Edmonson Leaving Muskegon Area First

August 25, 2006
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MUSKEGON — After two years of serving as president and CEO of Muskegon Area First, Jim Edmonson is leaving the position and heading south to Baton Rouge, La., where his wife’s family and their grown children live.

But he’s not gone yet.

Edmonson said he is waiting for his home to sell before making the move to Baton Rouge for his wife’s new job.

“Could be three days, three weeks, three years; I hope not,” he said with a laugh.

Because of the unspecified amount of time left in Muskegon, Edmonson said he has mixed feelings about leaving the economic development corporation.

“It’s going to be great to get back to our children and family, but there’s lots to do here,” he said. “I’ll be full time for a while and then, after that, probably have a transition period to help them through.”

Edmonson said he will hold comment on his work in Muskegon until it officially ends.

Roland Crummel, chairman of Muskegon Area First and Laketon Township supervisor, said the search for a new president and CEO will begin in about 60 days, following the determination of criteria and a job description.

“He does not have a job down there just yet,” Crummel said of Edmonson. “He really likes this job and he hates to leave the area. … Things change. His wife has a tremendous opportunity down there in Baton Rouge.”

Crummel said Edmonson, who has been in the lead position at Muskegon Area First since 2004, has built a good staff in his time at the organization, leaving it in good hands.

“They’re well trained and very efficient in their jobs,” Crummel said. “It’s not like we don’t have anyone covering the bases, but we still need a leadership-type person that an organization like that requires.”

Edmonson has been a good leader, Crummel said, and he doubled the budget in terms of revenue.

“We’re disappointed he’s leaving,” he said. “He’s been a tremendous asset to the community.”    

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