After three years as president of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, long-time community leader Brian Hercules will be leaving his position to join the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce as vice president of economic development.
In his new role, Hercules will be responsible for fulfilling the mission of the economic development arm of the Chamber, which is “to create high wage jobs, diversify the economic base and enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Rutherford County through the recruitment of corporate and regional headquarter companies, high tech manufacturing, research and development, and supporting office developments.”
Chamber officials announced last week Hercules will replace Holly Sears, who announced her departure in late October. She recently accepted the position of president of the Montgomery County Business Development Corporation in Maryland. Sears’ last day is Nov. 16.
“Brian’s understanding of business development, from his 29 years with Atmos Energy, coupled with his broad-based knowledge of utilities and sites, make him a perfect fit for this position,” said Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Latture. “In addition, having someone from our own community, who already has great working relationships with key business leaders is an added bonus.”
The combination of those two key attributes makes Hercules a perfect fit for the position of vice president of economic development.
“We think there’s a real advantage of Brian already being a resident of Rutherford County. He knows a lot, if not the majority, of the business people in this community,” Latture continued. “As quickly as things have happened, it’s always good to have someone who has a far more reduced learning curve.”
The decision to accept the position wasn’t exactly planned, and Latture confirmed the position was never posted. Both he and Hercules explained how they were discussing the role of that position, and one thing led to another.
“We started talking about how much I enjoyed that part of my job when I was with Atmos. I did a lot of that type of work in recruiting and working with Chambers in different locations,” Hercules explained. “He called me the next day … We just began to visit, and it just kind of fell into place.”
Had the offer come from any other business, Hercules says he wouldn’t have considered it.
“But this job still affords me the ability to be giving back to the community,” he continued. “And doing something that is a positive impact for the community, at this point in my life and where I am professionally, is really important. With the United Way, it is so obvious the impact it has on the community, but bringing quality jobs and industry to the community and being a part of that, it adds to the positive impact and provides the United Way and other charities a broader base to be able to do what they do.”
United Way executives have asked Hercules to stay involved and offer his expertise and input in selecting his successor, but the board of directors and executive committee will lead the actual hiring process.
“It’s a mixed emotion; I love what I do and the people I work with,” he said. “I’ve got a fantastic staff, and the board of directors has just been awesome to work with. As there’s change, there’s apprehension … but there’s that excitement about what the new opportunity has.”
Hercules worked with United Cities Gas Company/Atmos Energy as a sales representative, town manager and sales manager for the Southeastern Region. As sales manager, he directed residential, commercial and industrial marketing efforts for a three-state territory. In 2009, he left Atmos to become president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.
He serves on the MTSU Foundation Board, is immediate past president of the Blue Raider Athletic Association, a member of the Murfreesboro Noon Rotary, and attends First Baptist of Murfreesboro, where he teaches a Sunday School class and serves on the finance committee. He and his wife Pat reside in Murfreesboro, and he is the proud father of two daughters and two stepsons.
Hercules will make the transition from United Way to the Chamber during the month of December and assume full responsibility of his position prior to January 2013.