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Having led economic development and chamber of commerce organizations (in Alabama and Mississippi) for 40+ years, David Thornell has enjoyed success in every aspect of building better communities. Since graduating from the University of Alabama in 1981 he was directly involved in recruitment-expansion efforts resulting in over 18,000 new jobs representing approximately $3 billion in capital investment. During this time he also served on the Prepared City's Review Team for his home State of Alabama and for 15 years on the Accredited Organizations Committee of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Both required the review of community programs and organizations and to award excellence and-or offer guidance for further improvement.

Thornell earned the designation of Certified Economic/community Developer in 1990 and now holds the status of CEcD Emeritus from the IEDC. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute held at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Georgia's Institute for Organizational Management (IOM), and completed the National Development Councils E.D. Financing Professional program (EDFP). He was recently recognized by the Southern Economic Development Council with it's Honorary Lifetime Membership Award (HLM). David also serves as an instructor and Advisory Committee Member for the Community Development Institute, Southern States program, based at the University of Alabama. He maintains a real estate license and (while active) worked exclusively in commercial transactions. He also has operated his own grant-writing business and served as a free-lance writer for several State-wide magazines (part-time).

A native of Eclectic, Alabama (population 1,200) he has been married for 42 years to Carol, his high school sweetheart. They have two sons and four grandchildren. They now reside in Fayette, Alabama (population 4,250).