Shane Hooper, the new economic development director for Shelbyville and Bedford County, brings a wealth of experience to the job, and shares the excitement of local officials over the community’s potential.
Hooper was hired through a city-county partnership to revitalize economic development and industrial recruitment and retention. The program is jointly funded by the City of Shelbyville and Bedford County, although Hooper will operate from an office on the second floor of Bedford County Courthouse Annex.
“We’re delighted to have Shane on board,” said County Mayor Chad Graham. “This cooperative city-county effort is an important step towards building a better Bedford.”
“There are numerous positive aspects and efforts underway in the City of Shelbyville and Bedford County,” said Hooper. “I look forward to being part of this community and working with our stakeholders to build a better Bedford and successful Shelbyville.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Hooper met with the board overseeing the joint city-county program. The board discussed upcoming projects such as industrial recruitment, development of 231 North Business Park, and development of downtown Shelbyville as a retail, recreational and tourist destination.
“I am excited about the experience and talent Mr. Hooper brings to our community,” said Shelbyville City Council Member Henry Feldhaus, who has been active in setting up the new city-county program. “The joint Shelbyville and Bedford County Committee has worked tirelessly, meeting monthly for the past year, to discuss a good match for economic development.
“I applaud everyone for staying positive as we searched in a united effort to enhance economic opportunities for new and existing businesses. In cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce’s workforce development, we will see a united front for positive growth and income appreciation. Going forward we will develop new long-term structures to enhance business opportunities while attracting new industries to Shelbyville and Bedford County.”
Hooper, during Wednesday’s meeting, expressed his belief that economic development “begins from the inside,” with support and retention of existing businesses and industries.
Hooper has been meeting other community leaders and key personnel in the past few days.
Hooper, a graduate of Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, and Lipscomb University in Nashville, holds a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. He served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a past director of development services for Tupelo, Mississippi.
Hooper has served on the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. He is a past president of the Tupelo Rotary Club, the Gardner-Simmons Home For Girls, and United Way of Northeast Mississippi. He has also served the Community Development Foundation, the Good Samaritan Free Clinic, Sanctuary Hospice House, and the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi.
His awards include Rotarian of the Year and Tupelo’s Top Twenty Young Professionals.
Hooper and his wife Sarah have three children.
Bedford County Government photo: Top row, from left: Shelbyville City Council member William Christie, Bedford County Commissioner Sylvia Pinson. Bottom row: Bedford County Commissioner Don Gallagher, Shelbyville City Council member Henry Feldhaus, economic development director Shane Hooper.