Now more than ever, corporations have numerous options when deciding where to invest their capital dollars. Our local companies not only compete with other U.S. operations, but other corporate facilities throughout the world.

I'm often asked why it's important to offer incentives to existing companies expanding in our community. jeremy nailsAnytime one of our existing industries reinvests in their facility, it improves production and the likelihood that the company will remain a viable economic driver in our community for many years to come.

Every new job added, piece of equipment updated, and employee trained is a valuable investment in our community. Without these continuous improvements to remain competitive, a company could quickly become obsolete, leaving behind a vacant building where jobs and economic vitality once thrived.

It is important for all of us to remain engaged with our business community. Frequent and open communication with our corporate leadership leads to local expansions and the recruitment of new companies to our area. This dialogue can help remove barriers for existing companies and encourage economic growth.

We must keep in mind that not only do our existing industries create approximately 70% of the new jobs in a community, they can also account for 100% of the jobs lost in a community.

Take the time to say thank you to our companies. Their presence in Morgan County not only creates jobs and investment, it improves our community as a whole. These companies commit their time and employee resources to various charitable, educational and civic organizations locally that directly impact Morgan County citizens.

I encourage you to celebrate the many positives in our community, especially those made possible by our existing industries' commitments to local jobs, local growth and local investment.

Jeremy Nails is president and CEO of the Morgan County (Ala.) Economy Development Association, a position he has held since 2005. He is responsible for overseeing the operations of the MCEDA, including financial matters, proposals, preparation of promotional material, as well as working with prospective industries who may be looking at the Morgan County area for plant location or expansion.