North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 29, 2011

Pro-business: real or rhetoric?

Business Ad-Vise

By Teresa Vise
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Question: What does it mean to be pro-business? After all, business no longer simply means factory. Do you mean pro-educated work force or do you mean pro-labor? Do you mean short term profit or long term growth?

Newly appointed Alabama Development Office Director, Greg Canfield, put the question to his BCA audience. BCA members, chamber of commerce leadership, and legislators met at the recent BCA Committee Days held in Prattville this week. In his words, Canfield expressed pro-business as job creation, pro-education, and pro-community development. In his words, pro-business is fostered in the self-reliant environment that drives to the full limit of ability.  

Appointed by Gov. Bentley, Canfield states his new role to be a “welcomed opportunity.” Canfield expressed his passion for his new role, but also his willingness to “give some thought to what I am doing.” Alabama is viewed as a national leader in more than just athletics, according to Canfield. The Alabama reputation for economic recruitment is recognized, but the challenge continues to be advancement in this significant arena and to continue to become better and better making the “wheel turn better” in his words. Canfield expressed the need to create successful processes for economic recruitment and job creation which in turn will lead to successful partnerships.  

Improvement of the process will come only with a strong team, and Canfield stated his commitment to thoughtful leadership. His is the only state office charged with job creation and leading of industry to the state. Important work certainly, and done well, will place Alabama as a leader not just regionally but in the nation. Governor Bentley shares the passion of Mr. Canfield, and job creation is priority number one. Pro-education and pro-community development are critical success factors for job creation as benchmarks are set to push through the standards of building a valued and educated work force.  

Beginning with the end in mind, Canfield charged that “Alabama should determine her own future.” Work toward making this a reality has begun with Alabama Development Office project activity up 12.8 percent. Mr. Canfield views the work at hand as that of a sales organization, built on relationships and managed by a seasoned team of project managers.  

Stating with clear confidence to the BCA attendees, Mr. Canfield challenged his office to “surround our self with excellence.” And, refreshing to hear, “The buck stops here.”  

Moving in to 2012 and beyond we will watch expectantly for the work outcomes of Mr. Canfield and his team. In his words, “it is all about the preparation. This is Alabama. We are use to being champions.  But, we get there because we work hard and smart.”  

Casting a vision for the future is critical to any foundational leadership. Patience and a willingness to thoughtfully lead will insure that the right things are done at the right time. I asked, “How will we get there?” With his ever confident smile, his answer was, “One day at a time.”