6 questions with… Cherrie Haney, director of Cullman County Economic Development

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Cherrie Haney / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Economic Development (CCED) office provides a variety of services, at the discretion of the Cullman County Commission. CCED assists local municipalities in acquiring funding for community development projects, participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Firefighter's Assistance Grant Program and aids county departments in obtaining grant money, along with other federal and state funding.

CCED works closely with the Cullman County Industrial Development Authority, Cullman Economic Development Agency and the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. (www.co.cullman.al.us/cced/cced.html)

CCED is headed up by director Cherrie Haney.

How long have you worked for Cullman County Economic Development? 

I have been in the Cullman County Economic Development office for 12 years; prior to that I worked 15 years with Cullman County Soil and Water Conservation District.

How did you start working for Cullman County Economic Development?

The County puts out internal memos for job openings in different departments prior to them going to the public. At that time, Sammie Danford was the interim director and needed help, so I applied.  Working for Soil and Water Conservation District at the time, I had managed many grants. Sammie felt with my experience I could help with the heavy workload.  My first month on the job I wrote a grant for the Rescue Squad, six months later it was funded; this was very rewarding.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you? 

First thing we do each day is check our emails to see if we have any new projects, then we make sure and read the paper to see if there are any of our project in the paper (even the legal section for bid openings, completion of work, etc.). Most days are spent managing existing grants; a normal grant will take approximately three years to complete (from research, writing, award, manage and close out). In addition, we also facilitate the Cullman County IDA (Industrial Development Authority) meetings, attend chamber functions, commission meetings, Cullman County Mayors and Commissioners Association meetings, and as needed, attend town council meetings, among others.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Seeing a project come to fruition and then seeing how the community enjoys these projects.  (Storm shelters, splash pad, OHV park and fire departments when they receive new equipment, turnout gear or vehicles).  We are also involved with the Cullman County People Against a Littered State, the Farm-City Committee and Cullman Area Workforce Solutions (CAWS) – all of these help our community to be the best it can be.

For those who don’t know, how, if ever, does your office interact with the Cullman (city) Economic Development Agency?

Cullman County has an Industrial Development Authority, comprised of nine individuals appointed by the commission.  Our department assist them with their meetings and other duties as needed.  The Cullman Economic Development Agency attends these meetings; when they ask for assistance with a company/industry, the County IDA is always ready to assist.  We partner on many ads, joint meetings and industry announcements.  We are the County part.

What’s something your office does that the average Cullman County resident would be surprised to learn?

Many residents of Cullman do not know that we do not handle industry and retail recruitment; we only assist the City EDA as needed. They are the lead. Our primary job is writing and managing grants.  We assist the Cullman County Commission, the municipalities, the fire departments and other nonprofits as requested.  Last year, we wrote 63 grants totaling $18,048,503, 23 grants funded awarded $1,407,200, with 25 pending grants.

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