Welcome to the May 2017 edition of the “Heartbeat” where you will find information about the Heart of Birmingham and its activities. Each month the chapter presents a speaker or a program geared to the Birmingham business community. We welcome guests and encourage everyone to attend!
May 16, 2017 Meeting
Birmingham Office of Economic Development
Andrew Mayo updated our members on the activities currently proceeding in the city of Birmingham as it relates to business development within the city. We learned that a key focus of the Birmingham Office for Economic Development is understanding business concerns and attitudes. From this gathering of statistical information, the city generated most of its new jobs and tax base from companies which already exist within the city. The Birmingham Office of Economic Development worked with the Birmingham Business Alliance and REV Birmingham to assist the business climate within the city. Mr. Mayo related that his office works with small businesses as well as the larger corporations to improve the business climate with the city. His office spent ninety five percent of its time working with the existing business community to retain businesses within the city. It has created retention programs to improve customer service, overcome physical issues and assist in transporting employees throughout the entire city. Additionally the office has created trade zones to offer incentives to manufacturers who purchase materials overseas.
The city of Birmingham has issued 100 new business licenses each month in 2016 with 50% located in the downtown area. His office has determined that the downtown area is now the driver for economic development within the city. The increase in taxes has allowed the city to invest in the neighborhoods. He listed all the current activities that are being addressed by partnering with individual businesses throughout the city footprint. Members had the opportunity to asked about building projects they had seen throughout the city. Mr. Mayo’s answers revealed that economic development is occurring in all areas within the city. In addition, he reported on the on-going monthly program entitled “Steps to Starting Your Business” to assist individuals that are thinking of starting a business.
Andrew Mayo, an Economic Specialist with the city of Birmingham, graduated from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio with a B.S. in of Arts in Sociology, and from the Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. He began his professional career in Bridgeport, Connecticut and taught at several colleges. He moved to Birmingham in 1990 and has been instrumental in administering the following initiatives; business retention/expansion, several minority business initiatives, state designated enterprise zones, business assistance initiatives, and the foreign trade zones. He has served on several non-profit organizational boards and agencies. He most recently received the Alabama State Black Chamber of Commerce’s “Champion for Business Award.”
Heart of Birmingham welcomes our guest
Members extended a warm welcome to our guest, Myisha Davis during our networking and meeting. Myisha recently earned her MBA and is exploring organizations for professional development. Members provided Myisha with information about ABWA and the Heart of Birmingham.
Updates from our Business Meeting
- Sheryl J. Walker reported that Y. Faye Herren had returned to the hospital and the hospitality team had sent her a card. Additionally Sara Cooley had sent a card to Lynda Lewis but the card was returned, so it was presented in person during the meeting.
- Bell Rogers reported the speaker for the June meeting will be Carol Skelton who will be presenting a program illustrating how to use Community Connections.
- Carol Skelton reported on the status of the upcoming Bunco event.
- The nomination and election of officers was completed during the meeting. New officers for the upcoming year are as follows.
- President – Kristie Curtis
- Vice President – Bell Rogers
- Secretary – Lynda Lewis
- Treasurer – Veronica Wallace
Updates from the District I & IV Regional Conference
Helen Shirley, Kristie Curtis, Bell Roger, Sara Cooley and Carol Skelton attended the Regional Conference in Naples, Florida. The conference offered training with a focus on strengthening our chapters, increasing membership, membership retention and networking with other ABWA members throughout the district. Additionally we met our National Officers in a more intimate setting which allowed us to ask questions and hear their responses. Several of the 2017 Top Ten were in attendance and addressed the group. A very special class was presented on “Communication” and how to improve it within your chapter.
The pictures below illustrate some of the activities. The scenery was so nice, anyone thinking of relocating!
- June Speaker – Carol Skelton – Presentation of Community Connections
- Bunco Event – May 19, 2017 – Tutwiler Hotel
Contributing editors Kristie Curtis and Carol Skelton