AJF News

A Letter from President Southard

8/31/2007 by Ada Jobs
Tags: Michael Southard

Thank you for the warm welcome to the Ada community.  It is always a little scary starting a new job in a community that is unfamiliar, but everyone has greeted me with open arms. I would specifically like to thank Ann Miller and Breanna Hill for the job that they have done keeping the office running smoothly during the transition.  Ann has been extremely helpful in answering questions and explaining processes.  We are truly lucky to have someone who has such professionalism.

For those of you who do not know, I am coming to Ada from Shawnee where I spent the last 8 years as the Community Development Director.  Prior to Shawnee, I was employed by the City of Muskogee in the same capacity.  I am a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Master of Regional and City Planning degree and a Bachelors of Arts in Public Administration.  During my professional career, I have held leadership positions both at the state and national level and speak regularly to municipal officials on community visioning and enhancements.

I have several goals in mind for Ada that I have shared them with the Board and everyone else who is willing to listen.  They all revolve around professionalism and perception.  I want the Ada Jobs Foundation to be viewed, not only by the community, but across the state and region as being progressive and innovative.  We can accomplish by assessing and addressing our strengths and shortcomings and then developing strategies to target those industries that best fit our community.  Our staff must understand emerging industries and be knowledgeable enough to predict trends.  Our staff must be well trained to depict Ada in the best possible light, but the Ada Jobs Foundation cannot do it alone. 

The entire community must be engaged in developing OUR PLAN.  The process must be inclusive and transparent.  We will not all agree on every aspect and a few feelings might get hurt, but through listening and compromise we will determine an overall direction and have a successful plan.  As the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said, if you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which road you take.

I am looking forward to helping Ada grow and to becoming a citizen of this great community.  My office will always be open to new ideas and suggestions and please let us know if the Ada Jobs Foundation can help you or your business.