It’s ‘going to be a good year,’ ODEDC director tells Daleville Council

BY Jan Murray jmurray@southeastsun.com

Although Daleville and Dale County, as a whole, are very strong in the aviation realm of economics, the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation is not limiting its efforts to the sky. "We are not just limiting ourselves to aviation and, of course, simulation, but we are also looking at automotive, advanced manufacturing and other businesses where our workforce has transferable skills that can be applied to those industries as well,” said ODEDC’s Veronica Crock. She updated Daleville City Council members on economic development efforts Jan. 19 during the regularly scheduled council meeting. Crock is a former dean at Enterprise State Community College and has been the executive director of the six-year-old Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation since July 2015. “This year we will continue meeting with our state partners and make sure they are well aware of our assets. We will make sure we continue assessing our marketing strategies…to make sure our efforts are paying off,” said Crock. “We will continue working with our national and international consultants to meet with companies interested in relocating or expanding. We will also work with advertising agencies to ensure that they (prospective companies) are aware of everything that Daleville has to offer.”Crock said she is working hard to meet with all the manufacturing businesses within Dale County to assess workforce needs and keep a “finger on the pulse” of current industry. “Oftentimes,” she said, “workforce issues come up that we can easily solve if we are just aware of it.” She plans to complete those meetings during February and March.Fostering a strong, current relationship with existing businesses, she explained, “can lead to knowledge of other businesses that might be interested in locating/relocating to the area.” Although that is not the primary reason for maintaining those strong relationships, she said good information does, occasionally, come from such.Although some results of Crock and ODEDC’s efforts are confidential, simply due to the sensitive nature of economic development, she shared that some positive talks are happening in the industrial supplier realm. Available land and properties are continually being sought and assessed in case new companies decide to come to Daleville and the surrounding areas. “I regularly drive the market just to see if anything has come up,” she said.“Daleville is targeted for a simulation cluster group,” the economic developer said, explaining that she is working hard with the Region 10 Workforce Council in efforts to identify clusters of industries in the area. Crock told the Sun-Courier that this effort is “still very much in the early stages” but she is working toward an “aviation cluster with simulation being a sub-group.”Finally, Crock told the council, that it is her goal to continue to increase marketing efforts to “promote Dale County as a world class aviation destination” because there is “more that can be done.”“I feel like it’s going to be a good year,” said Crock. “With the combined efforts…retail strategy efforts, I feel like it’s going to be a good year...One way or another, we are going to get some good things going.”ODEDC’s annual investor’s luncheon will be held April 13. Crock also plans to add a luncheon for all Dale County mayors “to make sure we are all unified in our economic development efforts.”
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