On Tuesday, May 16, the Upper Cumberland Development District held their Annual Board of Directors Meeting at Southern Hills Golf and Country Club. Community partners and development district board members met to commemorate the previous year’s achievements and to elect officers for the 2018 fiscal year. Elected officers for FY 2018 include: chairman Tim Stribling, DeKalb County Executive; vice chairman Ben Danner, Overton County Executive; secretary Herschel Wells, Warren County Executive; and treasurer Randy Porter, Putnam County Executive.

The development district also awarded five recipients for outstanding performance in their field and recognized four staff members for their contributions within the agency.

The Chairman of the Board Award was presented to Macon County Mayor Steve Jones. Mayor Jones served as the chairman of the UCDD Board for fiscal year 2017 and provided exceptional leadership. His years of experience in public service has provided him with an excellent understanding of the needs of government and the citizens he serves. Whether in Lafayette, the halls of legislative plaza in Nashville, or the nation’s capital, he always brings the discussion back to the needs of the citizens of this region.

The Community of the Year Award was presented to the City of Lafayette.  The City of Lafayette and Mayor Richard Driver have a vision for the progression of the city, and prioritize the needs accordingly.  The UCDD recognized the City of Lafayette for their willingness to be proactive, as well as their consistency in applying for grants to improve the city.

The development district presented three organizations with the Community Partner of the Year Award: USDA Rural Development, Adult Protective Services and Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA).

The first award was presented to Jerry Jolley and the staff of USDA Rural Development. Jolley and staff have provided a steady stream of support to the Upper Cumberland region.  His knowledge and desire to see this region grow has benefited many communities as they provide a better standard of living for their citizens.

The second award was presented to Melinda Vanatta-Davis at Adult Protective Services. While it is difficult to imagine that individuals can inflict harm upon the elderly, the UCDD applauds Adult Protective Services for their dedication to protecting the vulnerable of our society.

The final award was presented to Kendrick Curtis and MTIDA. Curtis and MTIDA executive director Bob Bibb work closely with communities and the development district providing technical expertise and assistance with industrial development. Their support has enabled many Upper Cumberland communities to be better prepared to recruit high paying jobs to the area.

The Housing Complex of the Year Award was presented to Joyce Swallows at Laurel Creek.  Swallows works hard to maintain open communication, and keeps both her management and tenants well informed.  She goes above and beyond to provide monthly celebrations for her tenants, making all feel special.  Laurel Creek is well-kept, and eye catching with flower gardens that are taken care of by tenants.

The Senior Center of the Year Award was presented to the Granville Senior Center.   Under the leadership of Lisa Braun, the Granville Senior Center is thriving. In addition to offering health screenings, congregate meals, education, and physical fitness activities to encourage healthy aging, the Granville Senior Center offers a variety of other activities that seniors enjoy and are purely for fun.

The UCDD recognized four of its own for their hard work and dedication to the region: Virginia Solimine in Economic and Community Development, Loni Hitchcock in Area Agency on Aging and Disability; Melissa Allison in Housing and Family Services and Amy Reels in Administration.

During the meeting, staff also unveiled a new Upper Cumberland brand that will be used to promote the region in tourism and economic development marketing. Staff showed branding assets including logos, a preview of merchandise and a promotional video to the attendees. More details about the brand can be found on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at @UpperCumberlandTN.

The Upper Cumberland Development District provides regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find UCDD on the web at www.ucdd.org and at facebook.com/UCDDconnect.