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Wadsworth appoints new economic development director

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WADSWORTH — The city has appointed Jim Gray to the newly created position of economic development director.

Gray, who will begin in his new position Wednesday, will make $85,000 a year.

“I have a real passion for economic development,” Gray said in a news release. “Attracting and retaining jobs, working with businesses, building relationships and delivering meaningful projects to benefit the city and the citizens will be my focus.

“I really like Wadsworth and have seen the enthusiasm and pride of its residents and city administration and I can’t wait to get started.”

Most recently, he served as director of marketing, business development and legislative affairs for ORA Consulting Engineers, where he marketed ORA’s qualifications to local, state and federal agencies.

As executive director of the Enid-Garfield (Oklahoma) Development Alliance, a public/private economic development partnership, he led efforts to secure one of the largest economic development projects in the southeastern United States, according to the release.

As executive director for the Fayetteville-Lincoln County (Tennessee) Industrial Development Board, he assisted with the recruitment and expansion of 10 industries accounting for $200 million in new capital investment. Gray worked in Washington, D.C., as adviser for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal public power corporation, which assists state and local governments in the attraction and retention of business and industry.

“We interviewed several qualified candidates, and it was clear Jim brought the right combination of skills and experience that we were looking for,” Wadsworth Mayor Robin Laubaugh said in the release. “His excitement and passion for Wadsworth and the future of our community aligned well with our vision.”

The city has been operating without an economic development director since Harry Stark resigned in February to take a position as director of public service for the city of Aurora. Stark worked for Wadsworth for eight years.

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