Industry is right under our nose

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I discovered something very exciting this week while covering an announcement at Craig Airport Authority. There is an aspect to Selma that I have been missing out on completely.

In Wednesday’s edition of the Times-Journal we published a column from our editor who spoke about focusing on the positives in our city and taking a look at the great assets we have already acquired, rather than getting worked up about small things that are blemishes and imperfections.

I did not have to look too far to discover something exciting, showing that our town is currently pushing forward. The truth is that Selma has been pushing forward with success for quite sometime — its just that with all of the negative talk I hear on a regular basis at events I cover, it was hard to understand how many jobs we have available to the community.

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While at the Craig Industrial Park, I was shown by Wayne Vardaman, executive director for Selma & Dallas County Economic Development Authority, some of the new industries that have located to Selma and Dallas County.

Throughout this election season there has been a good amount of political rhetoric about how we can recruit industry to Selma.

What came first the chicken or the egg? Do we need to beautify our city before industry will locate here, or will industry locate here and then we will have the resources to beautify our city?

I’m not sure what the answer to that question is exactly other than to report to the community that — contrary to popular belief — we already have industry in the Butterfly Capital of Alabama. And a good amount of it at that.

Castle Rock, Zilkha Biomass and Eovations have all recently located to the area. Zilkha Biomass Energy produces proprietary alternative energy pellets and Eovations is manufacturing composite siding. This proprietary product is made with no wood, meaning it will not rot or damage in severe weather. After viewing samples of the product, it does not look tacky like most siding does. It has a great quality look to it that in my opinion will catch on quickly.

Another feature that Mr. Vardaman pointed out to me is that these industries, specifically Eovations, are not just little start-ups that may or may not work here. Like Eovations some of these industries are subsidiaries of larger corporations. I think that means we can have faith that they will deliver the amount of jobs to our community that they have proposed.

Eovations has promised somewhere around 90 jobs in the next two years, and Zilkha plans to provide 52 full-time positions by mid-2013.

I am always happy to jump into the conversation about how we can promote industry, but I can now say that I am part of the conversation about the industry that is already here in our front yard.