Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady was announced as one of the Appalachian Leadership Institute’s 2022-2023 class of Fellows.
Heady is one of three representatives from the state of Tennessee to participate. He said the 10-month program will allow leaders from all across the Appalachian region to connect on ideas, strategies, and solutions.
“I’m really excited because you get this collaboration and you also go and visit places that have done economic development in their areas,” Heady said. “And this is a wide range, this isn’t just tourism. This is all matters of economic development.”
Heady said he’ll be able to learn about designing project proposals, integrating community assets into long-term economic development strategies, and preparing competitive grant applications.
Heady said this opportunity was made possible through the help of the Upper Cumberland Development District. He said using the knowledge he learns during his time with the organization, he believes he’ll be able to expand economic development opportunities not only for Jackson County but the entire Upper Cumberland.
“We have the ARC grants and we use those,” Heady said. “But I believe we’re only getting the tip of the iceberg if you will of what we could be doing with these opportunities.”
Heady said that you’re never too old to learn something new, and that this program will help him bring new ideas back to local communities to help them better their economic development opportunities long-term.
Heady said for seven weeks over the next 10 months he may not be as available as he typically is to talk to concerned consitutents. He said he asks for the community’s understanding while he undergoes this leadership opportunity.