EDA candidate meets with city, county boards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 30, 2001

On Wednesday afternoon, local officials got their chance to meet Michael Ferdinand, the man recommended to lead the Natchez-Adams Economic and Community Development Authority.

Members of the authority’s board on Monday agreed to recommend Ferdinand as the EDA’s new director. The Adams County Board of Supervisors and the Natchez Board of Aldermen must now formally approve the appointment.

Ferdinand, 39, has worked in business recruitment since 1993 with the Mississippi Development Authority. Prior to that, he served for four years as president of Southaven-based Sof-Tec Inc., which provided support for industrial park development.

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In a brief speech, Ferdinand pledged to use his years of economic development experience to help Adams County &uot;avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into&uot;&160;when trying to recruit companies.

&uot;I want to be your champion,&uot;&160;Ferdinand said, adding that the area needs to develop a strategic plan for economic development as soon as possible.

In 1988, when he served as plant engineer and assistant plant manager for Fleck Inc. in Fayette, he lived in the Natchez area – and admitted that &uot;I&160;didn’t really want to leave.&uot; And Ferdinand said he will work to publicize the area’s best qualities to as many business prospects as possible.

Following the meeting, local officials seemed to be impressed with Ferdinand’s experience and with the man himself.

&uot;Certainly, I&160;think he’s qualified,&uot;&160;said Sammy Cauthen, president of the Board of Supervisors. &uot;He has some good ideas he can bring to this area, and I’m willing to give him a chance.&uot;

&uot;This is long overdue,&uot; said Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot;&160;West. &uot;Natchez has the potential to go on to great and bigger things, and this (appointment)&160;was the missing piece of the puzzle.&uot;