SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority’s exhaustive search for a CEO ended with a unanimous sigh of relief Thursday morning.
During a special called meeting, the authority (IDA) approved the hiring of Brandt Herndon, formerly the vice president of business development for the Savannah Economic Development Authority. Herndon was named the lone finalist for the CEO job a couple of weeks ago.
The IDA has been searching for a CEO since John Henry resigned last fall after serving in the post for more than a decade.
“Welcome aboard, Mr. Brandt,” several members said in unison after the vote.
“We look forward to you hitting the ground full speed,” IDA Chairman Glenn Weston said.
Herndon knows he has lots to do but his first order of business was getting his desk and computer situated. His hiring was effective immediately.
“Really, the priority is staying on top of what active projects are in the works,” Herndon said. “There are two or three kind of floating around that are kind of looking for some information so we are trying to make sure we are providing the correct information so we can keep moving forward and stay in the hunt for opportunities.”
The IDA’s partnership with OmniTRAX at the 2,700-acre Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub in Rincon will garner plenty of Herndon’s attention. The area served by CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads is expected to attract manufacturers, processors, distributors and other businesses because of its proximity to the Port of Savannah.
“There’s a lot of opportunity with that dual rail and it is GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) certified,” Herndon said. “There are only 60 of them in Georgia so I feel like this is a good opportunity, this piece of property, for Effingham County.”
The IDA is hopeful that the connections Herndon made while serving the Savannah Economic Development Authority, Fayette County Development Authority, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Electric Cities will help him in Effingham County.
“After 20 years, you get to know a lot of people,” Herndon said. “That’s a lot of contacts and that’s the key for me — having that network and having those relationships.”
See the June 13 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.