The Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LLCEDC) announced earlier this week that Marla Akridge of Clifton Forge, Virginia has accepted the position of executive director effective July 13. Akridge brings 15 years of experience in rural economic development to her position in Lake County.
In 2019, Akridge was named one of the top 50 economic developers by Consultant Connect, a global network of economic development professionals. Each winner was nominated by someone in the economic development or site consultant communities for their outstanding leadership and innovation in the profession.
LLCEDC’s nationwide search attracted over 100 indications of interest. According to the nonprofit, the search committee took its time because they recognize how important this position is to the future economic success of the Lake County community. This position is even more critical in the current situation with COVID-19 challenges, the organization said.
The LLCEDC board unanimously voted to hire Akridge, as she was the most highly-qualified candidate and exceeded the hiring requirements. Bob Deister, chairman of the search committee, said “Marla’s resume checked every box on our list of desired traits and experience. Her deep background in rural communities that paralleled our situation in Lake County was exciting. It was clear in our phone interview she understood the challenges communities like Leadville face. Our one hour in person interview turned into a four hour discussion on where Lake County is, where the community would like it to be in the future and how to get there.”
Akridge’s role will be key in carrying out Lake County’s economic development strategic priorities. As these priorities shift due to COVID-19, Marla will provide counsel and leadership on how best to achieve these goals.
Akridge has been actively working with the LLCEDC board as it has responded to the business community’s needs since February. She will continue to participate in the LLCEDC business community response until she and her husband Ron arrive in Leadville in July.
“We are looking forward to living, working and playing in Lake County/Leadville,” Akridge said. “Economic development will be harder than ever but I’m up for the challenge, especially because of the volunteers, vision and citizens of Lake County. You all understand the importance of taking care of each other and understand hardships from the past. We hope to diversify the economy and help existing businesses survive and grow.”
“Hiring Marla is not only a game changer for the Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation, but for Lake County as a whole,” LLCEDC board member Heather Lindh added. “Her extensive knowledge and expertise, coupled with her drive, compassion and creativity is going to take us to the next level. I am beyond excited to welcome Marla to our community.”