EDA will begin interviews for a new leader

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2001

A new director of the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority could be on board by the end of the summer.

If plans continue on schedule, interviews with potential candidates could begin within weeks, EDA board chairman Woody Allen said Tuesday.

A consultant hired by the EDA board will make a report on the first phase of the search at 1 p.m. Thursday to a joint meeting of city, county and EDA officials.

At the meeting, which will be in the City Council Chambers on South Pearl Street, John Lovorn of The Pace Group in Tupelo, Miss., will disclose what he found after surveying city and county officials during the past two weeks.

&uot;We haven’t seen the results,&uot; said Woody Allen, EDA board chairman. &uot;But I do know that everyone seemed to be positive. Just about everyone showed up for the interviews, and it seems we’re all thinking along the same general lines. That’s positive.&uot;

At the regular meeting of the EDA board on Tuesday, Allen reviewed the consultant’s schedule, which ends its first phase with the presentation on Thursday.

&uot;We were fortunate to have money in the budget to do this,&uot; Allen said. Lovorn will receive $27,000 in three payments of $9,000 each.

The first $9,000 is for the interview process. The second phase will end with the compilation of a booklet featuring proposed candidates Lovorn has selected for interviews. The third $9,000 will be paid after the chosen candidate has been hired.

Allen said the EDA board decided to hire the consultant to give city and county officials – and a few selected nonofficial people – an opportunity to have input into important decisions that will be made soon.

&uot;We personally wanted their input. We wanted to build a team concept,&uot; Allen said. &uot;We’ve struggled so long with too many people trying to make decisions.&uot;

The primary focus of the EDA today is finding the right director, Allen said. A compilation of the recent interviews is expected to provide direction for the EDA board.

Questions asked during the 30-minute one-on-one interviews conducted by Lovorn gave each person a chance to comment on such matters as what qualifications a director should have.

What job experience, what characteristics and personality traits, what educational level – and in what general area of study – and what age range the EDA director candidate should have were among the interview topics.

Other questions were about goals and objectives of the EDA and what a new director would have to accomplish in order to be seen as successful, Allen said.

Darryl Grennell, District 4 supervisor, described his interview experience as impressive. &uot;I’m truly impressed with this guy; I believe he knows what we need in Adams County,&uot; Grennell told EDA board members.

Lovorn, who has conducted about 150 successful searches for economic development directors in other cities, guarantees his work, Allen said. &uot;We have a one-year guarantee. He will come back and do the entire search again for free if the director we select doesn’t work out before the end of the first year.&uot;

EDA board member James West said the consultant’s work puts the EDA on track. &uot;After Thursday, we’ll have a consensus. We’ll know where we’re headed.&uot;

In other business, the board:

4Did some housekeeping to bring committees up to date, including a committee to revise the bylaws to reflect the change in the size of the board to five members from a much larger former board.

4Decided to make the day and time for EDA board meetings the fourth Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.

4Approved a request from Mississippi Technology Alliance to hold a technology town hall meeting in early August to let business and other leaders know what help is available from the state alliance.

4Heard from Walter Tipton, executive director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau that the convention center under construction is on schedule and will be completed by February with the first convention booked in April.

4Tipton also reported that the Natchez Community Center is into its second year and is in demand. &uot;The center is booked every weekend until the end of the year,&uot; he said.