2019-09-26 19:30:00

Telegraph Creative on Thursday announced an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, panelists and moderators for the Alabama Economic Growth Summit, which is set to take place October 24-25 at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa.

Alabama Power is the title sponsor for the event, which is being organized by Birmingham-based Telegraph Creative.

“From state legislators, members of Congress, and academics, to business titans, site selection consultants and venture capitalists, the major decision-makers will all be in the room for this year’s Summit,” said Telegraph Creative president Cliff Sims.

“This event is all about growing our economy, creating jobs and building a better Alabama for everyone,” he added.


The event will kick off Thursday evening, October 24, with a Summit-wide reception and celebration in the grand ballroom of the host hotel. The program will commence the following morning.

Tickets and sponsorship packages are available here.

The current confirmed lineup is as follows:

Friday, October 25

Lt. Governor’s Breakfast, Hosted by Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth

Panel: Legislating for Growth on Goat Hill

  • Moderator

    • Clay Ryan, vice chancellor for Governmental Affairs & Economic/Workforce Development, University of Alabama System

  • Panelists:

    • Rep. Mac McCutcheon, speaker, Alabama House of Representatives

    • Sen. Del Marsh, president pro tem, Alabama Senate

    • Rep. Anthony Daniels, minority leader, Alabama House of Representatives

    • Sen. Bobby Singleton, minority leader, Alabama Senate

Panel: Insights and Perspectives from Alabama Business Leaders

  • Moderator:
    • Katie Britt, CEO, Business Council of Alabama
  • Panelists:
    • Jimmy Parnell, chairman, president & CEO, Alfa
    • Mike Kemp, CEO, Kemp Management Solutions
    • Additional panelists to be announced soon

Keynote: Creating a Better Alabama for All, Starting at the Margins

  • Arthur C. Brooks, professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School, and Faculty Fellow, Harvard Business School

Panel: Engines of Opportunity: The Role of Universities in Economic Development

  • Moderator:

  • Panelists:

    • Saksham Narang, UAB

    • Dr. Delmonize “Del” Smith, dean of the College of Business & Public Affairs and Executive Director for Economic Development, Alabama A&M University

    • Dr. LaKami Baker, managing director, Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship; Russell Foundation Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies, Auburn University

    • Theresa Welbourne, professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Alabama; Executive Director, Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute

Panel: Site Selection Experts


  • Jeff Rabren, senior VP of State Government Affairs & Economic Development, Regions Financial Corporation


  • Greg Burkart, managing director, Site Selection and Incentives Advisory, Duff & Phelps

  • Betty McIntosh, senior managing Director, Business Incentives Practice, Cushman & Wakefield

  • Additional panelists to be announced soon

Conversation with a Legend

  • Dominique Wilkins, NBA legend, Entrepreneur, vice president of the Atlanta Hawks

Panel: Capitalizing on Tech and Innovation Momentum

  • Moderator: Britney Summerville, vice president of Community Engagement, Shipt
  • Panelists:
    • Rep. Bill Poole, chairman, House Education Budget Committee
    • Miller Girvin, CEO, Alabama Capital Network
    • Matt Hottle, CEO, Redhawk Venture Group; manager, Alabama Futures Fund
    • More panelists to be announced soon

Panel: Uniting for Economic Growth in Divided Times

Panel: Competing in a Global Economy

  • Moderator:
    • Mike Allen, co-founder and executive editor, Axios
  • Panelists:
    • Richard A. Grennell, United States ambassador to Germany
    • Dan Brouillette, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy
    • Additional panelists to be announced soon

Panel: Driving Growth & Opportunity in Alabama’s Rural Communities

  • Moderator:

  • Panelists:

    • Brenda Tuck, Rural Development manager, Alabama Department of Commerce

    • Brian Hilson, Rural Development specialist, Economic Development Association of Alabama

    • Caleb Goodwin, Economic and Community Development representative, PowerSouth

More details on the event:

The summit will bring together a diverse group of powerful and influential leaders in pursuit of four overall objectives:

1. Celebrate Alabama’s economic development successes,
2. Rally the state’s major economic development stakeholders around our common goals of job creation and increased prosperity,
3. Facilitate dialogue on the most important issues facing our economy,
4. Drive massive media coverage around Alabama’s commitment to attracting companies and creating an overall environment that’s conducive to growth.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard A. Grenell, Deputy U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and numerous members of Alabama’s congressional delegation will be among the senior federal government officials participating in the program, along with numerous high-ranking state-level officials from both the legislative and executive branches.

From the private sector, CEOs, venture capitalists, site selectors and economic developers from around the state and nation will be among the speakers and panelists.

Arthur C. Brooks, former president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), has already been announced as a featured speaker.

A major highlight of the summit will be national media personalities in attendance covering the event and guiding panel discussions. This will include Axios executive editor Mike Allen and Tuscaloosa native Elaina Plott, now White House correspondent for The Atlantic.

The event was first held by Yellowhammer in 2016 when Sims was the company’s CEO. Now president of Telegraph Creative, Sims is bringing the summit back this year.

“When we launched this event in 2016 at Yellowhammer, our goal was to bring together the state’s leaders around our shared goals of more jobs and increased prosperity for all Alabamians,” he explained to Yellowhammer News recently. “We’re going to continue that mission this year.”

“Alabama’s had some big economic development wins in recent years. This Summit is all about building on that momentum, and we’re thrilled to have buy-in from the state’s key leaders in both the public and private sectors,” Sims added.

Sims will be on the event’s host committee, which also includes Yellowhammer Multimedia publisher Allison Ross and a host of public and private sector titans, such as:

Will Ainsworth
Lieutenant governor
State of Alabama

Katie Britt
Business Council of Alabama

Stephanie Bryan
Tribal chair and CEO
Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Mark Crosswhite
Chairman, president and CEO
Alabama Power

Deontée Gordon

Johnny Johns
Executive chairman
Protective Life Corporation

Mike Kemp
President and CEO
Kemp Management Solutions

James K. Lyons
Alabama State Port Authority

Del Marsh
President pro tem
Alabama Senate

Mac McCutcheon
Speaker of the House
Alabama House of Representatives

Jimmy Parnell

Liz Pharo
Managing partner
Featheringill Capital

Jimmy Rane
President and CEO
Great Southern Wood

Jeana Ross
Department of Early Childhood Education

Finis St. John
University of Alabama System

Lee Sentell
Alabama Department of Tourism

Gary Smith
President and CEO

Fitzgerald Washington
Alabama Department of Labor

RELATED: Dominique Wilkins to speak at Alabama Economic Growth Summit

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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