Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County names new Executive Director

Democrat Staff

Jessica Craig

The Board of Directors of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County (EDC) announced Friday that Jessica Craig, of Sedalia, has been hired as their new Executive Director, according to a news release. She will be replacing Executive Director Linda Christle, who announced her retirement last month after 12 years with the organization.

“We have completed an exhaustive and intense search,” Board President Rusty Kahrs said in the release. “We conducted a competitive nationwide search only to find the ideal candidate to fill the position is right here. We wanted a candidate who was passionate about their work and who cared deeply about continuing the relationships that have been built.

“We need an energetic individual who will continue and expand upon the goals to bring consensus to the community, pride to the community, and most of all, to provide support to our industries. Existing industry has always been Linda’s priority and it has proven successful with the number of existing company investments and growth over the years. With her local, regional and statewide economic development experience, Jessica is sure to continue the momentum for supporting our existing businesses.”

Craig comes to the position with leadership skills, more than 12 years of experience in economic and workforce development, multitude of experience, a passion for the existing manufacturing community, and a deep love of the community, the release states. Craig, like Christle, has received many awards from her peers for her leadership skills in economic development.

“I am elated to be able to have Jessica Craig take the helm as our new CEO,” John Swearingen, long-time President before Kahrs, said. “She has a good foundation to get started and I know she will take off and not miss a beat to carry our corporation into the future. I stated early on in this search I knew what I wanted in an executive. I am so pleased we have found exactly the type of individual I wanted to fill the position.”

Craig is a 1999 Smith-Cotton High School graduate and serves as the Executive Director of the LearningForce at State Fair Community College, helping businesses and industries design training programs and oversees course offerings for continuing and community education, according to the SFCC website. The website also states she is a Certified Economic Developer and previously worked for the Missouri Department of Economic Development as a Project Manager Industry Specialist.

“I am honored to be hired for this position,” Craig said. “Leading economic development efforts for years throughout the state, I look forward to bringing that experience home to move Sedalia and Pettis County forward. Coupled with the one-of-a-kind economic and manufacturing base here, my experience in the field and my passion for this community, I am very excited to capitalize upon all those factors as Executive Director of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County.”

Since joining the Missouri Department of Economic Development in 2004, Craig has lead economic development efforts resulting in 12,730 new and retained jobs and $565 million new capital investment throughout the state of Missouri.

“I am so happy they have hired Jessica. She is the right individual to help the community continue to move forward,” Christle said. “Sedalia is the greatest and I have loved every minute of my 12 years here. I know it will be in good hands. Jessica will also have a great support staff with our Executive Assistant Betty Wood. They will be a great team.”

Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County is a nonprofit organization which specializes in marketing Sedalia and Pettis County to relocating industrial companies as well as retaining its existing industrial base. More information can be found at

Jessica Craig Craig

Democrat Staff

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