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Harry Martin

MBJ Editorial I

Last week’s news of Harry Martin’s “retirement” from the Community Development Foundation spread quickly through Mississippi’s business community.

Martin, who has headed the overwhelmingly successful economic development organization in Tupelo for decades, is an icon in industrial recruitment and community development. CDF is often used as a model of how to “do” economic development.

With strong local leadership, sound planning and hard work, Martin and CDF have helped Tupelo, Lee County and north Mississippi as a whole evolve into one of the state’s strongest economic regions.

“He’s not using the term ‘retirement’ nor are we,” CDF chairman Dr. Jeff Barber said. “We don’t know how long it will take because it will be a difficult position to fill. Under Harry’s tenure, 50 Fortune 500 or national/international companies and 226 manufacturing plants have located in Lee County. Economic development has brought a plethora of jobs and has made a tremendous impact in our community.”

It is interesting to note that Martin’s “retirement” might not find him too far away from the office. The CDF has asked him to stay on as president emeritus and serve as a consultant.

While this arrangement would certainly benefit CDF, if anyone deserves a leisurely, relaxation-filled retirement, it’s Harry Martin.

We wish him the best. He will be missed.

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