Governor Kay Ivey appointed Kenneth W. Boswell as Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs in May 2017.
Boswell served as the 20th mayor of the City of Enterprise before his appointment and earned a reputation as one of Alabama’s most aggressive mayors, working hard to build upon the city’s solid foundation of growth and prosperity.
A multitude of state and national recognitions for Enterprise attests to the value of that diligence.
Under Boswell’s leadership, Enterprise was recently named for the second consecutive time by leading Internet research companies as one of the “Best Alabama Towns” to live in. In recent years, the city has also been named one of the top Alabama cities for young families and one of the cities with the fastest-growing middle class population in the nation.
Since he was first appointed mayor in January 2003, Boswell has led initiatives that brought economic development to the community, including HS Automotive, a Korean-based automotive rubber products manufacturer that has continued to expand its operation since locating in Enterprise in August 2003.
HSAA was one of five Enterprise-based companies that either located in the city or expanded operations in 2014, creating more than $37 million in investments and 545 jobs.
Based on that growth, then-Governor Robert Bentley and the Alabama Department of Commerce recognized Coffee County as one of the leading counties in the state for economic expansion in 2016.
The award reflects Boswell's strong support for the community and his efforts to promote economic growth through healthy existing businesses and the recruitment of new business and industry.
Boswell takes pride in the community he has served since his election in 2000 as Enterprise councilman representing District Five. In 2003, he was appointed mayor and subsequently, was reelected in 2004, 2008, 2012 and again in 2016.
Born in Elba to the late Johnny and Annis Boswell, Boswell is a 1977 graduate of Elba high School. He and his wife, the former Melinda K. Modlin of New Brockton, have been married for 38 years and are the proud parents of a daughter, Alane Boswell Williams, and the grandparents of 18-month-old Gavin Williams.
Good Work Ethic
Taught a good work ethic as a teen, Boswell worked with Kelly Foods and later with Dorsey Trailers before beginning his service with the Alabama National Guard in 1978. The same year, he embarked upon his longtime career as an insurance agent. Boswell Insurance Agency Inc., won many awards in its 30 years of existence, including four prestigious Honor Ring awards.
In 1980, the Boswells purchased their first house in Enterprise and made the city their lifelong home. After his election to public office, just as he had studied to develop and expand his professional skills as an insurance agent, Boswell eagerly sought to learn more about how to be a productive official. In 2004, he became a Certified Municipal Official, and in 2006, he received an Advanced Municipal Official Designation through the Alabama League of Municipalities. He also became a Certified Alabama Planning and Zoning Official through the Alabama Planning Institute, the University of North Alabama and the Alabama Chamber of the American Planning Association.
In Boswell’s 16 years of service to Enterprise, the city has seen steady growth both economically and in population. The population has climbed in 12 of the last 14 years, rising by 31 percent overall, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Boswell's leadership during his years as mayor have been wide-ranging, from the joy of seeing citizens benefit from new park facilities, a new civic center, repaved streets and other water system improvements to the heartbreak of seeing the city and its citizens suffer the consequences of an F4 tornado that left nine people dead and $307 million in damage. Recognized for his crisis management and disaster recovery efforts, Boswell received the 2008 Phoenix Award for Public Service After a Disaster, a prestigious honor given to him at the White House by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
He also received the Alabama Emergency Management Agency Public Service Award. Earlier this year, he was asked to serve a program called “LeadersLink,” a network of city officials who advise other city leaders. The role serves as a mentor to other mayors or elected leaders who experience a disaster in their communities.
Boswell’s years of support for Fort Rucker and the Army Aviation Center of Excellence are reflected in his appointment by then Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey in 2012 to the Military Stability Commission. This vital board’s mission is to protect current military jobs and enhance the federal asset base in the state of Alabama. Boswell continues to help lead the Enterprise effort to keep Fort Rucker operating and thriving in the Wiregrass. In the wake of U.S. Defense Budget cuts and the threat of another sequestration in the future, Boswell and a group of local citizens appeared before a panel of Army officials in a “Listening Session” to provide input on how reductions at Fort Rucker would impact the city.
A member and past president of the Fort Rucker/Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, Boswell is active in the Friends of Fort Rucker, a local advocacy group for Fort Rucker that maintains a close connection with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress to keep informed of military issues that impact the local post and therefore, the surrounding communities.
Boswell maintains a close relationship with state leaders and key government agencies who have become familiar with him and the proactive philosophy that helps Enterprise live up to its mantra, “City of Progress.”
With Boswell’s staunch support of the local Farmers Market, Alabama Department of Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan appointed him to serve on the Produce Task Force, which seeks to increase farmers’ income, spur economic development and increase employment in the growing produce industry.
In 2013, Boswell graduated in the 23rd class of Leadership Alabama, which puts leaders from all over Alabama together to work in concert to help move Alabama forward. He was also appointed the same year to serve on the State Broadband Advisory Committee, which seeks to provide broadband access to rural areas across the state.
National, State Appointments
Boswell was appointed at the national level to serve on the National League of Cities Information Technology and Communications Policy and Advocacy Committee where helps address technology issues for municipalities. In 2008, he was one of only five mayors invited to participate in the Design Alabama Community Program, a statewide partner of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. This program works with design professionals to create strategic and master plans for community development and downtown revitalization.
Appointed an affiliate of the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Boswell received the “Individual/Professional of the Year” by the Coffee/Geneva County Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He also served on the Governor’s Biofuels Advisory Committee and the Economic and Community Affairs Urban Housing Committee and is a past member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Boswell also served as chairman of the Policy Committee of the Southeast Alabama Rural Planning Organization.
Boswell was named the 2003 Enterprise “Man of the Year" and serves on a myriad of boards and commissions, including the Enterprise Planning Commission, Enterprise Airport Authority, Enterprise Employees Benefits Committee, Enterprise Water Works Board, Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation Board, Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center Board, Southeast Alabama Planning and Zoning Board, Southeast Alabama Council on Aging and the Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Board. He is a member and past Chairman of the Southeast Alabama Gas District Board. He is a past President of the 2nd Congressional District Municipal Association, and serves as an Ex-Officio Board member of the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce. Boswell currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority.