The EDPA board of directors made both announcements Feb. 17 after meeting to confirm Spencer as the organization’s new leader.
“We are thrilled that Steve has agreed to take on this vitally important position,” said Mark Crosswhite, EDPA chairman and CEO of Alabama Power. “Steve has been actively involved in economic development in Alabama for decades, and he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership skills to the organization.”
Crosswhite thanked Taylor and praised his leadership of EDPA over the past six years.
“Bill has been a force in economic development and in the automotive industry,” he said. “We wish him the very best in retirement.”
Prior to his role at EDPA, Taylor was president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance. He was a key figure in the startup of the Alabama plant, led production for five years and became president of the company in 1999. Taylor was instrumental in establishing the Mercedes Production System, which is now a global standard for all Mercedes-Benz plants in achieving the highest levels of quality and efficiency.
“My time at EDPA has been a rewarding experience,” Taylor said. “I have had the opportunity to work with dedicated team members who strive every day to make Alabama a leader in business attraction and expansion.”
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield praised Taylor’s many contributions to economic development.
“Bill Taylor has played a central role in the growth of Alabama’s auto industry, both in a leadership role at Mercedes as the automaker repeatedly expanded its Alabama assembly plant and at EDPA, where he served as an important team player in the effort that has made the state a key production hub in this global industry,” he said. “His contribution has been significant, and his energies will be missed.”
Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, offered up similar praise for Taylor’s work.
“The state of Alabama and EDPA have been very fortunate to have had Bill at the helm in recent years,” Hilson said. “His expertise and leadership in manufacturing, particularly coming from a company like Mercedes-Benz, were invaluable in economic development. Bill helped to broaden the state’s vision and direction and was especially keen in his knowledge in the critical area of workforce and workforce development.”
After a successful 37-year career at Alabama Power, Spencer joins EDPA after serving as executive vice president where he was responsible for all operations that touch Alabama Power’s 1.4 million customers, including economic development. In prior roles at Alabama Power, he oversaw state and federal governmental relations, as well as regulatory affairs, community development, public relations and environmental affairs.
“I am excited to be joining the extraordinary team at EDPA,” Spencer said. “They are making a difference every day in promoting Alabama as a great place to do business. I look forward to doing what I can to support them and to contribute to their success.”
Hilson said Spencer’s talents will be a welcomed addition at EDPA.
“Steve is so highly regarded in many ways,” Hilson said. “He’s been involved in leadership in economic development in the past and Alabama Power has been a consummate leader in economic development and a driving force in Alabama for many many years. EDPA’s existence is one example of that. Steve is known as a great team player with a strong analytical mind. Building off what Bill has accomplished there in recent years, EDPA will continue to be a strong voice for economic development in Alabama.”
Spencer also has held leadership roles at Southern Nuclear Operating Company and at Southern Company in Atlanta, where he served as senior vice president of external affairs with responsibility for Southern Company’s governmental affairs, environmental policy, and corporate communications and public relations activities.
Spencer is a Birmingham native and a Woodlawn High School graduate. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Auburn University and completed the Executive Finance and Accounting Program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Lynne, have two children.
EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization supported by more than 60 corporate partners across the state. Its main focus is to help Alabama attract and retain industry by marketing and promoting the state as a business location and providing information analysis and fact-based proposals to companies and consultants looking for sites.