The History of SEDA
The Shoals Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) was created by an act of Alabama State Legislature in 1986. The unanimous approval of both Lauderdale County and Colbert County elected officials established a single economic development authority, a new mechanism to lead the entire Shoals region to a more diversified, stable economy. As SIDA matured and became a full-service organization, its name was changed to the Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA). To better serve the Shoals, the Authority continued to become more vertically integrated so the community's economic development assets could be improved to meet the ever changing market demand.
SEDA Board of Directors
The By-Laws of Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA) state that the objective of SEDA is to promote industry and trade, development of the Shoals area, and to assist the governing bodies in the pursuit of these goals. To accomplish this objective, SEDA was structured in a way that gave all counties and municipalities an integral role in the governance of SEDA. A 24-member board of directors was established, consisting only of Shoals-area residents appointed by their local governing body.
- Lauderdale County – 6 appointees
- City of Florence – 6 appointees
- Colbert County – 3 appointees
- City of Muscle Shoals – 3 appointees
- City of Sheffield – 3 appointees
- City of Tuscumbia – 3 appointees
It is this Board's authority to enact the bylaws of the organization. An executive director is employed by the board to serve as its chief administrative officer and serve as secretary to the board. With prior board approval, the executive director may employ other assistants to serve at the pleasure of the board.
Accomplishing the Objective
To best accomplish the objective of promoting industry and trade, as well as the development of the Shoals area, SEDA was positioned as the main point of contact to the network of private sector, and local, state, and federal government entities that support company relocation or expansion decisions.
SEDA's primary role includes promoting the Shoals region to attract new development and supporting these companies in their decision to locate or expand to the Shoals. SEDA offers many services aimed at the attraction and retention of industry to fulfill this very purpose.
Here are some of the core services offered by SEDA:
Realizing the importance of existing industry, SEDA initiated an "Existing Industry Program" in the late 1980s. This program has become more important as the marketplace has changed to a global environment. SEDA has dedicated staff to address existing industries needs and concerns, including expansions, and to ensure a steady flow of information between business and government on state, local, and federal levels.
At the beginning of the site selection process, SEDA provides site information and custom economic and business information based on the request by the company. Shoals projects enjoy the support of an assigned staff member whose task is to assure a company's project develops as quickly and smoothly as possible. If company representatives choose to visit The Shoals, SEDA will structure an itinerary based on individual needs, including review of appropriate sites. SEDA can arrange meetings with legal, financial, and other support services and provide introductions to government and corporate leaders.
Information is available on important business factors including:
- Buildings and Sites
- Labor availability and cost
- Education and workforce development
- Existing manufacturers and suppliers
- Business climate
- Cost of living
SEDA can coordinate a variety of public relations activities for the company including:
- Groundbreaking ceremonies
- Press releases
- Dedication ceremonies
- Ribbon-cutting ceremonies
SEDA assures a steady flow of information between business and government on state, local, and federal levels.
SEDA, in collaboration with AIDT, provides Leadership Skills and OSHA training opportunities at little to no cost to the company. In 2016, SEDA dedicated $10M, $5M each to UNA and Northwest Shoals, for the sole purpose of enhancing and investing in workforce development for the Shoals area. To better understand the actual labor market conditions, our organization is currently conducting a third-party extensive labor force analysis.
See below for a breakdown of how we accomplish these objectives and the services SEDA offers: