The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce took time today to note two recent economic development successes.
The Montgomery chamber is one of two organizations in the state to win the 2020 Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development. Site Selection magazine gives the award to the nation’s top 20 local economic development organizations for outstanding results in bringing prosperity to their communities. The Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce was among those that received the award this year.
“We are proud to be honored by this publication that looked at organizations like ours across the country and recognized our success,” said Montgomery chamber Chairman Arthur Ducote. “In Montgomery, we have a long history of trusted public-private partnership between the city, county and local business leadership, and we are honored to accept this award on their behalf.”
An index that looks at new and expanding projects, total project investment and jobs associated with those projects is used to determine the winners. Other winners this year include the Austin (Texas) Chamber, the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership and World Business Chicago.
“The city of Montgomery is pleased to celebrate the Montgomery Area Chamber for this much-deserved award,” said Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed. “This recognition affirms we are making great strides in accomplishing our goals of improving the economic well-being of the business community and enhancing the quality of life in the River Region. The creation and preservation of jobs is our top priority and we are proud of the success we have had in recent years.”
In 2019, Montgomery saw record growth and reported more than $1 billion in industrial capital investments, the second largest in Montgomery County history, surpassed only by the 2002 announcement of the Hyundai plant. The 2019 announced investments by 32 companies will lead to the creation of 1,222 jobs and have helped secure 7,784 existing local jobs.
“This award recognizes top-notch economic development organizations across the nation that excel in the pursuit of improving the quality of life in their communities,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This is a well-deserved honor for Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, which has made many significant contributions to the region.”
Canfield has often praised the teamwork that exists at the state and local levels when it comes to economic development in Alabama. Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean said that exists in the River Region.
“Our economic development team excels in the art of collaboration and partnership through a vision that has been designed and executed by the chamber, local governments and our business community,” Dean said. “Montgomery County is proud to be a part of this partnership.”
Beyond the new industrial and business growth, Montgomery is enjoying a boost in tourism. The Montgomery Chamber’s Convention & Visitor Bureau saw record-breaking tourism growth for 2019, topping the $1 billion mark for the first time with $1.025 billion in total travel-related expenditures, according to the Alabama Tourism Department.
The 2019 tourism figures were a 5.6% increase in traveler spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation. Visitors were responsible for 14,428 new jobs in the hospitality industry in the county. Montgomery helped the state see a 75% increase in travel-generated employment in 2019.