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With occasional vacancies to fill including a current opening for a resident regardless of political affiliation, the Newtown Economic Development Commission leadership is ramping-up its efforts to help recruit an ideal candidate for the open seat.
Chairman Rob Rau and Commissioner Wes Thompson met with The Newtown Bee this week to reinforce the important work being done by the EDC to help retain and grow existing commercial and home-based enterprises in town — as well as attracting new and appropriate commercial entities that will employ local workers and elevate Newtown’s Grand List, while keeping with the suburban/rural character of the community.
“We’d love to bring someone on who may either be an attorney, or someone who has corporate or business development experience,” Mr Rau said.
The EDC officers also explained that since their panel is staffed with political appointees, and is a municipal department versus a standalone nonprofit with a staff and board of directors, Newtown’s economic development commissioners are typically tasked with specific responsibilities to help achieve their goals.
“This isn’t the kind of post where you come to a meeting once a month and that’s it,” Mr Thompson said. “We hope that our members will be self-starters, and will come to the commission with ideas or proposals to support our goals that they will be willing to take on as a personal/professional project.”
“That means they need to have the time and flexibility, whether it’s participating in a project of the overall commission, something happening on a specific committee, or in relation to an idea that they bring to the table,” Mr Rau added. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying it requires the time of a part-time job, but commissioners who have the time and passion for what we’re doing certainly tend to spend as much time as is required getting the work done.”
Among the charges to the EDC are qualifying and recommending applicants to Newtown’s Business Incentive Plan, a temporary opportunity for businesses to receive property tax abatements or reductions in exchange for relocating and developing in town, or expanding and making qualified improvements to their commercial locations.
The EDC is also responsible for maintaining local development statistics, economic data and demographic trends, and management of community development. To that end, a willing candidate or even a retiree with experience in database management or “big data” would be a logical fit for the commission.
Commissioners may work with or support all the agencies, commissions, boards, and departments in Newtown that are involved in, or affected by, economic development as well as the people of the town in their work to promote economic development. The EDC works directly with business owners as their advocate, incorporating face-to-face meetings, site visits, public events, and others forms of communication.
The EDC works to coordinate recruitment and retention efforts, provide information about available relocation or development sites, business services and opportunities, and assist businesses to navigate through the permitting process. The commission always looks to support a business-friendly environment, and meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month, at 7 pm, in the Newtown Municipal Center.
Besides Mr Rau and Mr Thompson its current membership includes:
*Michael Boyle, with 35-plus years business experience including, 25 years at a Fortune 500 company in Greenwich. During his career he held management positions in business development, finance, marketing, strategic planning, and sales.
*Amelia Dent, a retired executive recruiter in the financial services industry and its related technology. She is also a former business owner, buyer and marketing executive, and an accomplished researcher.
*Bill May, who brings more than 35 years experience in the temporary staffing and executive recruiting business. Mr May owned and operated a mid-sized three-office staffing firm in central Connecticut specializing in accounting, medical, and clerical disciplines.
*Matthew Mihalcik, a Newtown Savings Bank executive who has worked his way up from a teller position. Besides supporting his wife Melissa in a special events floral design company called Floral Designs by Melissa, Mr Mihalcik volunteers as business counselor for the Western Connecticut chapter of SCORE, and serves on the C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees.
*Al Roznicki, who has more than 40 years of professional experience in various marketing, sales, financial, and administrative positions in the health care and aerospace industry with expertise in contract negotiation, research and development administration, organizational research, acquisition analysis, and strategic and long-range planning.
*Dana Trado, with 20-plus years of providing business and personal financial, management, and tax advice in Fairfield County. Mr Trado is a certified financial planner and the founder of Wealthitude, Inc, a personal wealth planning company.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Newtown EDC can visit newtown.org. Individuals who would like to be considered for its current open seat should contact the Office of the First Selectman, 3 Primrose Street, or call 203-270-4201.