McFarland assumes new roles at UWA

Published 9:24 am Monday, July 22, 2013

LIVINGSTON — J. William (Billy) McFarland Jr., has been named as Special Assistant to the President of the University of West Alabama.

McFarland’s new role, which is effective Aug. 1, will include business and industry partner outreach on behalf of UWA President Richard D. Holland in connection with the University’s workforce development initiatives, and a special emphasis on the four-year, $2.19 million U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration technical training grant project currently underway. McFarland will also continue to coordinate federal governmental affairs issues on behalf of the President.

“We are most appreciative of Mr. McFarland’s willingness to assume these new responsibilities in this vital area of workforce and economic development. We realize that we will all benefit from his extensive background in working with business, industry, and governmental entities in this State, the region, and nationally,” Holland said.

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Also effective August 1, McFarland will assume the role of Director of the UWA James Suttles Entrepreneurship Institute. Endowed in 2008 with a major gift by Mr. James Suttles, the Institute works to create an innovative and sustainable entrepreneurial infrastructure in the Black Belt region.

McFarland will continue to serve as Director of the UWA Center for Business and Economic Services (CBES), a role he assumed in January 2011. The Center was endowed in late 2010 by a generous donation from the Alabama Power Company Foundation and has been successful in securing major federal, state, and private resources to benefit economic and workforce development efforts in the Black Belt region.

UWA College of Business Dean Ken Tucker said, “Billy McFarland has done an outstanding job as CBES Director, and we are confident that he will bring the same level of expertise, work ethic, and overall success to the Suttles Institute. These roles should prove very synergistic and will benefit from Mr. McFarland’s extensive business, community, and entrepreneurial experience in both the public and private sectors.”

McFarland, a Tuscaloosa native, graduated from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining the University of West Alabama, he served as a Director and Officer of a privately held commercial real estate and property management firm in Tuscaloosa. He was appointed by Governor Bob Riley in 2009 to the Southern Rail Commission, an Interstate Compact authorized by the U.S. Congress, in 1982. He was reappointed by the Governor in 2010 for a full term and served as Chairman of the Commission in 2011-2012.

McFarland graduated from the Delta Leadership Institute in 2011, after being appointed by Governor Riley to the Delta Regional Authority Executive Academy in 2010. McFarland worked as an intern in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner in 2003 while in college, and has also served as the youngest elected member of the Republican Party of Alabama’s State Executive Committee.

Established in 1835, the University of West Alabama is a fully accredited, four-year public institution located on a 600-acre campus in Livingston, Ala. UWA has more than 2,300 on-campus students enrolled in some 52 undergraduate and 37 graduate degree programs. The university enrolls another 2,200 students in 43 degree programs completely online, including 37 graduate education degrees, five undergraduate business degrees, and one undergraduate education degree.