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Native named new CCEIDA director

A Crenshaw County native has taken the helm as the Executive Director of the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, Inc., or CCEIDA.

Luverne native Jim Brook has been serving as the new executive director since April 3. He replaced outgoing executive director Doni Ingram.

Brook graduated from Crenshaw Christian Academy in 1975, and then from Troy University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

In 1980, he started as an economic development specialist at Alabama Electric Cooperative, Inc., in Andalusia, and served there for 25 years. AEC is a wholesale power supplier that is owned by its member cooperatives.

Brook was promoted to Industrial Development Representative in 1981, and by 1986, he was serving as Marketing Manager. In 1995, he had the distinguishing honor of being the youngest employee ever to serve as vice-president of Marketing and Communications. Not only was he responsible for marketing and communications, but by 1997, that had expanded to information systems as well.

&#8220I was responsible for 53 employees and a $12 million budget,” Brook said.

Brook also led the expansion of economic development resources for AEC's members by overseeing the opening of two regional offices, one in Montgomery and the other in the Florida Panhandle. He was also directly responsible for the largest industrial load that any of its members served.

Brook said that he was hired by the CCEIDA Board, which consists of 12 members. He added that the board has the authority to provide inducements and incentives, some of which are statutory, and to put together

packages of incentives to recruit and maintain industry to the county.

&#8220Existing industry is a priority in this county,” Brook said. &#8220According to national economic development data, 85 percent of new jobs come from existing industry within an area.”

Brook has a long-term vision for CCEIDA in Crenshaw County.

&#8220I want us to help build an economic development program that involves not only recruitment and expansion of existing industries, but also the overall development of the well-being

of our entire county and its citizens,” he said. &#8220This needs to be a shared vision, which includes all of the governing bodies of the county, the business and industry leaders, and the education community because they are all, ultimately, inter-related.”

&#8220We are here for the sake of the people of Crenshaw County, and I'm proud to be a part of it,” Brook added.