September 15, 2017 10:36:21 AM
Golden Triangle Development LINK Chief Operating Officer Joe Deason is heading to Madison County.
Deason, who's worked with the LINK since 2013, was has been named the executive director of the Madison County Economic Development Authority. He will begin at his new position Oct. 1.
Macaulay Whitaker, who came to the LINK in 2011, has been promoted to COO.
In his time at the LINK, Deason played critical roles in recruiting Yokohama Tire Corporation, The Mill at MSU in Starkville and in developing an industrial park plan for Starkville and Oktibbeha County.
Deason said he is sad to leave the Golden Triangle, which he's called home for nearly five years.
"I feel like we've accomplished quite a bit in those years, so obviously I'm saddened to leave," he said. "But the LINK was in good hands when I got here, and I'm leaving it in good hands. (LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins) and the team are incredible and won't miss a beat with me exiting."
LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins praised Deason's work ethic and personality.
"Joey Deason is among a very small group of economic development professionals that really get it," Higgins said. "He is incredibly intelligent and observant, but with an Attala County street-smart and people acumen that really allows him to connect with people. When you can connect with people like Joey does, doors will open."
In his new position, Deason will oversee economic development for Canton, Flora, Madison and Ridgeland. The location, and differing demographics of the area, will present new opportunities for Deason.
"It's located in the Jackson metro, so the population base is much larger than what we have here in the Golden Triangle," Deason said. "I will be playing in some different arenas. I'm looking forward to working with the people in Madison and making life better for the citizens there."
In a press release, MCEDA Board of Directors Chairman Lanny Slaughter said the economic development body is happy to have Deason.
"Joey's experience in economic development at both a regional and state level combined with his level of leadership will ensure that MCEDA is both focused and accountable in working with industry and community leaders," Slaughter said.
Whitaker's, McConnell's new roles
Whitaker has previously served as the director of programs and events and, most recently, vice president of internal and external affairs.
In her new role, she will oversee the LINK's operations and begin training with the LINK's lead technicians who oversee economic development for the region.
The LINK also announced that Emily McConnell has started working as project manager for the organization. McConnell joined the LINK last year as director of programs and events for the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.
In her new position, McConnell will handle data processing and packaging for economic development recruitment, and will train under Senior Vice President for Economic Development Brenda Latham.
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