Spotlight on Shelby County
Biking trails run throughout Shelby County, in parks, along roadways and through its municipalities.
Shelby County, the fastest-growing county in the state of Alabama, is part of the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area. It is located in central Alabama, with easy access to major air, train and interstate links and offers a great variety of lifestyle options.
With stellar K-12 education and well-prepared sites for industry and business, Shelby County has been able to attract several companies and hundreds of jobs in recent years. The county also has plenty of skilled workers and has enjoyed a low unemployment rate.
ISCS, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in technology for property and casualty insurance providers, recently opened an office in north Shelby County. “It has been a lot easier to locate here, and we are already looking at expanding,” says Doug Moore, CTO of ISCS. “It has been a great place to recruit quality talent. We did move some of our employees here from out of state, but we have found it easy to find talent here, too.”
Shelby County has beautiful natural resources in Oak Mountain State Park, Lay Lake and parks throughout the area, along with lots of rooftops and retail to meet the needs of residents.
Unincorporated Shelby County has the most residents, followed by Alabaster, the Shelby County section of Hoover, Pelham, Helena and Chelsea. Calera follows, the fastest-growing city in the state.
Even though there are more than a dozen municipalities, partnership with Shelby County, school systems and other public and private entities is very strong. Shelby County partners in numerous projects to help cities build and improve parks, improve infrastructure, build senior centers and more. A major ongoing partnership between the county, the University of Montevallo and the city of Montevallo has resulted in many improvements and, in turn, increased enrollment at the university. The county also has partnered with Oak Mountain State Park for several improvements, and a master plan envisions a hotel and conference center there. In addition, the county has helped the American Village in several projects.
“We want to help maintain the assets we have here, and are happy to partner with them,” says Alex Dudchock, county manager.
The county also partners with its industrial development agency to make sure there are industrial and business parks ready for development. In recruiting, the ultimate goal is to provide enough good, high-paying jobs in the area that most people do not have to travel outside the county to work, says James Dedes, executive director of the Shelby County Economic & Industrial Development Authority.
The Shelby West Corporate Park, developed by the county, has 16 locally controlled sites for light manufacturing, headquarters and distribution facilities. These companies have invested more than $100 million and created more than 1,300 new jobs, Dedes says.
The county also built a park-and-ride lot for commuters and has made a number of improvements to its airport, Dudchock says. Among those are a new T-hangar that can house 16 aircraft and is already 100 percent leased. The county plans to build more box hangars, and 40 people are on the waiting list for those, he says.
For more information about Shelby County, visit shelbyal.com.
Lori Chandler Pruitt is a freelance writer for Business Alabama. She lives in Birmingham.