Mayor Randall Woodfin throws down the gauntlet at Birmingham Business Alliance meeting
BIRMINGHAM — Delivering opening remarks at the Birmingham Business Alliance’s (BBA) annual meeting on Wednesday, Magic City Mayor Randall Woodfin challenged the region’s business leaders to stop being so “risk averse.”
Woodfin opened his speech with words of praise for outgoing BBA chairwoman Nancy Goedecke and incoming chairman Jim Gorrie.
He then transitioned into a call-to-action.
“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” the mayor advised. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many [in] your organization — individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”
Woodfin advised that the BBA leadership is pointing the region’s business community in the right direction.
“And the question is: as members of this organization, are we prepared? Are we ready?” he added.
“I don’t have to tell anyone in this room that since the Great Recession… 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin continued. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list. So the question becomes, when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart and not be like any other city in America?”
“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best versions of ourselves.”
The mayor outlined the road to getting to that goal.
“That is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things… just based on the sheer nature of what you do, you’re risk averse. But being risk averse in this time as we move into 2020 under Jim’s (Gorrie’s) leadership will not work for us as an organization or as a city. Or for the future and present of what we want our business community to be — to attract, retain, grow and many other things we have to do,” Woodfin stressed.
“As my challenge I leave to the members of this organization in this room, that we are willing to stand behind Jim, just as we did with Nancy (Goedecke), but really be aggressive,” he concluded. “Really be the opposite of risk averse and be hungry enough to do something that’s going to be different to make Birmingham a place that attracts more businesses and for the current businesses in this community to be and remain successful.”
“Wow, what a great mayor we have,” Goedecke says after @randallwoodfin’s powerful remarks.
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) December 11, 2019
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn