“Dara has been a difference-maker for Tuscaloosa, who has led the transformation of our industrial economy,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. “The lives of our citizens are better because of Dara’s dedication and leadership. To say he will be missed is an understatement.”
Under his leadership, Tuscaloosa County’s economy has transformed as its presence has grown on the national and international stage. During this time, more than $7.5 billion has been invested into the economy and almost 16,000 jobs announced with the successful recruitment of companies representing eight different countries.
“Dara Longgrear is and has been the consummate professional while serving as Executive Director of IDA. I have witnessed firsthand, his dedication to the Tuscaloosa community, while promoting our community to potential industrial clients,” said Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum. “His efforts will be evident for decades to come. Dara has had a hand in bringing tens of thousands of jobs to our community and generations of our citizens will benefit from his hard work and dedication.”
Over the years, Longgrear has been involved with the recruitment of major national and international companies to Tuscaloosa County including manufacturers such as Hanna Steel and RadiciSpandex, which located to Tuscaloosa as Globe Manufacturing.
Most notably, Longgrear is responsible for assisting in the recruitment of Mercedes-Benz’s first North American passenger vehicle assembly plant located in Vance. Since then, top auto suppliers have followed, including Bolta, Brose, Eberspaecher, SMP Automotive, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (formerly Johnson Controls), and ZF Chassis Systems, among many others.
Regarding his tenure with the TCIDA, Longgrear said, “I have been extremely fortunate to have worked in a profession that I love, in a community that I love, and with people that I respect and admire.”
Longgrear graduated from The University of Alabama in 1978 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Regional and Urban Development and began his economic development career at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce that same year. He is a past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and the AlabamaGermany Partnership.
After retirement, Longgrear plans to travel and spend more time with his family and wife, Leah.
The TCIDA board of directors will conduct the search for a replacement in the coming months.