The search is on for a new executive director for the Churchill Economic Development Authority and board members hope to have someone in place in January.
County Commissioner Pete Olsen, a member of the CEDA Board, said applications are available online, and once the Monday deadline passes, the process to find a director should go quickly.
“We hope to have somebody on board by the first of the year,” Olsen said. “We should be making a choice in mid-December.
The new executive director will replace Eric Grimes, who submitted his resignation in late September. Grimes had been at the helm of CEDA for almost seven years.
In his letter to the CEDA Board, Grimes said the work he and the board accomplished will have both a regional and national impact on the area; however, Grimes showed frustration with the state’s idea of economic development.
“To say that I have been happy in this position over the past year would be a half-truth,” Grimes wrote in his letter. “The changes in economic development in the state have had a significant impact on this organization, and I am not the right person to lead CEDA down what needs to be a new path. I am passionate about my community — not the state plan.”
During the 2011 Nevada legislative session, Gov. Brian Sandoval said he preferred to see regional agencies handle economic development.
Olsen, though, said there is still a place for CEDA, but that the new director must be someone who is a salesperson for the area.
“We need someone to become a voice for Churchill County and the city of Fallon and continue with the small business development,” he added.
County Manager Eleanor Lockwood said the commissioners voted in April 2012 to join the Northern Nevada Development Agency, but she also envisions CEDA working with the NNDA. She said NNDA has more resources to assist the county.
When the county decided to support the NNDA, former County Manager Brad Goetsch praised the wide reach of the organization.
“The assets that NNDA has in people, in talent, in funding and in direct connection to the governor’s office and Steve Hill, the governor’s adviser on economic development, far exceeds anything we could,” Goetsch said after the vote.
Fallon Councilwoman Rachel Dahl, who was appointed to the board in June, said the interest for CEDA is there as evidenced by more than 30 people who attended the organization’s monthly breakfast on Wednesday.
“I think we’re on the right track,” she said.
Once the board narrows down applications, Olsen said the top candidates will be invited to interview.
As for the qualifications for a new executive director, the job description calls for a person who can retain and attract new business; collaborate with the business community; work directly with the county, city, the Fallon Chamber of Commerce, NNDA, the CEDA Business Council; and the Highway 95 Corridor Group, which is trying to attract new businesses to the counties where U.S. Highway 95 crosses to include Churchill, Mineral, Nye and Pershing counties.
Lockwood also said she wants the new person to show more collaboration and communication with the CEDA Board and to communicate with the community about what CEDA is doing to attract businesses to the area.