IDA

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s board of directors meets Friday morning in the IDA conference room at 1100 Confroy Drive. Board member Jeremy Satterfield joined the meeting remotely by phone conferencing.

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority is in the process of regrouping, and since November has had only one official staff member–—interim executive director Mike Davidson.

For that reason, the IDA’s board of directors authorized Davidson to hire RiverLink Group to conduct an organizational analysis at its Friday meeting following a closed session discussion.

“The RiverLink Group is looking at past staffing positions that the IDA has had to make sure the IDA has the right staffing mix,” Davidson told The Gazette on Monday.

Davidson added that RiverLink plans to compare the Halifax County IDA’s staffing positions with other IDA’s across the Commonwealth of Virginia, specifically ones similar in size to Halifax County, to make sure the job titles and descriptions are the right fit for the IDA and align with what the organization is striving to accomplish.

The mission of the Halifax County IDA is to “improve Halifax County through increased employment and economic growth,” according to the organization’s website.

RiverLink Group is a small business economic development consulting firm based in Richmond. The firm specializes in providing consulting expertise to economic development organizations in rural Virginia.

Elizabeth Povar, principal officer and founder of the RiverLink Group, will head up the organizational analysis of the IDA. Povar has held various leadership roles with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, most recently as vice president for business expansion.

The Halifax County IDA has been in flux ever since the board’s firing of former executive director Brian Brown in October. Deputy director Tracy Mallard resigned the following month, and by the end of 2020, the IDA had lost its other two staff members — the facilities manager and administrative assistant — as well.

The exact reason for the board’s firing of Brown has not been revealed, but board chairman Robert Bates stated at the time the board decided the IDA needed to “move in a new direction” and that in order to do that, they had to let Brown go as the organization’s executive director.

In an interview with The Gazette following his termination, Brown expressed his shock at the board’s actions, saying he had no indication that the board intended to end his employment with the IDA and in fact, he said he “thought things were going pretty well.”

Brown was only in the role of executive director of the Halifax County IDA for a little more than a year, since August 2019.

Davidson, who recently retired from the position of economic development director for Campbell County, stepped in to fill the vacant role of executive director on an interim basis while the IDA searches for a permanent executive director.

The IDA’s former deputy director/ interim executive director Kristy Johnson also has returned to assist the organization, in a non-official capacity at the moment.

Amid the staff resignations at the IDA near the end of 2020, board member Brandon Scearce also submitted his resignation to the Halifax County Board of Supervisors in November.

Jeremy Catron, who is the plant manager at Huber Engineered Woods, has since filled Scearce’s position on the IDA board.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.