By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Jon Maynard will succeed Christy Knapp as one of the most visible faces of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation.
Maynard will become Executive Vice President for Economic and Community Development on Jan. 1, when Knapp’s retirement becomes official. He began his duties Dec. 1.
Husband to Cherie and father to teenagers Connor and Holly, Maynard is a SCUBA instructor, pilot and percussionist.
With experience in industries from banking to manufacturing, he also brings to his new job the expertise developed in six years leading economic development organizations in his hometown of Natchitoches, La., and Starkville.
“What you have to offer in a community that has a research university is the ability to create and attract jobs and industries that are essentially the product of the skill sets that you’ve been graduating,” Maynard said. The next level of development, he said, will likely result from increased attraction of University of Mississippi graduates back to the area.
“(Graduates) go out in the world and they can work in their respective industries, but they have a love for all things Oxford, all things Ole Miss,” he said. “If we can recruit companies with a workforce dedicated to coming back to Mississippi, we have an opportunity to grow ourselves on the things we do extremely well already.”
Both Ole Miss and State, he added, have strengths that can reach past their respective towns.
“There’s no reason the two communities can’t be synergistic,” he said. “Really, there’s no reason the entire state can’t benefit from what’s going on at Ole Miss, State, Southern or anywhere.”
Maynard will play a supporting role to Hipp in industrial and commercial recruitment, but he will lead the retiree attraction program that Knapp built into a nationally recognized force.
“Oxford does retiree attraction better than most. Oxford’s gotten huge kudos,” he said. “My first order of business is not to mess up anything that Christy Knapp has done well.”
EDF officials are enthusiastic about Maynard’s new place on their team.
“Jon is an outstanding addition to the EDF staff, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to Oxford-Lafayette County,” said Vickie Cook, 2011-2013 EDF chairman. “His experience working in a growing university town will serve our organization and the Lafayette-Oxford-University community well.”