Long-time supporter Tommy Smith retires from EDF board

Published 10:06 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

Tommy Smith has stepped down from the executive committee of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation (EDF) after 31 years.

Tommy Smith

The foundation has made substantial strides under his guidance and Smith’s recent recognition by Brad Mayo, EDF chairman, highlights the significance of Smith’s contributions and the impact of his leadership as a founding member.

The EDF’s achievements not only contribute to the economic development of Lafayette County, but also enhance the overall quality of life for its residents. It’s impressive to see the positive impact that the EDF has had on the community since its inception in 1992.

Email newsletter signup

Tommy Smith, as one of the founders and a significant contributor, played a vital role in the organization’s success. His dedication and leadership, especially during his tenure as chairman of the board from 2015 to 2017, have clearly left a lasting impact. Smith is also partner of Smith Building Supply, which has been a source for contractors and homeowners since 1960.

The achievements of the EDF since its inception are noteworthy, highlighted by the successful industrial recruitment and expansion efforts of Winchester, Caterpillar (now SMW Manufacturing), Good Day Farms and GenTeal.  The EDF was also leader in establishing the Oxford Enterprise Center, where local entrepreneurs have developed what is now one of the most prolific technology sectors in the region highlighted by the growth of FNC, Next Gear Solutions and mTrade.

These primary employers have had a multiplier effect on investment in the commercial business market where retail sales have increased by 161 percent since 2000.  Together, these establishments have generated the employment of more than 28,000 people, reflecting the foundation’s commitment to fostering economic growth and creating job opportunities.

The reduction in unemployment to the current rate of 1.9 percent, along with the substantial population growth of Lafayette County from slightly less than 33,000 at the time of the EDF’s beginning to 58,000 today, has led to a strong labor force and a 2 percent year over year growth rate.  This steady growth ranks among the best in Mississippi and showcases the LOU Community as a leader in talent and business attraction.

Furthermore, the EDF’s strategic partnerships with state and regional business development entities demonstrate a collaborative effort to promote Oxford’s community assets, attracting jobs and investments to the area.

The national recognition received for Oxford’s quality of life and designations by reputable publications and media outlets, including Where to Retire, Kiplinger’s, Money magazines, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC and Fox Business News, as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Retirement Cities” is a testament to the community’s appeal and the foundation’s success in promoting it.