It looked like a gathering of Knights of the Round Table.
But it was mayors from Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties gathered
around a circular high-tech table for a history-making pact.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; Madison Mayor Paul Finley; Triana Mayor Mary
Caudle; Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks; Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling; and Mooresville
City Councilwoman Leeann Barr, sitting in for Mayor Margaret-Anne Crumlish,
were in a boardroom at Huntsville International Airport to sign a regional
agreement of collaboration and cooperation.
“The signing of this document signals to our community, to the state, and to
area businesses that North Alabama is committed to ensuring that our region
functions at the highest levels of collaboration for years to come,” said Bill
Marks, chair of Launch 2035, a regional partnership that rethinks and imagines
the North Alabama economy over the next 20 years. The agreement is the work of
the Regional Collaboration Initiative-North Alabama, a group formed from Launch
2035 to encourage collaboration and communication across the region.
They were surrounded by business advocacy leaders John Allen of Huntsville
Committee of 100, Ability Plus President/CEO Karockas Watkins and BizTech CEO
Larry Lewis, as well as Limestone, Madison and Morgan County municipal
councils, state legislative delegations, chamber presidents and chamber board
The agreement was also signed by Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong and Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly; Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long signed it after the event.
According to a statement from Launch 2035, the region’s prosperity depends
on the three counties working and planning together. Launch 2035 is made up of
key stakeholders committed to fostering regional economic growth and quality of
“Back in 2014, someone suggested bringing everyone together over hush
puppies and catfish and that would be the best way to draw a crowd at night to
discuss how we can collaborate better,” said Marks who orchestrated the signing.
“It was from this group of stakeholders that we launched Launch 2035 – to unite
Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties into a spirit of working together with
the belief we bring more to our region united, than in competition with each
“Launch 2035 has three areas of focus including workforce development,
entrepreneurship, and land use planning. Each represents opportunities for
regional action where working together can benefit the entire region.”