tmA South Boston native has been hired to fill a leadership role at the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

Tracy G. Mallard will start her new role as IDA assistant director on Feb. 1.

IDA board members welcomed Mallard to her new position at their monthly meeting Friday morning.

“We’re excited to have her on board,” said IDA executive director Brian Brown. “I think she will be a true asset to this office. I look forward to partnering with her for multiple projects for the betterment of Halifax County.”

Mallard, who has spent the past five years working as a data analyst for Noblis in Danville, said she is happy to have the opportunity to turn her focus to her hometown.

“For me, there’s no greater honor than to serve and advocate for the place where you’re from,” Mallard said. “I care so much about Southern Virginia as a whole, but to get to serve in my hometown is such an honor.”

Mallard said she looks forward to building upon the workforce development pieces that are already in place here, such as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and the Information Technology Academy at the center, to help recruit talent and industry to Halifax County.

Brown shared with the board at Friday’s meeting that he believes this is the perfect time for Mallard to join in the IDA’s efforts to promote economic growth in Halifax County.

“I think this community is poised for growth and I think you’re a great piece to help us as we move along,” he said.

Board members Brandon Scearce and Mattie Cowan echoed Brown’s thoughts.

“I think you’re coming on at a great time,” said Scearce.

“There’s a lot of momentum,” said Cowan.

Board member Nancy Pool congratulated Mallard for being selected to the assistant director role out of an “impressive” pool of applicants.

“We had a good talent pool to interview. I was very impressed, and I think we have made a wonderful choice,” Pool said. “She (Mallard) had some stiff competition, and she rose right to the top.”

Mallard brings a “wealth of knowledge and perspective” to the IDA, Brown noted.

While at Noblis, Mallard created a corporate community engagement strategy to develop and retain technology talent in Southern Virginia.

The new IDA assistant director also has launched her own consultancy to customize talent development initiatives and strategies for organizations.

She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education with an emphasis on organizational leadership from the University of Lynchburg.

Mallard holds a Masters of Public Health in Community Health from the University of Tennessee in July 2013 and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the College of William and Mary in May 2010.

In other business at Friday’s meeting, the board gave unanimous approval to Brown’s proposal to apply for a $500,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture rural business development grant.

Board member Rick Harrell made the motion to approve.

Brown said he plans to work with the town of South Boston and the town of Halifax to create a revolving loan fund to support small business growth and entrepreneurs considering starting new businesses in the county.

According to a fact sheet, RDBG grants are designed to “support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.”

The board also approved the following items:

• A contract with Samet Construction to build a 50,000-square-foot shell building at the front of the IDA facility for the purpose of attracting business;

• A one-year renewal of a lease to Sunshine Mills for the use of a small building at the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center; and

• A five-year lease with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative beginning Jan. 2021, giving the company continued access to space at the IDA facility.

The next IDA board meeting will be held on Feb. 21 at 8:30 a.m. in the IDA boardroom at 1100 Confroy Dr., Suite 1, South Boston.

From The Gazette Virginian