Troy, Pike County Economic Development receive big honor

Published 7:11 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

The city of Troy and Pike County Economic Development officials already knew their efforts in recruiting CGI had paid off. Now, the rest of the country can share in their story.

Troy and the Pike County Economic Development Corporation received official notice this week they had been awarded a CiCi Award from Due North Consulting, Inc. for having an industry with the greatest impact on a community.

Troy was one of only 15 communities throughout the country to receive this recognition out of thousands nominated for the honor.

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“It was a huge compliment to have been selected,” said Marsha Gaylard, president of the PCEDC.

The two entities were nominated for the award, published in the Trade & Industry Magazine, by the Alabama Development Office.

But, the credit shouldn’t be placed just on Troy and economic developers, Gaylard said.

“This was a huge team effort by a lot of people. I look at it like the award goes to all of us,” she said. “The focus should be on the award, the fact that CGI is making such a big impact — with the type of jobs and the type of company it is — on our community.”

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford agreed.

“Obviously there were a lot of people involved in the efforts,” Lunsford said.

But he gives initial credit at least to Gaylard, who got the ball rolling toward the CGI success story familiar to many.

“She calls me on a Friday and said we had to get something together by Tuesday and convinced me it was a potential industry we could attract,” Lunsford said.

“I was skeptical it was a courtesy visit, and Marsha was able to put together the team to make the presentation for Tuesday and able to get the sites to work. Once we had their interest is when the full-blown team effort went into effect.”

Aside from being one of the few chosen, Troy was the only community in Alabama chosen for the honor. Lunsford said this is the first time the city has received this award.

“Personally, from the city standpoint, I give all the recognition to the positions the city council took. They backed everything we had presented,” Lunsford said.

CGI’s Vice President of Onshore Delivery Mark Eschle announced this week the company is ahead of schedule locally in its job creation commitments.

“Today, we’ve hired our 70th member,” Eschle said Thursday.

The goal is to hire 100 employees by the end of the year and 300 in three years.

While the award wasn’t to CGI itself, Gaylard said it of course couldn’t have happened without them.

“If it had not been for CGI selecting Troy, we would not have won the award,” she said. “It was truly a joint effort by the economic development team, the city of Troy and CGI.”

Lunsford said he hopes the award will send a message to other potential industries.

“I think it says to anyone else that may want to look at Troy that we have the infrastructure in place to support many types of business,” the mayor said.

“We are here, and we are willing to put a plan together both attractive to them and to our area to encourage more development here.”