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Reed out as IDA project manager

South Boston News
Jeff Reed / April 29, 2013
The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority has parted ways with its project manager, Jeff Reed.

The departure of Reed, who came to Halifax in late 2008 to serve as the IDA’s point person for recruiting new business and industry, was confirmed Sunday in an automated reply to an e-mail sent to his account with the IDA. "Jeff Reed is no longer with the Halifax IDA. If you need assistance please contact Matt Leonard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)," read the reply message.

IDA Board Chairman John Cannon also confirmed the decision, apparently taken Friday at the monthly meeting of the IDA board, but asked that all questions be directed to Leonard, the IDA's executive director. Repeated efforts to reach Leonard by phone and e-mail Sunday were unsuccessful, but in a followup e-mail Monday morning he declined to comment specifically on Reed but took responsibility for the decision. "As the Executive Director of the IDA, all personnel decisions are mine. I won’t comment further, except to say that personnel decisions can be difficult," Leonard wrote.

"The IDA remains dedicated to its mission of improving Halifax County through increased employment and economic growth. We also understand out duty to the citizens of Halifax County to meet our mission as effectively and efficiently as possible. We will continue forward toward those goals," he continued.

Reed joined the Halifax County IDA after a five-year stint with the Danville Office of Economic Development, where he served as assistant director and helped to bring nearly 30 economic development projects to the city.

He was widely credited with playing a key role in the recruitment of IKEA subsidiary Swedwood, making Danville home to the Swedish furniture maker’s first North American plant.

Reed became part of the Halifax County IDA under former executive director Mike Sexton, who retired in 2011 after a 20-year career in economic development, including 17 years with the state economic development office. According to the IDA’s website, Reed came to work for Halifax County as a contractor with responsibility for “developing leads and prospects” and “cultivating relationships with site location groups and consultants.”

Reached Monday via e-mail, he shed no light on the reasons for his departure but wrote, "I have loved every minute that I have been in Halifax and enjoyed my work. There are an outstanding group of professionals that I have had the privileged to work with and even more fortunate to call friends. There are some very exciting things in the works and I am grateful to have played a small part in shaping the future."

During Reed’s tenure, Halifax County has landed a handful of new major industrial and business projects. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, two new projects were announced in 2011: the South Boston Energy, LLC wood-fired power facility and the American Wood Finishing Institute. In 2010, the county landed the National Tire Research Center at Virginia International Raceway.

In addition, in 2011, Halifax County welcomed Faneuil, Inc. to the Riverstone Technology Park. Faneuil operates a customer call center for Dominion, which was projected to employ 150 when the project was first announced in June 2011.

Halifax County has witnessed six other business expansions since the start of 2009, according to the VEDP. The list includes the October 2012 expansion of the National Tire Research Center, which was first announced in 2010. The expansion added 63 jobs. (The VEDP says 30 jobs were created when the center first opened at VIR in 2010).

Other expansions include:

Aquatic (formerly Lasco), June 2012, 120 new jobs

Dollar General Corp., December 2011, 50 new jobs

Presto Products, June 2011, 22 new jobs

ABB, June 2011, 15 new jobs

Aquatic, January 2009, 50 new jobs

As of this weekend, the Halifax County IDA website ( still listed Reed as project manager.

Reed also is a former president and current board member of the Community Arts Foundation, which oversees The Prizery.

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Let's see if Mssrs. Leonard and Cannon can keep the economic development ball rolling. My money says not.

I trust either of them about as far as I can throw them, especially after John Cannon's efforts to turn Riverdale into a wetlands park. It's Riverdale, it's there, accept it as it is and get over it. The idea, turning established tax-producing properties into tax-consuming properties.

Mr. Leonard should consider that any and all IDA types are easily replaced or gotten rid of completely- ask Bowman up in Pittsylvania.

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