102 E. College Street
Jackson, TN 38301
731.668.7112 Direct line
731.668.6421 ECD fax
731.668.6444 Aging & Disability Fax

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About Us

Joe W Barker - low resJoe W. Barker

Joe Barker is the Executive Director of the Southwest Tennessee Development District in Jackson, Tennessee. SWTDD is a regional planning and economic development organization that serves eight counties. He has a diverse background in public service in both state and local government. Barker has served as Mayor of Savannah, Tennessee and Mayor of Hardin County, Tennessee. While serving in local government, Savannah was recognized as the most improved city in the state.

During his tenure as county Mayor, his accomplishments included securing a branch of Jackson State Community College, building a state of the art library, improving teacher salaries, construction of a new high school, and recruitment of the NAIA Football National championship Game.

When Phil Bredesen was elected Governor of Tennessee in 2002, he appointed Barker to the position of Assistant Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Barker represented the Governor on the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Authority. His accomplishments in state government included redesigning the state’s Three-Star program, revitalizing the state’s Main Street program, and initiating Retire Tennessee, the state’s retiree recruitment program. Barker also had oversight of the state’s economic development loan and grant programs.

Barker serves on numerous state and national economic development boards and is a frequent speaker on rural economic development strategies and initiatives.


The Southwest Tennessee Development District (SWTDD) was organized in 1971, and is one of nine state-wide districts established by the General Assembly under the Tennessee Development District Act of 1965. The SWTDD is charged with providing comprehensive planning, and promoting economic, community, and human resource development. As a public non-profit association of local governments, the District serves Chester, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, McNairy and Madison counties.


SWTDD is governed by a board of directors that includes all county executives and mayors, one state representative, one state senator, industrial representatives and minority representatives from within the district. An executive director manages the operation of programs and staff. SWTDD staff has technical expertise in district management, economic and community development, housing, tourism, environmental planning, infrastructure development, senior citizen services planning, and public guardianship for the elderly.

Vision Statement

To enable self-sustaining economic growth and ensure the personal well being of all citizens in the area we serve.

Mission Statement

As a planning organization, the Southwest Tennessee Development District promotes the renewal and revitalization of both rural and urban communities through betterment of an economic base (Economic Development), physical infrastructure (Community Development) and quality of life (Area Agency on Aging & Disability) for our eight county area.


CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT – To always be open to processes that will improve the delivery of services to our clients

CREATIVITY – To promote an environment of creativity both individually and as an organizationDEVELOPMENT – To encourage the professional development of all employees by promoting education, training, and peer leadership

INNOVATION – To be on the “cutting edge” of programmatic and technological advancement as it relates to our client services

INTEGRITY – To place honesty and truthfulness above all else

LOYALTY – To foster teamwork among employees and to create a sense of pride for the organization

RESPECT – To understand that each client and each employee deserves respect and a “can do” atmosphere to maximize their opportunities

SERVICE – To provide services and programs that will enhance the quality of life for individuals and institutions in the eight counties of SWTDD

SUCCEED - To measure success not in monetary terms but in quality programs delivered and services rendered to our citizens


Non-Discrimination Statement

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

If you wish to file Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenuem S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .