McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority names new President/CEO as Wally Orrel retires

Courtesy of The Darien News

The announcement came last week, as board chairman, Chris Harper, made the announcement, “The Board of Directors of the McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority has selected Dawn Malin, an experienced development professional, as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of its organization, replacing the retiring Wally Orrel, whose work has paved a good foundation for the future of the Industrial Development Authority.”

Harper explained, “Dawn Malin most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of the Development Authority of the City of Folkston & Charlton County and the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 2010.

“Dawn is also a member of the World Trade Center-Savannah and has traveled and hosted representatives from various international countries, promoting economic development in the region.”

Harper said, “Currently, she serves as the incoming chairman of the Southeast Georgia Alliance, a six-county regional partnership working to market and promote investment, business and manufacturing opportunities in the Southeast Georgia region. She is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and has attended numerous Economic Development courses through the State of Georgia and Georgia Tech. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mississippi and will begin her new role in Darien on June 1.”

Malin, who will be moving to McIntosh County, was in Darien last week. She was a Marine Corp brat and grew up everywhere, and spent the longest time in one place when she spent four years in college. She lived in New York in the Bronx, then got into moving again after marrying a man in the military, with most of that time in and out of Jacksonville, Fla.

“I ended up in Folkston 11 years ago and eight years ago I began working at the Chamber and Development Authority there,” Malin said.

“There are a lot of similarities between Charlton and McIntosh and there are some differences. They are small communities and the people know each other. There is that community special history of the people and their roots. Both communities have that going for them,” she noted.

“I am excited because in McIntosh, it seems like it has been so forward thinking. In 2007 and 2008, when the housing market and industry crashed, I was impressed with the fact that the leadership here had the vision to keep going–developing things in the community for the future.

“When the state said, ‘Build an industrial park,’ they got one. They said, ‘Have a GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) certification,’ I believe McIntosh was one of the first ones to actually get a GRAD certification. That impresses me!

“They really stuck to their plan and vision. And, they didn’t let their downed economy deter them, but it positions the IDA now that the economy is more robust. They have something. It is nice to see a community that not only says they want jobs, but they are willing to put the effort into creating something so that people will have something.”

McIntosh County has longed for the location of new industry, and the road has been difficult. Malin had this to say, “It has been hard everywhere. If you talk to anybody south of I-16 in the State of Georgia, they all sing the same song. Where is it going? We see all these releases that Georgia is the No. 1 State for business, well where are they going? There is only so much land around Atlanta. Pretty soon, they have to look elsewhere, and the coast is primed for it. I really think this region has got to be the next boom. We’ve got the airports, and interstate highways are really nice. There is a lot of potential here and it takes that one little spark to cause a boom. I hope that I can be here and see that spark become a flame,” Malin concluded.