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Economic development guru plans 3-day visit to Del Norte

By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

California Association for Local Economic Development's president, Wayne Schell, will be in this area from Sunday through Tuesday on a "fact-finding" mission keyed to economic development.

Invited by Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan and Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, in December, Schell and four of his team plan one-on-one meetings with representatives of "targeted" groups that represent varied parts of the community.

Included are College of the Redwoods personnel, members of the Economic Development Department, elected officials and the Council of Economic Development – but that's the short list.

Schell also wants to meet with county residents involved in transportation, high school supervisors, those in the telecommunication industry, city managers, chief county Administrative Officer Jean-nine Galatioto and Chamber of Commerce members.

"I will also give a briefing for city and county people," Schell said. "A couple of months ago I received a call from the senator from your area, who asked if we would be available to meet with a group of people from Del Norte County who were in the (Sacramento) area.

"They asked us if we would were aware of a program called Professional Advisory Service.' I have watched your economic development efforts for awhile."

The group, county Super-visor David Finigan, part-time resident Bill Stamps, Jr., and Aanestad, asked Schell whether his group could assess Del Norte County.

The group also talked about the Governor's Broadband Task Force, Finigan said.

"We had heard who was an was not on it, and I explained that California does not end at Humboldt County," he said. "We explained that we didn't want a hand out, but a hand up."

Finigan also took a host of studies about Del Norte County to Schell for his perusal.

"We wanted him to look at them with laser-like focus," he said.

The timing of his request and a recent visit by Australian entrepreneur David Beurle is coincidental, Finigan said. He said he doesn't know when Beurle was invited here, adding that "people who want to work on economic development should be working in tandem.

"We should be on one track with one another. It's the wrap your arms around the community versus the laser-like approach."

Schell's three-day visit begins his assessment process.

His service aids communities that want to develop an economic strategy, target industries is has, begin an economic development program and build "community census."

Schell is aware of the recent visit here from Australian entrepreneur David Beurle.

"I'm not too worried about it; he's another outsider who's come," he said. "He has a propensity for focusing on tourism; he has a focused on niche opportunities for tourism."

Saying his visit "came about really quickly," Schell said he is nervous that he is not talking to all of the people."

He explained that he'd asked one of the county's administrative staff to begin working on an agenda, adding that when he checked back to give input on its contents, "she'd already made a list."

Kevin Hartwick of the Council of Economic Advisors, a subcommittee of the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority, said Schell has "demonstrated every interest in driving the economy forward," and is helped by "technical" people.

"David (Finigan) was working on this during David's (Beurle's) visit," he said.

Of the back-to-back visits, Hartwick said they are "all efforts, they are like David Beurle's arrows going all different directions."

He referred to a graphic depiction Beurle used to illustrate a community whose residents are not moving toward an agreed-upon common goal.

"If we can keep economic development in the foreground, that's good, we're going in the right direction," Hartwick said. "This is another process the community can use, but we'll have to evaluate it."

 


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