By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
Josh Carpenter, Director of the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, is stepping down effective Nov. 30.
Carpenter has been with Mayor Randall Woodfin’s administration for the past three years in a note to colleagues and friends late Monday said he’s enjoyed a job “in a place . . . with a leader we deeply respect and admire, especially at a time when it feels consequential.”
Carpenter, did not say what he will do next, only that he would “pursue additional opportunities related to job creation and job growth in Birmingham.”
He plans to take the month of December off to travel and be with family and will continue to work on key projects with the Woodfin administration for an interim period, he said.
Carpenter, who built a department of bright minds and critical thinkers that included Rhodes Scholars, was behind a number of high profile city initiatives including public-private initiatives like Birmingham Promise, BhamStrong, and Prosper Birmingham and policies that improve healthy food access, invest incentive dollars in workers and improve key processes in City Hall.
Mayor Woodfin pointed to the IEO department in making Birmingham the hub of talent and a destination for small businesses, startups and businesses looking to expand.
“Dr. Carpenter’s focus on the goals of this administration have shown real results,” the mayor said. “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Birmingham saw a 7 percent increase in employment, a national ranking by Forbes as one of the nation’s top 10 hottest job markets going into 2020 and a significant increase for inclusive economic growth.
Woodfin added, “Once COVID-19 hit, IEO immediately shifted under Josh’s leadership to help small businesses and displaced workers affected by the economic downturn created by the pandemic. Our future will be brighter as we build back from this crisis.”
“We are grateful for his friendship and commitment to our city. I wish him well in this next chapter,” Woodfin said.
Carpenter thanked his friends and colleagues for their partnership to help advance economic opportunity for our residents, adding “with best wishes for a productive close to a strange year and excited for what’s ahead.”