Board Member Spotlight

Brooks Kracke

North Alabama Industrial Development Association (NAIDA)

Brooks Kracke is the President/CEO of North Alabama Industrial Development Association (NAIDA). Brooks began his economic development career in September 1987 with the North Alabama Industrial Development Association (NAIDA). He left in 1998 to become the Director of the Jetplex Industrial Park at the Port of Huntsville. He returned to NAIDA in his current capacity in 2015.

The North Alabama Industrial Development Association was formed in 1949 to market and promote the 12 county TVA area for industrial development. The association continues the same plan of work to this day. They travel extensively and host events and luncheons for various contacts in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Detroit in order to keep North Alabama “top-of-mind” for project activity. They also attend numerous tradeshows and conferences that we feel will be beneficial to the promotion of the region.

Brooks has been a member of EDAA since 1987 when the organization was known as IDAA. He says it has always been a great organization offering educational, social, and professional development for the ED practitioners.

When it comes to the most interesting projects he’s worked on, Brooks says there are several that stand out in various ways… US Gypsum in Jackson County offered challenging geotechnical issues, McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, now United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Decatur was a great addition to the community and as a leader in the growing North Alabama space industry.  Daikin, Toray, Navistar, TRIS, Lockheed Martin, were all projects that have grown in their respective communities and provides thousands of jobs.

Brooks says that EDAA provides a cohesive common ground for economic developers to rally around the profession. Economic development has evolved over the years and EDAA provides the steady baseline by keeping the business at the forefront of political, educational, and social issues.

Member Spotlight

Ansley Emfinger

Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA)

Ansley Emfinger is a Project Manager with the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA). The Chambers County Development Authority serves as the economic development arm for all of Chambers County. They actively recruit industrial, commercial, and retail opportunities. CCDA also works in Workforce Development, Community Development, and Talent Recruitment and Retention.

Ansley has been a member of EDAA since 2020. She was first exposed to EDAA as a college intern at CCDA when she attended her first summer conference to EDAA in 2018. In 2019, she was honored to have the opportunity to intern with Alabama Power Company in the Economic and Community Development Division through the EDAA Internship Program. Because of the internship, she decided to pursue a career in economic development after college.  She is now nearing three years of being a full-time economic developer. During her three years of membership, she has served on conference committees and on the Education Committee along with being involved in the Young Professionals group.

When asked about the most interesting projects she has been a part of, Ansley recalls June of 2022, when LaFayette, Alabama was designated as a Main Street community. This project was one that Ansley was handed three months into working at the CCDA. The project had been ongoing for over six years but had not been able to be completed. This process was different than most economic development projects. It required community buy in from the beginning. The application process was lengthy and required hours of work and meetings in the community. This process began in November of 2021 and the application was submitted in May of 2022. Once submitted, an in-person presentation by community members was given to a panel of judges. When CCDA was announced in the newly designated class, it was amazing to see and hear the excitement that the entire community had for this “win”. She says this project was not only the most interesting, but also the most rewarding thus far in her career. It has sparked a new excitement and revitalization efforts in the City of LaFayette.

Ansley says that a membership with EDAA provides numerous benefits for CCDA as an organization and for herself as an individual. She says perhaps the most beneficial is the ability to expand their network of contacts across the state. Whether it be relationship building opportunities with our state partners and leaders, or contacts with ED’s across the state to discuss best practices, networking is a huge benefit for EDAA members. The access to education opportunities and legislative guidance are also valuable assets.