New Leadership at the Savannah Economic Development Authority


Thomas Hester
Thomas Hester

At the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) Board of Directors annual meeting, Brian R. Foster, in his last act as Chairman, passed the gavel to Thomas C. Hester, Division President of The Coastal Bank, as incoming Chairman.

Under Foster’s leadership from January 2008 to January 2010, the Authority helped to create approximately 1,200 jobs and attract $375 million in investment. During his tenure Savannah welcomed, most notably, Mitsubishi Power Systems and helped facilitate the expansion of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

Foster joins John McCleskey as an out-going member of the board, each having served many dedicated years of advocacy on SEDA’s behalf.

A new slate of officers will join Chairman Hester in leading SEDA for the next two years. David Paddison, President of Seacrest Partners, was named Vice-Chairman; and Robert James, President of Carver State Bank, was named Secretary/Treasurer.

Thomas “Tommy” Hester has been a member of the SEDA Board of Directors since 1996, for which he has served as Vice-Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer. He has also been a member of the SEDA Executive Committee and Chair of the SEDA Finance and Property Committees. Hester currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Historic Savannah Foundation, and the Marketing Committee of the Circle of Champions (Legends of Golf). Formerly, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Savannah Technical College Foundation, the Georgia Southern University Foundation, the Armstrong Atlantic University Foundation as well as having chaired the Board of Provident Health Services, Inc. at Memorial Hospital. He has also served on the Boards of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Small Business Assistance Corporation and is a past chair of CHSA (Community Housing Services Association).

New members to the SEDA Board include Paul Hinchey, appointed by the SEDA Board, and Gregory M. Parker, appointed by the City. The City also re-appointed Scott Center to a third term. Each will serve five-year terms.

The Board is awaiting an appointment by the County.

The Savannah Economic Development Authority works to improve the standard of living for all citizens of Chatham County by stimulating the economy through the attraction of new investment, the creation of jobs and the support of established businesses in the area.

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