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New leader for LEDA announced

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

Cliff Brumfield of Brookhaven, Miss., has been hired to head up Lincoln County’s economic development efforts.

The Lincoln Economic Development Association announced late Thursday afternoon that Brumfield will be its new executive director starting in January.

The move comes after previous director Barry Matherly stepped down to take a position with the Greater Richmond Partnership in Virginia earlier this year.

Brumfield will be leaving one Lincoln County for another.

In Lincoln County, Miss., located about an hour south of the state capital, Jackson, he has served as executive vice president and director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln County Industrial Development Foundation. He has also served as the chief economic-development official for these communities since 2005, according to a press release from LEDA.

He brings more than 14 years of experience leading economic-development agencies at both the city and county level in Mississippi.

In addition, Brumfield has been a small-business owner and manager, having turned around a bankrupt Performance Tire Center in Greenwood, Miss., and managed a family-owned 680-acre tree farm and wildlife habitat. He also spent some years in banking as a senior loan officer for a regional bank, where he managed a $16 million portfolio.

He was recently elected as president of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, which serves as the voice for the state’s economic and community development and chamber of commerce professionals and their constituents. Brumfield was appointed to lead the 10-county regional economic-development organization known as the Southwest Mississippi Partnership.

He earned his degree in business administration from Mississippi State University.

Crystal Gettys, LEDA’s business development manager, has been serving as the interim director since Matherly’s resignation in February. As the Times-News previously reported, a permanent replacement was originally estimated to be on board by July.

Brumfield spoke with the Times-News following the announcement Thursday, noting that he had been impressed with both the community — in terms of the quality of life and education — and with LEDA’s staff throughout the process of landing the position.

“I’m delighted to have been offered this opportunity,” he said.

With a brother in Charlotte, Brumfield said he and his wife had been looking to relocate to North Carolina for quite some time, but were just waiting for the right opportunity.

He decided the area would be an “excellent fit” for his family and for his career moving forward.

“I’m extremely excited for the future,” he added, saying that he looks forward to helping the county grow.

He also noted the similarities between the two Lincoln counties in terms of people and attitudes.

The news staff at the Daily Leader in Brookhaven told the Times-News Thursday that the small community of about 30,000, is about two hours north of New Orleans and very rural. The Mississippi county has an unemployment rate of about 8 percent, a bit lower than that in Lincoln County, N.C.

The Leader staff said Brumfield was involved in a recent expansion at a Delphi plant and described him as instrumental in a new company announcement worth roughly 20 jobs.

“The Lincoln Economic Development Association is delighted about the opportunity to have Cliff join the organization as our next executive director,” said LEDA Chairman Tom Anderson in a statement. “We are excited about the future with the addition of Cliff’s talent and leadership to an already outstanding team at LEDA.”

Brumfield said he hopes to start at his new post the first week in January, and ultimately plans to be a homeowner in Lincoln County.

“I could not have asked for a better fit,” he added.

He and his wife, Rachel, have two daughters, one 9 and the other 14 years old.

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