Built in Butler County proves sucess

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Butler County high school students and older residents alike got a sneak peek at life in the workforce, thanks to the second annual Built in Butler County Thursday.

The Butler County Commission for Economic Development and the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce collaborated to bring the event to more than 300 10th graders from Greenville, Georgiana and McKenzie high schools.

Hysco and Key Safety Systems were just two of several industries in attendance, and both spoke highly of the county’s attentive youth.

“I thought they were certainly looking closely, and they were all very inquisitive about everything,” said Jonathan Byrd, human resources and general affairs manager at Hysco.

Janet Paige, human resources manager at Key Safety Systems, agreed.

“We did have quite a few students that asked quite a few questions during the day today.  Not all of them were interested in the same things, but they did ask a lot of questions,” Paige said.

“Some of them were more interested in things that they were familiar with.  But I think as long as it was something that they could identify with, they were really interested.”

Rod Cater, chairman of the Butler County Commission of Economic Development, said that the purpose of the event was to educate the public about the products produced in Butler County.  And in that regard, he believes the event was a remarkable success.

“I think last year’s event was good—it was our first year, so we had some things that we could build on from last year,” Cater said.

“Last year, we had four to five businesses and industries.  This year, we had about 16, so it’s a big jump.  Plus, we have economic development partners.  We have agencies with the state of Alabama that are here, we have AIDT here with their robotics and Auburn University’s forestry department.”

Cater added that it was planning that elevated this year’s event over its predecessor, which saw the formation of a committee the month after last year’s program to begin finding out what could be done differently and what could be improved upon.

The dedication of a staff toward a singular goal for an entire year bore fruit Thursday, Cater added.

And though he hasn’t had the opportunity to gauge feedback from this year’s event, there is one important trend that he has already noticed.

“I think the thing about the students is that they’re seeing normally when you think of industry, you think of a job that’s blue collar, you’re getting your hands dirty and that you’re going to be hot and sweaty,” Cater said.

“But there’s actually a lot of technology involved with what these businesses and industries do.  I think that’s opened the eyes of the kids and they’ve come through and seen that these are high-tech jobs and potentially well-paying jobs.”