SHOALS – Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA) President Forrest Wright recently announced his intent to step aside as President on May 31. Wright will continue his service to the Board in the role of Special Advisor to the SEDA Executive Committee and Manager of Properties until his retirement in March 2020.
As SEDA’s president, Wright held the position for 28 years. He directed major economic development activities for Colbert and Lauderdale Counties and their municipalities. Wright was instrumental in bringing employers such as Essity, FreightCar America, North American Lighting, and Tasus. He also assisted with the expansion of numerous local companies which serve as the backbone of the growing Shoals economy. With Wright at the helm, SEDA was involved in more than 15,000 direct new jobs with over $2.6 billion in capital investment.
“Our board members and local leaders, past and present, are truly the people I credit with the overall success and growth of SEDA. These community visionaries saw beyond city and county lines to grow our community as a successful region. It was through their investment of time and talent that our organization is where it is today,” said Wright.
Before assuming the SEDA Presidency in April 1991, Wright served as the Executive Director of the twenty-seven county Southern Kentucky Economic Development Corporation. He also served as the Economic Development Training Manager for the Barren River Area Development District in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Wright holds a Public Service Master’s Degree in Regional Economic Development and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography from Western Kentucky University. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is a Certified Economic Developer. Wright was the recipient of the Alabama Department of Commerce’s prestigious Dave Echols Award for Distinguished Service in Economic Development, the North Alabama Industrial Development Authority President’s Award, and the NAACP President’s Award for the Shoals Region.
“For the past 28 years, it has been my privilege to work with and for a remarkable Shoals Area,” Wright said.
“I want to thank Forrest for his dedication and service to SEDA,” said SEDA Board Chair Ron Kirkland. “He has been a driving force behind successfully bringing business and industry to the Shoals and creating jobs.”