By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle continued the focus on the strengths of the three big communities in the region during day two of the “2014 Tennessee Valley Corridor National Summit” on Thursday in Chattanooga.
The energetic and enthusiastic leader described with vivid examples the reasons that Huntsville is “A Smart Place” and “The Star of Alabama.” He also characterized the North Alabama community as the “Southern Base of the Tennessee Valley Energy Corridor” and challenged others to embrace the energy corridor concept.
Many of our readers are very aware of Huntsville’s history with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Redstone Arsenal. Fewer may know that the city also houses Cummings Research Park, the second largest R & D park in the country.
Huntsville is much more than just space and military, Battle said. It has become a major advanced manufacturing center with corporations like Remington, Toyota and Verizon. There are also what Battle characterized as “resiliency initiatives” in sectors like energy, cyber, geospatial and biotech – all focused on diversification of the local economy.
Battle concluded his presentation with a call for more regional collaboration to link initiatives like those in Huntsville with those described the previous day in Chattanooga and the Oak Ridge/Knoxville region.