John Floyd watches the manufacturing center, EYO, the elections


I will cover three topics in this commentary, the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Gadsden State Community College, the Etowah Youth Orchestras, and the Gadsden Town Election.

The announcement of the Gadsden State Advanced Manufacturing Center is monumental for Gadsden and Etowah County. The facility, which will cover more than 50,000 square feet, will feature programs that will include precision machinery and robotics.

Gadsden Times reporter Miranda Prescott wrote: “These workshops, according to Dr Alan Smith, Dean of Workforce Development, will enable the college to offer a variety of educational programs for dual enrollment, certificates short- and long-term professionals, associate’s degrees, and a wide variety of other training.

The Advanced Manufacturing Center has been a dream and goal of Dr. Smith for some time. I remember a conversation we had on the street where he discussed his ideas and goals for accomplishing the creation of the Center.

Dr. Smith has covered all the bases, but I would encourage the center to partner with local manufacturing companies, and I consider Honda in Lincoln to be local. I was happy to see Michael Gaines, division manager at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, as part of the announcement.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this very positive step towards the future of Gadsden. Prescott also reported that David Hooks, Director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, said, “I would like to congratulate Dr. Kathy Murphy for her tireless efforts in bringing this exciting project to fruition.

This project is exciting. It positions Gadsden State at the forefront of industrial development education in the state of Alabama.

The Etowah Youth Orchestras is one of the jewels of Etowah County and Gadsden’s crown. The EYO was founded in October 1990, 32 years ago, to supplement the ropes program established in Gadsden City schools by offering beginner ropes at select schools in Etowah County and Attalla City . The founders established an intermediate string orchestra and an advanced full orchestra and proposed to promote private string instruction in Etowah County.

Under the direction of musical director and conductor Michael Gagliardo, the orchestra flourished and grew to the point of presenting concerts throughout the United States and abroad. Additionally, the orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

The EYO has an impressive portfolio. What could go wrong with such an uplifting, fulfilling and youth-focused program?

The problem facing the EYO is that it does not have a suitable venue in Etowah County to perform. In order to exhibit their musical expertise, its members must travel to County Calhoun at the magnificent Oxford Performing Arts Center.

The problem started with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at Gadsden State Community College’s Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. The system has been inoperative for more than two years. This begs the question, “When will Wallace Hall’s air conditioning system be fixed?”

Wallace Hall is the only proper concert hall in Etowah County. The Coosa Landing venue is quite large, but its acoustics are lacking for concerts, and the audience is seated under the stage in less than comfortable chairs. In addition, the place is prohibitively expensive.

As for the cost, why should EYO pay any amount of money to the town of Gadsden, or any other organization, to show off their talents? We always say Gadsden needs more activities for young people. The EYO is a perfect example of what young people need in Gadsden. Currently, the EYO must pay Wallace Hall, or any other public venue, $2 on every $10 ticket sold.

The closest thing to a reasonable concert hall is the EYO, Rainbow Presbyterian Church, where she performed beautifully. Now he has to go to Calhoun County. Something is wrong with this picture.

As I said in a previous comment, “the upcoming municipal election is the most important election in Gadsden’s history”.

The results will determine the future direction of our once proud city. Will our wonderful city continue its downward spiral or will we experience a new birth of optimism and change?

Consider these extremely important attributes to determine your choices for these most important seats of power: Honesty, Integrity, Experience, and Professionalism, with a strong emphasis on honesty and integrity.

Without honesty and integrity, the other attributes aren’t worth discussing.

Hopefully the Town of Gadsden election will bring a fresh start.

John F. Floyd is a Gadsden native who graduated from Gadsden High School in 1954. He was previously Director of UK Manufacturing, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Vice President of Manufacturing and International Operations, General Tire & Rubber Co., and Manufacturing Manager, Chrysler Corp. He can be contacted at The opinions expressed are his own.


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