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Chad Chancellor: Welcome to this episode of the Next Move Group's we are jobs podcast. This is Chad Chancellor, co-founder of Next Move Group and I’m proud to have Cary Cox here with us today. Cary is the economic developer for Elmore County, Alabama. So, Cary, thank you for being here with us. Why don't you tell these folks where Elmore County is located?
Cary Cox: Well, first I’d like to say what an honor it is to be here with what I hear is the best harmonica player in New Orleans.
Chad Chancellor: We might see tonight.
Cary Cox: I've heard about your harmonica playing skills, so I’m looking forward to that. Elmore County is just a little bit north of Montgomery. It’s where the Coosa and the Tallapoosa Rivers come together and form the Alabama River. So basically, if you're not from there, you go up straight, up 65 and you're there in about 10-12 miles.
Chad Chancellor: It's an interesting county because you've got interstates kind of both sides of it. You've got one side it’s heavy commercial and lots of big retail, Bass Pro and all and on the other side is heavy industrial with a big airspace company. It’s really interesting how they make it there.
Cary Cox: Yes, it is-- we're very diverse. We’ve got great rivers, lakes; just beautiful rivers and lakes. We're hosting the Crappie Masters National qualifier this weekend. We've got some other term that’s coming up and then we've got aerospace on the 85 corridor and then we've got retail on 65. So, it is very diverse across the county.
Chad Chancellor: And I know you did economic development in Albany, Alabama for a long time. How long were you working in Albany?
Cary Cox: It was-- a couple of months it would have been 15 years.
Chad Chancellor: 15 years which is a long time in this business. So, how did you get into economic development?
Cary Cox: I don't know. I was old school-- I was a draftsman and doing a lot of things and I went to work with AIDT, the state training organization; the number one training organization and I was developing their training manuals, doing drawings, and those kind of things and then I was there at a time when it was booming and the first five years I was there I had ten different business calls. So, there were opportunities to move and move up and I was a project manager then I started traveling and then that's how that came to be.
Chad Chancellor: So, we do have some manufacturers that hear this podcast. You’ve got a really large empty building there. I can’t remember the name of it right now.
Cary Cox: Yes and no. It's kind of off the market--
Chad Chancellor: Oh, well that's good.
Cary Cox: --right this moment, but it's not-- you know economic developers. It’s not 100% off the market. So, we do have a very large building and we've got-- we have just severe low unemployment. You look at that and you think well, I wouldn't want to go there, but everybody is out commuting. Everybody is leaving us going-- not everybody, but a large percentage is going to Montgomery every day. We can locate some plants in Elmore County and those people would just-- they'd rather stay home. So, we’ve got some expertise and a lot of aerospace, composite layup. We're looking at doing some stuff at our small airport that will be announced soon. So, we do have some expertise and those people they’d most rather stay home instead of driving to work every day.
Chad Chancellor: Yes. Well, I know you all have a great public school system, so that's obviously a big draw for that area too and I remember looking at some population stats. Elmore County has grown by 20,000 or 30,000 people. I can't remember the exact number but in the last 20 years.
Cary Cox: Yes. We're growing. We’re going to grow. So, if we can do it in the right way and do planned growth or if it just happens. More jobs, sure. We'll do something in a nice planned manner. That's what we’re looking to do.
Chad Chancellor: So, talk about keeping up with infrastructure for that growth. Do you have plenty of water and sewer and electric power and all that kind of stuff considering how fast it is growing? I know you're building a bunch of roads up there.
Cary Cox: Yes, the building you were talking about got it all. So, all right there ready to go. Some of our more rural areas don't have the infrastructure. We've got a big broadband that needs to go on right now. We want to get broadband for the whole state-- I mean not for the whole state, for the whole county and working with the electric companies. We've got some outside people working with. So, that's something we hope to get-- we hope to be ahead of the curve, ahead of our competition to be honest.
Chad Chancellor: So, if you go up 85, how far are you to Atlanta up the east side there?
Cary Cox: You can be at the Atlanta Airport in two hours.
Chad Chancellor: And how far are you to Birmingham if you go up 65?
Cary Cox: You can be in Birmingham in an hour and a half.
Chad Chancellor: So, it's just a great location.
Cary Cox: You can probably be at the Atlanta Airport just as fast from Elmore County as you could if you leave the north of Atlanta.
Chad Chancellor: And Cary is a unique person in this business. He's from Elmore County, so you don't find a lot of people-- I know you live there. Did you grow up in Elmore County? I know you lived there before you took this job.
Cary Cox: I grew up right on Elmore, Alabama.
Chad Chancellor: Oh, you grew up in Elmore in Elmore County, Alabama.
Cary Cox: I was not in the big city. I was out-- I was in the rural of the rural. So, yes, I grew up there.
Chad Chancellor: Awesome. Well, Cary, thank you for spending a few minutes with us today. We really appreciate it.
Cary Cox: Well, I sure do appreciate it. As I’ve told you Elmore County and just give us a little-- or if you come up the 85 or 65, give me a call and come see me.
Chad Chancellor: All right. Thank you, Sir.
Cary Cox: Thank you.
Chad Chancellor: Bye-bye.
Chad Chancellor: A special thank you to Younger Associates for recording, editing, and publishing this podcast for us. I encourage you to visit their website at younger-associates.com.