Birmingham mayor introduces new innovation director Cornell Wesley, shares vaccine resources

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham mayor held a news conference Thursday morning at the conclusion of Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement regarding the statewide mask mandate extension.

The event at Birmingham City Hall was held virtually due to the current rise in COVID-19 cases in Alabama. Thursday’s media briefing was Mayor Woodfin’s first appearance since his State of the Community address Monday afternoon.

Woodfin opened the conference by recommending multiple steps for people in the city who are seeking a COVID-19 vaccination. These steps can be started by visiting jeffcoema.org and clicking on the green button. Anyone with questions may call 205-858-2221 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“Public health leaders have urged everyone to be patient as they work to increase supply for the current demand,” Woodfin said.

Also in the press conference, Woodfin referenced a recent robbery and urged community members to refrain from meeting up with strangers from social media. He then encouraged citizens to use police station lobbies as safe places to exchange items.

Later in the press conference, Woodfin introduced Cornell Wesley, the new head of the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity. Wesley, a Birmingham native, began his duties Monday, Jan. 11.

The following information was provided by the City of Birmingham.

Wesley, a native of the Titusville neighborhood and graduate of A.H. Parker High School, previously served as the Economic Development Representative for Oklahoma and North Texas for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. In that role, he managed more than $20 million in federal investment, yielding a $1.5 billion impact in private investment and creation of more than 4,000 jobs.

“Cornell Wesley not only has a proven track record of growing business, he understands the needs of his hometown,” Mayor Woodfin said. “His love of community and his passion for economic development makes him the perfect fit for this role. He’s a proven connector who will make major strides for our community.”

“As someone who is a native of Birmingham, I’m uniquely positioned to understand where both challenges and opportunities lie in growing our city. I’m eager to carry out the Woodfin administration’s pledge to stimulate both small business growth and economic opportunity throughout our city,” Wesley said.

Wesley is Morehouse College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Wesley holds certifications in management, economic development and entrepreneurship from several universities and economic development institutions across the country. He also has been recognized as “Top 40 Under 40” by Oklahoma Magazine and Oklahoma Journal Record and is a past fellow of the Delta Entrepreneur Network.

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