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QA: Kathryn Friday, Chairman Marengo EDA

Marengo EDA looks to hire executive director

By KELLI WRIGHT/ THE DEMOPOLIS TIMES

After having the first meeting of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority last month, the authority met this month to discuss hiring an executive director. How did that meeting go, and what did the group discuss?

The second meeting, I thought, went very well. The committee that was appointed to come up with a job description was ready and had a great job description for the executive director. They had done a thorough job of research and looking at other counties and communities and what they required. They came up with a very balanced job description. Now we are ready to iron out the small details and start advertising.

How do you see your role as chairman fitting in with the overall goals of this new authority?

I see myself as a facilitator, making sure everything runs smoothly and making sure he or she will get the support they need from the community and the county, and they become aware of what our needs are.

At this preliminary stage, what do you see as some of the needs of this area?

I think the first thing you always need to concentrate on is helping your established businesses and industry. We should help them to prosper and to grow, because the easiest job to create is one within an existing industry. If you look at our mission statement, we want to create jobs that will enhance the overall quality of life in Marengo County. The whole purpose of this is not to just go out there and snatch up anything you can find, but to find good jobs where people can afford things like medical insurance.

How do you feel about the group of people being represented by the members of the authority?

I think we have &8212; and I&8217;m not just trying to make people feel good about themselves &8212;quality people and there are so many different things people bring to the table. There are so many backgrounds and they come from so many areas, each one of them has so much to contribute.

What are some of the backgrounds that are represented in the members of the board?

We have everything from educators to healthcare to industry, several different industries. Jay Shows (vice chairman) has worked with economic development, I work with the cooperative extension (service), and of course we are concerned with community development and economic development. That is part of our mission. There are just so many areas there.

The seed funds for this organization came from contributions from the participating municipalities, but it has been said that one day this authority will operate on both public and private funds. At this stage, what will these public funds pay for?

Most of those will go to pay for salary and expenses for the economic developer, because they have to travel. Of course we have to set up the entire office from scratch, but most of it will go to salary and travel. The really successful economic development organizations are public-private partnerships.

Why do you think this kind of relationship has been successful?

I think it shows an attitude of the whole county working together. It&8217;s not just the public sector and it&8217;s not just the private sector. Anytime you have everybody pulling together, you are just going to be successful and I think that is what that always indicates.