Ted Akins assumed his new role as the Chairman of the Bryan County Development Authority during the group’s regular meeting. He replaces Sean Register, who served two one-year terms.
"He’s more than qualified," Register said of Akins. "As vice chair, Ted has been involved in all aspects of the authority - financial, personnel, infrastructure, contracts. All the state agencies know him as well. I know he’ll do a fantastic job."
Akins is a Black Creek real estate broker and has been involved with Bryan County politics for many years. He has been on the board of directors for the Development Authority since July 2007 and was vice chair before the board voted to promote him last month. Prior to that, he served as the chairman of the Bryan County Planning and Zoning Board.
"I’m excited about it," Akins said of his new title. "We have a great group of people on our board. To lead will indeed be an honor."
Akins recognizes the challenges that the downturn in the economy has created, but said he is confident due to the abilities of the board and "our great new, young executive director Josh Fenn." Akins said Fenn is reputable at the state level, which could give Bryan County an edge when competing for large businesses looking for a location to set up shop. He said most companies confer with the state level power company and/or development authority, and Fenn has contacts with both.
Akins said the Bryan County Development Authority runs off of approximately half a mill in tax money, which is about one fourth of the funds available to neighboring counties. Akins said that entails spending marketing dollars wisely, and having to be "quick on our feet. It’s very competitive."
The authority currently is looking to fill a 604,000 square foot spec building in the Black Creek industrial park, but also has many other public and private sites throughout the county that are ready for industry.
"Ted did a good job as vice chair and should do really well in his new role," Fenn said. "It’s a good time for the authority. We have not been affected by the national economy, which a lot of development authorities can’t say in Georgia or even nationally. That’s thanks to the leadership of our board. Under their guidance, we look to continue that success."
Register plans to continue serving on the board. Dell Keith, president of Bryan Bank & Trust, was elected vice chairman. Richmond Hill real estate broker Linda Barker was chosen secretary. Linda Bragg, assistant finance director for Bryan County schools, was named treasurer.