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Accompanying photo: Jonathan Tullos
By Michelle Mannmmann@southeastsun.com
Feb 17, 2021
The man who as served as executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation since 2013 has been named the city administrator for the City of Progress. At the Enterprise City Council meeting Feb. 15 Jonathan Tullos was the recommendation of Enterprise Mayor William “Bill” Cooper for the newly created position.
“Before we vote I think everyone deserves a little history of how we got to tonight where we are considering a recommendation from the mayor for the position of city administrator,” said Enterprise City Council President Turner Townsend. “The mayor and council met on Nov. 19, 2020 just a couple of weeks after we were sworn in for the current term. The purpose of this strategic session was to discuss the current organizational structure of the city and the vacancies we needed to fill.”
Townsend explained that the focus of the meeting was on what seats needed to be filled for the city to move forward. It was decided, Townsend said, that the city had outgrown the current structure and a reorganization was needed.
“In subsequent weeks, the council passed Ordinance 12-14-20 which created the offices of city administrator, chief financial officer and city engineer/public works director,” Townsend said. “These positions are being added with relatively no impact on the budget by eliminating and combining other positions. “We recognized that it was very important that these officers had the support and trust of both the mayor and the council,” Townsend added. “We had no interest in repeating the mistakes of the past. For this reason, the ordinance stipulates that the council appoints the officers—but only after the nomination of the mayor. It was contemplated that the mayor will initiate the searches, vet the candidates and hold the interviews to determine who his nominees will be.
“Tonight is the culmination of that process for the position of city administrator which we identified as the top priority,” Townsend said. “The mayor received over 20 resumes for this position from all over the Southeast. He narrowed the list down to three candidates for interviews and he chose Jonathan Tullos as his nominee.
“From my point of view the mayor could not have made a better choice,” Townsend added. “Jonathan is uniquely qualified to help the mayor and council accomplish our mission and fulfill our vision for Enterprise. Mr. Tullos has my full support and I am excited to continue to work with him in this new role.”
Tullos is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a bachelor’s in business management. Upon graduation, he was stationed at Fort Rucker where he completed helicopter flight school. Tullos served as an active duty aviation officer in the United States Army before being honorably discharged at the rank of captain.
Tullos next worked as a Department of the Army Civilian, working for the Aviation Technical Test Center, Redstone Test Center and the Directorate of Simulation. During this time, Tullos earned a master’s in business administration from Auburn University, as well as his Master Practitioner Certification from the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program at the University of Alabama.
He earned his real estate salesperson’s license in the state of Alabama. Tullos and his wife of 12 years, Erin, are the parents of a five-year-old son and are members of the First United Methodist Church in Enterprise. “I look forward to working with Mayor Cooper and this administration to achieve their vision for Enterprise,” said Tullos, thanking the mayor and council for his appointment.
“Enterprise is a growing community with great people. I am excited to work with the team Mayor Cooper and the council have assembled at city hall, as well as work with them to fill current vacancies. “This administration has an ambitious agenda that includes a major road resurfacing project, the potential for a new recreation center, a community pool, a soccer complex and a new veterans home, among other things,” Tullos added. “Working with the mayor and his staff, I hope to bring the council various options of how to pay for and execute these projects while minimizing the impact on the city’s budget without increasing taxes
“I believe the only way to help this administration move these projects forward is to have an accurate financial picture so our elected officials can make informed decisions,” he said.
“This would be in the form of a capital plan for Enterprise as well as operational budgets for future years."
“Enterprise is growing. I am excited to be a part of this growth in a new role,” Tullos said. “Enterprise is my home and I am proud to work for an administration who has a vision to make Enterprise an even better place to live, work, play and worship."
Under Tullos’ leadership of the WEDC since January 2013, the region served by the economic development engine benefited from over $400 million in new capital projects announced or built and over 1,500 new jobs in Coffee, Dale and Geneva Counties. WEDC also brought in over $7 million in grant funds ranging from Industrial Access Grants, Economic Development Grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs which helped with water and sewer projects, multiple grants from the state’s Military Stability Foundation and a $450,000 planning grant from the Federal Department of Transportation.
Under Tullos’ leadership, WEDC worked to obtain a training engine for the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark in a partnership with Safran Helicopter Engine. During Tullos’ first year at the helm of WEDC, HSAA established their second plant in Enterprise, investing over $10 million and creating 200 jobs. The same year Arista Aviation, a rotary winged maintenance repair and overhaul company announced plans to construct a hangar at the Enterprise Municipal Airport, creating over 150 jobs.
The next year, Advanced Carrier Products, a Tier 2 automotive supplier, established their North American Headquarters in Enterprise; SYGMA Corporation established a presence at the Sysco Facility in Geneva; and, INZI Controls, a Tier 1 automotive supplier, expanded in Elba creating an additional 100 jobs.
In 2015, Brooks Peanut in Samson announced a $12 million expansion, creating an additional 23 jobs; and Dorsey trailer expanded in Elba, creating over 100 new jobs. In 2017, Air Performance expanded in Hartford, creating over 60 new jobs and Wayne Farms announced a $105 million expansion in Jack, creating over 400 new jobs.
In 2019, Ben E. Keith announced plans to construct a $100 million food distribution center in Coffee County which will employ well over 200 people.
In 2020, HSAA announced another expansion bringing their total employment near 600 people and Enterprise was selected as the location for Alabama’s fifth veterans home, a 175-bed facility, which will employ approximately 200-250 people.
Also in 2020, Amazon selected Daleville as the location for a last-mile distribution facility