Western Tidewater native takes on region’s economic development

Published 11:51 am Saturday, May 18, 2013


Amanda Jarratt

Amanda Jarratt

FRANKLIN—Amanda Jarratt, the new president and CEO of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., has worked toward this position since she was in college, she says.

“Even while I was at VCU in 2006 to get my masters degree, I worked for the New Kent County Planning Department and I have worked in this same field ever since,” said Jarratt.

“I think planning gives you a great base from which to branch out to other facets of government.”

“I enjoy my work,” Jarratt went on. “In fact, I can’t remember being as interested in anything else as I am this,” she added.

Jarratt grew up in Isle of Wight County, on a farm outside of Ivor just across the Blackwater River on Route 620.

“It was strange,” she added with a laugh. “Our address was Ivor, but since we were in Isle of Wight County, I attended Windsor public schools, in fact graduated from Windsor High.

“To make it even more complicated, we were on the Smithfield telephone exchange.”

Jarratt says she always lived close to her grandparents, whose farm is close to the Blackwater River and remembers camping and fishing in the river with her family

“They were happy times,” she said with a smile. “Now that we’re older and working, we don’t get to do these things so much, but we visit my grandfather often.”

Sadly, Jarratt’s grandmother passed away a few months ago.

After high school, Jarratt went on to graduate from The College of William & Mary before entering Virginia Commonwealth University. From there, she worked for the City of Franklin.

The young executive first worked for Franklin as its city planner. In 2009, she was promoted to deputy director of community development.

She resigned from this position to take a job as Director of Planning and Development in Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

“I was happy in the job, but I missed my family and the area in which I grew up. So when I had the opportunity to return to this area, I did.”

Jarratt said she returned to Franklin in May 2011 and took a job as manager of marketing for Franklin-Southampton Economic Development. She was promoted to president and CEO in March 2012.

“There is so much potential for new businesses in this area,” said Jarratt, who added that she spends much of her time recruiting. She noted that three new businesses within the county are scheduled to open in the fall.

“We are excited that there will be so many new job openings—Enviva is expected to have about 80 openings, while the new concrete plant in Ivor will have about 50.

“And the new travel center will be breaking ground before the end of the year.”

She said there are so many facets to economic development, such as attracting new businesses, promoting existing businesses and developing job opportunities.

“I would like to see Franklin and Southampton County become a place where young people will settle — knowing the opportunities for advancement and growth are possible.“

“I have two girls, 4 and 10 months, and I’d like to know that when they grow up, they will have an opportunity to work here and not have to look elsewhere for work.”

Jarratt and her husband, Billy, reside with their girls in Courtland.

NAME: Amanda Jarratt.



OCCUPATION: President and CEO of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development, Inc.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to Billy Jarratt.

CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND AGES: Chloe, 4 and Claire, 10 months. They attend day care.

FAVORITE NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: A trip to Williamsburg with dinner.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Southern Sisters and Pino’s locally and the deli at William and Mary, where I attended college.

FAVORITE MEAL AND BEVERAGE: A stromboli and iced tea at Pino’s.

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU: I have spent time in Brazil on three occasions. My parents hosted a Brazilian exchange student when I was 14 and when he returned home, I traveled back with him. I stayed a month that time and liked it so much that I went back for 6 weeks when I was 16 and again for 2 months when I was 19.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOURSELF: I love meeting and getting to know new people.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST HABIT: My husband will tell you it’s not folding laundry.

PETS: We have a dog, “Little Buddy.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: Camping and spending time outdoors. I’m also a member of the Franklin Rotary Club and try to participate in the club activities.

PET PEEVE: I can’t stand poor/rude customer service.

FIRST JOB: I worked in Woodie Crook’s (Smithfield lawyer) office as a file clerk when I was a teenager.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED: I was so impressed by the eulogy the pastor delivered at my grandmother’s funeral. He spoke from Proverbs, Chapter 31 about making a difference—doing positive things for others without regard to oneself. We all thought my grandmother was like that. That is the way I’d like to be remembered—as making a difference.

IF YOU HAD 10 MINUTES ON NATIONAL TELEVISION, WHAT WOULD YOUR TOPIC BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY: I would speak about our government today and urge our leaders to work to get it back to the way it used to be. We need to set good examples for our young people and clean up the violence and corruption. We need to stop our country from going downhill.