Joel R. Anderson II appointed to Board of Trustees


Alex Hopper, News Editor

Joel R. Anderson II has been appointed to the UNA Board of Trustees. 

Anderson will fill the vacancy left by his father, Joel R. Anderson, who passed last October. He is the youngest member of the board in modern history. 

Anderson is a UNA alumnus having graduated in 2018 with a major in business management. 

“I transferred back to UNA after two years at Alabama. When I left I was excited to experience something new but, after coming home, I realized how great the Shoals is,” said Anderson. 

“A main part of that was me getting to know a lot of faculty and fellow students. I just felt like I was part of a community,” said Anderson. 

Anderson also describes getting to work closely with his father and other family members after coming back to UNA.

“He loved the Shoals and UNA,” said Anderson. “He was always so excited to be involved with the university because he knew how important it was to the community.”

“His legacy – it’s massive,” he said. “He spent most of his time after he retired trying to make the Shoals the best place it could be. That’s hopefully what me and everyone we work with can do too.” 

Anderson feels “honored” to follow his father’s commitment to the Shoals area. 

“It’s a huge honor – kind of hard to believe really,” said Anderson. “I have the same view that he did – that UNA is really the anchor of the Shoals community, especially downtown [Florence].”

“As far as the board goes, UNA provides opportunities to so many people all over the country, but especially in a 100 mile radius,” he said. “To be a part of that, to do some small part to help provide more opportunities for people and the community is very special.

UNA President Kenneth Kitts spoke about Anderson’s appointment in a statement to UNA.  

“We are pleased to welcome Joel Anderson II to our Board of Trustees,” said Kitts. “His commitment to the University and the Shoals is evident in the many ways he gives his time.”

In addition to being on the board, Anderson acts as the Vice President at JRC Management, LLC. He serves as the director for the Shoals Economic Development Authority and Joel R. Anderson Family Foundation, and has, along with his wife, founded the first co-working space in the Shoals. 

“My wife and I worked together a lot. We were starting a business,” said Anderson. “We really wanted the flexibility that co-working spaces in bigger cities offer.”  

“There wasn’t anything like that [here] so we created Studio 220 to fill that gap,” he said. 

Anderson has also helped create the Remote Shoals Program. 

“Economic growth is really important for an area and there are a lot of ways to encourage that,” said Anderson. “The Remote Shoals Program is focused on growing the population here in the Shoals through offering our best asset – our quality of life.”

Through this program, people with remote jobs can live in the Shoals area while working for companies anywhere in the world. 

“They live here, they spend their money here, they raise their families here,” said Anderson. 

This program also hopes to allow for more college students to stay in the Shoals area post-graduation.

“They can decide where they want to live separate from where they work,” said Anderson. “That’s already been a big driver of economic growth for the Shoals and will continue to be over the next ten or twenty years.” 

Despite wanting to provide growth to the Shoals area, Anderson warns about “growth for growth’s sake.”

“It’s important that growth is guided in a way that keeps the character of the shoals intact,” said Anderson. “You see a lot of places, they just keep building but they lose that sense of community, because people never see each other.”

“[Here] there is opportunity for spontaneous connection,” said Anderson.

Anderson hopes to further his commitment to the bettering the Shoals area with his appointment to the Board of Trustees. 

“I’m incredibly excited to be involved with UNA and I am super honored to be appointed to the board,” said Anderson. “I can’t overstate the importance of UNA in the community and it’s really exciting to be a part of.”