The Etowah County Commission during its meeting Tuesday approved hiring Foley marketing consultant Tucson Roberts, officially beginning his one-year contract.
Roberts will promote the county megasite at Little Canoe Creek to industries throughout the nation, drawing on his 35 years of experience in economic development in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. He will be paid $45,000 for the year, with a capped budget of $15,000 to cover travel expenses, with an estimate of 15 to 20 hours per week worked on the project.
Roberts in a phone interview said the hours are only an estimate for the sake of figuring out his pay, and that as an economic developer, he isn’t too worried about maintaining an average work week.
“Many people have looked at it as if we’re buffalo hunters,” he said. “You’re out for an afternoon or out for a week, but you don’t come back without the buffalo.”
Roberts said the first step is to approach the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to secure AdvantageSite status for the property, which will certify the land as ready for industrial use. Then, he wants to meet with the economic development agencies of surrounding counties — “A megasite affects everyone around, probably two counties out,” he said — and then begin meeting with utility companies. He said the next phase is outreach, which will see him traveling out to meet with business leaders about the site.
Commissioner Carolyn Parker was the sole vote against hiring Roberts and his firm, Tucson Atlantic Consulting, though in a phone interview she made it clear that she isn’t against promoting the…
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