A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jim West, first executive director of Tri-ED, dies at 74 in Georgia after battle with cancer


Staff report

James “Jim” F. West, Jr., first executive director of Tri-ED, died Tuesday, November 16, in Augusta, Georgia, after a short battle with cancer.

West came to Northern Kentucky in 1987 to head the Tri-County Economic Development as its first executive director. He had been serving as an economic development specialist with the local chamber of commerce in Columbus, Georgia, and Tri-Ed was a new spin-off from the Northern Kentucky Chamber. He was charged with building NKY’s unique identity as an economic powerhouse.

Jim West

Tri-ED’s slogan then was Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati: The Best of Both. Covington and Newport were in early stages of building their riverfronts and CVG was, as always, driving development in the region.

West started by building positive relationships with Frankfort and collaborative relationships with Cincinnati. He focused on manufacturing and on filling office space.

During his tenure of 11 years, Tri-ED was named the top U.S. economic development organization for three years. He also formulated a state-wide, local-option license fee on rental cars to fund the operations of local development organizations.

He left Tri-ED in 1998 to return to his home state of Georgia to head Augusta’s economic development effort.

West was a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He retired after 35 years in Economic Development and Association Management, serving in Columbus, Georgia, and Augusta, Georgia, as well as Northern Kentucky’s Tri-ED.

He received many awards in his professional life and was named to Outstanding Young Men of America, early in his career. In retirement, he offered free classes on basic computer skills to area residents through a ministry of First Baptist Church of Augusta. He also provided in-home computer maintenance services for the elderly and shut-ins.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Connie Prescott West, his daughter: Mary Kelly West Smith (Brian); grandchildren: Jasper and Vivian Smith (Brentwood, TN); and sister Judy Jacobs (Venice, FL). He is preceded in death by his parents Beth Powell West and James F. West, Sr.

His family wishes to thank the many doctors and nurses who cared for him throughout his short battle with cancer.

A private family graveside service will be held at Augusta’s Westover Memorial Park and a celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a church or charity of your choice.

Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484, are handling arrangements. Sign their guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com


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One Comment

  1. Kelly smith says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’d love to find a way to get a copy.

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