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Maynard picked as next GSDP leader

 

Scott Maynard, the new CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, introduces himself to locals downtown on Thursday. He is the outgoing Ward 5 alderman and the former director of the Career Center at Mississippi State.

Scott Maynard, the new CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, introduces himself to locals downtown on Thursday. He is the outgoing Ward 5 alderman and the former director of the Career Center at Mississippi State. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Carl Smith

 

The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.

 

Outgoing Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard will take over as the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's president and chief executive officer next month. 

 

Maynard was chosen out of a pool of four finalists and more than 75 applicants. His first day is July 17. He was announced during a press conference held Thursday morning at GSDP's downtown office. 

 

"I am truly excited about becoming the next president and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership," Maynard said. "I believe we are on the cusp of tremendous growth for our city and look forward to capitalizing on all of the opportunities before us. The Partnership plays a vital leadership role in the areas of economic development, tourism, entrepreneurship and business development. We will work hard to continue to represent our members and enhance the quality of life for all living in our community through education, job creation and continued economic growth." 

 

GSDP Chairman Michelle Amos said the Partnership "hit a grand slam" with Maynard's hire, as the incoming CEO is a proven leader -- he has served as the Mississippi State University Career Center director since 2008 -- and has policy skills and economic development experience learned during his time as an elected official. 

 

"From the start of our search, we have been committed to finding a leader for this organization who understands all of the possibilities for Starkville -- someone who shares our vision and passion for this community. Under Scott's leadership, we are confident our already strong community development program will be pushed to even greater heights," Amos said. 

 

Maynard identified several agenda items he wants to address once he takes office -- filling the Partnership's vacant tourism director position, finalizing and opening the proposed Golden Triangle Development LINK-backed industrial park, renewing the city's 2-percent food and beverage tax with the Legislature and growing the economy with additional retail development -- but said his main goal will be to develop collaborative relationships with city, county and university leaders that tie into the GSDP's strategic plan for its umbrella agencies. 

 

"We all talk about the industrial park, but in that same sentence we need to talk about entrepreneurship, business incubators and other efforts to help small businesses get off the ground," he said. "If we can parlay all of our collaborative relationships into synergized growth, then we can accomplish great things." 

 

Maynard concludes his four-year term as Ward 5's representative Friday after he declined to seek re-election. He previously served on the board of directors for the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is managed by the Partnership, and the now-defunct Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission.  

 

The search for a new Partnership leader began last year after former CEO Jennifer Gregory resigned in October. 

 

The group's board of directors took applications -- sources close to the process said it even identified finalists -- but chose to hire the Oxford-based search firm Logan Development Group in May to broaden the search.  

 

During the process, the board named Heath Barret, the Partnership's director of member development, as the interim GSDP leader and created a new position -- tourism director -- to absorb some of the roles Gregory handled. 

 

Jennifer Prather, the Partnership's special events coordinator and Starkville Community Market manager, was named interim tourism director in April.  

 

Last year's personnel shake-up also included the departure of Business Manager Shelby Stevenson, who left for another job.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

 

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