Ellen McNair

Secretary of Commerce

Ellen McNair began her tenure as Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce on Jan. 1, 2024, having been appointed by Governor Kay Ivey.

McNair formerly served as the chief economic development officer for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, where she was a member of the negotiating team that brought Hyundai Motors Corp. to Montgomery. While at the Chamber, she successfully located 600 national and international projects with a combined capital investment exceeding $8 billion, resulting in the creation of almost 30,000 new jobs for the community. The Montgomery Chamber’s Corporate Development Division was named a Top 20 Economic Development Organizations in the U.S. by “Site Selection” magazine four times during her tenure.

She holds the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council, making her one of a handful of economic development professionals in Alabama with this designation. McNair has previously worked for the Alabama Department of Commerce as project manager and as director of research. She is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Earlier, McNair had worked in television news in Huntsville. She is a graduate of Auburn University and a native of Boston.

McNair is a past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA) and an active member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). She is a recipient of the David R. Echols Distinguished Service Award for exemplary achievement in economic development in Alabama. She is active in her church and many civic organizations.

McNair is the first woman to be named as Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, the first woman CEcD in Alabama, the first woman president of EDAA and the first woman to lead a major metro area’s economic development effort in Alabama.

She is married to Joe McNair, and they have two children and six grandchildren.