Moberly, MO - Coming with the turning of the calendar comes a change in leadership at the top of Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation. The regional economic development group has announced that Les Keleher, Plant Manager for Wilson Trailer will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors following the retirement of rural Paris businessman, Chuck Brazeale. Brazeale’s tenure as Chairman of the Board marked the first time a representative from outside of Randolph County has led the four decades old non-profit organization. Brazeale, a retired banker and cattleman that represented Monroe County has served as a Director since Monroe County joined the regional partnership in 2011.
“Chuck Brazeale has been a guiding force from the very beginning of the partnership with Monroe County, said Corey Mehaffy, President of Moberly Area Economic Development. “His business knowledge has been very instrumental to the successes we have had in the four years he has worked with us.”
Keleher is becoming the Chairman of the partnership that represents Howard, Monroe and Randolph Counties for economic and business development and will bring a valued perspective to the leadership role. “His many years of experience in manufacturing has been a benefit to our team during his time as a Director since joining the Board in 2012,” said Mehaffy.
In the past several weeks, Continental Casting in Monroe City and Cardinal Health and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center both located in Moberly, have all announced expansions that combined will create over 170 new full-time jobs in the region over the next couple of years. “Having someone with a wealth of knowledge in manufacturing on our Board aides us in developing support for the growing needs of manufactures in the region,” said Mehaffy.
Also retiring from the Board of Directors is Russ Freed, Assistant Vice-President of Orscheln Property Management. “Russ has volunteered countless numbers of hours as a former Director and Chairman of our Board,” said Mehaffy. “His work in our communities has been invaluable over the years.
During the tenure of both Chuck Brazeale and Russ Freed the three-county partnership has seen 15 major projects completed. Some of the more notable ones most recently have been the new MFA Oil Business Support Center in the Moberly Area Industrial Park, Air-Evac Lifeteam, the air ambulance service for the region, ASI Flex, the employee benefit firm and Lakeview Energy just to name a few. All tolled the major projects have resulted in tens of millions of dollars of new investment in the community and more than 200 hundred new jobs.
Joining the Board of Directors in January, 2016 will be Gerry Quinn from Quinn Farm Supply of Monroe City as the Monroe County representative to replace Chuck Brazeale. Dr. Jeff Lashley, President of Moberly Area Community College will re-join the Board of Directors to replace Russ Freed as a Randolph County Representative. In a previous stint on the Board, Dr. Lashley had served as the Chairman and brings to the group a higher education component.
“What makes this organization so successful are the partners,” said Mehaffy. “Having business and civic leaders from Howard, Monroe and Randolph County all working together to benefit everyone is something that places this region at the top of the list for decision makers.”