After about an hour-long executive session Thursday, the Bryan County Development Authority Personnel Committee recommended offering F.J. "Josh" Fenn the executive director position.
Fenn accepted the offer, signed the contract and should begin work in mid March, according to BDDA Project Manager Gwen Strickland.
Fenn, president and CEO of Eastman-Dodge County Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC Development Authority, brings 10 plus yeas of experience in Georgia economic development to the table, Vice Chair Ted Akins said.
Chairman Sean Register said he is happy with the selection and thinks Fenn will be good for Bryan County.
"He’s very well qualified, knows all the key players and agencies, such as Georgia Power, Georgia Economic Development, and the different private developers," Register said.
"He’ll get our name out there and keep it in front of people. We expect him to be in Atlanta a lot knocking on doors, making sure the word in Bryan County is we’re ready for the industrial development to come our way," he said.
Fenn’s salary will be $65,000, according to Strickland, the same salary former executive director Jean Bacon was making when her contract was not renewed last year.
Fenn said Friday that he’s looking forward to working with Bryan County’s energetic and knowledgeable development authority.
"I’m excited," he said. "Bryan County has great assets to market, and I look forward to getting the county’s name out there and bringing about positive growth for the area."Interest has been shown recently at the TPA site in Phase II of Interstate, according to Register. Two large, financially sound companies made a site visit last weekend to the property currently under construction, he said.
"We have the opportunity to get both of them. TPA is starting to see interest, and that draws other people to the area," Register said.
"We think it’s very exciting," he said. "Even though it’s a private company they’re still going about economic development and Bryan County will benefit," he said.
"We are able, willing, and will assist them in any way to make sure that happens because it brings the jobs, increases the tax base. It’s a good thing, and it’s going to be planned in the right way," Register said.
In other business:
Due to economic times, TPA has asked for a two-year extension on the time they have to purchase the remaining property that’s part of the option agreement with the Development Authority, Akins said.
TPA agreed to purchase 150 acres from Phase II of Interstate Centre by July 2009, but has purchased 54 acres thus far, which is where the current construction is, according to Strickland.
"They’ve asked for a two year extension to purchase the remaining property," she said. "They are working well with us, and the need may change if they get tenants in the building."
Nothing has been decided, Strickland said. "We will be receiving a proposal from them."
Four members of Thomas and Hutton Engineering Company displayed a power point presentation for BCDA, vying for their business and showing such projects as Target, Ikea, and the Imperial Sugar rebuild.
EMC is the current engineering firm working with the authority at Interstate Centre, and according to Register, their position is not necessarily in jeopardy.
"We were approached and we wanted to hear what they had to offer, so they came and gave the presentation," he said.
"At this time, we are with our current engineers, EMC," Register said.
A loan and grant was approved on the Dicon property in Interstate Centre, according to Akins. The loan can’t close until Dicon meets certain goals, like 55 employees on site, but it won’t be long, he said.
"It should be totally wrapped up in March," he said.
Akins said the authority expects to receive nearly half a million dollars in reimbursed funds when the loan closes.
The board approved the plan for a 12-month option by Daniel Defense on the lot next to the current construction, according to Akins.
Register said, "They’re growing fast, and that’s good for us."
Daniel Defense plans a May 1 ribbon cutting ceremony for the building currently being built, Akins said.