Darcy Trask, a 22-year resident of Steamboat Springs and a married mother of two boys, is the new executive specialist for Craig/Moffat Economic Development. She plans to start this week.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Darcy Trask, a 22-year resident of Steamboat Springs and a married mother of two boys, is the new executive specialist for Craig/Moffat Economic Development. She plans to start this week.

Trask set for task

EDP hopes specialist can help manage economic growth

— Meet Darcy Trask.

She is a 22-year resident of Steamboat Springs and a married mother of two boys.

And she is the new executive specialist for Craig/Moffat Economic Development.

Look at her resume and long-tenure in the Yampa Valley.

Current EDP interim director Scott Ford says it describes someone who can contribute to Craig's progress quickly. She is not a cure-all, he says, but she has the background to implement the EDP board's strategy.

And there is strategy, she says.

Trask plans to start this week and will begin meeting business and community leaders soon. The board has a written plan for her first 90 days that she intends to follow.

For the time being, plans are to focus on strengthening local businesses. The board sees Trask's background with Steamboat Springs-based development groups as a boon to that end. She agrees.

"I think the direction this EDP is now going is something I can really be a help with," Trask said.

She believes in the board's strategy, and her new job, because of the human element.

"I'm very interested in supporting our community by supporting our business," Trask said. "They are very intimately connected. Vibrant economies support strong communities. This is kind of a passion for me."

Her experience with the EDP board left her with the impression its members share the same focus toward broad prosperity.

"They genuinely care about their community and the health of their economy," Trask said.

Trask feels the group has a good chance to work well together. A reasonable contention considering Trask's background deals with nearly every issue raised at recent EDP board meetings.

From localized development to workforce issues to business seminars and economic research, Trask has helped with many of the same goals in Steamboat that EDP has for Moffat County.

For about 10 years prior to 2003, Trask worked with The Industrial Co., a Steamboat-based industrial contracting firm, helping the large businesses with workforce issues as part of its human resources department.

More recently, Trask has become a part of the public sector.

In addition to some work with the Steamboat Springs School District and Colorado Mountain College, she has served on three community development boards running the gamut of local, regional and statewide issues.

With the Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council, Trask participated in the kinds of research projects EDP hopes to emulate for Craig.

One such effort, a consumer preference study, examined what products and services residents shopped for outside the local area. City officials and the business community used the information to determine what opportunities there were for growth.

"Really, we began to understand the community in a broader sense," Trask said. "We gave the community some common language to talk about when we all had a lot of our own assumptions about what was going on."

EDP plans to conduct the same type of study for Craig in the near future.

Trask's involvement with the Northwest Colorado Workforce Investment Board gave her a ground-level understanding of the regional job market, from both the employer's and employee's perspective.

"We were an advisory board for Colorado workforce centers," she said. "We worked with employers to help attract and retain quality employees. We also provided job search assistance to job seekers."

Her experience outside the area came when then-governor Bill Owens appointed her to the state Women's Economic Development Council, which looked at how Colorado could attract and retain business around the state.

As Ford sees it, that adds up to someone who is in a somewhat unique position to hit the ground running a little faster than some.

With all her experience, however, Trask didn't set out in Steamboat with a clear-cut path.

She originally earned an associate's degree from Colorado Mountain College in resort management. Along with five years in that field, Trask earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy with a minor in organizational management.

Although the path may have had its curves, her education couldn't fit her new position any better, Trask said.

"Philosophy is just understanding people and being able to work with them," she said. "Economic development is about understanding what the community wants and building the relationships to make positive things happen in the business community."

Her teaching background at Colorado Mountain College could help her bring people together, also, she said.

EDP hopes to help businesses with seminars on topics ranging from finances to keeping good employees.

Trask believes she can help find experts in those fields

and "present them to the business community in a forum that's comfortable to them," Trask said.

Economic development is community development, and strengthening Craig's existing business community will build the community as a whole, Ford has said.

Trask feels like she can identify with Craig already.

"I grew up on a ranch in Colorado," she said. "I like the mix of rural and small town that Craig has to offer, and I can relate to the people."

Trask, looking past her board, is eager to meet the Craig she hasn't yet.

"I like this community a lot," she said. "It's still got a heart."

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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