Alphabet Soup Spells M-O-N-E-Y

In my line of work there are so many acronyms, we definitely add to the mix of bureaucratic alphabet soup. My organization is MCEDA, which stands for Macon County Economic Development Authority. We are affiliated with the EDPA—Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and we often work with ADECA—Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
We give secret names to projects, especially in the beginning stage when the project is highly sensitive and it is risky for too much information to get out too soon. For example, if a deal requires land purchases, we want to stay on the down low until the property is locked up.  If people start talking before we secure the land, the owners will jack up the price and the budget can go crazy, putting the project in jeopardy.
I share all of this to give context to my work at MCEDA, which is truly a burning passion that consumes me all day, every day. My business card says: Joe Turnham, Director of MCEDA and I take this title very seriously.  I work closely with a dedicated board of directors to attract industrial and retail industries to Macon County. Our ultimate goal is to stimulate the local economy, thereby producing jobs.
Our name may have escaped you but evidence of our successes can be clearly seen. Just look at Loves Travel Center at Exit 22 in Shorter. MCEDA supported the Town of Shorter to pursue this project. It took three years and many starts and stops but that development is now in full bloom, generating healthy sales tax revenues for the Town of Shorter, Macon County Commission and MCEDA while also providing employment to Macon County residents and services to thousands of customers who pull in for gas, food and other purchases. The truck service center at the rear of Loves, is a vital resource for big rigs regarding fuel, tires and mechanical services and even offers roadside assistance. These multiple business transactions further stimulate the local economy by turning I-85 traffic into profits for Macon County.
MCEDA  enhanced the quality of life for local residents by working with Joseph Group, LLC and the City of Tuskegee in recruiting such businesses as AutoZone, Hibbetts, Farmers Furniture, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut.
Also,  MCEDA  supported the Town of Shorter in the expansion of Hanon Systems (formerly Halla) in Shorter. This Tier One Auto Manufacturer employs more than 600 workers and is currently Macon County’s largest employer.
The Korean logistics company, LogisAll, was recruited to Macon County by MCEDA as well as Fiberglass products manufacturer, Fiblast, which ships architectural fiber glass construction accessories like columns and cornices to major clients such as universities and justice centers in more than 26 states each year.
We took a bold step to position Macon County for major industrial and commercial development by proactively converting a 270-acre plot of land on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee into a certified CSX Railroad Select Site. This site is being promoted all over the world by CSX Railroad, as one of two premier sites in Alabama.
Now that you know some of the things we have done, let me tell you more about who we are.
MCEDA is the legally designated entity for Macon County that is responsible for industrial, retail and service business recruitment, retention and growth. The talented board is comprised of individuals representing the municipalities within Macon County as well as the county commission, school board, chamber of commerce and Tuskegee University. Collectively, MCEDA can speak from a single vision for Macon County in the realm of economic development. In 2010, MCEDA created a strategic plan. We are currently in the process of updating that plan to cover the organization through 2020.
We exist because our legislative leaders recognized a need for an entity such as MCEDA. Former State Senator George Clay and current State Representative Pebblin Warren along with State Senator Billy Beasley have championed economic progress in Macon County.
So what’s on the horizon? Exit 38 is moving along nicely thanks to a partnership involving MCEDA, ADECA, the Tuskegee/UBT Cooperative District and private sector developers. This project will transform 17-acres of land off I-85 where drivers access Tuskegee at Exit 38, into a bustling venue anchored by an 80-room hotel, 24- hour convenience store, gas station, restaurants and Greyhound Bus terminal. Exit 38 is a gateway into Tuskegee and we are molding the commercial development into a premier experience. When this vision materializes in 2017, it will create jobs, boost sales tax revenues and cater to the large customer base that travels on I-85.
As you read this, no matter where you are—right here in Macon County or somewhere else in the world, please note that MCEDA is a reliable source of information on this region and is also a direct contact for investments or projects that involve Macon County. Visit our Website, and find out why we say Macon County is the “New Diamond of the I-85 Corridor.”
As you get to know us, you will see that our brand of alphabet soup is a recipe for growth, progress and prosperity.