|HUNTSVILLE NAMES MICHELLE GILLIAM JORDAN AS NEW ECONOMIC AND LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR
(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
Jordan 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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