The unanimous support of the city council for the mayor’s recommendation for city administrator was met with a round of applause from those attending the Enterprise City Council meeting Feb. 16.
The man who served as the executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation since 2013 is the recommendation of Enterprise Mayor William “Bill” Cooper to fill the newly created position.
“After going through the 20 applicants, after interviews and having very serious thoughts about getting someone to work with us to help us move on as the City of Progress, laying the foundation for this new administration, I would like to recommend Jonathan Tullos,” Cooper told the council.
“This is something that this council has really worked with the mayor on,” said City Councilwoman Sonya Rich. “I fully support this recommendation from Mayor Cooper. I feel that he has taken careful consideration of an individual that possesses the knowledge, skills and ability to able to serve in this capacity in this position that we have created for the City of Enterprise,” she said. “I believe, in turn, that we are going to get a person who possesses the leadership and the unique skill set to be able to help this mayor and this council carry out our vision that we set in place and that many of you have heard us talk about.”
Councilman Greg Padgett agreed. “The positon itself is very central for the city at this time and the growth that we are seeing. We really need this position and I am glad we created it,” he said. “In preparation for this day I reached out to some companies that seek out administrators for cities and I had them send me sample resumes of the type of person that they typically look for.
“I reviewed eight to 10 potential resumes during that process while Mayor Cooper was doing his job so that I would be familiar with the type of person that we are looking for,” Padgett added. “Having worked with Johnathan Tullos in economic development and looking over his credentials, I would say they absolutely meet what I’ve been looking at in those resumes that were sent to me by the companies so I think that Mayor Cooper has done a good job in looking through the resumes and doing the interviews and I approve this.
“I just want make sure when we vote for (Tullos) that (pending economic development issues) don’t fall through the cracks, that we allow him to continue to work on any of those projects and provide him with any tools necessary,” Padgett added.
Councilman Scotty Johnson said that he had worked with Tullos previously and that he is the right person for the job. “In addition to his leadership ability, because of his economic development board experience, Jonathan knows what we are looking for and can help Enterprise continue to be the City of Progress,” Johnson said. “Jonathan brings a lot to the table and thank you, Mr. Mayor, for going through all that process that you went through.”
“Through his experience as Wiregrass Economic Development Executive Director, Jonathan already knows the city of Enterprise,” said Councilman Eugene Goolsby. “It’s not like taking a newcomer in but I hope we can find somebody as good as he was to fill his position on the WEDC board.”
Council President Turner Townsend gave background on the appointment. “Before we vote I think everyone deserves a little history of how we got to tonight,” he said, explaining that the need for an administrator had developed out of preliminary council strategic work sessions during which it was decided that the city had outgrown its current organizational structure. A chief financial officer and city engineer/public works director are the two other restructured positions to be filled.
“Realistically, it is exciting, Enterprise is my home,” said Tullos after his appointment. “This mayor, this council, this administration has a vision.
“I believe the city administrator has an important role for the city to help develop a capital plan to achieve that vision and operational budgets to go along with that,” Tullos told the council. “You have an ambitious agenda ahead of you that I have seen through my time working in economic development. “You’ve got a lot of projects out there that you want to accomplish to include a new soccer complex, a new recreation center, an aquatics center and a veteran’s home to pay for,” he added. “All these projects cost money and they need project management in order to achieve success and deliver on time and in budget.
“He’s leaving a very important position but obviously leaving the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation in much better shape than he found it,” said Townsend.
Tullos is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a bachelor’s in business management. After 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.
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.
The next meeting of the Enterprise City Council is Tuesday, March 2, in the city hall council chambers. A work session begins at 5 p.m. A voting meeting begins at 6 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.