North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


September 27, 2010

Business AdVise: I'm open to Building a Better Birmingham region with you

NORTH JEFFERSON — I looked for you, but the turn out, “tell us about it” crowd was so huge that I could have easily missed you on Thursday evening at the Birming-ham Business Alliance launch of Blue Print Birming-ham held at the new Pavilion at Railroad Park downtown. I did see several from our area with previous Gardendale Mayor Clemons in attendance as well as DeWayne Taylor from Alabama Power, and Kara Kennedy of Brock School of Business and our Fultondale Arts Council.  

Very cool, very beautiful and certainly very exciting. I could say all of these words and it would be true, but what I really want you to understand is the role that business, and pro-business agendas play in bringing this type of vision to a crisp reality. The vision, put simply, is that the goal of the Birmingham Region will be to provide abundant economic opportunities, excellence in education and an unparalleled quality of life for all of its citizens. Sounds like a nice place to live, work and raise a family if you ask me.  

Blue Print Birmingham reminds us that we succeed or fail by the success or failure of our neighbors, and of course we all want to be surrounded by good neighbors that are not just successful, but active and engaged partners in our community. Blue Print Birmingham is a road map for Regional Cooperation of seven counties, of which Jefferson is but one, with a collective recognition of our strengths and opportunities. Our strengths have been recognized as health care services, natural beauty, cost of living, southeast location and of course our people. Our consistent top challenges and opportunities include quality public education, government cooperation and leadership, creation of quality jobs, public safety and the attraction and retention of young professionals.  

This road map is a 5 year plan for strategic growth of the greater Birmingham area. Birmingham has awakened to the understanding that it can not work in isolation, but needs the surrounding strength of growing communities in our region to move forward. Perhaps your city is the same. If you call yourself the Greater “name your favorite city” Anything, perhaps now is the time to look up and around at the strategic partners that are found in the cities right next door.  Partnered smartly, they can be your strongest ally. This five year plan is very specific with respect to goals for the first year. In the first year, effort will focus on new business, collaboration and development of capacity for competitiveness, marketing, business retention, and the development of leadership councils. I serve on the Region IV Workforce Development Council, and it has been my exciting privilege to participate first hand in the opportunities that continue to develop daily from this work. Workforce development focuses on the improvement of pre-K to 12th grade education, with the ultimate purposes of growing our own talent.  Efforts to accomplish this pull from our region's two and four year colleges and universities with a heavy focus on making education relevant, pertinent to the learner and marketable and productive to the employer.  

Work Force development is but one of the key four pillars of the Blue Print Birmingham. The pillars are 1) Workforce Development 2) Public and Private Leadership 3) Economic Prosperity and 4) Community and Regional Support. Every business person, civic leader, community leader, municipal leader or elected official has a way to plug in to one of these pillars. And you know what, it is just like voting. If you don't participate, then for goodness sake do not complain. Want to learn more about Blue Print Birmingham? You will find more at A cousin to this effort is the Greenway Master Plan that is working to connect neighbors, businesses, schools and create a strong sense of community here in the North Jefferson area. More on this to come but you can find information at the

Take a look and learn more. If you live in the Fultondale area, or work and live in the north Jefferson area in general, you are a stake holder is this endeavor.  

And remember, take care of your customers, or someone else will.

You can find additional readings on my blog at  Teresa works for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals and supports the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce. The next meeting of the Fultondale Chamber will be held for a luncheon on Oct. 19 with Mr. Chuck Spurlock from the Office of Senator Jeff Sessions speaking on our Washington Update and the upcoming legislative agenda. Please join us by calling 337-1629 or email to

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