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City of Huntsville(HUNTSVILLE, AL) Mayor Tommy Battle announced Friday the appointment of Michelle Gilliam Jordan as the City’s new Director of Economic Development and Legislative Affairs. Jordan has served as Huntsville’s Director of Community Development since February 2009, and previously served for ten years as the Director of Planning and Development in Decatur.

“We looked at numerous candidates for this position, and each time we returned to Michelle,” said Battle. “The criteria for this position requires a wide range of specialized skills and experience, and Michelle hit the mark on each one.”

Battle cites Jordan’s experience with HUD and government agencies, her vast knowledge of urban planning, codes and ordinances, and her business management with incubators. In addition, Jordan’s background includes grant management, environmental and transportation impact studies, real estate sales, negotiations, and lobbying trips to Washington, D.C.

“When you add it all up, Jordan’s background, her successful track record, and her keen intelligence made her the top choice for the job,” said Battle. “We have a billion dollar economic base in research and development, a AAA bond rating from Moody’s, and more than 4,000 direct government jobs moving to the area as of September. Jordan will help lead the City through that transition and beyond.”

Jordan will be responsible for promoting the City’s economic development plan and will become Huntsville’s chief federal strategist in Montgomery and Washington, D.C.

“On the governmental relations side, I recognize we have some challenges ahead,” said Jordan. “I am optimistic that Huntsville will still have incredible government support, and while I will advocate for that support, I will also seek innovative ways to continue diversifying our economy.”

City of HuntsvilleJordan says a key part of that diversification will come from Mayor Battle’s Cyber, Energy, and Space Initiatives, to which she will serve as liaison. She will also be looking for creative ways to sustain and increase business and workforce in our community. Jordan thinks Huntsville is fortunate to have a cadre of dedicated professionals already working to recruit and retain new and diverse industries. She points to the specialists at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Cummings Research Park, the Airport Authority, Big Spring Partners, and the Industrial Development Board.

“It takes many partners to make business work,” said Jordan, “including banking, legal, planning, and development. I realize the need to support, in particular, our small businesses; it is the small business that makes a community great.”

Jordan says she will begin meeting with members of the community to understand their issues and needs. “It is important to be creative in times of uncertainty,” she said. “Despite the strong performance in many of our aerospace, defense, and biotech companies, I want to make sure we have an expanding job market on multiple fronts.”

A native of Detroit, Mich., Jordan earned her Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at Alabama A & M in 1992. She began her career in Washington, D.C., working for the Forest Service in environmental compliance, and later returned to Huntsville to serve as an environmental specialist for Earth Tech. The City of Madison hired Jordan away in 1995 to work as a planner and capital improvements program manager for their burgeoning community. She managed Madison’s $30 million capital improvement program and implemented the city’s award winning Comprehension Plan. From Madison, Jordan moved to Decatur where she assumed the role as Director of Planning and Development. In Decatur, Jordan coordinated city-wide development, managed block grants, code enforcement programs, Planning Commission, and the Decatur Business Incubator.

When Jordan assumed the role of Community Development Director in Huntsville, she managed multi-million dollar grants and urban development projects. Her negotiating, leadership and teambuilding skills quickly earned her recognition as a rising star. Jordan succeeds Joe Vallely, who joined UAHuntsville earlier this month.


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