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New leader for IDF and chamber is announced

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Foundation announced the hiring of Garrick Combs as Economic Development Director Friday afternoon.

Combs will oversee the executive operations of the chamber and IDF with his new position starting July 1.

“My family and I are very excited about joining the community, and I am personally excited about joining the Industrial Development Foundation,” Combs said in an interview Saturday. “I am looking forward to getting started.”

Combs is originally from Roxie where he served as the director of both the Economic Development Department and Chamber of Commerce in Franklin County from 2002 to 2006.

Most recently, he worked with the Mississippi Development Authority in Jackson where he held several positions including manager of the Southwest Regional Office and project manager in both the Global Business and Existing Industry divisions.

As the local developer and lead project manager of new locations and expansions, Combs achieved $500 million in new capital and the acquisition of nearly 2,500 new jobs.

His MDA duties spanned the state, including work with such local companies as Rex Lumber, Delphi and American Rail.

“With my 10 years of experience in economic development throughout the state I have created a business network that will benefit the local economy,” Combs said.

Bill Jacobs, president of the Industrial Development Foundation, commented Saturday on the board’s decision to hire Combs.

“Due to the poor national economy, there has been very little economic development activity since 2008,” Jacobs said. “In the last few months there has been increased activity across the state and several in the past two months here in Brookhaven.

“Garrick’s experience and background with the Mississippi Development Authority immediately puts Brookhaven and Lincoln County at the table and allows our community to pursue those opportunities very aggressively.”

Jacobs continued, “This is an exciting time for our community as we have new leadership coming on board at the city level and now at the chamber of commerce level.”

Pat Lowery, president of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, explained his interest in Combs’ new role.

“We want to be aggressive in economic development, and we feel like [Combs] will lead us there,” Lowery said in an interview Saturday. “We are excited to get him as he has a great deal of experience.”

Lowery further explained that Combs’ hiring required some structural changes.

“Kay Burton will assume the title of marketing director where she will handle membership activities, festivals and events,” Lowery said. “That will allow Garrick to concentrate solely on economic development.”

Combs has served as the president of the Southwest Mississippi Partnership, as a member of the board of directors for the Mississippi Economic Development Council and earned the Professional Community and Economic Developer designation from the Community Development Institute.

He received undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Combs’ family includes his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Cooper and Caroline.