EDC Could Install Interim President This Week

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY DEC 9, 2019

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County said outgoing President and CEO Mark Huey will continue to help the organization until a new leader gets tapped. Art Lambert, board chair the EDC, said the director who led the organization for almost nine years is parting amiably.

“He’s still there and he is going to be working through the end of December, Lambert said. “This guy is a class act who wasn’t going to leave us high and dry.”

The EDC had talked with Huey for weeks about a departure. "He basically felt that he'd done a lot of good things, and it was time to move on, "Lambert said. "We, at the EDC, appreciated that sentiment, although we hated to see him leave. You don't argue with someone who's done such a great job, and who's decided to move in a new direction. You support them—and that's what the board has done.”

But the EDC does want to install an interim CEO as soon as possible, with an announcement happening as soon as this week, Lambert said. From there, the Sarasota County business group will launch a national search for its third-ever president.

While Lambert said a couple internal individuals will be considered, it’s important to search nationwide for a solid leader at the EDC, which has the critical job of recruiting and retaining a diversity of businesses in an economy notoriously reliant on construction and tourism. A transition team made up mostly of board executives committee members has been assembled.

Just as important, EDC leaders want to make sure the existing team in place isn’t pulled away from critical work while there’s a vacancy in the top post. “It’s important the team there now stays focused on what we need them to do,” Lambert said. He said the team working at the EDC is largely young but also passionate and energetic.

Officials at the EDC say they will continue the industry-focused events that stressed growth in fields from technology to health care. They will also continue recruitment efforts already underway from Huey’s time at the helm.

Lambert stressed the organization is just as focused on companies operating in Sarasota and serving their needs. He notes his own company, S-One Holdings, was helped by the EDC as it grew within the region.

“Not only are we focused on bringing new blood into community and a more diverse economy, but on helping those companies here now, including mine,” he said. “WE have to look at high growth companies and make sure taking care of them.”

Huey could not be reached for comment and has not announced his plans after closing out his work at the EDC. “He just feels it’s time to try something new," Lambert said.

He said the EDC will seek out collaboration and concensus with business and government leaders. "We need them to agree that economic development is an important thing," he said. "We need more cool companies here—we have plenty, but we need more. The cranes downtown are awesome, but we need more companies that will produce high paying jobs. We need someone who's going to come in and develop a team at the EDC, but we also need someone who's going to go out and develop relationships in the community.”

Additional reporting by John Witte

 

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