Best of luck to Smolak

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unfortunately, when most of the work you do takes place behind the scenes, you rarely receive credit even when credit is due.

Such is the case for those who toil in economic development, and it can be said of the work done over the last six years by John Smolak, who recently resigned as president and chief executive officer of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. to pursue a new opportunity in Roanoke.

Economic development is a business in which one can expect a significant amount of failure. When competing with other communities, states and countries to bring home new jobs, the competition is fierce, and the odds of success are slim.

Factor in an economic climate that could be described at best as difficult, and the challenge of producing jobs and growing the local economy becomes even more daunting. Failure is part of the job, and FSEDI has had its fair share.

But like a great baseball player who makes an out seven out of 10 times at bat, those who grapple with economic development are remembered more for the successes than failures.

Smolak’s time at the helm of FSEDI deserves similar perspective.

What began as an endeavor in economic development for Smolak and his staff quickly turned into an exercise in economic survival and recovery as the national economy went into the tank and the local economy followed suit.

All the while, FSEDI continued to sell this community to investors as a great place to do business, worked with existing businesses to remain and reinvest, and focused on making Franklin and Southampton a good place to start a successful small business.

Smolak deserves much of the credit, and as he finishes up his last week on the job in Franklin, we take this opportunity to wish him well and commend him on a job well done.