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The University of Alabama

UA Names Wade Director of Economic Development Academy

Neal Wade

Neal Wade

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Veteran economic developer Neal Wade has joined The University of Alabama Research and Economic Development team as director of its new Economic Development Academy.

His appointment is effective immediately.

“In the expanded responsibilities of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Mr. Wade joins an established economic development organization,” said UA President Judy Bonner.

In an October address to faculty and staff, Bonner outlined the importance of extending the vice president for research’s role to include economic development as a driving force for student, faculty, community and state-wide engagement.

“Mr. Wade’s hire provides an additional step in this commitment, building on existing UA strengths,” Bonner said.

These strengths include the efforts of Nisa Miranda and the Center for Economic Development, with her longstanding work related to economic development outreach. Brian Davis and UA’s International Trade Center bring export training, finance and consulting services to industry. Dr. Dan Daly and UA’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Center, and Dr. Rick Swatloski and UA’s Office of Technology Transfer help faculty, staff and students develop and bring their innovations and technologies to the marketplace.

“With the exciting efforts across our colleges and schools, the division of community affairs, and our collaboration with industry and governmental agencies, we are most pleased with the progress and growth of our economic contributions in the community and across our state,” said Dr. Carl A. Pinkert, UA vice president for research and economic development.

Wade, former director of the Alabama Development Office (now the Department of Commerce), will help expand the vast University resources to grow professional economic developers and the many volunteer leaders who help drive the process at the local level, Pinkert said.

“He will work to promote and develop strategic partnerships within the University, throughout Alabama and the southeast U.S. to strengthen the environment necessary to grow and expand quality jobs and economies,” Pinkert said.

Wade brings to the University more than 25 years of experience in economic development at the private, state and local levels. He was the first president/CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, served as the state’s chief economic developer for 8 years, and he has worked at the local level in Bay County, Florida.

He serves as chairman of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and chairman of the four-state (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida) Aerospace Alliance, the 4th largest aerospace corridor in the world.

“I am honored to join the University team and focus on growing the next wave of economic developers across the Southeast region,” Wade said. “The profession is integral to many local and regional economies, and today’s economic developer must understand the new broad definition of growing and expanding jobs,” said Wade.

“Linking the resources and the national brand at the University with the two other system campuses, universities across the Southeast, and the many regional, state and local economic development organizations will be central to the Academy’s mission,” said Wade.

“Economic development has changed dramatically over the past two decades, and successful practitioners must understand today’s applied dynamics that influence the recruitment and expansion decision process,” said Wade.  “We have a real opportunity to impact local economies with a new approach to economic-development training.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.