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Dresden Enterprise News Writer
Members of the Weakley County Economic Development Board and Executive Committee voted to approve a new director, during their Monday, July 30 meeting at the Weakley County Municipal Electric System.
Shelby Spurgeon of Jackson was unanimously selected from a field of five finalists after a formal search was conducted by Center Point Business Solutions.
After hearing a unanimous recommendation from the Search Committee to hire Spurgeon to fill the position of outgoing WCEDB director, Ronnie Price, the WCEDB approved her appointment.
Chairman of the Weakley County Economic Development Board Alex Bynum commented, “The Weakley County Economic Development Board is thrilled to have voted unanimously to hire Shelby to lead economic development activities for our community. It was evident by her interview that she not only has a passion for the future of Weakley County, but also a knowledge base to make both her and our organization extremely successful.”
Spurgeon, who was the top candidate from a pool of 61 applicants, comes to Weakley County with a background in economic development.
As economic development director, Spurgeon will assist in the development and marketing of Weakley County. She will also maintain relationships with site selection consultants, national real estate brokers, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development team. Additionally, Spurgeon will develop, design, and maintain a Weakley County tourism strategy.
“I am excited and ready to take on this role as economic development director and look forward to working with the Weakley County team to set and achieve new economic development goals,” says Spurgeon.
She expressed her appreciation to the board for having the confidence in her to do the job.
“I especially look forward to getting to know and work with you all,” Spurgeon said. “I can’t be more excited to move to Weakley County to begin my career here. Weakley County has recently experienced a tremendous amount of economic development success. I look forward to getting to work and building relationships that will enable us to build upon those successes.”
A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Spurgeon, who is a senior at Mississippi State University, is finishing up her Bachelors of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in public relations, and will graduate in the fall semester of this year. She only lacks two classes and has those arranged on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and is available to work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Spurgeon has gained valuable work experience in the economic development field at Tennessee Valley Authority, The Jackson Chamber of Commerce, and Mississippi Development Authority. She will begin working part-time on August 20 while she is finishing up her degree. She will work full-time starting January 2, 2019.
Spurgeon will receive a weekly salary of $600 for a minimum of at least 24 hours per week. Her salary will increase to $55,000 annually, beginning January 1, 2019, at which time she will begin working full time. At that time, she will have access to begin using a vehicle provided by the WCEDB. Assuming all goes well and she meets the expectations of the position, her annual salary will increase to $60,000 on July 1, 2019.
On a motion by Martin Mayor Randy Brundige, the board voted to retain Price until December 21 at his full salary to help Spurgeon make the transition to her new position.
“We really need somebody full time, with what’s going on,” Brundige said.
Price stated, although he doesn’t know Shelby, he has known her father, Kyle Spurgeon, for the past 25 years. Kyle is president/CEO of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and a native of Henry County.
“I talked with Shelby and she seems like a very bright young lady,” Price said. He added that she needs a new computer system, because the current system is outdated.
“Everything we do now is electronic. It’s all email, text messages and scanned items.”
Price stated the computer will need to tie into Martin’s new high-speed internet recently installed by the service provider West Kentucky & Tennessee Telecommunications Cooperative. Mayor Brundige confirmed it is already available at the REED Center on Lindell Street in Martin, where Shelby’s office is located.
The next WCEDB meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m. on Monday, September 24, at the Northwest Tennessee Development District building located at 124 Weldon Drive in Martin.