By CARL SMITH
Since the resignation of Greater Starkville Development Partnership President Jon Maynard, GSDP Board of Trustees President Steve Langston says his group has received early interest in the position although the board has yet to formally start its search.
GSDP board members accepted Maynard’s resignation in late March, a move many trustees and GSDP employees said they had not expected or anticipated.
Langston said he attributes Starkville’s high quality of life, strong public and private schools and economic potential as a factor to the early interest.
“We can tell already from (external) questions about the job that we have far more interest in people coming to Starkville now than coming before when vacancy occurred (previously),” Langston said.
Currently, the board is developing a new job description for the position, but no timetable for the search has been announced.
“What we are doing is looking at our needs and trying to come up with a better job description. Then we’ll all get together and get it finalized,” Langston said. “We’re looking at possibilities of getting out into the economic development world. Economic development is a little different here. High-tech jobs are high on the list (due to the impact of Mississippi State University), as are industrial and retail jobs.”
Terry Kemp, Starkville Electric Department general manager, was the GSDP Board of Trustees president when the organization hired Maynard as CEO. He said the board’s search lasted several months and utilized an external firm to develop a process of communication, outlining the job description and identifying possible candidates. The board handled the interviews and the actual selection.
“We had a lot of support from the board and the entire community. What we wanted to do was find the right person for that particular time to lead and develop economic growth,” Kemp said. “We started the process by listening and identifying our goals, expectations and needs.”
Kemp said he thought Maynard accomplished many good things while at the GSDP’s helm. Kemp also said he has yet to speak with Maynard since his resignation.
Since the turnover, GSDP Vice President for Tourism Jennifer Gregory has served as the partnership’s main point of contact. GSDP employees say they are continuing the group’s mission and day-to-day activities. Langston said the GSDP will not “drop the ball on any project” during the turnover.
“The Conventions and Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce are all taking care of its members, and the GSDP is continuing to function in its day-to-day business as usual,” Austin Shafer, vice president for membership and Chamber of Commerce, said. “We’ve (individually) fielded more phone calls, but this organization does its job very effectively. I have complete confidence in the board to make the right choice for our organization and the Starkville community.”