After 10 years working to promote business and industry in Laurel County, Dennis Karr is stepping down as executive director of the London - Laurel County Industrial Development Authority.

Karr, who will be retiring at the end of the year, said it is something he has been pondering since his son, David, was killed in June 2007.

“Its just time to go,” Karr said. “I’m going to go home and help raise my granddaughter.”

Karr, who served as Laurel County Judge-Executive for five years prior to his time with the industrial authority, said he is proud of the efforts to bring more industry and more jobs to the area.

“There were quite a few things, but the biggest is probably the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, which came in 1995,” Karr said.

Laurel County Judge-Executive Lawrence Kuhl said he is sorry to see Karr step down, but understands his decision that it is time to go and do something else.

Kuhl said Karr’s knowledge of the area and efforts to recruit new business has paid dividends in increasing the area’s economic base.

Karr said he has worked to diversify the business and industry in Laurel County, which has resulted in one of the lowest unemployement rates in the region.

“He has the county at heart,” Kuhl said of Karr. “He said he will be on standby if we need him.”

A three-person committee made up of members of the industrial authority is reviewing resumes in search of Karr’s successor. The committee will receive input from Kuhl and London Mayor Troy Rudder.

“Just work it hard,” Karr said when asked if he had any advice for the next executive director.

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