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Staff

Michael Alan Southard

President & CEO

Michael Alan Southard, AICP, CEcD, EDFP, President & CEO

Education

Master of Regional and City Planning with emphasis on Community and Economic Development from the University of Oklahoma in 1993. Thesis titled, ďMarketing Communities for Economic DevelopmentĒ

Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Administration from OU in 1991

Experience

Mike came to Ada after spending over 10 years leading the community development efforts in Shawnee and Muskogee and 3 years as a city planner in Oklahoma City. He led efforts to enhance community appearance and pioneered revitalization processes to remove dilapidated structures and breathe life into deteriorating neighborhoods and business districts. Under Mikeís direction, Shawnee adopted the first rehab code in Oklahoma and Muskogee passed the first modern manufactured housing code in the state. Through these entrepreneurial efforts, Shawnee has seen around $15 million in reinvestment. He was instrumental in the neighborhood revitalization efforts that have culminated in over 200 new houses built on infill lots in the two communities. Mike has served on various boards and committees over his career ranging from Habitat for Humanity to the local chamber. He has shared his knowledge across the state on topics such as community image, visioning and design. Mike is not only a leader in Oklahoma but nationally where he served as the Region 3 Commissioner on the governing board for certified planners, American Institute of Certified Planners.

Mike is a member of the American Planning Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Oklahoma Professionals Economic Development Council and the Governorís Economic Development Team.


James Eldridge, Economic Development Specialist

James Eldridge is the Economic Development Specialist with the Ada Jobs Foundation.† He is responsible for organizing the organizationís business retention and expansion efforts and provides economic, demographic, and market research analysis.† James also provides assistance with the organizationís investment attraction, marketing, and community development efforts.

James joined the Ada Jobs Foundation in 2016 after completing his Masterís in Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma.† While at OU, he led research on Oklahoma Cityís food truck entrepreneurs, analyzed Oklahoma Cityís urban agriculture code barriers, and worked on a small team to produce a neighborhood and housing study of Northeast Oklahoma City for the Alliance for Economic Development.† James previously served as the Executive Director for the Uptown 23rd District in Oklahoma City where he helped launch Oklahoma Cityís first Open Streets event.

James earned an Economic Gardening Professional General Certification and a Business Retention and Expansion Coordinator (BREC) certification in 2016.† He is currently pursuing his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certifications.† James serves as a member of the IEDC Young Professional Advisory Committee and is an active member of the Ada Young Professionals. †James is a member of the American Planning Association, International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, †Business Retention and Expansion International, Oklahoma Professionals Economic Development Council and the Governorís Economic Development Team.†


Contact Information

Email: jeldridge@growada.com

Cell: †(405) 396-6651

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