Chamber Holds Eighth Annual Business Outlook Conference, Provides Update on Shelby’s Forward Campaign
Published at 10:49 am on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Secretary
Shelby County – The Shelby County Council held its eighth annual Business Outlook Conference at the Pelham Civic Complex on Wednesday, January 25th.
The conference was presented by the University of Montevallo and Stephenson College of Business with special guest speaker Amy Mellon, associate professor of marketing and currently interim dean at the University of Montevallo Stephenson College of Business.
At 8:30 p.m., representatives from five different businesses operating in the Shelby County community held a discussion about the current state of the business climate in the county.
Amy Sturdivant represented 58 INC in attendance to discuss the changes in technology and how keeping up with the changes can help businesses move forward.
“I want to give a little summary of the trends we’re hearing about and how they’re playing out in Shelby County,” Sturdivant said. “The first is technology that we cannot ignore. Whether you are providing a service or a product, it is playing an important role in doing business globally. You may be asking yourself the question of how and when automation and technology will impact my business and my competition.
Sturdivant discussed “skills challenges” and the importance of asking employees what it takes to hire and retain employees for a business. Sturdivant says there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic that are informing the supply chain.
“Get up there and think about what you can change,” Sturdivant said. “That could be people, processes, products. Last year we saw companies reinvesting in their existing plans. Their same four walls are there, but they have changed something outside, and they have a lot more automatic machinery.
Sturdivant said a draft of the 2022 Shelby County Comprehensive Plan is out, and there is a blueprint for approval soon.
“(It) gives us clarity on where Shelby County is going and what kind of growth, development and programming we can see in the future,” Sturdivant said. “It’s exciting because there’s a lot of good quality development coming up.”
Sturdivant said the chamber is “working to develop great talent and leverage regional workforce pools.” These groups are working to help businesses find and train talent and make an impact in the workforce.
“Know that you can look to the Chamber for their relationships with regional partners and to make those things happen,” Sturdivant said. That focus is on[creativity]and entertainment and talent. Shelby County is known for (that), and we should be more proud of it and follow it. Our economic development team will continue to build on all of the county’s assets and attributes that make it a unique place not only in Alabama, but in the Southeast and the nation. We want to compete internationally at regional and national level.
Associate Broker and Arc Realty Partner Mechele Sipial was on hand to discuss the current climate of the housing market and real estate. Sippail spoke about the growth of real estate agencies in the last few years.
“During the pandemic, we[real estate agents]were considered essential jobs,” Sipail said. “The last two and a half years have been a rollercoaster. In the year In 2019, we had over 5,000 agents. Last year we had over 6,000 agents because everyone was trying to become a real estate agent.
In the year The total number of homes sold in Shelby County in 2022 was 4,428, and the average number of days homes were on the market was 14. The average selling price was 402,388. The highest priced home sold in Shelby County was $2.6 million.
Christine Sizemore, certified trainer and consultant, was present to discuss the Future Shelby County Initiative. Sizemore will be partnering with the Chamber to further develop the initiative. The campaign builds on the Chamber’s latest plan, Shelby One, a three-year strategic plan. The campaign was active from 2018-2022.
Shelby One Next Level includes expanded programs in business development and support, community and workforce development, government relations and partnerships with 58 INC, the Shelby County Economic Development Corporation.
“I am pleased to partner with the Shelby County Council to provide quarterly leadership and leadership training for leaders and emerging leaders,” Sizemore said.
By 2022, the council will:
– Received 135 new investors.
– Coordinated four government affairs programs with an average attendance of 105 people.
-Recognized 27 nominees in three tourism and recreation categories during the Shelby County All Star Awards program.
-Facilitates quarterly Shelby County Mayors Association meetings.
-Hosted the first Discover Shelby Fest with Shelby County and the Shelby County Arts Council.
-Partnered the “Communication Matters” program with 1,030 11th graders in Shelby County.
More information about the Shelby County Chamber can be found at Shelbychamber.org.