THOMSON - Winston Oxford has agreed to step down from his position of Executive Director and CEO of the Forward McDuffie Board of Directors.
His departure from McDuffie County is the result of a recent mutual agreement reached by both Oxford and the Forward-McDuffie Board. While not an actual board member himself, Oxford is employed with the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce in charge of economic development - a post he also will be relinquishing.
"We discussed it and the Forward McDuffie Board of Directors decided with Winston it would be a positive move for him and us if he moved to a new community," said board member and County Commissioner Charlie Newton.
Former Chamber President and current city councilman Mike Carrington is sad to see him go.
"He's a real nice fellow and a real personable guy," he said.
Newton says that it's just time for Oxford to move on.
"It's not like Winston's moving on for doing anything wrong," he said. "In that type of position you're a salesman and a cheerleader. The average length of an economic developer's lifespan is about 3 1/2 years."
Oxford has been with the Chamber for six years and has seen Thomson acquire several new profitable businesses, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
There is no timetable for Oxford's departure, as the board is allowing him to look for other opportunities before they formerly cut ties. Nevertheless, Oxford is thankful for his time in McDuffie County and is optimistic about both the area's future as well as his own.
"It's been a great community and a real good experience," he said. "We have a lot on the ball, a lot going for it. They have had some real good leadership and they have some today. I started throwing my resume around the state almost two years ago, looking at options."
Oxford likened his position to that of a Methodist preacher who is constantly moving to new churches and addressing different congregations.
"I think it's best for the community, and it's best for the preacher," he said. "It helps those preachers to get their batteries recharged."
Commissioner Newton echoed those sentiments.
"It's like the old Methodist preacher," he said. "Those people get burned out on helping the community, and then they move on."
While Oxford is unsure as to when exactly he'll be moving on, it doesn't change his outlook.
"I don't know if something's gonna happen in the next month, but sometime later this year I'll probably be moving on to greener pastures."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.