Craig/Moffat EDP appoints new board member

Chris Jones to fill seat once held by late Marianna Raftopoulos

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Chris Jones

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Gene Bilodeau

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Nadine Daszkiewicz

The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership has many pieces to the puzzle of the local economy.

Now, the non-profit organization has to find a timely, fiscally responsible way of putting them all together.

“EDP has a lot of good momentum,” director Darcy Trask said. “It’s strong with a solid board. And, how great is it that there’s good stuff going on that we can really put our shoulder behind and make some good things happen?”

In a tight economy, however, with economic develop

ment more important than ever, the board and its members will have to make those good things happen with fewer resources.

At its annual meeting Tuesday, the EDP board and members laid the groundwork for the future by electing a new board member and new officers.

Chris Jones, of Jones & Assoc-

-iates, was appointed to a vacant seat once held by the late Marianna Raftopoulos.

Raftopoulos died April 14 after an 11-year battle with lymphoma. She was involved with economic development in Moffat County for more than 10 years, and served on the EDP board for more than 5 years.

Jones, who grew up in Moffat County, returned to Craig in the fall of 2009 after a 13-year absence.

He said he could bring a fresh, outsider’s perspective to the board.

“I moved here to raise my family, and anytime you want to raise a family somewhere, you want it to be a good community,” Jones said. “And I think economic growth is a big part of that and can lead to other things as well.”

Two other seats were up for appointment Tuesday, and incumbents Gene Bilodeau and Nadine Daszkiewicz retained their seats unopposed.

The board and EDP members then appointed officers for the year.

Scott Cook retained his position as board chairman.

Former treasurer Mike Anson will join Jay Oxley as co-vice chairman, and Alisa Corey will take over the treasurer position.

Daszkiewicz retained the secretary position.

Trask welcomed the new member and officers, and highlighted the importance of their service to economic development during a recession.

“This is a big time coming up to serve on this board,” Trask said.

The group also discussed Tuesday several upcoming projects on which to focus resources and efforts over the next year.

“Obviously, with the economy struggling, people are looking at how we can ensure long-term prosperity for our community,” Trask said

Possible projects include the BUILD initiative, an attempt to streamline the process for building and starting a new business in Craig.

The future of the Work and Life Skills Coalition was also up for discussion.

In upcoming meetings, the board and members will decide whether to pursue grant funding and local support to continue the program geared toward high school students’ workforce readiness.

But, Trask said with limited resources, choices will have to be made on where to allocate efforts to have the highest community impact.

“When you have a lack of resources, you have to be very careful where you spend your time,” she said. “There are so many things that need to be done, and unless we can expand our services, we just can’t do them all.”

Another looming possibility would be to file for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status to be eligible for more grant money. The organization cannot currently receive funding from foundations.

While the future was a focus of the meeting, Trask pointed out it was important to remember Raftopoulos and her dedication to serving her community on the EDP board.

Before the new board members and officers were elected, members observed a moment of silence to honor Raftopoulos.

Board member Jerry Thompson said that Raftopoulos would have wanted the group to continue to grow and look forward.

“I think to keep going on in the tradition, that would honor her the most,” Thompson said.

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