Thursday, January 26, 2006

Moving Marshall forward
Leadership training in second season

Staff Writer

The 2006 LeadershipPlenty class got underway last week with orientation at a two-day retreat at Kirkwood.

The leadership course is a project of Marshall County Strategic Planning, undertaken three years ago to help solve some of the county’s concerns relating to the economy, education, health and safety, business and industry and taxation.

A second class was called this year because of the success stories pouring out of the 2005 class.

In briefing the 2006 class, county administrator Larry Hall reviewed progress and explained how leadership training benefits individuals. The concept of organizing leadership classes and having people get familiar with each other creates a diversity, he said.

“Without diversity, leadership does not exist,” he said.

Hall stressed the importance of taking action to achieve goals set by the group.

“These are good ideas, but without enthusiasm and push, you just don’t get where you need to go,” he said. “I think the biggest obstacle is putting ideas into action.”

Some tangible successes arising from strategic planning include revising zoning ordinances to attract new residents and industrial and commercial growth, plus boost tax revenue and jobs.

One result of zoning is to protect property values, Hall said.

Health and safe environment concerns have been partially addressed, he said, citing recent placement of police officers in some county schools and an intention to keep cities and county thoroughfares clean and attractive.

He challenged the 2006 class to revisit this issue as a possible class project.

New industries on the horizon will offer good paying jobs, Hall said. He cited interest in warehousing and distribution and the good jobs now becoming more available in this business sector.

Hall said it is all too easy to overlook the progress taking place.

“If I go back over it through the years, I see it’s happening faster than I realize,” he said.

The image of Marshall County is changing and that change is producing lots of opportunity and growth, he said.

Janet Jolley, county extension agent working with the leadership class again this year, is pleased with the new group.

“I think they are going to be energetic and they are a diverse group,” she said. “The ages range from several who are in their 20s to those in their 60s. I think this will be a great strength to the class.”

Many members commented that they were not aware of the growth occurring in the county, Jolley said. Participants commented on the diversity of the membership and believe it will contribute to the mix of ideas and solutions offered for some of the problems the communities face, she said.

Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce agreed.

“This was a very positive, upbeat group of participants,” she said. “They are excited about the opportunities of participating in LeadershipPlenty class. This will be another asset for Marshall County as we continue to grow.”

The 2006 class consists of Nancy Boatwright, Cecelia Bost, Jane Callicutt, Lisa Cole, Tammy Cupp, Mary Joel Curcio, Juanita Dillard, Michele Foster, Gwen Gipson, Shawnece Harris, Kasey Haynie, Lynn jiJaga, Bill Kincade, Lisa Liddy, Bridgette McClarty, Paul Nemeth, Lemon Phelps, Christine Ratcliff, Alice Ray, Jeff Rhea, Judy Smith, Herbert Wade Staggs, Blaine Tooley, Linda Turner, Timothy Vanzant Jr., Velma Weaver, Samantha White and Phillip Woods.

Leadership training is a project of Marshall County government and is supported by the Chambers of Commerce in Byhalia and Holly Springs and the MSU Extension Service.

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