Gallatin EDA Director James Fenton (middle), received the Economic Professional of the Year award from TEDC. SUBMITTED

The Tennessee Economic Development Council (TEDC) has honored Gallatin Economic Development Agency’s James Fenton as the Fred H. Harris Economic Development Professional of the Year.

The award recognizes Fenton in part for his role in securing the new Facebook hyper-scale data center in Gallatin. Facebook will become the largest single revenue stream in Sumner County. The company is investing nearly $1 billion in capital expenditures with 1,200 construction jobs, and 150 full-time employees with salaries averaging $80,000/year.

“He really did a class act this year,” said Bryan Daniels, president of TEDC. “It is about perseverance. We’ve all had it where you lose a deal, but you never slam the door shut. Facebook looked at Gallatin, chose a site in Huntsville, then came back to Gallatin. James overcame many hurdles to make it happen.”

TEDC announced the award at its annual conference recently in Memphis. The council is a non-profit membership organization created to unite economic development efforts, be a voice for economic development, and provide education and training opportunities.

“This was truly a group effort with our elected officials, department heads, and EDA board,” Fenton said.

The award also recognizes Fenton and his team for adding four new companies to Gallatin and several expansions in 2020-21, resulting in nearly $100 million in capital expenditures and more than 600 new jobs.

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