Tri-Agency hires new development director

August 06, 2008 11:00 pm

By Kelley Atherton

The Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority has selected an economic development director, a position that had been vacant since spring.

The EDA began its search of a director in May when commissioners, which includes representatives of the City Council, Board of Supervisors and Harbor Commission, put out the call.

Jim Grossman, a business owner in Portland, Ore., responded. He is expected to begin work on Aug. 15. The board approved his contract at a special meeting Wednesday evening.

"I think he'll do a fantastic job," said Del Norte County Administrative Officer Jeannine Galatioto, who negotiated his contract for the board.

His job duties entail coordinating with local agencies on economic development issues, such as broadband Internet, revamping the harbor, building an airport terminal and realigning U.S. Hwy. 199. In addition, Grossman will be managing micro-enterprise funds for the EDA, recruiting businesses and finding potential funding sources for different local projects, amongst other things.

EDA Commissioner Kelly Schellong said that after quizzing Grossman's references she felt he was the right choice.

"They knew we'd be in good hands," she said, adding a bit of optimism for the future. "Only good things will happen from this point forward."

One of Grossman's first duties on the job will be to find himself a storefront in Crescent City. EDA members indicated in April at a weekend workshop that they not only wanted a director, but an information center for economic development.

"The community is ready," said EDA Chairman David Finigan. "We're happy to give this to them."

The EDA has budgeted an annual salary of just over $83,000 for Grossman. His contract for the first year will end June 30, 2009. The board will then decide whether or not to sign another contract with Grossman.

Board members interviewed a mix of local and out-of-town applicants. Finigan said it was a hard decision, but the board ultimately felt Grossman would facilitate economic development in this community.

"He seemed like he's action-oriented, he has the economic development experience and has a fresh approach," Finigan said. "Throughout the whole interview process he rose to the top."

Grossman has worn different managerial and consulting hats with PacifiCorp. He's also been a TV reporter and anchor and his family has a forest-holdings company and sustainable energy development consultant business.

According to the Curry Coastal Reporter, Grossman was recently offered the city administrator position in Gold Beach, Ore., but turned it down for this job.