New director takes EDP reins

It's too soon for new the Economic Development Par-tnership director to have business cards or an organized office, but Tim Gibbs' long-range goals span much further than those tasks.

He has been on the job for only 36 hours, but Gibbs is off to a running start. He'll travel to Denver today to meet with the state's economic director and attend a Colorado Mining Association conference. Soon, he'll be meeting with business owners to determine their needs, while gauging opportunities for new businesses.

"My first commitment is to follow up on businesses," he said. "I don't want to start over. I think too many groups have started over."

Gibbs fills a position with the nonprofit group that has been open since April. He is the group's third director in the three years the organization has been functioning. The group has about 30 small business members and about 100 members.

Gibbs is a former county manager of Rowan County, Ky., where he had considerable duties involving community and economic development. Gibbs also worked as the office manager of commercial/industrial company while earning a master's degree in community development.

Gibbs said he initially wants to focus on helping existing businesses by asking what kinds of services they are lacking and how they could become more profitable.

He also said his role will be to concentrate on creating more jobs within businesses and to recruit more businesses. However, advocating for growth can be a tenuous balance. Gibbs said it does no good to recruit businesses that won't be a good fit for the area, no matter how many incentives they are given.

"You can make a good deal better, but you can't make a bad deal into a good deal," he said. "We're building something positive," Gibbs said. "We want the community to know that this is something that is going to make a difference."

Gibbs replaces former director Tom Flavin. The group's first director, Wally Ralston, resigned in 2003.

"From what I can tell, (former director) Tom (Flavin) was good in the office," Gibbs said. "I'm going to be myself. I enjoy getting out and talking to people. I want to grow the organization. I want people to see the results of the involvement."

Gibbs soon will be joined in Craig by his wife, Beverly.

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