AUTHOR: CUMMIN

HED:Monroe County chamber names Tupelo resident as interim director

By John Cummins

Daily Journal

Jim Odum, a Tupelo resident and retired economic developer and consultant, is the interim director of the newly formed Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.

Odum is serving in an unpaid position until the chamber chooses its first official president and chief executive officer, said Robert Letson, chairman of the chamber's board of directors.

Odum was the first director of the Amory chamber in 1961, and served chamber stints in Florence, Ala. and Huntsville, Ala. Odum also was employed by Jesco before retiring.

"We're fortunate that we have someone with Jim's experience helping us," Letson said. "We're still getting organized, getting our program together, but everybody's real positive."

Letson said the search for the new director is being conducted by Johnson and Associates of Houston, Texas, a search firm specializing in economic development positions.

Letson expects the firm to submit up to 20 applications to the chamber's search committee on April 22. From there the search will be narrowed to the top five candidates, with a final selection made by June 1.

Pay range for the position will probably range from $40,000 to $60,000, depending on education and experience.

Letson said several applications from local candidates were forwarded to Johnson and Associates, but said he didn't know if the firm would choose the local candidates for consideration.

Besides a search committee, the Monroe chamber has formed a membership committee and a industrial site committee. Other committees to be formed will include strategic planning, workforce development and education, existing industry and business, legislative government, and marketing and community information.

The chamber's next meeting is at noon April 14 at River Birch Country Club in Amory.

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