Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Whoa Nellie, we hardly knew ye!

Well, here we go again!

Once again there are more departures from the ranks of the upper and middle managers from the offices of civic directed administration, as hot on the heels of the departure of Michael Curnes from the Recreation Department, the City of Prince Rupert and their partners at the District of Port Edward are out there seeking yet another captain of the economy to help put our region on the map.

The City's website features a new job opportunity as the position of Economic Development Officer is once again available for applications, that as the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation faces yet another change at the top.

The current and apparent outgoing EDO Nellie Cheng, arrived in town less than a year ago ready to tackle the challenges of developing our struggling economic development.  We first met her on July 9th of 2009 when she was introduced to the community through the Daily News featuring an impressive resume and a number of high profile positions from afar held in the past and yet, here we are some nine months later and it seems that she has chosen to move on, though there has yet to be any formal announcement from the City as to the nature of her departure and what impact her short time in office has had on the direction of that office.

It's a move that will once again require the partners involved, the City of Prince Rupert and District of Port Edward to commence with the search for a qualified applicant, one perhaps that might be able to spend a few years or so on the cause of changing Prince Rupert and Port Edwards economic direction.

Those seeking out the post will find the help wanted advertisement of interest as the stakeholders of the Corporation seek out what we imagine they hope will be the best candidate for the job.

Among some of the  desired qualifications found on the city's website required to steer our economic ship are:

A degree or diploma in business administration, urban planning, economics, marketing or public administration and a minimum of three years experience in a related field with progressively increasing responsibility

Demonstrated economic development experience

A strategic thinker with persuasive interpersonal, presentation and writing skills

Superior organizational, time management skills

A strong deliverables orientation

Experience and ability to work with government ministries and agencies, and to successfully navigate through the grant writing process

A solid understanding of municipal government decision-making processes

Economic Developers Association of Canada certification will be considered an asset.

It would seem that any successful candidate should, according to the job posting on the website, also provide the following qualities as far as the peculiar nature of our current direction of focus in Economic Development in the region in these challenging times.

The ability to promote  the communities as a prime location for business and tourism 

Collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to spearhead vital economic development and investment attraction initiatives 

Market and promote efforts aimed at attracting new businesses 

Liaise with municipal departments, government ministries and agencies, developers, local and regional stakeholders to facilitate and expedite business development and expansion

Foster the development of an entrepreneurial climate whereby new and innovative partnerships are developed to leverage and support the creation of a positive environment for business growth

Create and maintain a portfolio of investment-ready projects 

The Economic Development Office has over the years sometimes become almost an abandoned project at times, stagnated by a lack of financial assistance and at other times almost smothered by the political focus by its many stakeholders.

What remains to be seen, once the application process closes on May 1st will be whether those stakeholders return to the familiar, former path of hiring a local applicant, with resume shortcomings covered off by familiarity of the local issues and personalities.

Or if they once again, seek out an out of town applicant with a new way of thinking at the many issues that face the community.

Whichever direction they take, hopefully the successful candidate may be willing to stay on for a longer period of time than some of the more recent holders of the office.

It will be well  worth watching to see how the office of Economic Development now evolves, as well as who takes the helm  next and how they will be able to integrate their vision and plans with those of the bureaucracy that will hire them.

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