AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Augusta Economic Development Authority ("AEDA") board of directors has launched a search for a new leader. The current executive director of the business marketing organization, Walter Sprouse, announced his plan to retire at the end of 2017 following a successful 14-year career with the organization.
"The Augusta EDA is in a very positive position right now," says Henry Ingram, chairman of the board. "Walter has been instrumental in building a pro-business atmosphere in Augusta during his tenure. Dozens of new businesses have located to our city and many existing industries have expanded their operations, thanks to Walter's persistence and drive. He is now prepared to assist with the transition and orientation of a new leader for the AEDA which is vital for the business development of our community."
The AEDA's mission is to seek new investments and jobs for Augusta and to aide existing businesses undergoing capital expansions and job growth. The organization provides bond financing, tax abatement and other incentives for businesses based on certain guidelines. The AEDA is Augusta's key contact for the Georgia Department of Economic Development and statewide economic development partners like Georgia Power Company and Georgia EMC. The AEDA also works with other stakeholders including industry leaders, developers and site selection consultants.
"The title for Augusta EDA's new leader will change to 'president' to better reflect the role" according to Ingram, "and more in line with other local business organizations such as the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau."
The minimum qualifications for the president position include a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college, ideally with post graduate work or equivalent experience. Candidates should have a minimum of five years of management, executive and strategic leadership experience in the economic and/or community development field. The last date to submit a resume is October 18, 2017.
The president will serve as the chief executive officer of the AEDA and will report to its board of directors. The successful candidate will be the key contact for Augusta's business prospects, will work with existing industries seeking to expand and will lead the development of a strategic plan for economic growth in Augusta. Other responsibilities include managing AEDA's budget, developing a strong support staff team and communicating the mission and work of the organization with area stakeholders.
"We are searching for a qualified professional who will market our community and build relationships with all types of business – from manufacturing to cyber to retail," says Pat Schaffer, chair of the AEDA's personnel committee. "Our goal is to build upon the economic development foundation in place today but with a more a strategic approach. We recently formed a partnership with the Augusta Commission for retail growth. And with the addition of cyber security to our community, we are reaching out to our state partners for help in attracting and adding to this developing industry. For sure, there is a lot going on in Georgia's second largest city."
Other members of the AEDA include: Ulmer Bridges, Brenda Bonner, Remer Brinson, Wilbert "Butch" Gallop, Jr., Terry Elam, Steven Kendrick, and William "Bill" Hollingsworth, III.
The EDA has partnered with The Chason Group, Inc., an executive search firm specializing in economic development organizations, to work with the board on identifying qualified candidates. For more information about the position, candidates may visit www.thechasongroup.com. Additional information about the AEDA may be viewed at www.augustaeda.org