Rachel Dahl resigned from the Fallon City Council on Wednesday and accepted the executive director position at Churchill Economic Development Authority (CEDA), which she starts Monday.
Dahl, who had been on City Council for the past five years and was re-elected in 2013, said this is a big change for her, but one she’s excited about.
Dahl said she was appointed to be president of the CEDA board as a councilwoman. She said the executive director position has been vacant since October.
“When CEDA Executive Director Eric Grimes resigned, the CEDA board got together and rewrote the mission and goals for CEDA and really focused in on where we wanted CEDA to head,” Dahl said.
So we re-grouped and came up with what was important and the best thing for CEDA. She said once they figured those aspects out they advertised for the position.
“When we first advertised for the position we only received five applications,” Dahl said. “We wanted a bigger pool to choose from so we advertised again. In the end, we narrowed it down to four applicants and chose who we thought was a great fit for it and offered him the position, but he did not accept our offer.”
Dahl said luckily they were able to keep the CEDA office open because the board members were pitching in to keep things running.
“Everyone did a great job,” Dahl said. “We all realize how important it is to keep CEDA going.”
Dahl’s name surfaced for the executive director position during a CEDA board meeting but could not accept the position because of her spot on City Council.
“The CEDA board had two public meetings about the decision to offer me the position,” Dahl said. “The item was put onto the agenda so they would be able to vote on it. At the meetings, I had individuals who came to speak on my behalf and the board discussed it. I abstained from the discussion and by the end of the meetings they decided to offer me the position.”
Dahl said some things changed in her schedule to allow her to take the position at CEDA, but in doing so, she had to resign from City Council and all other boards that she sat on through the council.
“Leaving City Council was hard,” Dahl said. “I have an obligation to the people that I represent. The only thing that made my decision acceptable to me is that I’ll still be here serving them through CEDA. I still have the opportunity to serve them and be involved with local government and I think, for me, that made it ok.”
Dahl is excited to take over for Grimes and she will be responsible for the daily management of the organization
“One of the first things that we’ll do is put together a strategic plan, kind of where we left off in the fall,” Dahl said. “What we did as a board to our goals and objectives we’ll start with those and put together a strategic plan and that will be an open public process.”
All of the CEDA board members helped with getting the business council running again, Dahl said. She said next week they will return to the business community to detail plans with former and existing CEDA businesses.
“We have to have the business community on board,” Dahl said.
Dahl said the goals of CEDA are simple: They support the development of jobs and business opportunities that both retain and expand existing businesses and recruit new business. In addition, CEDA serves as the “voice” of Fallon and Churchill County businesses on public policy and regulatory issues affecting the business climate; promote private and public partnerships; bring business experience and technology to the public forum; and CEDA collaborates with individuals and organizations to support entrepreneurship and the development of jobs and business opportunities.
She said CEDA functions as the local point of contact for economic and business development by identifying resources, coordination services and providing knowledge of the local community.
“I feel I’m qualified for this position because of the knowledge I’ve obtained throughout my life from work experiences,” Dahl said. “I’ve worked in the legislature, I’ve worked with water issues, the chamber of commerce, City Council and worked for CEDA 20 years ago.”
Dahl said she could look back on her experiences to relate where people are coming from, their perspectives and see how the economic development office in Fallon can serve each one of those interests.
“We need to actually do something good, not just be here to be the welcoming committee,” Dahl said. “CEDA needs to provide a useful service to the business community, to the local governments and I can do that, I’m in a unique position to do that.”