Ben Kendrick, director of the Tucumcari/Quay County Economic Development Corporation, turned in his resignation to economic development corporation CEO Leo Thrasher of Citizens’ Bank of Tucumcari Thursday morning.
Kendrick had accepted a position as the director of the Hobbs Economic Development Corporation on Wednesday.
Kendrick said he was first approached by the Hobbs group over a month ago and was told that the Lt. Governor of New Mexico recommended him to fill the spot left vacant when their economic development director left after just over a month.
The former Tucumcari director said he at first did not want to consider taking the position, but a number of different aspects of the position proved to be too tempting.
Among others was the individual who recommended him.
“I mean, how many times do you get recommended for something by the Lt. Governor?” He also pointed to the pay of the new position being markedly higher than he would be receiving from Tucumcari. “It would help me to see my children financially comfortable,” said Kendrick. In addition, Kendrick said there were a number of different projects that Hobbs was dealing with that were especially intriguing to him.
Kendrick took over the reins of the Tucumcari group in late December after an extensive search for a director by the City of Tucumcari and the corporation. Kendrick came from Guymon, Okla. where he had held a similar position.
According to Thrasher, he will be sad to see Kendrick leave, but Thrasher said he understands Kendrick’s motivations.
“We will miss him,” said Thrasher. “Ben worked very hard while he was here and we appreciate that. He got us started in a number of directions, and it will be up to us to follow through on them. Ben established a credibility for us and we’ll just have to work at maintaining that credibility.”
Kendrick said he has hopes that two ongoing programs — one concerning industry and the other transportation in Tucumcari — will, in fact, come to fruition in the not-too-distant future.
Thrasher added that the state leaders are aware that Kendrick has been representing Tucumcari and Quay County and because of that Tucumcari and Quay County will still have cache with them. “I hurt about this decision. That’s all I can say,” said Kendrick. “I have come to love this city and the people in it, especially my mentor, Bettie Ditto.”
City Commissioner Ditto said she in her turn was sad also.
“I am very disappointed,” said Ditto. “It is a very serious loss to the City of Tucumcari. I hope we can maintain on-going contact so we can take advantage of the contacts he has established.”
Ditto also said that she understands that the new situation in Hobbs would provide Kendrick with the chance to place his children in a private school which was very important to the economic development director. Mayor Mary Mayfield said she was “shocked” when she heard the news.
“..and probably a little hurt. I would say our loss is Hobb’s gain.”
Representatives of the economic development group in Hobbs said they have been searching for someone to direct their organization since their last director lasted little more than a month, three months ago. Kendrick will officially begin in Hobbs Sept. 1. “This has got to be the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever done,” said Kendrick.