BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Southern Automotive Manufacturers Alliance (SAMA), an organization representing one of the region’s most dynamic growth industries, this week announced that Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield has been named to the SAMA Hall of Fame.
Secretary Canfield, a key figure in the expansion of Alabama’s auto industry over the past decade, received the honor on the final day of the 2021 Southern Automotive Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. SAC, now in its 14th year, is the premier regional industry event.
“Greg won this award because of his tremendous support of the Southern automotive industry,” said Ron Davis, president of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association.
“Greg’s leadership has advanced not only the automotive industry in Alabama, but also that in the entire Southern region, and the country. He is regarded as a thought leader in the automotive manufacturing industry, both domestically and internationally.”
Secretary Canfield was selected through a unanimous vote of SAMA members, who consider factors such as engagement with and promotion of the Southern auto industry, along with support of the regional state associations within the group.
“I am very honored to be named to the SAMA Hall of Fame because I have seen first-hand the transformative impacts the auto industry has spread throughout the South, both on families and on communities,” Secretary Canfield said.
“For over two decades, the auto industry has been a main driver of economic growth in Alabama and the region, and it’s important we keep that momentum rolling,” he added.
Secretary Canfield has directed industry recruitment efforts at the Alabama Department of Commerce since July 2011, a period that coincides with significant growth for the auto industry in the state.
Over the past decade, employment within the sector has increased almost 70% to nearly 40,000 people, with thousands of new positions currently being filled.
Secretary Canfield and his team at Commerce were involved in the recruitment of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, which selected a site in Huntsville over locations in two dozen states for a joint venture assembly plant employing up to 4,000 people. Initial production began in September at the $2.3 billion facility.
The Commerce team has also been at the center of major expansions at Toyota’s Alabama engine plant, the Hyundai and Honda assembly plants, and Mercedes-Benz’s $1 billion project to launch mass production of electric vehicles at its Tuscaloosa County factory in 2022.
At the same time, Tier 1 suppliers have flocked to Alabama, creating thousands of jobs across the state.
“Greg is clearly seen as a guy who is at the table,” said SAMA President Rick Walker, who represents the Georgia Automotive Manufacturers Association.
“His engagement in the automotive sector has helped drive innovation and growth throughout the Southern corridor, producing a top-ranked workforce and world-class business environment.”
Secretary Canfield is the second inductee in the SAMA Hall of Fame, following Don Stoegbauer, a top executive with Nissan North America in Canton, Mississippi, and past president of the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association. He was selected in 2018.(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)