An Economic Development Council has been formed in Washington County made up of private and public sector members to implement a more aggressive, sophisticated and coordinated approach to economic development in Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County, Tennessee. The Council will more effectively coordinate the individual efforts of the Economic Development Board, Johnson City Development Association, Public Building Authority and Chamber of Commerce under the direction of a CEO. The search for the CEO is in its final stages.
A Steering Committee made up of public and private sector representatives began working years ago to develop objectives and an implementation plan, which led to creation of the Economic Development Council.
“There has never been a time when economic development was more competitive than it is today, thus it is vital to have professional leadership and an organized approach to aggressive economic development efforts,” said City of Johnson City Commissioner Steve Darden, former member of the Steering Committee and current Chair of the Council.
What are the objectives of the Economic Development Council?
Structure of Economic Development Council (EDC)
The CEO of the Council will be responsible to the Executive Committee.
“The biggest difference between the new economic development effort and those that have existed for years is the funding and influence of the private sector. It does a great deal of good to have the efforts of the private sector instead of just government entities… to recruit new business and industry, “said Kelly Wolfe, Mayor of Jonesborough and home builder.
The CEO of the Economic Development Council will be a person who can work with the different entities comprising the Council to support and enhance what they are already doing. This person must also have the knowledge to improve what they are doing, but will not be running these different organizations. The CEO, having an overall perspective, must coordinate the efforts of the Council Entities to foster support for each other’s actions, establish prioritized goals, reduce redundancy and ensure that each entity is moving in the same direction.
The CEO of the Council also will not simply be some sort of figurehead, but must bring real value to refining and expanding the Economic Development program of Washington County.
The CEO will work to identify and address gaps in the current economic development programs, including taking the leadership over such projects as developing the Med Tech Corridor and Med Tech economy of Washington County, something no one person or group has yet taken responsibility for leading. Harnessing the potential of the university and medical sectors will be a main focus of the CEO.
A search for a qualified candidate has taken place with the help of a national consultant and the search has been narrowed to three candidates. The candidates were expected to have direct education and credentials in economic development, a track record in economic development leadership and accomplishments and the correct skills set and personality.
Community leaders who have formed the Council agree that the participation of the private membership is essential to create the right atmosphere for success. Private sector attributes include their intellectual capital, valuable experience, expectation of results and high levels of accountability.