Update – Mayor Bowling

Hello All!

It has been a couple of weeks since I shared an update and this past few weeks has been filled with many opportunities to share:

Decatur Fire Department

Council President Pro Tem, Paige Bibbee and I had the opportunity to attend the Decatur Fire Department (DFD) fitness test.  Candidates navigated their way through various test stations to measure their ability to sustain the physical stresses associated with being a professional firefighter.  We are thankful for the leadership and professionalism we see from the DFD 24/7.

Excellence in Leadership Class Travels to Montgomery

Our Chamber and Excellence in Leadership Class loaded up a bus and traveled to Montgomery to visit with our State Legislature and numerous historic landmarks.  The legislature is working on many bills that can help Alabama and a few that could be detrimental to municipalities like Decatur.  The legislature will return to work April 3rd.  I will forward updates from the Alabama League of Municipalities so you can keep up with the activity and how it impacts Alabama.

After returning from Montgomery, Susan had the calendar full of productive meetings that included: New opportunities for Decatur, my final meeting with Dr. Dan Brigman before his unexpected departure, lunch with the MCEDA Industrial Council made up of local plant managers.  I shared a short version of the State of The City Address with the plant managers.  During the Q&A portion of the lunch meeting the managers shared how they hope their team members will make their home in Decatur.  They are partnering with Decatur City Schools to make Decatur more attractive to newcomers.  They also emphasized the importance of messages that come from City leaders; i.e. it’s not always what we say, it’s how we say it.  It appeared to be sound advice to me.

Habitat for Humanity

Sherry and I ended the week having dinner with Harvard students who came to Decatur to assist Habitat For Humanity during the Annual Daybreak Rotary Club of Decatur Alternative Spring Break.  Mark and Gay Maloney hosted the dinner where we had an opportunity to visit with the students and listen to fun stories about their week in Decatur.

City Council Meeting

The City Council held their last meeting at Decatur High School where students were able to learn how their local government works.  The Council and Department Directors took questions from students following the Council Meeting.  It was an informative and fun meeting.

OneDecatur’s Summit on the Future

OneDecatur continues to move forward with direct community involvement.  We are expecting you to attend one of the upcoming Summit meetings and we hope you will bring a friend/neighbor.

UAH’s Community Business Incubator

Community leaders joined me this week as we worked with UAH officials in furthering our relationship with their research and new developments associated with their Business Incubator.  I also worked with community leaders making plans to introduce skilled trades opportunities that are available for all Decatur residents.

State of the City

Somewhere in between we worked on the details and message associated with a State of The City Address.

Below is a copy of my outline following an introduction:

Angel Bumpus led the Pledge Of Allegiance

Our Team – Folks we have an amazing team at City Hall that understands we are a service organization.  All are experts in their chosen professions.  However, there is a member of our team, bless her heart, has worked for five (5) mayors!  Many of you know Susan Hood, our Executive Assistant.  I am so thankful for Susan and how she exercises her gifts of administration and service on a daily basis.

I am thankful for our 5 Council members: President C. Ard, Pres. Pro Tem Paige Bibbee, Councilmember Kristy Hill, Councilman Billy Jackson who has over 20 years of service as a Councilman and Councilman Charles Kirby.   I value the dedication and hard work each Council representative is giving on behalf of the residents of our City.

Photo by John Godbey, Decatur Daily

Everyone has been helpful in assisting with my transition into our city government.  I am able to contact our team members and receive professional advice at any time.  Sometimes I find it necessary to see counsel from those outside our City government, our citizens, those who are seated in this room.  I am thankful that so many are so helpful.

I guess there is another message in what I am trying to convey; I realize that I cannot know everything and I am not shy about seeking help from others.

Photo by John Godbey, Decatur Daily

Innovations and Entrepreneurship:
Decatur is fortunate to have an Entrepreneurial Center, Director Larry Waye.  We realize there are communities around the country located near universities like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and others that have a strong emphasis on research and new innovations.  They are developing the widgets for tomorrow.  The next iPhone, if you will.

Now think about it, if you want a rocket, you need to come to Decatur.  If you want a missile, you should go to Huntsville. We are home to ULA, manufacturer of the only vehicle the DOD will use to take a payload sensitive to our national security into space.  We look forward to the new jobs and opportunities RUAG and Dynetics will bring to our area.

Many of the researchers who are engaged in developing technology that will protect our country and take us further into space are connected with the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  UAH has researchers and innovators who have and are developing the next widget.  UAH recently received funding for a state of the art E-Center.  However, there was a request that came with the funding for the new E-Center: take your developments into the North Alabama region.  The funding source recognizes that Huntsville’s economy has momentum and they want to see our region become stronger.  So we have been working with UAH leaders in bringing new innovations to Decatur.  These designers are very smart, but they may need help from Venture Capitalists and entrepreneurs to get their products to market.  We are working on those relationships.  The same is true with our local industrial base.  Many of the innovators have ideas that be a perfect fit with our local industries providing new ways to expand their product offering and profitability.  All of this equates to new jobs and a future for our residents, children and grandchildren.


I was honored to receive an invitation to the MSFC quarterly Small Business Alliance Meeting hosted by the Davidson Center.  Marshall remains a leader in achieving their Small Business goals under the longtime leadership of Small Business Alliance Director, David Brock.  David has been highly recognized for meeting SBA objectives for the Center.

With that, I believe we have found a wonderful opportunity for Decatur.  HubZones are a Historically Under Utilized Business Zones.  David and his team are coming to Decatur next month to meet with Industrial and City leaders along with the former Director of the Hubble Space Telescope Project, Jim Odom.

Here are our HubZones. The largest in North Alabama. We have opportunities to expand in development and manufacturing support for the SLS Rocket.

As we learn more, we expect to utilize the same opportunities with the Military side of Redstone.

I received an invitation from former Congressman Bud Cramer to attend a meeting with Mayor Battle, Madison County Chairman Dale Strong, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and leaders in utilities in industry.

We were joined by Franklin Haney who told us about his $111M winning bid for Bellefonte Nuclear Plant.  Haney plans to begin this project in Q4-17 with the engineering phases.  At peak construction the project will include 3-4K skill trade workers.  Because of the Davis Bacon Wage Act I believe this will have an impact on skilled trade’s workforce.

Source: Decatur Daily

Workforce Development a new crop of graduates to the job market.  DYS, Alabama Career Center and community leaders will assist our un- and underemployed understand about the wonderful opportunities for gainful in employment in skill trades.

Residential Growth:
Site preparation started this week at the Point Mallard Centre which will be anchored by Publix. We have developers and builders who are ready to go.  This is what I will tell you.  We are easy to do business with and the timing is right to build in Decatur.

Source: Decatur Daily

Plus, we are a very unique community:

• Civic organizations
• The Carnegie Carnival Season
• The Festival of The Cranes
• Taste of the Valley
• Dragon Boat races
• SoulStock
• Alabama Jubilee
• Christmas Tour of Homes…the list goes on and on!!!

· We have the largest number of Victorian homes in Alabama. The lowest utility rates in the state of Alabama!!!  Hospitality that comes with our birth right!!!

· We are Decatur, AL and we need to communicate our story!!!

Our Community:
· Improved relationships with DCS – We continue to have an improved working relationship with our school system.

· Our school system is critical to growth in Decatur and I pledge my support to our school board.  Our City leaders find recognize the investment of visiting with our schools, teachers and students.

· Our City leaders realize abatements are part of the competitive process when an industrial announcement is made.  We also realize Decatur City Schools win the lottery as they start receiving an unexpected windfall in revenues!

· AHS infrastructure is something we continue to work on.  I keep asking our residents for their input on this and other items.  The good folks at Epic Church helped us capture some of the feedback I received…Let’s take a look!
State of The City Video

Thank You: Sam Gardner, Jacob Durbin, Kate Pearson, Alani Ingram and Trey Jowers and the great faculty at Chestnut Grove Elementary!!!

Recreation and Wilson Morgan – Wilson Morgan is open for business.  It is so nice to see the lights on a Wilson Morgan Softball Complex each weekend.  The facility is booked with tournaments through August.  Here’s a story I hear…  Thank you to the Parks and Rec team for digging in along with our fabulous team at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, led by Melinda Dunn.

Source: Decatur Daily

Media: Everybody has a job to do.  I am a 1997 graduate of a Chamber sponsored Leadership Decatur Class.  During my recent trip to Montgomery I learned that Simulated Society is still part of leadership society.  I don’t want to get in the weeds, but our society failed because we DID NOT utilize the media to communicate our needs with transparency.  It is something that I have held on to.

I will leave you with this before I say thank you for coming. This administration will make mistakes and our local media has a job to do.

Source: Decatur Daily

Here’s what we know…
· Listening first is the virtue
· Timely communication is critical to a news agency with today’s electronic media
· Tell the story and move on.




I will close this post with saying there is a tremendous amount of work to do.  The wheels of government move slow, but we continue to do our best each and every day…