By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Leaders in the Tupelo/Lee County business community were welcomed with red carpet treatment Thursday evening for the Community Development Foundation’s annual meeting at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
David Rumbarger, CDF president and CEO, and CDF staff welcomed guests on a red carpet complete with paparazzi. The silver screen-themed event showcased the creative talents of the staff and board and celebrated the organization’s accomplishments the past year against a backdrop of familiar movie scenes.
According to the report, in the past year CDF has played a role in attracting new businesses and expanding existing businesses, resulting in 516 new jobs in Lee County. The new payroll from that job creation exceeds $14.6 million.
Rumbarger said he is particularly pleased with the number of existing businesses that have expanded operations in the Tupelo area.
“It means they like doing business here, like the workforce and want to invest more in the area,” he said.
The event ended David Copenhaver’s year as chairman, and he welcomed Chauncey Godwin Jr. to the post. Shane Hooper will replace Godwin as vice chairman and Lisa Hawkins will join the leadership as second vice chairman.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve,” Copenhaver said.
During his term as chairman, CDF reported businesses it helped attract to the area contributed more that $57.6 million in capital investments locally.
Godwin said he wants to build on the organization’s success.
“We are going to continue to recruit high-quality industry to Lee County and to Tupelo,” he said.
Godwin said in an interview that the addition of another company in the automotive sector may be on the horizon and he hopes to see CDF attract more high-tech industry to the area.