County to hire community development director

A new director for Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation director is about to become reality, according to RCCDC board chairman Randy Knudson.

Previous director Greg Fisher resigned in February.

Knudson said the board has narrowed candidates down to four finalists from 10 to 12 people who applied for the director position.

"All of the candidates we talked to were all very impressive with their approaches," Knudson said. "Some had more strengths in certain areas. We had some real quality people."

Knudson said the four candidates being considered for the position are from the states of New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia.

Knudson said the 10 RCCDC board members are responsible for reviewing the applicants' resumes and hiring a new director.

Board member and Eastern New Mexico University president Steven Gamble said board members are still in the process of checking candidate backgrounds and references, so a final decision has not been made.

He said he has also been impressed with the four candidates being considered.

Knudson said a final decision should be made within the next two weeks.

"They need to come to our community and recognize that the role of our economic developer is a self-starter," Knudson said. "They would have to hit the ground running and go out and meet people."

Knudson said an economic developer's responsibilities are extensive and vary from making community connections to getting government grants.

"The big key for an economic developer is finding money," Knudson said. "Money is always the driving force for starting businesses. The developer has to be able to interface and go out and meet people and find governmental programs and make connections with them for funding."

Knudson said the following are other traits looked for in an economic developer:

  • Must understand the Roosevelt County economy and how to develop it.
  • Must be certified as an economic developer.
  • Must have experience in workforce development, business and economic development planning, real-estate and finance.
  • Will actively work towards improving the county's water issue.
  • Can communicate effectively with business owners and offer them assistance with improving/developing their business.

"We're doing this to try to better everyone's economic situation," Knudson said "We're in this together. We want to see Portales and Roosevelt County thrive and improve."

Knudson said the most critical issues in Roosevelt County the director will have to take initiative with are housing, water and entertainment while also bringing in new business to the community and nurturing current businesses.

"Things that the university would like to see, at the top of the list, would be housing," Gamble said. "Our enrollment this fall will probably be above 5,850 students. We need more housing than what we have available at the university. Secondly, it would be nice to have more entertainment options for our students. For example, a movie theater would do very well in Portales for our students."

The following are members of the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Board:

  • David Hunton
  • Leo Lovett
  • Kevin Bond
  • Sharon King
  • Steven Gamble
  • David Sanders
  • Randy Knudson
  • Jerry Partin
  • Tom Howell
  • Charlene Webb

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