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Filling IDA executive director spot a ‘powerful’ opportunity

Crucial decisions must be made in Screven County.
As for some of those decisions, you - yes, you - can have an essential part in your county’s future. If you have not already, we adamantly urge you to carefully review the political platforms of the candidates and the proposed constitutional resolutions and cast your votes in the Nov. 2 General Election. Advanced voting remains an early option through Oct. 29 in the county registrar’s Sylvania office.
However, it is not just the spots up for grabs through the polling process that have the potential to be instrumental for generations to come.
The announcement that Gayle Boykin will retire from her role as executive director of the Screven County Industrial Development Authority presents an opportunity for the selection of a successor who is persistent yet cautious; a marketing wizard yet conscientious listener; and street-wise yet still blessed with Southern charm.
To be blunt, the hiring of a new IDA director is one of the most important chances to fill a job position our county has experienced in the last decade. No slight to any other full-time, paid positions in our county, but IDA director is among the top five most powerful people in the county.
You have heard it and it certainly applies here - with power comes a great deal of responsibility. This person will be looked upon to help sustain current industry in our county and try to bring in new jobs. Any addition of a new industry would entice other businesses to move to Screven County, influence the construction of new homes and rejuvenate the retail market.
It is very easy to see why IDA director stacks high in the local power rankings.
Indications are the IDA’ s seven volunteer board members will pay a consultant to help facilitate the process of the selection of a director. Although some individuals already have clamored this is a needless use of funds, we disagree. Utilizing money up front to influence the best candidates to apply and to help with the selection process is sensible. If a new IDA director comes in within the next few months and then nails down an industry that employs hundreds, we all will forget about the initial consultant fees.
Let’s get the right person.
Currently, the necessary qualifications for the directorship are being hashed out. On behalf of the community for whom you represent, IDA board members we insist you exercise these guidelines --
n The applicants must have a college degree, preferably in the areas of business, communications, economics, management, marketing, planning, public policy or public administration. Political science for trips to the state capitol to visit with lawmakers also would be beneficial.
n Also, this search must be nationwide. We need someone without existing ties to Screven County. As one local businessperson recently said, this is a job whose purpose is to bring in business, so the job should be run as a business. We must have a person who can see the initial and eventual benefits of a new company.
We have got to select someone with an effervesent personality who is knowledgeable. Although there are tons of drawbacks to a lackluster economy, we stand to benefit in the hiring process from a nationwide shortage of jobs. We should receive applications from seasoned, experienced professionals as well as hungry, eager recent college graduates.
While we stress the magnitude of the director’s role in the advancement of our county, it most definitely is not a one-person show. The IDA is composed of a seven-member board that sets directives on how the authority will proceed with highlighting Screven County’s positives to bring in business. Even the most aggressive IDA boards in America do not land every company that may show an interest, but assuredly lethargic boards will never bring in businesses.
Plainly put, if the IDA board and executive director are not excited about the potential of Screven County, why the heck would an outsider be enthralled? Many generations of Screven Countians have come and gone. During that same time, many business opportunities that would have stabilized our local economy passed on us not because the grass was greener elsewhere, but rather the decision makers seemed disinterested.
That most definitely is not smart business dealings.
Need we remind you Screven County is not the only place people talk? Officials from companies do talk with officials from other companies. If a series of patrons’ bad experiences at a restaurant can lead to the shutting down of that eatery, what do you think a series of bad experiences with company head honchos looking at Screven for expansion would do to this county?
This community has got to have a strong economic pulse and not be looking over at a digital read-out monitor wondering if we are about to flatline business-wise.
“Location, location, location” is paramount in the realty world and that phrase also has enormous meaning to our entire county. Screven County is an hour from Augusta and Savannah and a half-hour from Statesboro. Unlike other counties, our airport has excess acreage available for development. We have a “Work Ready” base of home-grown potential employees who live in a county with land that is prime for the building of new companies.
Hiring the right, college-educated IDA executive director applicant from a nationwide search would have our community breathing easier i of us believing we are teetering on life-support.