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EDC Appoints Director

Getting a spec building built appears to be one of the first tasks facing Giles County’s new Economic Development Director.

Members of the EDC agreed May 3 to appoint Phillip Reese as Giles County’s EDC director and then discussed the need for a spec building to lure a potential business to the county.

The EDC director is considered the EDC’s chief economic development recruiter.

Reese will replace David Hamilton, who left Giles County recently.

An inlaw of former Giles County Executive Earl “Corky” Wakefield, Reese was recommended by Bobby Wynne, speaking for the EDC’s Personnel Committee, which reviewed 21 candidates,

Reese is married to Wakefield’s daughter Sara, and the family lives in Pulaski.

A mechanical engineer who graduated from the University of Mississippi, ((Ole Miss), Reese has broad experience in manufacturing, international and national sales, people management, organizational development and profit/loss management, Wynne said.

“We would not have been able to hire him away from his present employment except he was interested in getting out of the international travel his position required, he loves Pulaski and Giles County and is excited about the Economic Development Director’s position,” Wynne said.

Reese will have a fringe package from either the city of Pulaski or Giles County and Economic Development will reimburse the city or county, Wynne said.

Reese will transistion into his new position in May and will be ready to start work in June, Wynne said.

While he does not have much economic development experience, Reese has experience dealing with large corporations and businesses, experience which should translate well into economic development, Wynne said.

As a member of the EDC and the EDC’s Personnel Committee, Wynne has been involved in the hiring of other EDC directors.

As an example of his accomplishments, his last position, which he held since May 2021, was vice president of sales at Arlaid and Spunlance at Glatfelter.

He worked on commercial strategy and management for more than $500M plus in annual revenues.

From August 2013, to May 2021, he was vice president of North American sales for GP Nonwovens. -

He consolidated sales from three sites to two. The company exited non strategic business and grew a business for private label baby wipes and implemented price increases on non-contract business.

Among his community service activities, he mentored a Memphis Leadership Class, was assistant scoutmaster at Boy Scout Troop 86 and was First United Methodist Church Council Chairman.

Spec Building

The Pulaski-Giles County has used spec buildings before to attract businesses and industries to the city nd county and some think this may be in their to do it again.

The idea has had critics when spec buildings sat empty longer than anticipated, but that may not be case anymore.

Toyota Mazda is building a large production plant in Huntsville, near I-65, and the possibility of landing spinoff industries in counties such as Giles was not lost on some EDC members.

People are still looking and industries that could be here are out there, one speaker said.

Rather than have the EDC handle all the recruitment, it was suggested thatt a group like the Industrial Development Board, which can meet more quickly, be more involved in decision making.

Pulaski City Administrator Terry Harrison said representatives from companies and industries often wanted quick answers and might be frustrated by the need to work through local governments and the time needed to gain approvals and answers.

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