When people talk about economic development, it generally involves luring businesses and industries to the community. But Jay Flesher believes jobs can be homegrown as well.
He is Flint Energies director of economic development and is in charge of a new initiative aimed at helping local people develop and market their own products. He said Houston County is particularly conducive to the effort because of Robins Air Force Base and the wide range of technological expertise in its workforce.
Not many communities have the technically trained and diverse workforce we have that are just waiting to come out of the closet with the next big idea, Flesher said.
A native of Fitzgerald, Flesher came to Houston County in 1994 and has had a wide-ranging career, often revolving around sports. He worked for the Macon Whoopee and Macon Knights. He has also worked as a golf pro and was involved with the 1991 Ryder Cup as assistant operations director of PGA of America. He has been an entrepreneur himself, owning and selling retail companies.
He began his working career at the age of 16 as a professional motocross racer, until an accident led him to college.
With Fleshers experience in sports, Morgan Law, then head of the Houston County Development Authority, enlisted his help in a successful effort to lure the Little League Southeastern Region Headquarters to Warner Robins.
Law, now president and CEO of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Flesher had a key role in that effort.
I dont think it would have happened without Jay, Law said. He was absolutely integral to the process.
-- Wayne Crenshaw
Click on the links below to read of 14 to Watch in 2014 stories:
Joe Molyson, 66, Bonaire, retired colonel and assistant director of operations for intelligence, Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base; also retired Houston County High School astronomy teacher