Members of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority learned Tuesday that the community is working closely with two potential new companies. Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Heather Seckman said she hoped to have some good news soon. Authority members Mark White (from left), Doc Kibler, Scotty Hancock and Bill Collins also learned that the search for a new executive director is progressing, however Chairman Jimmy Byars could not say how long it might be before a decision is made.

Rome-Floyd County Development Authority Chairman Jimmy Byars is “cautiously optimistic” that a new executive director for the agency can be hired soon.

Byars told members of the authority Tuesday that seven candidates have been interviewed and the personnel committee — himself, City Manager Sammy Rich and County Manager Jamie McCord have started discussions to hone in on the right person for the job.

“We’ve had a little bit of a scheduling issue on some interviews, but we’re beginning to narrow it down,” Byars said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll know something (by the end of the month) but there is no guarantee. We may have to have a called meeting or we may have to wait until our July meeting to get it all worked out.”

In the meantime, Rome Floyd Chamber Economic Development Director Heather Seckman reported she is working closely with two companies that are very interested in Rome.

Chamber Interim Director Jeanne Krueger told the authority workforce development remains a top priority for the chamber.

McCord echoed Seckman’s report, claiming that Rome was a “finalist” for two projects. He said prospect activity has been as consistently strong in recent months as it has in a long time.

“There have been requests for information after request for information,” McCord said. “We’re staying with them. Every time they ask for something, Heather has reacted very quickly and gotten information out.”

Additional land for potential industrial development remains a major need, McCord said.

Rome entrepreneurs will have another opportunity to learn about federal opportunity zones as investment tools July 9 during a meeting with Annaka Woodruff from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. That meeting will be held at the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill.

Floyd County has two designated opportunity zones, Krueger said, while nearby counties — such as Bartow and Whitfield — do not have those designated areas for targeted development.