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Albany-Dougherty EDC Chief Ted Clem resigns

EDC No. 2 official Justin Strickland named interim director

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Justin Strickland, who has held the No. 2 position with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, has been named interim president of the EDC. (Albany Herald file photo)

ALBANY — The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission board held a special called meeting Thursday afternoon to accept the resignation of EDC President/CEO Ted Clem.

Clem, who sent a letter of resignation to EDC Chairman Jay Smith on Tuesday, said he has accepted a position with the state of Alabama’s Commerce Department. His resignation is effective Jan. 31.

“I want to say thanks for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve this community,” Clem said after the board voted to accept his resignation. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. My family and I have totally fallen in love with Albany.

“As for why: Five years is a good period of time to be in one community. It was time to make a change. I’ve been presented a tremendous opportunity to work with the state of Alabama. It’s always been a dream of mine to work on the state level.”

After a brief executive session to discuss Clem’s interim successor, the board recommended and accepted Justin Strickland as interim president of the EDC. Strickland had been serving as the No. 2 official at the EDC.

“I’m honored,” Strickland said after being named to the position. “I really appreciate the leadership Ted has given the last five years. I commend him on the job he’s done.”

Asked if he had any immediate plans for the EDC, Strickland said, “That’s really all I want to say right now.”

Clem came to Albany as head of the EDC in January 2009 from Panama City, Fla., where he was executive director of the Bay County Development Alliance. During his tenure in Albany, the Economic Development Commission worked with the Albany City Commission’s Long-Term Financial Planning Committee to set up a Job Creation Fund that will be used to lure new businesses or add to existing businesses in the community. The EDC also sought more input from the community by creating retention, recruitment and renewal committees that meet regularly to discuss economic-related issues.

“When I came here in (2009), over the previous five years this community had lost 3,500 manufacturing jobs,” Clem said. “One of the things I’m proudest of is that we built a really strong business retention program, and I believe it paid off. We helped save some companies, and we helped others with some exceptional projects.

“We’ve hit a lot of singles and doubles over the past five years, and I think a real home run is going to come with the Deal Closing Fund. If I had to point to any one thing as crucial over my time here, the development of that fund is it. That makes us distinct from all other communities.”

Smith praised Clem for his accomplishments in Albany, saying, “Everything he’s done here has moved this organization forward.”

The EDC is expected to conduct a national search for Clem’s permanent replacement.