Governor Robert Bentley
State of Alabama
Upon being elected the 53rd Governor of the State of Alabama, Governor Bentley exhibited his strong interest in the rural areas of the state when he signed Executive Order Number Five establishing the Alabama Rural Development Office and appointed Ron Sparks, former Commissioner of Agriculture, as the Director of this newly-created office. The goal was to improve and advance education, healthcare, and economic development in the rural areas of Alabama. The missions and responsibilities of the Black Belt Commission would also be implemented by the Alabama Rural Development Office.
Director, Alabama Rural Development Office
Ron Sparks is the former Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture. He was appointed by Governor Bentley in 2010 to head the newly created Office of Rural Development. As Director of Governor Bentley’s Rural Development Office, Ron sparks strives to consolidate and coordinate resources for the improvement and advancement of education, healthcare and economic development in the rural areas of Alabama, continuing to work to improve the quality of life of all Alabamians.
Executive Director, Black Belt Commission
Emily Law has been associated with the Black Belt Commission almost since its inception. She oversees all efforts pertaining to the operation of the thirteen-committee Commission. She is a twenty-nine year state employee assigned to the Alabama Rural Development Office under the direction of Ron Sparks where she is also involved with other areas of rural development. As Executive Director of the Black Belt Commission, she is committed to improve the quality of life in Alabama’s Black Belt region by actively working with all citizens of Alabama and any other supportive parties.
Executive Assistant, Rural Development Office
Ollie Ingram serves as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Alabama Rural Development Office. After many years of employment with a private law firm in her hometown, Ollie began her service to the citizens of Alabama in 1988. Her work includes seven years as Special Administrative Assistant and Paralegal to the Attorney General of Alabama; seven years as Executive Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama; Administrative Assistant and Paralegal for the Governor’s Director of Board and Commission Appointments; Administrative Assistant to the Governor’s Legal Advisor; and Administrative Assistant to the Governor’s Deputy Chief-of-Staff.