Sarah Jacobs named Finalist for Coweta Economic Development Leadership position


From Special Reports

The Coweta County Development Authority and Development Authority of Coweta County have selected a finalist for the economic development organization’s next president. Sarah Jacobs, an experienced professional in the industry, has been chosen as the leading candidate for the position.

The announcement was made Thursday by John Daviston, chair of the authorities and owner of McKoon Funeral Home in Newnan.

Jacobs is currently serving as Spire Energy’s manager, economic development in St. Louis, Missouri, a position she has held since 2018. Spire is a 160-year-old utility company that serves 1.7 million homes and businesses across Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri.

“Sarah will bring a wealth of economic development experience to Coweta,” according to Daviston. “She has worked major economic development projects as well as small and medium size ventures. The board was impressed with her existing industries initiatives in her previous roles as well as the approaches she has taken to target companies for expansion opportunities. She has the marketing background and drive to build upon the foundation that has been put in place for the past 10 years or so.”

Prior to Spire, Jacobs served as the director, economic development for the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce in Missouri. In that capacity, she led a team from 2016-2018 to attract over $770 million in new investments for the region plus 1,000 new jobs. Jacobs is a graduate of Maryville University in Missouri where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degree.

“Early in the executive search process, we took the time to listen to our stakeholders in the community and at the regional and state levels to learn about the skill sets and character traits they felt were important for our new president,” Daviston said. “Experience, negotiation talents, strategic thinking, strong collaboration and relationship building skills, and marketing expertise where key phrases we heard. Sarah has these abilities and more. I look forward to working with her.”

Jacobs has been extremely active during her career, serving as a board member and executive committee member of the Hawthorn Foundation; board member and executive committee member of the Economic Development Council of St. Charles County; Economic Development Corporation of Jefferson County board member; Southern Economic Development Council; Missouri Economic Development Council; State Technical College Foundation board member; St. Louis School Business Partnership board member; Missouri Chamber of Commerce – Leadership Missouri, Class of 2019; St. Louis Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, advisory board member; Alliance STL, advisory board member; and Southern Gas Association Leadership Section Committee member.

“Georgia is one of the most business-friendly markets for economic development in the country,” says Jacobs. “I look forward to working with the current team members and board to strategize about how we can build upon the successes of the past to grow the tax base and provide additional solid employment opportunities in Coweta County. My husband and I are excited about becoming a part of the community.”

Jacobs’ husband Matt is Head of Business Operations for American AgCredit. They have one daughter, Jordan. Other members of the authorities include Rob Brass, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Randy Cardoza, retired commissioner for the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Ronnie Clotfelter, Chick-fil-A, Coweta Crossroads; Joe Griffith, Mallaghan GSE; Norman Lundin, retired; and Makisha Strickland, Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty.

Scott Berta and Molly Giddens serve as project managers for the authorities and key members of the community’s economic development team. Jacobs will be replacing Trae Westmoreland who resigned as president in March of this year to accept a position with a family business.

Jacobs will be voted upon by the authorities after a required 14-day waiting period as specified in Georgia law for public agencies. Her first day in the position is scheduled for August 1.

The development authorities engaged The Chason Group to lead the executive search process. The firm, which is Georgia based, specializes in executive searches for economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, foundations, and other non-profits. The firm also provided executive search services for the placement of Giddens with the development authority and Heather Daniel with Explore Newnan-Coweta.

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