Smolak resigns from FSEDI

Published 10:12 am Friday, March 2, 2012

FRANKLIN—John Smolak, president and chief executive officer of the 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 Franklin and Southampton County, both of which partially fund the agency.

Smolak has been named director of business and economic development with Appalachian Power Co. in Roanoke. He was previously employed by Appalachian Power, which asked him to return for an “expanded position and role.”

“I have been proud to serve the Franklin Southampton communities for the past seven years,” Smolak said. “Working with a great board of directors and staff and terrific and supportive community partners, we have been able to build this organization from the ground up. I feel I am leaving a strong and lasting legacy to Amanda as she transitions into the position.”

A Western Tidewater native who has been employed by FSEDI since May, Jarratt is thrilled about her promotion.

“I moved back here to make a difference,” she said. “I really believe in what this organization is doing and the mission. I’m looking forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

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.

A 2000 graduate of Windsor High School, Jarratt 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.

She is the daughter of Steven and Annette Crocker and married to Billy Jarratt, who is an electronics technician with West Fraser in Seaboard, N.C. They have a daughter, Chloe, 2.

She expects the continuing economic recovery to be her biggest challenge.

“We are seeing positive signs, but it’s still a struggle,” Jarratt said. “I think we have a great team, a great network of passion here among our community leaders and business owners who support this area.”

A native of Canonsburg, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, Smolak joined FSEDI in October 2005.

“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.