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Innovation Commission shares recommendations

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

A group of state leaders tasked with finding ways Alabama can boost innovation and entrepreneurship across the state on Tuesday released its policy recommendations to Gov. Kay Ivey.

The Alabama Innovation Commission’s detailed recommendations included ways to attract talent to the state, increase commercialization of research and development, develop the knowledge economy and ensure entrepreneurs have access to capital to foster growth.

Ivey, who formed the commission in 2020, thanked members for their work and vowed to see the recommendations through.

“The Alabama Innovation Commission has done incredible work, and I’m excited to see how we as a state can implement smart policies that will foster innovation and develop a talented workforce for the future,” Ivey said in a news release. “I’m inspired by the promising growth for Alabama’s economy, and I look forward to working with the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama Innovation Corporation to help Alabama reach new heights.”

The commission is co-chaired by Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, and state Finance Director Bill Poole. Their respective positions will no doubt be influential in turning the recommendations into policy, whether from a legislative or executive standpoint.

Adding intellectual gravitas and star power to the commission has been Condoleeza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State and current director of the Hoover Institution based at Stanford University. Rice was on hand in Birmingham for the release of the commission’s recommendations and said her organization will partner with the state to help in their execution.

“I’m proud to be a daughter of Alabama, and believe that Alabama’s education, job training and workforce development can be second to none. This state is poised for an even greater future here and we are excited to be a part of that,” Rice said. “The Hoover Institution will continue to partner with the state and the Alabama Innovation Corporation to support this initiative as Alabama continues to push for strengthening its economy so life can be good for all Alabamians.”

Earlier this year, the Alabama Legislature created the Alabama Innovation Corporation, which is a public-private partnership responsible for implementing some of the initiatives recommended by the commission. Ivey on Tuesday appointed the corporation’s board of directors, including:

  • Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (ex-officio)
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed (ex-officio)
  • House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (ex-officio)
  • Senator Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (ex-officio)
  • Rich Bielen – President and CEO, Protective Life Corporation (at-large director)
  • Dr. Michael Chambers – Assistant Vice President for Research Innovation, University of South Alabama (at-large director)
  • Abe Harper – President, Harper Technologies (at-large director)
  • David King – President, Dynetics (at-large director)
  • Bill Poole – Director, Alabama Department of Finance (chairman)
  • Britney Summerville – Founder, Birmingham Bound (at-large director)

The full report from the Alabama Innovation Commission is available online at

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