their goals. If a town has evolved to the
point of recruiting a hotel or restaurant,
the team identifies consultants and
brokers active in the industry who can
provide access to investors to help in
seeking matching funds. In the case
of Montevallo, Alabama, plans have
been progressing over a period of four
mayoral terms with UACED involvement.
“The University of Montevallo has
adopted some local wetlands and is
connecting the whole area with trails,
while the city put in a 1-cent tax to
improve the downtown,” she said of
Where some people see impassable
mountains, Miranda sees possibilities.
She credits both her Brazilian upbringing
and her father, a New Testament
theologian, for her worldview.
“Being born in Brazil, and my
professional background in international
business, prepared me to understand
Alabama,” she said. “You’ve got cities
leading business and technology, but
then you have so much that’s untouched,
underdeveloped or that hasn’t
reached its potential yet. There’s lots
Miranda arrived in Alabama at the age
of 14 when her father accepted teaching
positions at both Stillman College and
The University of Alabama. After earning
an undergraduate degree in biology
at UA, she entered the Manderson
Graduate School of Business within the
Culverhouse College of Commerce for
an MBA with international emphasis.
“I’m really interested in the world
and the condition of people. I’m sure
my father had an influence on me,”
she said. “Pretty much everyone in
my family were nurses, doctors or
ministers, and my father questioned my
business direction. Then he understood
that there are different paths. I really
wanted to have an impact. I realized I
could do things. And as a graduate of
the business school, doors open.”
She is quick to credit all the players
when those doors do open.
“Everything we accomplish in UACED
takes a lot of people. It’s a team sport,
and everyone has a role. I often feel like
the mother hen moving things forward.
“I love what we have here,” Miranda
said. “I’m very fortunate to be a part of
The University of Alabama with Judy
Bonner, who is a multidimensional
person. We have a lot of people like
that on campus with huge capacity
and a range of interests. And they
want to make a difference. This is a
wonderful corporation for me to be
A few of the projects that Miranda and her team have worked on to enhance the economy and lives of Alabamians
include the following. For more projects, visit http://uaced.ua.edu.
Alabama Birding Trails involve 67 counties, eight regions and about 270 separate birding sites. In its development,
UACED has worked with the Alabama Department of Conservation and the Alabama Department of Tourism. Beyond the
actual sites, work included signage, wayfinding and promoting lodging, dining and other spending in host communities.
North Sumter County, with no grocery stores, no gas stations and few ways to earn a living, needs help. The project is
in its fifth year. A Persian-born Americorp Vista volunteer works with locals to develop community gardens for food
and write grants to improve the one-room community center. An additional five Vistas are in place through UACED’s
partnering agencies throughout the Black Belt region.
Landmarks, a program with Culverhouse College of Commerce’s Joe Calamusa, sends business students to develop
marketing programs for such state treasures as the Alabama Theatre and Rickwood Field in Birmingham and the
Monroe County Museum in Monroeville, home of renowned author Harper Lee and her novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Black Belt Treasures represents folk art and craftwork by more than 400 Alabamians online and in the Camden-based
shop. The objective is to broaden the market for sales and to enhance the livelihoods of participating artists such as
the Gee’s Bend quilters.
A FEW OF THE MANY