City of Cullman names John Wessel director of new Technology Village


Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer with new Technology Village Cullman Director John Wessel (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – At its meeting Monday evening, the Cullman City Council officially approved the hiring of John Wessel as the director of Technology Village Cullman (TVC). Wessel will oversee daily operations of TVC and its foundation, which has been established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA) released the following:

Since 2015, Wessel has served as CEO of Piedmont Ray Associates, LLC. Piedmont Ray is a full-service management consulting and executive coaching firm located in Huntsville. Prior to founding Piedmont Ray, Wessel worked for Wesfam Restaurants, Inc. in Huntsville for almost 25 years. During his tenure with Wesfam, the organization nearly doubled in size and revenue. Wessel managed key departments such as administration, marketing, operations and human resources during these years of unprecedented growth.

Wessel has BS and MBA degrees in marketing from The University of Alabama. He completed the Executive Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, is accredited in public relations through the Universal Accreditation Board, certified by the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute and serves on Auburn University’s Entrepreneurship Council. He has published numerous articles related to franchising and family business and spoken to university classes and civic groups on a variety of business related topics.

Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs is looking forward to watching the Technology Village progress.

“I believe Cullman is going to set the standard for entrepreneurial incubators in the State of Alabama. We have been successful in economic development in recruiting new industry and expanding existing industry. TVC is just adding another piece to that puzzle. I know our community will get behind this project and help make it a success,” said Jacobs.

TVC is a partnership between the City of Cullman, Wallace State Community College and Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. The University of Alabama is also a partner, providing training, research and business coaching assistance. A seven-member board of directors, made up of representatives from the partner organizations and community business leaders, has been established and given the task of overseeing the TVC.

TVC Board of Directors Chairman Jamie Troutman is pleased with the selection of Wessel as the new director.

“I look forward to working with John and think he is the perfect mix of what we were looking for in a director. He is extremely knowledgeable, educated, has experience in the business and entrepreneurial world, and has an enthusiastic down-to-earth personality,” said Troutman. “We have been impressed by his ideas for the center and the passion he has demonstrated for leading this endeavor.”

Members of the Technology Village Board of Directors include: Jamie Troutman, chairman, Cullman Economic Development Agency; Leah Bolin, Vice Chairman, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce; Brian Dove, Cullman-Jefferson Gas; Dr. Vicki Karolewics, Wallace State Community College; Todd Self, HH Technologies; Zac Smith, AGCOR Steel; and, Jeremy Wootten, HomTex Incorporated.

“It is an honor to work with such an outstanding group of community leaders,” Troutman said. “Without the partnership between the City of Cullman, Wallace State Community College, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and UA, TVC would not be possible.”

TVC will be a center for entrepreneurial small business startup. The program is still under development, but initial plans indicate that participants will be selected through a competitive process. These participants will use TVC to help get their business venture off the ground. They will receive assistance in: Business coaching, mentoring, networking, product pricing, creating a business plan, identifying and securing funding, identifying and contacting customers, etc… Once these businesses are ready, they will leave the program, and another one will take its place.

TVC will be located in the building adjacent to CEDA at 105 Clark Street NE, Cullman, AL 35055. The phone number is 256-841-6762, or callers may reach CEDA at 256-739-1891. Until Wessel’s email is set up, questions or comments may be sent to Jamie Troutman at


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