By Errol Castens
OXFORD – After a year as second-in-command at the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, Jon Maynard will officially become its chief executive officer on Jan. 1.
Maynard, who came to Oxford from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, will succeed Max Hipp, who is retiring at year’s end.
“I’ve been working with Max since I got here, and he has graciously allowed me to work in some of the roles he has traditionally filled with economic development as well as Chamber activities,” Maynard said.
One early effort will be strategic planning with boards from both organizations, “laying out some very clear goals and objectives for the Chamber and EDF,” he said.
Maynard said Oxford is well-positioned to foster new home-grown companies.
“FNC has been a tremendous boost to the economy – they have over 400 people working there now – and they were a local startup. We have tremendous opportunity with a number of small companies and individuals in Oxford to develop the next FNCs,” he said. “We’re also working cooperatively with local industry, the public school systems and the university to develop a more attractive workforce for larger industry prospects.”
Maynard said he hopes also to grow on the foundation that the Chamber and EDF have built during Hipp’s tenure.
“I’d love to see this organization double its funding through private membership (and) grow in physical facilities,” he said. “The strategic planning results will give us the ability to market ourselves to the community, to give the community a little more awareness of where we want to go and how we plan to get there. “
Hipp said that although Maynard, a Louisiana native, was already in Mississippi, his hiring last year was the culmination of a national search for someone who might end up being Hipp’s successor.
“I’ve known Jon for a number of years, so I knew he was very competent and understands how to work within a community environment,” Hipp said. “He has a year here under his belt and has got a feel for the community . … I think it’s a good fit.”