The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership announced Wednesday that its director has stepped down.
Steamboat Springs resident Darcy Owens-Trask, who has served as EDP’s director for four years, said she has accepted a position with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in Denver.
David Thomson, global business development director for Gov. John Hickenlooper, said OEDIT is restructuring and he recruited Owens-Trask for the job.
“I feel Darcy is one of the top economic development people in our state,” Thom-
son said. “She has always been aggressive in attending every meeting we have.
“That’s what I was looking for. Someone who would be aggressive to attract businesses and create jobs in Colorado.”
As part of OEDIT’s retooling, Thomson said four positions were added to the office to focus on new business recruitment. As part of her new position, Owens-Trask will focus on bringing more businesses from the energy industry to Colorado.
Owens-Trask begins at OEDIT on Dec. 12.
But, she said she would prefer not to talk about her new position.
“I’m not really at a place where I can talk about that right now,” Owens-Trask said. “It’s not a high-level position, but the more we can focus on the future of the EDP and how it is going to be stronger, the better.”
Rather than discuss details of her new position, Owens-Trask believes it important to highlight EDP’s recent successes, including October’s Economic Update and Small Business Resource Fair and the OEDIT grant that will help fund the One-Stop Business Incubation Center at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Bell Tower.
“This is really a great opportunity for EDP to build on all of the momentum we have,” Owens-Trask said.
Although Owens-Trask diverted focus away from herself, EDP board members had positive things to say about the outgoing director and the work she’s done since 2007.
“Darcy has done an amazing job during the last few years and we are sad to see her go,” EDP board chairman Scott Cook said. “We weren’t necessarily shocked by the news — this is a wonderful opportunity for Darcy — but I’m sure she agonized over the decision because she has been very loyal to the EDP.”
Board member Gene Bilodeau said the news was bittersweet.
“The history of EDP has been one of ups and downs, support from the community and lack of support from the community,” Bilodeau said. “With Darcy on board, the EDP really came into its own and we’ve made a lot of progress. The trick is going to be to find the right person to keep that momentum going.”
Bilodeau said the search for a new director is under way. He said the timing is strange because the hiring committee — made up of Bilodeau and Cook along with EDP board members Dave Fleming and Mike Anson — were preparing to begin interviewing for either an administrative assistant or an economic development specialist, which were advertised about three weeks ago.
However, with Owens-Trask’s departure and the recently awarded OEDIT funding, the hiring committee is shifting its focus and is hopeful it can find a candidate to work as a full-time director.
“If there is a silver lining in the cloud, it’s that we now may be able to afford to hire a full-time director, which is what the board has wanted to do for a long time,” Cook said. “We’re going to be looking for someone who has economic development experience, but also someone who has run a business incubator before.”
No prospects have emerged yet, Bilodeau said.
“Replacing someone like Darcy will be difficult,” he said. “We just have to go out there and see who’s available.”
But, Cook concedes the chances of finding someone who meets all of the qualifications may be slim.
“We anticipate receiving a lot of interest in the position and we’ll probably get a lot of applicants who fit certain pieces of the job really well,” Cook said. “We’re keeping our options open at this point on whether we hire someone full- or part-time.”
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