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Wicked Solutions, LLC

helping individuals, organizations, and communities tackle "wicked" problems

and realize their best future

Joe A. Sumners, Ph.D.

Owner and Manager

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is neat, simple, and wrong."

                                                                                - H.L. Menchen

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A Bit About Wicked Solutions

Wicked problems require wicked solutions.


Wicked Solutions is a consulting firm that helps clients understand and address complex problems faced in communities and organizations. A problem is considered "wicked" if it is very difficult to solve, impacts multiple stakeholders, and is interconnected with other problems. Mitigating wicked problems requires a systematic understanding of all elements of the problem and multiple actors working collaboratively to bring about positive change.

Wicked Solutions provides strategic planning assistance to organizations and communities that want to improve operational effectiveness, local governance, workforce readiness, economic performance, and tackle other "wicked" community problems.  

Wicked Solutions services assist: 

  • Community & Economic Development Organizations

  • Community Leadership Groups

  • Municipal Governments

  • County Governments

  • Non-Profit Organizations

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Joe Sumners

Founder and Manager

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Dr. Joe A. Sumners, the Owner and Manager of Wicked Solutions, is Executive Director Emeritus of the Government & Economic Development Institute at Auburn University and has over 30 years of university outreach experience working with community organizations and local governments in Alabama.  He has extensive consulting experience in strategic planning, civic engagement, and rural community and economic development.

He has taught courses and made hundreds of speeches and presentations on topics related to government and economic development, mostly in Alabama.  He is the author of numerous publications about rural development and issues related to Alabama state and local government.  Dr. Sumners has served as a technical advisor for statewide commissions/task forces under four Alabama governors - the Alabama Commission on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform, Alabama Task Force on Economically Distressed Counties, Alabama Black Belt Action Commission, Alabama Rural Action Commission, Alabama Workforce Council, and Alabama Small Business Task Force.  He is a founding Board member of the Alabama Communities of Excellence Program and has served on the Board of Directors for the David Mathews Center for Civic Life and Main Street Alabama. 

He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in political science, public administration, and economic development at Auburn University, the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He also was a high school teacher and football and basketball coach.  

He is a native of Harpersville, Alabama. He received his BS and MA degrees from Auburn University and his PhD in Political Science from the University of Georgia. He is married to Lynn Sumners and has two children, Lacey Updegraff and Tucker Sumners.  He has three grandchildren - Ella, Jackson, and Haddie.

Professional Services

Wicked Solutions

Wicked Solutions provides a diverse array of services.  You can select individual items or a package of services.  

We will tailor our services to match your specific needs. 

Planning Travels

Strategic Planning & Community Engagement

Research and Analysis
Community Assessment
Focus Groups and Deliberative Forums
Stakeholder Engagement and Alignment
Best Practices and Benchmarks
Action Plans and Implementation Strategies
Meeting Facilitation

Giving a Speech

Training, Workshops & Presentations

Building Quality of Place
Essentials of Economic Development
Basics of Public Service and Administration
Quality Management
Strategic Planning
Effective Leadership
Supervision and Staff Development
Avoiding Workplace Harassment (Sexual Harassment)
Alabama State and Local Government
Civic Engagement

Market Analysis

Research & Analysis

Community Economic and Demographic Analysis
Community & Economic Profiles
Policy Briefs / White Papers

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For more information

Joe Sumners
(334) 559-2001
Opelika Alabama

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"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

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