A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Cole McDaniel | 29

Executive director, Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development (SRPED)

Cole McDaniel
Cole McDaniel

As executive director of the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development in Canton, Cole McDaniel has brought public and private sector groups together in various economic development initiatives, removed barriers for small businesses, and made a positive impact in rural communities throughout Fulton County. He has led downtown revitalization efforts in Canton and was an effective advocate for small business owners seeking grants during the pandemic. He worked closely with the leaders of an $800 million renewable energy project that recently committed to Fulton County. 

Previously, Cole served as city treasurer and economic development director for the city of Havana, where he spearheaded downtown revitalization with more than $4.5 million in public and private investment. He started his career in professional finance. 

Meanwhile, he is chairman of the board of Prairie Hills Resource Conservation & Development and has raised thousands of dollars over the years for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In Havana, he helped generate $30,000 for community organizations there and served as a volunteer youth basketball coach. 

“When a group, organization or small business in Canton or Fulton County thinks of leadership, the first person that comes to mind is frequently ‘Cole McDaniel,’” said his nominator. 

Bucket list number one: “This one is easy … attend The Master’s at Augusta National.”

Best advice: “You weren’t chosen to be on this earth just to live a life for yourself. You were put here to positively impact others’ lives and make a difference. Our legacy in life is to leave behind a better world for others.”

Leadership definition: “I believe that a great leader is someone who has courage, honesty, humility and integrity … Simply put, great leaders are able to bring out the best in people.”