Neal WadeNeal Wade currently serves as director of the Economic Development Academy at the University of Alabama, where he is working to promote and develop strategic partnerships within the university throughout Alabama and the southeast U.S. to strengthen the environment necessary to grow and expand quality jobs and economies. The Academy will prepare emerging and mid-level professionals in the broad field of economic development. In addition, Neal and others are working on an Advanced Certificate for Economic Development that will be offered through a multi-university collaborative.

Neal has more than 25 years of experience in economic development at the private, state and local levels. Prior to joining the University of Alabama, Neal was the director of the Alabama Development Office (now the Department of Commerce) and served as the state’s chief economic developer for eight years. He was also the first president/CEO of the private Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and executive director at the Bay County, FL Economic Development Alliance.

Neal serves as chairman of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and chairman of the four-state (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida) Aerospace Alliance, the 4th largest aerospace corridor in the world.

Neal received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.