The Henry County Development Authority board voted unanimously earlier this month to select Leonard Sledge of Hampton, Virginia as the new Executive Director for the organization. The Authority announced the candidate as the finalist for the position at a called meeting on October 16, 2017.

Sledge currently serves as Director of the Economic Development Department for the City of Hampton, Virginia--a position he has held since June 2013. The experienced economic developer has been responsible for the development and implementation of the city’s economic development strategic and marketing plans to increase economic vibrancy, general fund revenue, capital investments and job creation.

Other positions Sledge has held include Director of the Office of Economic Development for The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; Director of the Institutes of Excellence – Workforce Development Services, Virginia Community College System; and Economic Development Specialist – Center for Workforce Development for the Maricopa Community College District in Tempe, Arizona.

“Moving to Georgia is a goal my family and I have aimed for over the past several years,” according to Sledge. “While I am a native of Virginia, I consider Georgia to be my second home in part because my wife of 21 years is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. We met as undergraduate students, and now our daughter is a college student in Atlanta. My family and I desire to make Georgia, specifically Henry County, our new home and become a part of the fabric of the community.”

Sledge is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology with bachelor degrees in science and industrial engineering, respectively. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Phoenix.

“Leonard has the tenacity, experience and creativity to move our community forward in our quest to maintain the existing employment base of Henry County while at the same time working to diversify our economy,” said Geoff Cauble, Chair of the Henry County Development Authority. “Our goal is to build a stronger partnership in the next year with our county commission, municipalities, developers and existing businesses. We asked for their input prior to our search because they are key stakeholders for the Authority. Their ideas for growing Henry County in terms of new businesses, both commercial and industrial, was invaluable as we interviewed candidates.”

The Development Authority conducted a nationwide search for the position. Announcements were placed with online economic development trade publications along with personal contact of potential candidates to garner applicants. A total of 77 candidates indicated interest in the position. Those individuals were from 17 different states and Canada.

Key skill sets that the Authority members were looking for in their search included economic development experience, both commercial and industrial; marketing and communication skills; and proven leadership skills.

In addition to Cauble, other members of the Henry County Development Authority include David Linton, Charles Mobley, David Gill and Pierre Clements. Rod Meadows of Meadows, Macie & Sutton serves as legal counsel for the organization.

Charlie Moseley resigned from the Executive Director’s position in May of this year after serving in the role since December of 2014. He accepted a position with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Sledge and his wife Tiffanye, along with their two sons, will be moving to Henry County in 2018.

The Development Authority partnered with The Chason Group, Inc., an executive search firm specializing in economic development, to lead the process of employing a new Executive Director.