MSDC hires new executive director
The search for a new executive director for the Marshall-Saline Development Corporation is officially over.
Sandy Allison, who will be moving from her hometown in Rolla, will begin her position as MSDC’s new executive director in August.
“I close on my house on the 20th of August,” she said. “So I’ve already rented a place up here and I plan to be up here as soon as I can get that closed out. I am hoping to be here for the next board meeting.”
With degrees in history and government, management, business and psychology, and receiving her Economic Developer Certification from the University of Oklahoma, Allison has been working in economic development for nearly 20 years in both Missouri and Kansas.
“I’ve worked in small communities like Washington County and Potosi, Missouri,” she said. “And I’ve worked in Saint Louis County. I worked for the state in Salem, Missouri ... right out of college, and then I worked in Miami County, Kansas for nine years as their economic developer.”
Aside from helping businesses throughout the county, which Allison said she is anticipating, a couple of the things she is looking forward to most about living in Marshall is the rich soil and Jim the Wonderdog.
“My grandfather read me the story about the dog and it’s always fascinated me,” she said. “And the soil is so rich here. I grew up in a rocky community.”
Allison said she is thrilled about the idea of being a part of another small community, one that is a lot like her hometown.
“It’s the same size as the town I grew up in,” she said. “I grew up on an exotic animal farm in Edgar Springs, in the back gate of Fort Leonard Wood. So, I’m familiar with Whiteman Air Force Base, and I’m familiar with the area. ... (Marshall) had everything I was looking for. I like to work with entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. If you build them in a community in which they’ve grown, they’ll stay. I believe that rural America has everything.”
Working at several places throughout her career, Allison said she has built relationships, and intends to use her connections to help economic development in Saline County.
“In a small community, you can come in and be new blood and help them get the tools they need,” she said. “So, I have come in with a rolodex ... to get other people to recognize these communities, to help create jobs, and stabilize and improve the (existing ones).”
Allison’s first order of business will be to visit every business in the county, in an effort to give them the proper tools to thrive in the community.
“(I want) to get out on the street and work with the businesses and help them. Look at what’s coming in their front door and out their back door, and how I can help them cluster other businesses to help them be a better business. I want to go to the county meetings and the city meetings, and I want to be a team player. I believe in leadership, building teams, and making a difference.”
Current Director Stan Moore said he will stay in his position until the end of 2018, when he plans to retire.
“I think Stan is doing a fantastic job,” Allison said. “Getting the sales tax passed. I have been watching Marshall for years, and I want to get there.”
With the economic development sales tax passing recently, Allison said she feels everything is just falling into place.
“It’s a hub and we’re all wheels out here working together,” she said. “I think it’s a win-win for all of us. I’m just lucky they picked me and gave me this opportunity. I am excited and I am looking forward to it.”