By Carlile Kollath Wells and Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Community Development Foundation has hired a new manager for the Renasant Center IDEAs.
The organization Wednesday said it tapped Judd Wilson as its director of small business development. Wayne Averett held the position first, but left for another job last year. Orlando Pannell most recently oversaw operations of the Renasant Center but left recently to pursue another opportunity.
In his new role with the economic development organization, Wilson will manage the Renasant Center for IDEAs, which is Tupelo and Lee County’s regional business incubator.
Since it opened in 2007, the incubator has housed 35 clients, collectively employing 258 workers.
Wilson previously was a pharmaceutical sales representative, a profession that brought him to Tupelo more than 16 years ago.
“My background is in sales and marketing, so I’ve been selling for a long time,” he said. “While I was a pharmaceutical rep, I worked for a large corporation and you ran your territory like it was your own business. You were the small business owner.”
The CDF job allows him to interact with tenants who one day hope to strike out on their own with a successful business.
“It’s been a dream of mine to do something like this, so when the opportunity came, I thought, ‘What better way than to work with CDF and help small businesses at the same time?’”
Wilson officially started Sept. 17. He’s been meeting with the tenants to find out more about them, and he’s been learning more about CDF.
This week, he’s in Milwaukee at the National Business Incubators Association, getting to know more incubator directors and getting tips about his new job.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to get to know them and to find out what they know and what they’ve been through and to get ideas from them,” he said.
More staff changes
Todd Beadles, who was CDF’s vice president of workforce development, no longer is with the organization. He now works for SRG, an auto industry-related staffing company in Tupelo.