The new chairman of the Henry County Development Authority Board of Directors, said she hopes to bring new businesses to the county, and to improve educational opportunities in the area.
Vickie Loper is the first woman ever appointed to the authority's board, and its first female chairperson. She is replacing Jim White. She assumed her duties after the vote at the organization's January board meeting.
"We are working to bring a campus of Southern Crescent Technical College to Henry County," said Loper. "That's one of our priorities, because we are one of the largest counties in Georgia that doesn't have a technical college. That will make our workforce more attractive to companies who are looking to relocate."
Loper said hopes to continue the success Henry County has enjoyed in luring such businesses as the Whirlpool Distribution Center and De Wafelbakkers, both in McDonough, and the Phillips-Van Heusen Distribution Center in Locust Grove.
"I've been in the financial industry for over 20 years now," she said. "We've been through some tough times economically in the last five years, because of the housing market in Henry County. I'm thankful, as a part of the Development Authority, that we've been able to attract new businesses to our county, and to provide jobs to our citizens."
Bob White, executive director of the development authority, said Loper's talents will definitely be an asset for the development authority. "We're very proud of the diversity represented on our board of directors, and I know that Vickie will do an outstanding job as chairman," he said. "Her business background has been a welcome addition to the authority, and her extensive volunteer background in the community deepens her value to the authority."
Loper works as a business development officer for Georgia United Credit Union — formerly known as Georgia Federal Credit Union — which covers Henry, Newton, Rockdale, Jasper and Laurens counties.
"It is truly an honor and privilege to be elected chairman of the Henry County Development Authority, but it is especially an honor to be the first woman chairman," Loper said. "I look forward to working with our board, and staff, to bring new businesses and jobs to our community."
Loper graduated from Morrow High School in 1979. She later attended West Georgia College, where she studied communications. The new chairman also is involved with numerous volunteer endeavors in Henry County. She is a member of the county's Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club and the Henry County Chamber of Commerce's Cultural Development Committee.
She also is a member of the board of directors for Haven House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Loper's volunteer work led to her selection in 2004, as a winner of the Chamber's Athena Award. She is also a member of the Henry Council for Quality Growth, the Henry Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, and the Connecting Henry Board of Directors.
Loper and her husband, Kendall, are elders in the Presbyterian Church USA, and attend Morrow Presbyterian Church. They have one daughter, Jessica, a senior at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.
The Henry County Development Authority meets the first Thursday of each month at 140 Henry Parkway in McDonough.