Bronze Valley has added Greg Barker to its board of directors. Barker, recently named president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), was elected to the board at its May meeting.

“I am genuinely excited to be part of such a dynamic and mission-oriented board,” Barker said. “In the very short time since its founding, Bronze Valley has proved to be a valuable addition to efforts to make innovation and entrepreneurship a key component of Alabama’s economic future. I look forward to contributing to those efforts in every way I can.”

A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Barker is a 1988 graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. He also completed work at the Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Georgia and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

Greg Barker, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA).

Prior to accepting his new position at EDPA in June, Barker had been with Alabama Power since 2002. He began his career there as a project manager in the Economic and Community Development department, with responsibility for marketing the state to targeted industry prospects. In 2007, he was named vice president of Economic and Community Development. Barker became senior vice president for Business Development and Customer Support in 2010, and in 2012, his title in that role changed to senior vice president for Marketing and Economic Development. He had served as executive vice president for customer services since 2016.

Throughout his career, Barker has worked for and led numerous economic development organizations, beginning in 1986 with the Meridian Chamber of Commerce (now the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation. Subsequently, he was with the Delta Council, the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board (two organizations since merged into the Birmingham Business Alliance) and the Anniston Chamber of Commerce (now the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center).

“The issues and challenges, as well as the opportunities, vary from place to place,” Barker observes. “The common thread for me has been the opportunity to work with teams and community leaders who are dedicated to excellence and understand the value of collaboration.”

Barker is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), the Utility Economic Development Association (UEDA), the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA) and the Alabama Germany Partnership (AGP). He is a member of the advisory board of the Alabama Productivity Center and serves on the boards of directors of the Alabama Power Foundation, the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Junior Achievement of Alabama.

Barker also serves on the board of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, the Southeast’s largest startup incubator, one outgrowth of his passion for building the economy of the future. In 2015, he was a leader in establishing Alabama Power’s Innovation Team, which is devoted to developing opportunities to improve energy efficiency and connectivity to better serve customers and support economic development that benefits all Alabamians.

“Greg has been a good friend and trusted colleague for a long time,” said Bronze Valley Chairman John Hudson, whom Southern Company Gas recently appointed as president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “He is a tireless champion of technology entrepreneurship and economic transformation. That exemplifies the mission and objectives of Bronze Valley and makes Greg an outstanding addition to our board.”

Launched in 2017, Bronze Valley is working to create an education-to-opportunity-to-outcome pipeline for ethnic minorities and women in technology careers, the entrepreneurial ranks and other fields in which innovators will lead the way in creating the jobs of the future. In addition to providing access to capital, Bronze Valley’s efforts are concentrated on providing value-added services to entrepreneurs, aimed at outcomes that also help advance ongoing efforts in education and workforce development.