Amanda Nobles, longtime executive director of Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, announced her retirement this week at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
During her tenure, Nobles oversaw the expansion of Kilgore’s business economy as she and her team worked to bring new companies to the area. The lasting effect of her work has been a boon for Kilgore as the city increased numbers of businesses not directly tied to the sometimes-volatile nature of the oilfield.
“(KEDC) is losing their only leader they’ve ever had,” Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said Tuesday.
The mayor expressed pride in his years-long working relationship with Nobles.
“My claim to fame is that I was on the committee that hired Amanda Nobles. Amanda’s been the only head of our economic development council since it started 30 years ago. She’s been with the city of Kilgore for a little over 32 years,” Spradlin said, noting Nobles first interviewed for a job with the city in January of 1987.
Spradlin took a moment to recall some of Nobles’ accomplishments with KEDC.
“We’ve been the envy of the state. The things they’ve accomplished have been unbelievable. The fact we’re getting through this downturn in the oilfield with so much less shock and distress than we did in the early 80s is a testimony to the job she has done in handling our EDC. She was one of the principals in staring up Kilgore Historic Preservation Foundation. She’s worked hard with the Texas Shakespeare Festival foundation, she’s led that at times. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m proud to call her one of my best friends.”
Spradlin asked if any other council members had anything to say about Nobles’ legacy.
Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon thanked Nobles for her hard work.
“We really appreciate you. I moved here in ‘89 and y’all were just getting started. You’ve led them really well and you’ve done a great job,” he said.
Spradlin then read an official proclamation, declaring June 5, 2020 “Amanda Nobles Day” in Kilgore in honor of her 33 years of service to the city. A flag will be flown at the Texas state capital in her honor on the same day.
She was first hired as Main Street Manager and founded the Main Street program before creating and directing KEDC. During her time with KEDC, the corporation helped bring 2,500 non-oil and gas jobs to Kilgore while KEDC Industrial Park values increased by 3,867 percent.
“We are forever in your debt,” Spradlin read. Everyone in council chambers rose to their feet to applaud Nobles.
“This job has been an absolute joy. It’s given me much more than I think I’ve given to it. The relationships I’ve built over the years are a really the most important thing to me. The city of Kilgore is pretty special and all of its citizens have contributed, as well as all the volunteers willing to work with me on the board. I appreciate the staff, they make me look good. I thank all of you very, very much.”
Gregg County Pct. 3 Commissioner Gary Boyd took the podium to address Nobles, representing Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt and the Commissioners Court. Boyd also formerly served on the KEDC board and Kilgore ISD school board.
“My time serving on the KEDC board has been my most pleasurable and that’s because of you, because of your spirit, your vision, your creativity, your affable spirit, your great commmunication. I’m thrilled to be here, sad to see you go but glad for you.”
Boyd then read a proclamation from Stoudt declaring June 5 “Amanda Nobles Day” in Gregg County. The proclamation cited Nobles’ many achievements, which included working to bring 2,800 jobs and $150 million in investments to Kilgore in the last 5 years.
Spradlin called for a pause in the meeting to allow guests to congratulate Nobles and the entire audience rose to do so.