FSEDI names new CEO; Smolak takes new job

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FRANKLIN—John Smolak, president and chief executive officer of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., is resigning to take a new job.

Amanda Jarratt, marketing manager for FSEDI, will take Smolak’s place effective March 16. FSEDI is the lead economic development agency for the Franklin-Southampton County area.

Smolak has been named director of business and economic development with the Appalachian Power Co. in Roanoke.

“John has done a tremendous job in building a great economic development organization,” said FSEDI Board of Directors Chairman Warren Beale. “Over his tenure, we have been able to grow more than 610 jobs in the Franklin/Southampton region in one of the worst economic recessions of our time. We have been able to produce a nearly quarter billion dollars worth of investment.”

“Amanda has worked at the right hand of John on several development projects and we couldn’t be more pleased to have her continue to lead this organization,” Beale added.

Jarratt has worked as the senior leader and adviser to Smolak. Her new job will involve overseeing business retention, small business development, business recruitment, tourism and economic development strategic planning.

She has an undergraduate degree in government from the College of William & Mary and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jarratt served as director of planning and development for Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; deputy director of community development for Franklin and planner for New Kent County.

While with FSEDI, she has managed the Enterprise Zone Program, which has involved six companies to investing thousands of dollars in the community. Some include Birdsong Corp., Tandem Inc. and Tractor Supply Co.

Jarratt also has strengthened the relationship between the Virginia Tourism Corp. and the community’s tourism initiative. Her efforts engaged community leaders and business owners in the local tourism steering committee, which is leading to the development of a more vibrant Tourism Strategic Plan for the area.