Huntsville optimistic despite not making Amazon HQ2 short list

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Amazon released its top 20 list of cities still in the running for its second headquarters, also known as HQ2. Huntsville didn't make the cut, but one area leader involved in the proposal says they still gained a lot from the process.

More than 200 cities wanted to land Amazon's HQ2. Among that group, the rocket city. Erin Koshut, Director of Cummings Research Park at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, says it was important to raise the city's national profile and tell Huntsville's story.

"Because our community has a history of meeting challenges," says Koshut. "Meeting challenges of the present day and in the future. Based on Amazon's industry, we knew that they were looking for a community that was forward thinking, technologically savvy and had the right workforce."

So with a slew of partners, they worked together and submitted a detailed booklet, confidential website and video in a metal case with local stickers.

"We really tried to make it Huntsville specific," describes Koshut. "We sent that off. We did get feedback initially from them that they loved the case and thought it was a great idea."

In the end, Huntsville didn't make the short list, but Koshut says the effort was totally worth it.

"For us, it was about going after something that we knew was the right fit for our community and that positions us well for future growth and future opportunities," says Koshut.

A lot of people wondered how Huntsville met the population criteria. Koshut says the 13 county labor shed totals 1.1 million people. She says they knew it was a long shot, but went with the philosophy of "play big".