LAEC puts search for president on hold

LONGMONT – A national search to find a new president for the Longmont Area Economic Council has been put on hold while city officials and the council’s directors discuss how they might merge economic development efforts.

A $79,400 study conducted by an outside consultant recommends that the city’s economic development efforts be combined with LAEC’s, said Shawn Lewis, an assistant city manager. LAEC is a public-private partnership that receives funding from member companies and the city.

The study was paid for with $54,400 of city funds and $25,000 from the LAEC, Lewis said. The topic is expected to be discussed at the city’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The city of Longmont has an economic development director and two other people who work in long-range planning who support economic development efforts, Lewis said. Another city staff person also is involved in economic development, he said.

At LAEC, a search committee just before Christmas chose three finalists for its president’s job, which came open in August when former president John Cody left to be the director of economic development for the city of Thornton.

Andy Bade, chairman of LAEC’s board of directors, said the finalists have been told that they’re still being considered, but that the scope of the job may change.

“We began the process with one size of job, and now we have maybe a different job,” Bade said. “We’re waiting for the city council to decide where they want to go, and that will influence where we’re at.”

Bade is the executive director of business services at Amgen Colorado, which consists of California-based biotech Amgen Inc.’s operations in Boulder and Longmont.

Interim LAEC president Wendi Nafziger, who had been serving as the organization’s vice president, did not apply for the job, Bade said. Each of the three finalists are from communities outside of Colorado, Bade said. He declined to give more information about any of the finalists.

The city of Longmont has allocated $180,000 to the LAEC’s budget in 2014 plus a one-time allocation of $20,000 for supplemental marketing and the organization’s website, Bade said, declining to divluge LAEC’s total annual budget.

Longmont economic development programs administered through the city include various small-business loans, grants, training and other resources.

Longmont Area Economic Council representatives traditionally have served as recruiters of new primary employers. A primary employer is one that sells its goods and services outside of the city, which brings new money into the community.

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