Surles resigns as UCDA director

Union County Development Association Executive Director Stephen Surles will soon be stepping down from his position to take a job with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

Surles recently announced to the UCDA board of directors that he would be resigning from his post effective in March.

Surles will begin working for TVA in March in economic development for the state of Mississippi covering 36 counties, mostly in Northeast Mississippi.

The New Albany Gazette learned of Surles’ decision Monday and contacted UCDA Board President Mike Staten for comment.

In a press release submitted Tuesday morning, Staten said that Surles ” brought professionalism and drive to make us successful.”

“We wish him well with his new position with TVA and hope that having a stronger alliance within TVA will help us in the future,” Staten said.

Surles was hired to be the UCDA’s Executive Director by its board in the fall of 2007.  Prior to coming to New Albany and Union County, Surles had served as the President and CEO of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Partners for Pearl River County in Picayune.

During his tenure in Monroe County, among many other accomplishments, he helped with the creation of 2,000 new manufacturing jobs, $275 million in investment and 6.6 million in grant funds.

Staten said that, while serving as Executive Director for the UCDA, Surles helped make Union County competitive in bringing industry to the area.

Surles and his family intend to remain residents of Union County despite his job change.

“I wanted to stay in Union County, and one of the many appealing things about the job with TVA was for our family to still be able to live here,” Surles said.

According to Staten, The UCDA board is organizing a search committee to replace Surles.

” The process is focused on finding the right person for the position.  To help during the transition, Surles will be serving as interim director after joining TVA,” Staten said.

Surles said, even with Toyota’s suspension of the opening of its plant near Blue Springs, Union County is still “well-positioned.”

With the addition of the Martintown Industrial Park, Toyota, Toyota Tsusho and Vuteq, USA as well as our many other natural location advantages, Union County is poised for significant growth,” Surles said.