WInston County, Alabama is an award winning great place to live, visit, and do business in northwest Alabama.


Winston County delegation with Senator Bedford and Redstone Arsenal command personnel.

Winston County delegation with Senator Bedford and Redstone Arsenal command personnel.

Chad Fell
Senior Reporter

RUSSELLVILLE – Local and area officials are preparing for the 30,000 additional jobs expected to enter north Alabama with an average $81,000 annual salary by uniting to present their industries and businesses opportunities to partner with the nation’s military headquarters–the Redstone Arsenal in Madison County.

Major General Jim Myles, commanding general at Aviation and Missile Command, was special speaker to over 200 mayors, council and municipal government leaders at the A.W. Todd Center Thursday, Aug. 13, informing them there is a bright light in these dark economic times by encouraging industries and businesses to seize an economic development opportunity made possible by the Base ReAlignment and Closure Act.

“This is the largest economic impact to ever hit the state of Alabama,” Myles pointed out. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”

BRAC, as it is termed by military officials, occurred two years ago, when the U.S. Army decided to consolidate some of their installations into different areas to save costs. By taking several operations and combining them into different areas other than the nation’s capital Washington, D.C., economic opportunities are about to skyrocket in such areas as north Alabama– home to the Redstone Arsenal.

Russellville mayor Troy Oliver addressed the large crowd, indicating state senator Roger Bedford asked him to visit the Redstone to see their new equipment. During the visit, he learned about BRAC and its impact on north Alabama, realigning the most U.S. Army units since World War II.

Senator Bedford, whohosted the meeting, noted Myles was one of the keys to link local and area businesses and industries to key positions partnering with Redstone by meeting with and talking to community leaders. “These are the people who make this happen,” said Bedford. “I wanted them to come and meet you–who make things happen in (north) Alabama.

“I am proud of the work force we have here,” Bedford said. “The more communications we have, the more opportunities we’ll have out there. We want you to be a part of this recruitment effort. When it comes to jobs, there are no county lines. We’re Alabamians working together for the future of our citizens.”

A member of the U.S. Army 35 years, Myles stood before the vast crowd saying the nation had the world’s best soldiers willing to give their life in service to others. Myles said he wanted to inform how important jobs and services are at Redstone to U.S. soldiers around the world, especially those currently serving in Afghanistan. “We want you to be doing business here at Redstone Arsenal,” Myles said.

If an artillery piece is damaged or if an aircraft is down in need of repairs or a particular part, the Redstone Arsenal is the contact center. At one time, when 14 of the 623 aircraft in the ongoing conflict in Iraq are down and in need of parts, with 19 parts holding those aircraft down, workers at the Redstone in the Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama come to the rescue making key decisions to supply and get the necessary parts to where needed.

“Who are these soldiers?–great Americans trying to do the Lord’s work,” said Myles, noting the soldiers risk their own lives in dangerous situations defending those coming into the U.S. who are opposed to the nation’s way of life.

“It’s an away game—about taking it to them in their back yard,” said Myles, noting the soldiers’ mission is to track down those who seek harm to the U.S. and keep them from their mission. “We are trying to keep them from plotting the next 9-11,” he said.

The importance of the Redstone was further stressed in the headquarter’s creation of missiles to combat those designed to be, for instance, in target to the U.S. Those important designs are being developed, Myles emphasized, by people who live in the Tennessee Valley.

He showed in a photo presentation the seat of a helicopter on a mission overseas which was struck by ammunition. Although the strike was under the pilot’s seat, the seat itself, designed at the Redstone, was built tough enough to not allow the ammunition to reach the pilot’s leg. When this incident occurred, the Redstone was contacted so another seat could be sent for a replacement.

“That goes on every day, twenty-four, seven at the Redstone,” said Myles. “You don’t see it, but that’s what goes on each day.”

Figurewise, BRAC means a tremendous economic impact to north Alabama, bringing not only 30,000 jobs, but providing a $2.3 billion annual economic impact on salaries, $234 million in work force tax contributions, $1.06 billion infrastructure investment and $3.15 billion work force salary total.

Myles explained that 4,600 jobs are coming to Redstone for every department of Army civilian job, matched by a contractor. “We did over $20 billion in contracts this past year to support our soldiers in combat,” he said, noting that $5.8 billion stayed in Alabama. “It’s not about taking care of our district. It’s about doing what is right for your country.”

He then stressed the area work force was key in making contributions to take advantage of these upcoming opportunities. “I want to make sure the people of northwest Alabama understand how important they are to the Redstone Arsenal and the defense of our country,” Myles said.

In fact, Winston County is already in the game plan for Redstone, with a Winston County company having partnered with an out-of-state company to make parts for Redstone, according to Grady Batchelor, president of the Industrial Development Authority of Winston County, Alabama.

Batchelor also said at the economic development meeting that a foreign company is eyeing the Winston County mega industrial park site to partner with local companies to do business in support of Redstone. “What they are doing at the BRAC, it opens up opportunities for support organizations…in counties closer to the Huntsville area. That then provides opportunities for organizations that will in turn support them.

“We have dealt with automotive, and we are familiar with first and second tier organizations. Well, this (BRAC) opens up a lot of opportunities for those second tier organizations in areas like Winston County, Marion County, Franklin County.

“Likewise,” Batchelor continued, “it also means jobs for those that have training and education that are willing to commute, and we actually do have people living around Smith Lake that are commuting on a daily basis that are taking some of these jobs being offered by BRAC.”

Haleyville mayor Ken Sunseri wants local industries to become involved in the BRAC opportunity.

He said local industries should have a direct benefit from the increase in jobs, which would mean additional housing in the affected areas. “It is definitely an economic opportunity for us for Haleyville and Winston County,” the mayor stressed.

Double Springs mayor Elmo Robinson, who also attended the meeting, said the economic impact in Winston County could be tremendous. “I think we can get some new industry and expand on some of what we’ve got,” he said.

“Right now, we are sitting in the right position, because we are sitting there with that industrial park and we’ve got plenty of land…We have everything they’ll ask for as far as infrastructure, so we are sitting there ready for them. We just have to get people interested in bidding on some of these contracts they are going to have coming up through the BRAC.”

Businesses/industries can visit federal contracting actions posted at FBO.GOV and search by various agencies. Another site to research for extensive information is

Employment opportunities with the federal government can be found at USAJOBS.GOV, where interested businesses/industries can search by job type, find out how to apply for positions and even an on-line resume system to get started.

Reprinted with permission from Northwest Alabamian.

Comments are closed.