Becca Brown Hardin, the executive vice president of Economic Development for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is leaving the job she has held since 2002.
“It’s a huge loss for the city,” said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who has known about Hardin’s departure for several days. “She’s definitely a star on our economic development team and we are going to have to double down and cover some ground because she did a whole lot of work.”
The mayor said Hardin is taking a position with Batson-Cook, a major construction contractor headquartered in West Point, Ga. Over the years, the company has been busy in Columbus with the $108 million construction of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center and most recently the $23 million project that brought whitewater to the Chattahoochee River.
As an executive vice president, Hardin’s expertise includes recruitment and retention of companies in seven counties. She was involved in helping to land both the Kia Motors and ATM manufacturer NCR Corp. to the area.
In January this year, she and Tomlinson made Georgia Trend’s 15th annual list of the “100 Most Influential Georgians.”
The mayor said she and Hardin were in contact with one another after the nation heard that Hostess Brands Inc. was seriously considering filing for bankruptcy.
“We were texting and on the phone, talking with them to come to Columbus,” the mayor said. “That was one major deal we worked fairly close together.” Twinkies and other sweet treats are now produced from the facility at 1969 Victory Drive in Columbus.
Hardin’s new employer has a long history in the region. The company was founded in 1915.
The mayor said Hardin will be missed. “She is just a superstar and she’s going to be sorely missed,” Tomlinson said.