In April 2010, Laura Chandler became the Executive Director for Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC), a non-profit organization formed in May 2008 with a mission to develop strategic partnerships which attract, educate and train students and workers to better meet employer needs and foster economic growth in a global marketplace.

Prior to joining SAWDC, Ms. Chandler held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation, a private, nonprofit corporation that was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and in response to the critical need for workforce housing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Shortly following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and prior to her position as CEO, Ms. Chandler was asked to join Fannie Mae’s Disaster Relief team as Senior Deputy Director. Over a fifteen month period, Ms. Chandler worked with local jurisdictions along the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast in support of their rebuilding efforts.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Chandler held the position of Development Manager for the Apartment Division at The Mitchell Company, Inc. responsible for multifamily development in the Southeast. Prior to her position at The Mitchell Company, Inc., Ms. Chandler was a development manager with Gables Residential (formerly Trammell Crow), a national premier multifamily real estate firm. During her 10-year tenure, Ms. Chandler was involved in the development of over 2,000 market rate apartment homes in the Atlanta MSA.

Ms. Chandler holds a Masters in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Land Development from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and a B.S. in Business Administration from Auburn University. Ms. Chandler serves on the Partners Council of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Alabama 65-County Workforce Development Area Board of Directors, the Central Gulf Industrial Alliance Board of Directors, the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute Advisory Board, the Mobile County Public Health Advisory Board, and the Education Commission.