About Us

The Ada Jobs Foundation

We’re a 501c3 non-profit that’s purely focused on the economic development of Ada. 

Through key partnerships with local government offices, businesses, investors, and non-profits we’re able to deliver services to improve and expand the economic footprint of our city.

Who We Help


Local Businesses




Tech Companies


Start Ups


Utility Providers




Site Selectors

Meet the Team

James Eldridge, CEcD, President & CEO

James specializes in developing programs to support local business growth, rural innovation, and research to support more resilient communities. He led work for the Ada Jobs Foundation to receive an EDA Build to Scale award in 2021 and coordinated a community digital economy strategy for Ada with support from the Center on Rural Innovation. He has also led work for Ada to receive a designation as an Oklahoma Center of Workforce Excellence and helped create Ada’s Business Improvement Grant which has created over $450,000 in new investment in Ada’s downtown.

Prior to joining the Ada Jobs Foundation, James was Executive Director of the Uptown 23rd District Association in Oklahoma City, and has led multiple urban research projects, including research on food truck entrepreneurs in Oklahoma City. He currently serves on the board of the Southern Oklahoma Development Association, is a member of IEDC’s Accredited Economic Development Organization Committee, and has served as President of the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association. James is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), graduate of the OU Economic Development Institute, holds a Master’s in Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Email: jeldridge@growada.com
Cell: (405) 396-6651
Office: (580) 235-0070, Ext. 1

Daniel Castaneda, Economic Development Specialist

Daniel’s responsibilities include business attraction, retention/expansion, entrepreneurial, and community development strategies.

Prior to coming to Ada, Daniel led civic engagement campaigns and events for Dream Action Oklahoma as their Civic Engagement Coordinator. He was also the Clean Cities Intern for the Association of Central Oklahoma Government’s in which he was responsible for helping increase alternative fuel technologies in the state and created the Bicycle Friendly Business Guide that outlines the needs and benefits of bike friendly practices.  

Daniel holds a Master’s Degree in Regional and City Planning and Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sustainability, both from the University of Oklahoma.

Email: dcastaneda@growada.com
Cell: (405) 474-1574
Office: (580) 235-0070

Peggy Saunkeah, Executive Assistant

Peggy Saunkeah joins the Ada Jobs Foundation (AJF) as the Executive Assistant, following an impressive career in both Oklahoma and Florida, as an executive assistant, office administrator, paralegal, grant manager, teacher, and Director of East Central University’s Career Center. Saunkeah recently retired as the Executive Assistant for the Office of the President of East Central University (ECU) and the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Trustees where she served President Katricia Pierson and President Emeritus John Hargrave. Saunkeah holds a Master of Science in Human Resources degree from East Central University, and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Florida International University. 

Saunkeah is President of Legal Studies Advisory Board at ECU and an advisory member of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Assistant’s Services.  Peggy is the Chair of Ada’s Take Part: Beautification and Infrastructure Task Force since its formation in 2013.  She is a charter member of the Pontotoc County Coordinated Community Response Team and is a member of several other associations and councils, both locally and statewide.  Most recently, Peggy was appointed as a member of the Commission of Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.

Saunkeah’s husband, Bobby, is the Director of Research and Public Health for the Chickasaw Nation, and they have one daughter, Lili. Saunkeah and her family attend St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Ada.

Email: psaunkeah@growada.com
Office: (580) 235-0070

Amy Childers Elliot, Community Development Specialist

Amy Childers Elliott is the Community Development Specialist for the Ada Jobs Foundation. Elliott has spent her career working with local governments, non-profits, and communities to develop internal capacity and champion their internal vision, which are all beneficial in her role with AJF.

As the Community Development Specialist, Elliott focuses on housing and neighborhood development for Ada. Elliott’s extensive background in finance, grassroots initiatives, advocacy, housing development, strategic planning, entrepreneurship, grant writing, and compliance, along with proven expertise in working with local stakeholders to translate their ideas into actionable, funded projects, are all being utilized to improve the Ada area.

Amy received her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Amy is a passionate volunteer with community projects ranging from local music festivals to city planning and zoning. She is an adjunct professor at East Central University. Whenever Amy gets downtime, she can be found in New Orleans with her three incredible children.

Email: achilderselliott@growada.com
Office: (580) 235-0070

Board of Directors

Current Board of Directors


Brigette Jones

Citizens Bank

Vice Chair

Amy Kaiser

First United Bank


Jeannie Forneris



Jim Lawson

Pontotoc Technology Center


Christy Idleman



Robyn Elliott

Chickasaw Nation




Chad Lancaster

Vision Bank


Wendell Godwin

East Central University


Jake Cantrell

Cantrell Solutions


Shane Hudson

MSA Global


Ex-Officio & Advisory Board Members

Jim Hamby

Ada Industrial Development Corporation

Brandon Clabes


Cody Holcomb

 City of Ada

Wade Evans

Ada Area Chamber of Commerce

Mike Anderson

Ada Public Schools

Dr. Michael Scott

ECU School of Business

Terrence Farrell

 Mercy Hospital Ada

David Keith

 Oklahoma Heritage Bank

Gary Starns

 Pontotoc County Commissioner

Travis Graham

Pontotoc Technology Center

Senator Greg McCortney

OK Senate District – 13

Representative Ronny Johns

OK House District – 25

Randy McFarlin

City of Ada

Shana Wood

Ada Area Chamber of Commerce

Joe Dougherty

Ada Main Street

Let’s Grow Ada Together