After 13 years with the Loudon County Economic Development Agency, assistant director Kathy Knight served out her final day Friday and will report for duty Monday as the executive vice president with the McMinn County Economic Development Agency.
Knight, who has logged more than 24 years in administrative assistant work, along with more than a decade in economic development, said she was not actively seeking employment elsewhere.
"This opportunity just presented itself, and (I) met with the search committee, and it just worked out," Knight said.
McMinn County Mayor John Gentry said the county received "several dozen" applicants for the position from people in 25 states, noting that Knight was selected for her well-rounded approach to economic development.
"When we talked with folks across the region, (we were) very impressed with her work ethic, professionalism," Gentry said. He said Knight has a "very good reputation" among industry and economic development officials in the region.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, "when they have to recommend communities for prospects that are generated through their organization, we feel that they're definitely going to trust Kathy with those prospects, and so we think the skill sets match up well with what we have," Gentry said.
Loudon County EDA President Pat Phillips said Knight has been a positive asset.
"She's been a wonderful employee both in terms of skills as well as her involvement in the community," Phillips said. "She really took well to the job. It's something she really enjoys, and she kind of found a niche, and she's got a good technical background that was a nice asset to us."
Knight said during her tenure in Loudon County, she was most proud of her involvement in the city of Loudon redevelopment project, increased commercialization along Highway 321 and the recent Ceramica Del Conca recruitment to Sugarlimb Industrial Park.
"As our economic development team, I'm not going to take full credit for anything," she said. "It was a cumulative effort among many people."
In her 13 years with the county, the EDA has recruited more than $600 million in investments and has seen about 1,600 new jobs come to the county from either existing or new industrial development.
Knight, who lives in Loudon County and will have one year to relocate to McMinn, said the downtown renovation project in Loudon was one of her passions.
"Loudon County and the cities have given me latitude to live that dream, and I'm so grateful to them to let me do the things I love," she said. "And I feel like we've had many accomplishments, and I think our team in Loudon County has done great things. I'm sure they'll continue to do great things."
McMinn County, which has about 40 industries, also contains three industrial parks.
Gentry said Knight will have plenty to do when she starts work this week as she develops relationships with existing industries and prospects.
"(The) plate's very full," Gentry said. "There's a lot of existing activity in the works. Initially, she's going to be working with some projects, so she'll be extremely busy."
Phillips said EDA office manager Stephanie Myers will take over as interim assistant director and will be evaluated in two to three months, noting that for the time being, the EDA will not seek another person to fill the office manager position.
"We're just going to have to be more efficient in our time, maybe work a little bit longer than we have been," Phillips said about the two-person staff.