3348637243 bwhaley@Randolphcountyeda.com

NEWS

Construction on new golf facility underway in county

Jan 4, 2023

A long-dormant golf project in northern Randolph County is receiving new life, and if things go according to plan the county will have a new family-friendly driving range by springtime.

Plans for The Range, a new driving range facility near Foster’s Crossroads, were made public this week as construction is underway on the new recreational golf spot.

The building is being constructed on County Road 269 across the street from where, approximately 30 years ago, construction of a golf course began but was never completed. Google Maps images show the footprint of the golf course, which may eventually factor into the plans for a more ambitious project by The Range owners Mike and Tricia Jones of Wedowee.

In 2020 the couple moved from Georgia to the Wedowee area where they own and operate a contracting business call High Caliber Contracting.

“When Mike learned there was a property that many years ago a golf course was started on but never finished he had to see it,” Tricia said. “Mike gets his love of golf from his dad who is an avid golfer. The original draw of the property was to one day finish the golf course.”

But once the Jones’ saw the property firsthand they quickly shifted their thinking.

“We felt that the priority should be to create something for families of all ages and skill levels to do together, and that is how The Range was born,” Tricia said.

The plan is to have a driving range that is open during the day for more serious golf enthusiasts to work on their game, while also having a place where recreational players can come on nights and weekends for parties or events. They plan to install Top Tracer technology (the same system used by other companies such at Top Golf), which tracks the trajectory of a golf ball on a screen and gives players the opportunity engage in a variety of competitive games against other players in their group. The Range will also serve food and drinks.

The Jones’ hope to have The Range open by April of this year, and after that they hope to turn their attention to their original ambition of completing the nearby golf course.

“I am thankful for the continued business and support that the people of Wedowee have given High Caliber Contracting,” Mike Jones said. “It is my hope that The Range will be received with the same warm welcome. We are working hard to create something we can all enjoy together.”

County EDA launches free job skills program

Sep 21, 2022

RCEDA launches free community skilling program for job seekers, professionals and students

Randolph County Economic Development Authority is one of only nine organizations across the country selected to receive funding from Microsoft Philanthropies to launch a new Community Skills Initiative Alabama Region program.

The CSI Alabama Region will help job seekers and professionals gain new skills for in-demand roles in the digital economy. This suite of online training and resources, accessed through the Community Skills Initiative Alabama website starting Sept. 16, offers access to free online training courses that boost digital skills

The cornerstone of the Community Skills Initiative is an Up-Skill-A-Thon competition that drives participation in Microsoft’s Skills for Jobs initiative and helps the workforce become more prepared for in-demand roles in the digital economy. The competition will run from Oct. 17- Nov. 16 and will include $10,000 in prize money.

Why CSI? The COVID-19 pandemic created an economic crisis, forcing tens of millions of people out of work or to transition to new work. As technological innovation continues to require in-demand skills, investments in skills for employability training at the community level are necessary to ensure inclusive economic opportunity for all. In 2020, Microsoft launched a global skills initiative to provide job skills training for unemployed and underemployed workers.

“The RCEDA has not been immune from financial and organizational challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Bryant Whaley, executive director. “When Microsoft approached us about a digital skilling grant for non-profits, we jumped at the opportunity to pivot. The CSI program will bring valuable online resources to our members, community and those impacted by COVID-19. The RCEDA is a natural fit to lead this initiative as it aligns with our non-profit mission to bring people and technology resources together.”

RCEDA will be the program lead for CSI Alabama. Whaley will serve as the point of contact for the program. Whaley has served in his current capacity for the last four years, where he has built relationships with regional economic and workforce development stakeholders, as well as economic development professionals around the state.

“I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to do this work. We’ve already started to partner with local agencies and businesses to ensure not only are our communities made aware of the CSI program but also that everyone has equal access,” Whaley said.

Local employers, teachers and workforce development agencies are encouraged to share the CSI website as a resource for online training and up-skilling opportunities. Employment agencies can tap into the program and offer the tools to individuals who need new skills for the digital economy. All of the information can be found at www.communityskilling.org/rceda

RCEDA will collaborate with several regional partners on CSI, including local, regional and state stakeholders to further reach individuals and businesses throughout the region and the state.

The mission of RCEDA is to sustain and grow the county’s vibrant economy and outstanding quality of life by providing leadership and resources for entrepreneurship, business recruitment, business expansion, business retention, tourism, workforce development and community development.

SteelFab plans $23.6 million expansion

Dec 16, 2020 Updated Dec 30, 2020

Roanoke Mayor Jill Hicks, Randolph County Commission, State Rep. Bob Fincher, Sen. Randy Price and Randolph County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Bryant Whaley are excited to announce the expansion of SteelFab Inc in Roanoke.

The SteelFab plant in Roanoke was chosen for an expansion over sites in South Carolina and Virginia. The expansion includes expanding its heavy fab building by 40,000 square feet, adding a roof to an existing crane way, adding 11,000 square feet to an existing paint bay, adding 1,500 square feet to the existing break room, expanding the laydown yard by 10 acres and purchasing new machinery and equipment. The expansion will create 32 full-time jobs over a two-year span with an hourly wage of $17.50, along with health, dental and vision insurance, plus paid time off and a profit-sharing bonus. The expected completion date of the expansion is June 2021.

J. Glenn Sherrill founded SteelFab Inc. in 1955 in Charlotte, N.C. SteelFab of Alabama was founded and opened a new structural fabricating facility in Roanoke under Mayor Betty Ziglar in 1997. SteelFab currently has 175 employees and will grow to over 200 during the expansion. The steel from the Roanoke plant has help build many facilities across the U.S., such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Daytona International Speedway grandstands, and many high-rise buildings, hospitals, power plants, gymnasiums, arenas and much more across the country.

SteelFab plant manager Joey Whaley said, “This project will bring in revenue to Randolph County, the City of Roanoke, and create jobs for people in this area. It will be a win-win for everyone. The expansion will allow our plant to produce more volume and help manufacture heavier type of work. I am very thankful for this opportunity to grow and expand. SteelFab is a very loyal company that wants to see its people succeed. I began working as a machine operator over 20 years ago and worked my way up to becoming plant manager. I have no doubt that the hard-working people of this plant were one of the major deciding factors of us being chosen for the expansion.

Roanoke Mayor Jill Hicks agrees, “Roanoke needs jobs, and we are so fortunate to have SteelFab bringing in jobs during this time of economic uncertainty. We are so excited, and I have no doubt this opportunity will improve the quality of life for many of our citizens. SteelFab is truly appreciated as it gives bountiful to Roanoke.”

RCEDA Executive Director Bryant Whaley stated, “SteelFab has been a staple industry in Roanoke and in Randolph County for 24 years. This expansion has been in the works for over a year. This marks the second existing industry expansion in Randolph County in 2020. This expansion proves that Randolph County is not only a great place to live and raise a family, but it is becoming a place people want to work.”

RCEDA’s “Rent-a-Desk” will help startups

Sep 18, 2020 Updated Sep 23, 2020

About a year ago direc­tor Bryant Whaley had an idea to turn some storage space at the Randolph County Economic Development Authority office into something peo­ple could use.

Whaley said, “What I mean is that has grown more then just people rent­ing a desk. I can honestly say that I never thought the concept would be this suc­cessful. I have to now schedule people wanting to use the space. Who knew that an old warehouse space could turn into a catalyst for community develop­ment?”

The space needed to a lot of work, but everything was ready to kickoff until COVID hit. The virus slowed down some of the progress until he finally had someone interested in rent­ing a space. The Rent-A-Desk program has now shifted more into a class/opportunity center.

Starting Oct. 5 for six weeks, RCEDA will host a ServSafe class with Southern Union State Community College. The classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

Starting Oct. 6 for six weeks, RCEDA will host a phlebotomy class with a local instructor. They will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

Karla Staples is offering “Positive Thinking CPR” on Tuesdays and Saturdays. She operates during the day, so there aren’t any con­flicts with the other class­es.

Shaquale Nolan is approaching her third month of Sassy Scrubs. She has added more colors and even added some merchan­dise for men.

Jessica Hodges of “Out of the Box Cheesecakes” has been coming on Fridays to Roanoke to sell her prod­ucts. She has primarily been based in Wadley but is now branching out. She has just begun her fall flavors.

Lastly, Leadership Randolph County and Youth Leadership Randolph participants will come to use the space for their monthly meetings. They will be coming on the sec­ond Thursday of every month beginning in October.

Economic Development Authority adds to industrial site

Mar 11, 2020 Updated Mar 11, 2020

Randolph County Economic Development Authority voted to purchase property adjacent to an industrial site.

During the February meeting, RCEDA voted to purchase the shopping center at the corner of Bud Cummings Road, which was previously own by Reliance Real Estate. The reason they purchased the land is because there is a lot of interest in the RCEDA industrial site and that was the final piece of the puzzle. RCEDA was given a great price, so they can regain their investment back in five and a half to six years. RCEDA now controls that entire site, but has office space available for possible tenants. The industrial site is 80 acres, and 24 of those are classified as an “Advantage Site.” The shopping center property is directly connected to the Advantage Site.

Retail Strategies

The board voted to renew the yearly contract for Retail Strategies feeling they have laid a good groundwork in the first 12 months, but the board expects some type of results in the next 12 months. RCEDA director Bryant Whaley commented that Retail Strategies is working on promoting various sites in the county, and they are pushing those sites to various companies.

RCEDA space benefits community

Aug 7, 2019 Updated Aug 7, 2019

About a year ago direc­tor Bryant Whaley had an idea to turn some storage space at the Randolph County Economic Development Authority office into something peo­ple could use.

The space needed to a lot of work, but everything was ready to kickoff until COVID hit. The virus slowed down some of the progress until he finally had someone interested in rent­ing a space. The Rent-A-Desk program has now shifted more into a class/opportunity center.

Whaley said, “What I mean is that has grown more then just people rent­ing a desk. I can honestly say that I never thought the concept would be this suc­cessful. I have to now schedule people wanting to use the space. Who knew that an old warehouse space could turn into a catalyst for community develop­ment?”

Starting Oct. 5 for six weeks, RCEDA will host a ServSafe class with Southern Union State Community College. The classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

Starting Oct. 6 for six weeks, RCEDA will host a phlebotomy class with a local instructor. They will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

Karla Staples is offering “Positive Thinking CPR” on Tuesdays and Saturdays. She operates during the day, so there aren’t any con­flicts with the other class­es.

Shaquale Nolan is approaching her third month of Sassy Scrubs. She has added more colors and even added some merchan­dise for men.

Jessica Hodges of “Out of the Box Cheesecakes” has been coming on Fridays to Roanoke to sell her prod­ucts. She has primarily been based in Wadley but is now branching out. She has just begun her fall flavors.

Lastly, Leadership Randolph County and Youth Leadership Randolph participants will come to use the space for their monthly meetings. They will be coming on the sec­ond Thursday of every month beginning in October.