North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


December 23, 2010

Business AdVISE: So goes the north, so goes Birmingham

COMMENTARY — Governor-elect Robert Bentley is already working for the north Jefferson area. If you lodged your vote for a pro-business agenda, you would have been encouraged if you attended the Birmingham Business Alliance Annual luncheon this week at the Sheraton to hear Dr. Bentley, I mean Governor-elect Dr. Robert Bentley, discuss his commitment to our area. An intricately woven quote by Lynard Skynard that “Birmingham loves the governor,” was an bright attempt to win hearts and minds. Bentley’s follow up that, “You may not always love me, but we will have a good four years full of opportunity,” set the stage for anticipation of good ideas to come. Even this conservative skeptic is willing to give him a chance.  

 “I commit to you to make Birmingham a better place,” said Bentley. Well, so goes the north, so goes Birmingham. Bentley expressed support for the Northern Beltline and promised to make its construction a priority. In allegiance with our senators Shelby and Sessions, he remains committed to work quickly and diligently to make our road access a reality. A quick turn down I65 south and you can see the fruits of all of our labors, that of our legislators and that of our hard-earned tax dollars. Sharing the luncheon table with me were mayors McCondichie and Phillips from Brookside and Gardendale respectively, and we were all ears.

Not fading from the issues, Bentley stated that “the role of government is to create a fertile field for jobs to grow, not to create the actual jobs.” I like the sound of that. Bentley was humble to recognize that the strength of a leader will be measured by history by the minds that he surrounds himself with in the leadership challenge. To that end, University of Alabama at Birmingham president Dr. Carol Garrison was selected to introduce Bentley. Per Dr. Garrison, UAB has a lot to gain by a pro business minded leader at the helm. UAB alone has a half million dollar economic impact on Alabama, and lest you be stymied by that number, please realize that this occurred just in the time that the one-hour luncheon was served at this event. That is a half-million dollar impact every hour.

Garrison shared that for every $1 invested in UAB, a full $16 impact is realized for the Alabama. UAB is the economic engine for Alabama. Yes, we need efforts in Huntsville, Mobile and beyond, but UAB is alive and well and doing the job needed to keep Alabama competitive.

Bentley stands out front as one of the first to ask the question, “Did you create a job?” This is simple, poignant and clearly significant thinking here. In an environment with 20 percent underemployed and 9 percent real unemployment, we look to strong leadership on several fronts to include right to work legislation, improvements in our two year and four year colleges, decisions on tax requirements for business, and please oh please, let us not overlook infrastructure improvements to attract business and industry to our area. Bentley will be well supported if he is a leader that makes strategic decisions, and does not “study the problem to death.”  

Well, how do you do that, and can he? Echoing his training as a physician, his message was true in its simplicity. Dr. Tinsley Harrison was his professor in medical school, and a storied and respected physician indeed was Dr. Harrison. Dr. Harrison, ever the servant leader, would encourage his student to “listen to the patient.” The patient will tell you what is wrong if you are keen to listening. Your job then will be to not just examine, but to diagnose and make a decision. When you make your decision, then your treatment will lead the way to strength and improvement.  

It has been my experience that everyone has an opinion after someone makes a decision. I assess that we are mercifully entering into a time of great decisions and change here in our fair state. Now is the time to educate yourself, leverage your opinions and become involved in the diagnosis and ultimate treatment choice for healthy growth.

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

You can find additional readings on Teresa’s blog at Teresa works for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals and supports the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce. The next gathering of the Fultondale Chamber will be held in January for the State of the city Address with date TBD. You can join the chamber by calling 337-1629 or email to

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